Friday, May 27, 2011

Senior: Chui Wong

(It is my hope to write some short bios on some of our most active seniors who have graduated this year.) 

A couple of weeks ago at our annual, Senior Dessert, we got to hear from Senior Chui Wong.  She shared her testimony and was able to encourage those who are staying behind to follow after Christ, and have the faith to persevere even when going thru trials or difficulties in life.  

Chui grew up in Queens, NY and she’s from a Buddhist family.  As far as she knows, she is the only follower of Christ in her family; the first to put her faith in him.    Her family is into ancestral worship with an emphasis on trying your best to live a good and moral life in order to be saved.   She remembers as a little girl, she liked the ritual incense burning -offerings to her dead relatives -but mostly because she was somewhat of a pyro :)

It was thru a bout of depression that God reached into Chui’s life with saving Grace.  A bad junior high relationship ended abruptly and left Chui hopeless and despairing.  She used to lock herself in the bathroom stalls at school and just sit there and silently cry.  Her life was defined by sadness as she struggled to understand who she was or what life was about.  She knew she was miserable, and began to pray for help.  She prayed to every god, demigod, ancestor and spirit she could think of.

After about 9 months of depression, she went with a friend to church.  There, she heard the good news thru the scriptures and was able to see that Jesus is the savior.  She placed her faith in Christ, and thru that she found the strength to forgive those who had hurt her and live life  with joy in God.

The Chui I know is  spunky, energetic and outspoken.  She speaks her mind and challenges others to walk with God in a passionate and authentic way.  She is a strong leader and a good friend who has really ministered to some of the freshman girls this year.  She’s also come with us for the past two years to Big Break which has been a lot of fun.   Her involvement has truly been a blessing to our ministry here!

I know that she will be missed very much here at Cornell.  And she told me that she would be missing all the Christian fellowship that is so readily available.  She’s going to take a gap year back home though, so she won’t be too far.  Hopefully she’ll be able to visit a few times!  

One scripture she shared last week was 
Phillipians 3:13-14
 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting
what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal
for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Proximity is key

I want to ask you to pray for us this week as we work to raise some new financial support.

This summer we are going to be moving to a different house -a house that is very close to campus.  It is literally only about 200 meters from North Campus.  As we work to put the gospel within arms reach of every student we see a lot of benefit in living close to the students.  Back when we served in Nebraska we lived 2 blocks from the student Union building.  It was awesome for our family and our students to be so near to the school.

Proximity is a key ingredient in everything we do.  We are constantly coaching our students on how to be present on the campus both physically and emotionally so that they can engage their friends and classmates with the Gospel.  Jesus came close in order to reveal himself and demonstrate his love to mankind; thru his humility and sacrifice he made a way for us to be reconciled to God.  As Christ's ambassadors, we must get close to people in order to serve as he did and point people to him.

Living close to campus has many advantages.  First, it will enable us to host students at our home more easily.  Jesus did so much of his ministry while eating meals with people -we want to do the same.  Hospitality is one extremely effective way to serve others and demonstrate God's grace.  Living close to campus will enable Stephanie to meet with more women leaders.  Just this week, as things were coming to a close, we were trying to organize our schedules to be able to catch up with many students before they leave for the summer.  It is hard to coordinate taking care of our kids and meeting up with some of the girls.  But when we live right next to campus,  Stephanie will be able to meet with them at our house even while our kids take naps!

The university is our mission field and living within walking is going to be amazing.   But the financial cost is high.  Living near to campus costs more money and so we need more faith-filled partners to help make this happen.

The semester has been busy and we are heading out to our summer project next Monday, but in the short meantime we are working to raise $1,000 in new monthly support.  That's a lot of money to raise in one week, so we are praying for 10 new partners who will give $100 per month.  Right now, two people have stepped forward to join our support team, so we only need 8 more!

Please pray for 8 more people to join our support team this week!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Letter from my Dream World!

A big part of our work on campus with students involves mobilizing students to go to the world as missionaries. We have both short-term and long-term trips that students can be a part of. There are so many needs in the world, and the experiences are so valuable that we promote these a lot. This year, we've got students going to Haiti, as well as Colorado, and Montana on Cru Summer Projects.
Sadly, one of the biggest inhibitors to student participation in missions is parents. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. Even (and very often) Christian parents can be extremely discouraging of their kids spending a summer serving others and spreading the Gospel. Usually, the discouraging sentiments are rooted in a lack of faith and zeal on the part of parents, and that is very unfortunate and sad. But, other parents are different! Below is a real email written by a parent of a student in our movement. This father is absolutely filled with faith and confidence in the Lord as well as a dedication to the Great Commission. He wrote this last year to both of his sons when they were applying for the summer projects that they eventually went on. One of the boys is a leader in our ministry, and his brother is at another college. I can't even imagine what my job would be like if every parent was like this! I call this a letter from my dream world!

Hi Alex & Jim,

I reviewed the online materials regarding CRU's summer mission programs. I believe these are valuable programs and I'm happy to see that both of you have expressed strong interest in participating. As I will be making a couple of mission trips myself this year, and Mommy and Mark may also sign up for a trip to [closed country], I can see that the Lord is really blessing our family to participate in His work. I understand the cost is high but I also trust that the Lord will provide. With this, I would encourage you to start the process as early as you can, including signups and fundraising efforts. If you want me to assist in providing contact information for your fundraising exercises, please let me know.

Just in case you want to know, we recently received a fundraising letter from Brian Smith, who is planning to go to the middle east with the same CRU program this summer.

God bless!

In my dream world, Christian parents would be the biggest cheerleaders for Christian Missions. I can't even explain how many encouraging elements there are in this note! His interest in what his kids are thinking about doing is commendable. He encourages his kids to sign up early, and start raising their money. He is not the least bit concerned that the whole family will be trusting God for financial support in order to participate in missions, because he knows what a privilege it is and that God will provide. Then, he mentions another student, a family friend, and implies that he will be supporting him financially to go on a Cru summer project. Who is this guy!?!

His example is one that I hope will be followed!

*I have changed the names of the students and the country.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This is Edgar Lei

Christ-follower, missionary, co laborer, friend, servant, helper, brother. Those are all words I would use to describe Edgar Lei. And that doesn't even touch upon his personality and giftings. Edgar is hilarious, he's full of energy, he's smart and he's passionate. I can't truly explain how much of a blessing he has been to our team over the past two years! I speak for my family, our team and the students in our movement when I say that we will really, really miss Edgar next year!
Edgar came to Cornell in 2004. He graduated in 2008 but he stuck around for 3 years to continue to be a part of all that God is doing on campus. For two of those years we've been working very closely with Edgar on our staff team. I honestly can't imagine where we'd be without him!
Edgar studied biology/pre-med as an undergrad and had always planned to go to medical school. He is currently applying to schools and trying to discern exactly what God has next for him.
We made this short video summarizing his life and ministry here at Cornell.

One of Ruby's first words is "Edgar". She started saying it about a month ago when we were all out in Florida at Campus Crusade's Big Break. Our boys are constantly asking Edgar to give them "space jumps". That's when Edgar lifts them up by the arms as high as he can while they exert themselves jumping! -Actually Edgar is the one exerting himself! Fun for both.
In the fall of 2009 we went out to New York city for a 3 day cross cultural missions initiative. We joined a bunch of other staff and did some outreach at Columbia U. and the City College. Ruby was just a few months old and with our 3 boys in tow, it was a pretty crazy time trying to navigate the city -but Edgar was such a helper.

As a student, Edgar was involved with another ministry on campus called the "Chinese Bible Study." They have a wonderful tradition here on campus. It was thru that ministry that Edgar came to know Jesus. We have a very close relationship with CBS, and since they don't have any staff, Edgar became interested in joining our team after he graduated.
Over the past two years, Edgar has lead small groups, he's mentored students, spoke at our Real Life meetings and provided guidance to our Evangelism/Mission ministry team. Last summer he got to head out with a couple of our student leaders to East Asia with the team from Yale. This summer, he'll be heading to Haiti.

This picture is a total riot!

Our ministry has been steadily growing over the past few years, and Edgar has been an integral part in serving our students. As a friend and co-worker I personally have enjoyed hours and hours working together on campus as well as sharing life, and discussing theology and ministry philosophy. I feel so aligned with Edgar and as I said at our end of the year dessert -"I would keep this guy forever if I could!"

Some of the random moments on the Edgar hilight film in my brain include me, him and Adam felling a precarious tree between two houses with a chain saw, watching him jump (or actually commando roll) thru a bon-fire and leading a community group together. I am also thankful to Edgar for introducing us to Kale. I did not know it was so healthy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lou Gehrig's Disease

Today I got a text message from my sister Leslie telling me that my dad was going to the doctor to check out his nose. It might be broken because he fell yesterday and knocked his face really hard. He got a cut and maybe his nose is bumped pretty bad. .
My dad has actually been going to the doctor a lot over the past few months, and has recently been diagnosed with ALS or "Lou Gehrig's Disease."
I love this picture here. We took it this summer the last time I was hanging out with my dad in Alamogordo, NM before my brother and his family shipped out to England. It was a wonderful time, we were all together. I'm not sure what my dad was laughing at here, but I love the joyful look on his face.
This was in July, and though my dad wasn't feeling 100% we had no idea that anything serious was going on inside. For the last several years, he's felt increasingly run down and low on energy. But, besides that, he was still operating fairly normally. Last year he drove around working for the census; cruising northern New Mexico in his truck, knocking on doors and taking surveys.
When my brother left in November, he had told me that our dad seemed to be talking more slowly. But, despite a slightly slower drawl, I was still having perfectly normal conversations with him on the phone. Even at Christmas time, my conversations with him were normal, though he was beginning to sense something going on with his throat and vocal chords and stuff.
We took this picture at White Sands this past July.
And we went out towards Cloudcroft and had a hilariously chaotic campfire. There were so many of our little ones around it was madness!

Today, my dad is experiencing lots of muscular deterioration and he is barely able to speak. I don't know exactly why the ALS messes with the throat and vocal chords, but it seems to be a pretty common symptom. We talk on the phone a little bit, but unfortunately it is hard to understand him; which is very sad for all of us.
Leslie and her husband Brad are living in Santa Fe, which is really cool. They are able to hang out with my mom and dad which is wonderful.
We are praying that the symptoms would be alleviated -I pray especially for my dad's ability to talk. Please join us in praying for his condition, and for my mom as she takes care of him during this time.