Tag Archives: seminar

IV Sex Conference ’13: INTEGRITY IN DATING (video)

In February, our area of central/western Virginia held our annual Winter Conference at Rockbridge. Every four years, we focus on sex and relationships (which is always extremely popular for obvious reasons). We believe it’s crucial to give students direct and gracious teaching on God’s design of sex, relationships, purity, and commitment. This year we had record numbers this year! Never before have we maxed out every room and mattress at the camp. God used the time powerfully to give students a deeper vision for how God intended relationships to be.

I had the joy of leading a seminar on dating and relationships. My desire was to show students the bigger picture, beyond terminologies and technocratic jargon that many pastors or leaders have burdened them with. So, I used a dry erase board and direct examples. Judging from the great questions, feedback after, and overflowing attendance both sessions, I think it went pretty well. See for yourself with the video here:

Using the dry-erase board to illustrate what relationships should be like!

Using the dry-erase board to illustrate what relationships should be like!

MAUVSA Advance ’13 seminar: ASIAN AMERICAN LEADERSHIP IN A WHITE AMERICAN WORLD (video)

In late January, I had the rare privilege of being invited to lead a seminar at the Mid-Atlantic Union of Vietnamese Student Association (MAUVSA) annual “Advance” conference. MAUVSA is the regional organization the my beloved U.Va VSA is part of, and it gathers VSAs from 9 different schools together for shared fundraising and advocacy. Their conference was about pursuing your passion as a Vietnamese/Asian American leader. The U.Va VSA president remembered my talk at ECAASU and thought of me!

It’s so rare that a campus pastor gets the opportunity to act as a leader or speaker in such a setting. I really wanted to bring something valuable to students based upon my own personal professional and spiritual perspective. Thus, my talk – “Asian American Leadership in a White American World” – drew from my own exploration of ethnic identity and the sociological realities of America. I included material from InterVarsity vice president Paul Tokunaga’s book “Invitation to Lead” as well as InterVarsity alumna Jane Hyun and her famous book “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling.”  I really loved being able to serve my own VSA students in this setting!

You can find the video of my talk here (apologies for the backlighting and angle, there wasn’t an ideal place to put the camera).

Courtesy of Kim Pham Clark

(Courtesy of Kim Pham Clark)

There was quite a turnout even despite the fact that all the U.Va VSA students came to my seminar! Courtesy of Kim Pham Clark

There was quite a turnout even despite the fact that all the U.Va VSA students came to my seminar!
(Courtesy of Kim Pham Clark)

Winter Conference ’12: SKEPTIC TO SEEKER (audio)

This recording is very overdue, but here’s the audio of a seminar I gave back in January at our area winter conference! The conference helped students deal with the unspoken question of “what happens after I become a Christian?” and how to keep on growing in general, giving students a vision for growth and purpose whether they were a skeptic still figuring out their view of Jesus, a faithful Christian who was in a position of affecting the world around them.

My seminar was on the first step: Skeptic to Seeker — it offers very practical understanding and advice for Christians on how to best help their skeptic friends become seekers, and also directly addresses skeptics (which we did have in the room) and gives them counsel on their own role in growing. The talk went very well and students asked some great questions, including a student who at the time had just started going to her school’s InterVarsity chapter. She came and asked me after about how to grow and I was really encouraged as I spoke with her then prayed with her. A couple months later at summer Rockbridge, I found out that she’d become a Christian since I saw her last! What a wonderful glimpse of the journey I’d been teaching on.

A great weekend at ECAASU! (seminar video)

I’ve just finished a whirlwind weekend back at dear old Duke for ECAASU 2012 conference! I had the privilege of giving a workshop twice on Saturday. I had conservative expectations on how it would be received — after all, I’d never participated ECAASU or anything like it as a student, and since most of the conference is secular I wasn’t sure how mine (about the divide between religious & non-religious Asians) would be viewed.

As it turned out, there was a lot of interest! About 80 students in all attended the workshop, about 20 asked questions in the Q&A or stayed to speak personally with me, and I was asked 3 different times to give this message or speak on their campuses. Both religious and non-religious students asked questions and affirmed the material. But maybe most amazing of all was when an ECAASU (and Duke Asian Students Association) board member told me that this was the best ECAASU workshop he’d ever been to. If you know my history and the story of Duke InterVarsity, then you’ll understand how literally incredible that is. I still can’t believe it. I was so humbled and so grateful.

Humbled and grateful because there are so many reasons that I shouldn’t be here and I shouldn’t be doing this — I was one of the religious Asians who helped to perpetrate (or at least never thought to heal) the very divide I am teaching on, I am only in my first year of fully-fledged campus ministry and it’s only the first year of Asian InterVarsity, I am new to the Asian American cause myself (how could I have anything to teach?), I wouldn’t even be here if not for the insistence of my friend and ECAASU board member Caroline’s suggestion to apply as a presenter,  and seriously, what do I know?!

And yet what the students kept saying that they were so glad to hear this message — religious and non-religious students alike left validated/affirmed, but also challenged to reconsider the things of the other side. It was undoubtedly miraculous. Because, judging from how amazed I am, and how grateful and responsive they were, I am fairly sure that this sort of thing has never happened before. So praise God, because I did not get here on my own, and what students left with isn’t any brilliant word I created: it was an contrite reflection of my life with the inspiration of God.

I also got to use my experience as a Duke alumnus to serve the U.Va Asian Student Union delegates! 11 ASU members came, including 2 students I’m pretty close with through VSA. It was a treat to take them to some great spots – Cookout (they were fond of the milkshakes) and Chai’s for dinner. I had a great time getting to know them better and serving them with what I have: knowledge of great restaurants. I hope to develop my relationships with them (individually and with ASU) more when I get back to Grounds.

So to close, I’ll post the workshop video. Unfortunately, this was my first iteration and my second one was SO. MUCH. BETTER. Smoother, fewer stops, closer to the proper time, with Q&A at the end, AH! Why oh why didn’t I record the second one!? Though perhaps, given the success of the weekend, this too is God’s method of reminding me that excellence and brilliance are not mine to keep and grasp (whether in the form of a YouTube link to be shared at will, or in my heart to infect as pride). Which is fitting all in all, because that too leaves me humble and grateful.

U.Va Asian Student Union delegates at ECAASU (minus Will, who took the photo).

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.

CHBC Chinese fellowship: July 12 Bridging the gap(s)

I had the opportunity to visit the Chapel Hill Bible Church and give my “Who Am I?: Identity, Christianity, & Asianity” seminar to the Chinese fellowship on Friday, July 8. This time was different because (1) I had a translator, (2) I revised the structure of the talk so that it (to my mind) flows much better. You can find the video at the end of the post. The turnout was great, with 50 or more in attendance. It was an amazing chance to help bridge the gap — not just between Chinese (1st generation/immigrant) parents and Chinese-American (2nd generation) children, but also between Christian and non-Christian!

Apparently, they sent out a flier/promotional e-mail across their list-serv, including through a local Chinese school and presumably people shared about it through word of mouth too. But Kuo-Ping, one of the coordinators/deacons told me that there were many people they had never seen before at all! Non-Christian Chinese parents (and some of their kids) attended a seminar where I described how God through the salvation and healing of Jesus is the only answer to our difficult identity problems! What an honor and privilege.

This again goes to show just how crucial it is for us to address the issues of Asian-Americans (within the context of both their Asian heritage and American society). Anyone who has heard my full vision (or has read my support letter) for U.Va’s Asian-American InterVarsity knows that I believe that the necessary discipleship AND witness/outreach for Asian-American students is squarely found in that issue. Tonight is proof of that. Not that it will be easy, but having some better answers/approaches to this question can build up Godly families but may also contribute to the work of witness to those who don’t know Jesus, 1st-and 2nd-generation both!

And then on Sunday I got to present my ministry and God provided at least two new partners that very day! Praise the Lord for provision. I even got treated to lunch by some current supporters. As always, I’m affirmed that partnership really is a two-way, and very encouraging, relationship.

You can see the video (minus the last 5 minutes and the Q&A section — my camera ran out of memory) here: