Monthly Archives: November 2011

A greater love

I absolutely love these students. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.

As I drove through the humming darkness on US-29, I saw it as clear and stark as the taillights up ahead. This wasn’t about my regular core group of AIV students (though it’s unquestionably true for them and always has been). This feeling, this intense commitment and affection was for the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) students I’d spent the day with. I’d gotten up at 6am to make to Fairfax in time for the full-day Turkey Bowl – a multi-school VSA football tournament for charity and bragging rights. I didn’t get home that night until 11:30pm. I absolutely love them.

The whole situation is strange. It’s abnormal for a Christian campus minister (at least on most college campuses) to spend so much time in a secular [Asian cultural] organization, to be so involved with their events and to work at knowing their people and what they’re like. It’s probably even more abnormal for those students to be as welcoming and open as they have been, given that I’m a representative of the Christian establishment and its requisite connotations of judgment, cliquishness, and self-righteousness.

But maybe even stranger is that I, Greg Hsu, am part of this at all. When I was in college I ignored, or forgot, or disdained secular Asian life and the students who were part of it. I attended Asian Student Association’s (ASA) yearly Lunar New Year talent show and dinner and spent the rest of the year blissfully ignorant of their efforts, goals, struggles, and people. I was too preoccupied with maintaining a Christian establishment that taught me (or did I teach it?) to avoid that secular Asian life. While I think we did great work in Duke InterVarsity (even remaking the Christian communal life that often keeps non-Christians out), I never gave much thought to this whole world’s worth of life next door. Though we had the same story – as the child of immigrants, inheriting expectations and hopes, negotiating the uncomfortable bipolarity of being fully Asian and fully American – I saw them as different. I saw them as “not my responsibility.” Or maybe I just didn’t see them.

Yet this Saturday I got up at an ungodly hour and drove a hundred miles just so I could see them. So I could hold water bottles or give stretching advice. So I could scream on 3rd downs as the girls went through four overtimes in their play-off game. So I could cheer as the fourth-year guys got their first-ever Turkey Bowl win. So I could feel the ache with them when both teams dropped out of the competition. So I could eat pho with them, and pat bing soo for dessert afterwards. I came just so I could so see them and be with them, because I absolutely love them. I see them as my responsibility now.

Maybe for the first time I am understanding the depth of commitment that Jesus spoke of : Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Or the longing and grief in His voice when those friends were far off: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings. Or the hopeful invitation that He wants everyone to have: Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. And it is natural; this fondness and effort and commitment is strangely effortless. I myself am surer than ever of God’s love. For me. For them. For us.

It may not be the deep and heartfelt conversations that get at the things of heart and soul, the greater things that God’s greater love answers – I long to have those interactions with these students! But I want nothing but for them to know and have the good things of God. And if for now that means washing bowls, cleaning floors, and coming to football games, then so be it. I want to do only what loves them best or shows them I love them. Because the Father loves these kids. That is what I felt and realized driving back. I felt an ounce of how infinitely deeply God loves the students in VSA. I don’t have words to describe it. I think I might have been crying. This is why AIV and I are here. Because He loves them so unbelievably much and wants them all to taste and see that He is good.

I absolutely love these students. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.

Guys team cheering after their win over UMBC: the first-ever win for fourth-year guys.

Girls' offense in their play-off win over UMBC.


“WITNESS: neighbors worth raving about” sermon video

Last night I preached the 2nd of a 2-week sermon series in InterVarsity’s large group on Witnessing Community. We again looked at Acts 2:42-47 as a snapshot of an effective witnessing community, this week focusing on having a witness and effect with those around us. I explained that God’s vision is for us to be neighbors worth raving about. It was an honor, especially since some friends I invited decided to attend who aren’t in IV or AIV!

Unfortunately again, I spoke too fast, and went way over. Let the record reflect that I commit to sticking to the predetermined time in the future. From a tradecraft point of view, I am pretty unhappy about the length. The speed needs work too but one thing at a time…

You can watch the sermon video below uploaded to Vimeo:

“COMMUNITY: A home worth calling home” sermon video

Last night I preached the 1st of a 2-week sermon series in InterVarsity’s large group on Witnessing Community. Both weeks I look at Acts 2:42-47 as a snapshot of an effective witnessing community. This week I looked at Christian community, why and how do we do it, and explained that God’s vision is for it to be a home worth calling home.

I really treasured the chance to be back with this chapter after all our time together last year. It was an honor! A couple misfortunes: I spoke too fast as always, and I went longer than I did in practice… Oh well, hopefully they’ll not be deterred from coming next week to week 2, about Witness.

You can watch the sermon video below uploaded to Vimeo: