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Spring 2012 prayer requests

Dear friends and readers,

It certainly has been a long time since I wrote something in the HSUVa blog! Part of it was a creative drought after the big “Glee’s ‘Asian F'” post (which took over two weeks to write & edit), and I was spending much of the winter break with family and resting up after what has been an amazing but exhausting Fall. And unfortunately, I’ve got nothing else just yet to write. I do however want to share an event update and prayer requests. Here’s what the Spring has in store:

  • Community Group (Jan 23-Feb 9): I am very excited to restart community group! For the next four weeks we’ll be doing a series of activities geared toward preparing for Winter Conference. We’ll look at culture/ethnic identity and how the Gospel can be present in our every day college lives. Pray that we’d acquire God’s vision and that even this month we’ll have new students who will even come to Winter Conference!
  • Winter Conference (Feb 10-12): Our area conference will draw over 500 students from 9 different chapters. Our speaker this year, James Chuong, will guide us as we consider “a life of impact and steps to get there” in small group & seminar settings to. Pray that the AIV students experience God’s call on their individual lives & on our fellowship life to have impact on everyone around us.
  • ECAASU Seminar (Feb 24-26): I’m in the research/writing phase as I prepare to deliver my seminar on the need for unity between religious & non-religious Asian Americans in order to achieve social impact. Pray that I’d be productive, that my words would encourage new understanding, & that it would provide a gateway for people to engage cultural, spiritual, & social issues!
  • Spring Break to the Bronx, NY (Feb 3-10): I can’t wait to bring AIV students to the Bronx, NY as I’ve done so many times in college. Our week with Harvest Church will help us see why and how neighborly love is crucial, and doable. Pray that AIV students would be willing to go/get permission from parents, and that we’d grow deeper in love with God’s plans & ways.
That’s enough for now I think. Thanks for your reading and praying, and for waiting even when I don’t post!
-greg

Our last Community Group of the Fall. Pray for us as we continue to grow & advance in God's calling for us to serve others!

Preview: Greg @ ECAASU 2012

As students are working hard at finals, I’ve got my own research project coming up! I was accepted to lead a workshop at the annual East Coast Asian American Student Union conference, this year hosted at my lovely alma mater, Duke University. 1,500+ students from dozens of colleges and universities will attend to see keynote speakers, enjoy Asian American performing artists, and meet other Asian American college students. I know that U.Va’s Asian Student Union intends to go this year. The theme of ECAASU 2012 is “Rediscovery. Renaissance. Revolution.” Even though it’s not for another 3 months, I’ve got lots of research and work to do before I’m ready. The audience will primarily be non-Christian I’m assuming and so I’m especially excited that my job brings me into the arena of Asian American activism from the secular side!

The seminar I’ll be leading is entitled: “A Future Together?: bridging this divide between religious and non-religious Asians.” Summary from my workshop application:

Today in Asian America, two camps of Asian American life have arisen from the 2nd-generation – religious & non-religious Asians. Yet these 2 groups, with so much in common, have tended to be separate, at odds even with each other. Each camp has staked its claim on one source of identity – the non-religious have claimed cultural history/political activism & the religious have claimed spiritual identity. This dual path is detrimental to BOTH sides; in fact, we need to have a future together if we are to reach our full potential. The combination of the 2 together can be a revitalizing & mobilizing force for Asian America to produce better social & political outcomes for ourselves & others.

Religious (particularly Christian) Asian Americans need Rediscovery – they are sorely out of touch with their shared cultural heritage and immigrant history, which inevitably makes them disinterested in the pressing and important political and social issues facing the larger Asian America today. If they could Rediscover where they come from, they might have a hand in that fight too. Conversely, non-religious Asian Americans are, perhaps due to assimilational difficulties or uncomfortable experiences with religious persons, often spiritually or religiously orphaned. Few Asian Americans claim our historical religions except in name; most have little spiritual framework with which to interpret or navigate life, which I believe is detrimental to personal wellness and life experience. They need a Renaissance in their spiritual and moral sensibilities.

Ultimately, if these two parties could come together out of their Rediscovery and Renaissance, there could be a Revolution in Asian American activism and social engagement in this country – to benefit Asian America but also the nation or world at large with our incredible talents, gifts, and energy that so often goes unnoticed or untapped. We need the historical/political motivation (which non-religious Asians have) combined with the spiritual and moral strength and means (which religious Asians have) to enter a new era.

Excited? I know I am! I’ll post more updates about ECAASU and my progress as I get closer to February.

Preaching on Wednesday!

Hi friends!

It’s Fall Break here at U.Va but I’m still hard at work. We’re having team meetings for our area (western Virginia). Thankfully, we’re convening here in Charlottesville so I’m actually at home tonight. We’ve had some great conversations already and I’m looking forward to the rest of our time together. Well, mostly… I’d be totally enjoying it if I didn’t have sermon preparations to do. I’m preaching THIS Wednesday (Oct 12) @ 8pm at one of the other InterVarsity groups at U.Va.

Greek InterVarsity — a branch specifically geared toward reaching and meeting the needs of fraternity and sorority students — has kindly invited me to come preach at their Gathering! I’ll be the third and final speaker in their series about idolatry, speaking about self-idolatry. We rarely see scripture (let alone real life) portraying self-idolatry in terms of building a statue of ourselves (though there was that one time with Nebuchadnezzar… but I digress); usually, our self-idolatry is less about narcissism than it is about self-concern or self-assertion. To that end, my talk is called MIRROR, MIRROR, explaining how everything goes wrong in our lives (and in the world) because we are more concerned with our image in the mirror than with the image of God given to us.

Prayers are much appreciated as I’m speaking to Greek students I’ve only met once before. Plus, I’m bringing some friends! I’m very excited to have friends and acquaintances from other places, VSA in particular (Very Superb Asians indeed), come to support me! Pray that I’d speak clearly and that the truth and love of God would be apparent to everyone.

Please pray for me as I prepare and preach on Wednesday

Chapter planting cohort!

Hi friends!

I’m ending my first day in Madison, WI after a week in Durham NC participating in my friend’s wedding & meeting up with supporters and partners. Why am I in Madison you ask?

Because I am receiving training on how to plant a new InterVarsity chapter! This week is InterVarsity’s training camp week for staff of all kinds. My chapter planting track is just one of several going on here in Madison, WI. Specifically, I am part of a special select group called the chapter planting cohort — a unique group of staff selected after an extensive process to receive the best training, coaching, and resources as they set out to plant new chapters.

I began applying for the cohort back in January. After extensive applications, self-assessment, recommendations from several other staff/supervisors, and a phone interview, I was selected from among 30 candidates to receive 1 of 20 spots in the cohort.  My supervisor, Joe — Duke IV’s staff worker before my time and the first Asian-American staff worker in our region — is going to be my coach for the entire planting project! We will work together over the next years to bring about the vision of raising up missional, culturally-adept Asian-American leaders and reach non-Christian Asian-Americans.

Tonight we had an introductory session to get acquainted with our schedule, some of the program staff, and other planters and coaches we’re working with. I look forward to 6 more days of great material and listening to the Lord!

Shawn, the new Director of Chapter Planting, leads our introductory session.

My summer schedule

People wonder what IV staff workers do during summer since our students our gone. The answer: A LOT! My summer looks like this (and is pretty similar for lots of other IV staff workers):

  • Raising support: Building more partnerships to support the new Asian-American chapter plant at UVa through prayer & finances since budget needs increase to match my new responsibility level.
  • Training: From national-level staff on how to plant a new chapter, as well as through reading and working with other staff.
  • Working with my partner churches: I’ll get to serve my partner churches by preaching and conducting seminars. I’ll also be recognized as a missionary partner by 2 of my churches.

The location-based version of the list is as follows. Particularly when I’m in MA and NC I am free to meet up and fill you in on the new ministry focus — I’ll have some updated materials by then (which I also hope to post online as soon as possible). If you’re in the/I’m in your area, contact me!

  • June 9-22: MA (various CGCM events —
    6/12 preaching for English congregation [9am] + missions board presentation [1pm];
    6/17 seminar on “college prep starts in 1st grade” [8pm];
    6/19 commissioning ceremony [10am])
  • June 23-29: Durham, NC (friend’s wedding etc.)
  • June 29-July 5: Madison, WI (staff training on how to plant a missional, vision-centered chapter from scratch)
  • July 5-9: Durham, NC (friend’s wedding)
  • July 10-14: Charlottesville, VA (working with the other UVa staff to discern and craft vision for multiethnicity and racial reconciliation)
  • July 15-29: MA & NY? (various CGCW events + possible CFCNYC events —
    7/15-17 keynote youth group speaker for CGCW missions weekend + Sunday congregational recognition as partner missionary)
    7/22? – visit CFCNYC?
  • July 29-31: St. Louis, MO (friend’s wedding)
  • Aug 1 & beyond: Charlottesville, VA (move-in, area staff retreat, friend’s wedding?, school year begins!)

Sorry that this post isn’t so interesting but I wanted to fill you in / beg pardon for my lack of posting!

Getting ready for IV chapter camp!

As an IV staff worker, you know the year is ending when students are hiding away in the library and we are away in our offices or at desks writing/reading furiously. While the students have finals, we staff are getting ready for year-end chapter camp!

What is chapter camp?
It’s a week-long camp for IV students from all over the region (VA, NC, SC) where they’ll deepen their relationship with God in different tracks. Each track has speakers, Bible study, small group sharing, and other activities to teach students more about Jesus. It’s where we expand students’ vision for God’s kingdom — how theology should influence politics/sexuality/economics etc., how to connect with God more deeply and richly, how a Christ-centered identity is crucial to a fruitful life. It’s where we train our leaders — how to study scripture/lead small group, how to discern and cast vision, how to share the Gospel and witness effectively. They also get to eat tasty camp food, enjoy musical worship (including songs of different cultures), and have recreation time with a ropes course, swimming pool, volleyball courts, and rocking chairs.

What is Greg doing at chapter camp?
I’ll be helping to staff one track each of the two weeks (we can’t fit all the schools together at once so we have split them up).
In the first week, I’m in a track called Identity Transformed our goal is to help students understand their identity  accurately and see how Jesus must be Lord of every aspect.We expect many non-Christians so even as it’s a track about lordship, it’s also evangelistic since this is the very question that non-Christians are exploring!: “what if Jesus is the center of my life?” I’m going to be preaching on a core idea: rebellion. My task is to help students see how deep their rebellion against God goes, and what effects it has in their lives.
During the second week of camp, I’m a small group facilitator for a bunch of small-group-leaders-in-training in our Small Group Vision track. Our goal is to teach them how to study scripture for facilitating exploration and discussion, how to cultivate strong relationships, and how to make their small groups a witnessing and missional presence on campus.

How can I pray for Greg & IV chapter camp?
Please pray that students will come with open hearts to encounter God in powerful and deep ways. The teaching we offer is excellent and we know it has the power to change lives, for long-time Christians or seeking non-believers alike. And pray for me (and other staff workers) as I prepare my sermon and other materials! There’s not much time left!

Some of my tools as I prepare my talk on "rebellion" -- manuscript of Genesis 1-3, New Bible Dictionary & New Bible Commentary. Oh, and lots of coffee.

Invitation Large Group… TONIGHT

I’ll be preaching for our spring Invitation Large Group… TONIGHT @ 8pm! If you’re in the area and want to visit, we’re meeting on Grounds in Maury 209.

To complement our Proxe Stations and the topic of relationships, dating, sex, etc., our talk this evening is called “TRUE LOVE: God, sex, relationships, & all the complications.” (Facebook event is HERE).

Please pray for me as I preach the Gospel to (hopefully!) a large crowd. Last fall’s invitation large group had over 200 people (approximately 60-80 were newcomers/first-timers or non-believers). This is my first preaching assignment as a staff worker and it’s the first time I’ve given a full-length evangelistic message with a call to respond. I hope to record the talk and post it later. Pray that people would hear God’s love and decide to begin relationship with Him because that’s the relationship we really need!

Our Facebook graphic for the event!