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Drive By June 30, 2006

Posted by peterong in Uncategorized.
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Hey folks….I am in New York City and have enjoyed a blessed time with friends, ministry partners and family. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. I will be speaking at The New York Summer Conference at Hofstra for the youth track and both a bit overwhelmed and excited that I will be given the privilege to engage with these conferees. As I prepared I am learning a great deal about the responsibility of shepherding, the seriousness of the role of sharing God’s word and also remembering to pray. One of these days, I just stopped my prep to pray (I thought it would be for a few minutes…and then it went into hours of of personal worship). It has been such a restoring week for me.

Here are the prayers for conference (it is on their website as well)

  • Pray for our speakers, that God would prepare their hearts, refresh them and continue to bless them in their ministry
  • Pray for our staff, that they would not be discouraged, that there will be committed servants who step up to take on larger roles at the conference (e.g. registration, youth variety night team)
  • Variety Night Team: Pray for commitment from team, creativity that is rooted in God’s Word; clarity fo God’s message in their skits; for God to raise up mature youth that are ready to serve in this area.
  • Worship Teams: God would lead us to the right people to lead us and teach us how to worship God in a way that pleases Him and glorifies Him
  • For God to provide the right people to take on the larger roles in this conference to replace those who are moving on.
  • For each person participating in the conference to take on financial responsibility for this conference; that each would give from the heart what they are able.
  • For protection from the enemy, especially for the leaders and speakers.
  • That the conference would run smoothly and we would all be blessed by God.

I will update you on all the wonderful times I had in NYC after the conference but if you can remember Jamie and I in prayer as we are spending time with family.

Here is a brief and ongoing list of prayer:

* Funding: Provision and encouragement as I am still raising support for the Asian American Laity Project, if you would like to learn more you can go to the PaLM website.
* Part-time work: When I get back to Syracuse I will be looking for another part-time position and possibly assisting with Intervarsity at Cornell.
* Home: Jamie and I are enjoying married life but discovering more and more that our devotions and worship are individually healthy but corporately need work…so your prayers and counsel would be greatly appreciated.

That is all for now…

Spectator Faith June 19, 2006

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“Those who say that they believe in God and yet neither love nor fear him, do not in fact believe in him but in those who have taught them that God exists. Those who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their heart, any naquish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in God-idea, not in God.” Miguel De Unamuno

Dear Friends and Family,

Sorry for the one week hiatus from my prayer update, I was in the midst of a busy week back in New York City for several exciting ministry opportunities, fellowship, time with family and most importantly moments reflecting on God. The above quote struck me as a bit of a paradox for me since I have found that I often do wrestle with this in my heart. I often listen to people as they mention their faith…and it seems so “academic” or “clear-cut” without much ambiguity…I feel like a stranger in that narrative. I don’t know if it is that kind of faith or a focused religion that seems to rob the wonder and mystery of who God is. Or just the “natural” progression…but my experiences and the scriptures presents a Super-natural God who is more like Aslan who is “not safe” but “good.” But I often find our rhetoric describes a God who is a divine accountant who is more interested in our compilation of achievements versus our commitment to love Him and being obedient. My relationship with God has always been ambivalent but filled with a great deal of variety of encounters…many moments of brokenness but also of extraordinary faith. I am learning and celebrating these varieties of encounters that the family of God has…and remembering the portion that God gives to those in the Kingdom is to be celebrated as wonderful mosaic.

I love picture above that I found on Flickr that seem to capture a lot of what I have been dealing with in my heart. I realized that Jamie and I have been living in Syracuse for almost 10 months now and it really made me examine myself in what I considered as my “spectator faith” experience…but as I made steps to connect with people and with community, it has been a mixed bag. There are people who I have met who are on such a wonderful journey of discovering God in all facets of their lives…great older men and women who have journeyed along this path and given me a great deal of insight and support…younger couples who continue to inspire me with their authenticity…yet, I am bound by my torn allegiances to ministry in New York City…and I often find myself realizing more and more that I need God’s visiong and urging for this community to overcome some of the obstacles I face in engaging. But in the end, I am learning to move ahead (thank you PJ for reminding me) that this is a time of preparation….a season for Jamie to get the training for us to be instrument of justice and peace…for me, a time to discover beyond what I have been walking…that I need a lapse to move to another direction…Pray for my momentary lapse…and beginning to feel the sense of wanting something new…somewhere, in Syracuse…

I attended a monthly meeting two weeks ago with the Syracuse Area Youth Workers where several youth pastors and pastors get together to share their hearts and a meal. It was a refreshing time of meeting very dynamic and energetic people who love God and youth. I hope to get to know them better and also to just be reminded of all that God is doing here. I will be presenting a talk about Prayer Walking this Wednesday for the Syracuse Alliance Church youth group and also leading a Prayer Walk on Saturday with several of the youth leaders at the church for the outlining community. The congregation is predominately upper to middle class but is located in a depressed area of Syracuse. I am hoping that this prayer walk will serve as a time of asking God to examine how to minister here… Pray for the youth leaders (I am amazed by the heart of the adults who serve in this ministry) and the team as I am assisting this summer I am hoping that this will continue to build on the work that God has started here.

The Refl3ctions Event at OCM was a huge success with about 400 youth coming out to this event to reflect on the theme of social justice. Jinny Kim and Neah Lee were awesome and one of the highlights of the evening was their rendition of Everything by Lifehouse…Praise God for providing us a speaker, Lawrence Tom gave a challenge for the youth to spend time “reflecting” on their faith and also for them to engage with their communities. Yi Ping ended the evening with a powerful presentation about Social Justice and Mercy…the evening ended with the TECBC Praise Band! As I look back on this event, it combined the principles that I love in ministry…Focus on the lost…the depth of relationships the coordintaors, the artists and the speaker have…a joy filled moment where we express our faith through the love we have for God and each other. As the evening ended and we had dinner, I sat around a table of people (LT, jinny, neah, joo, jo jo, norms, stephs, alex, and sung) whom I love and I know love God and love me…and there is healing in that…and a circle that the enemy cannot penetrate…hallelujah…This event in so many ways healed me from some of the recent discouragement I had with serving.

I have some good news, I was able to raise an additional 10% for the support of the Asian American Laity project which means I am about 40% there. This came at a time when I was laid off from my part-time job in Syracuse. I am currently looking for another position in Syracuse. I am looking to have a part-time position here while I am still fund-raising. Pray for a venue that will be best for opportunities to express my passions and also for me to meet people in this community. My friend Kati recommended that I get involved with several Syracuse non-profits that minister to the immigrant community here, and that sounds like a great opportunity.

I went to the PaLM Monthly Pastoral Fellowship meetings and enjoyed my time with the Asian American pastors in the community. I enjoyed the issues posed by the study regarding sending our congregations to their mission field. A challenging and sobering commission…I was able to meet with some pastors to discuss more about the Asian American Laity Project and it is good to hear of their support.

I am finalizing the Asian American Leadership Roundtable on Labor Day for the College and Career Eastern Chinese Bible Conference. We have some key participants from Intervarsity, Campus Crusades and local and national Asian American leadership. I will be doing a workshop there on evangelism and missional engagement.

I will be speaking at New Joy Fellowship on a sermon titled “Discoveries Along a Path of a Reluctant Faith.” Pray for a clear and engaging teaching from God’s word that speaks to a young professional Asian American congregations. I am prepping for my sermons for New York Summer Conference and feeling more and more excited about this privilege to speak to the youth. I had a chance to meet with the Variety Night Team while I was in New York and happy to serve with them and break bread.

I have been asked to coordinate a mentorship program for the English speaking Congregation for New York Chinese Baptist Church and also serving with OCM for their Zion (College) fellowship. Pray for the funding for these projects and that there will be adequate budget for these projects to succeed. I will be organize several trips into the city for the Fall and hope to have more opportunities to share at the Mid-Hudson Chinese Christian Church as a regular speaker.

I had a meeting with Upstate New York Area Coordinator for Intervarsity and we are working on the possibility of me serving with them on a campus as volunteer staff. Pray for discernment and also for my passion be sobered with the limits of time and resources…

Jamie and I were apart for almost a week and it has been a time for me to reflect on our marriage…and how much I delight in her support for me in this time. I am making no income right now…and she is in school…and yet, she works and continues to offer me such an adoring support…pray for us and for the provision of God to continue to encourage us.

I had some time with my sister as she visited with her kids…despite an ugly divorce she seems to be growing in her homecoming…we had a good heart to heart on the ride to the airport and I know that there is more to this story.

Last week, Jamie and I attended the wedding of Duncan and Jennifer and it was a great time of fellowship with our old friend Renie and her husband Nick…we had a chance to share our stories of marriage and our mutual passions for the poor and the needy. It was great to see Jamie’s friends and also to be reminded of the wonder and beauty of marriage.

Pray for Jamie and I as we are still in the midst of some shifting of gears in terms of our ministry and our pursuit of finding opportunities to serve together in a community of people who are close to our hearts. We are also beginning to talk and pray more about our future and the start of a family. So pray that we are humbled and trusting to what God wants in this new chapter in our life.

Jamie’s parents are coming into New York from Hong Kong at the end of this month and we are planning to spend some time with them…pray for a time of catching up and re-establishing our relationship with them.

To Financially Support the ministry please send checks to:
48-19 196th Street
Fresh Meadows, New York
please mark memo: Asian American Laity Ministries or Peter Ong

Litany for Direction June 5, 2006

Posted by peterong in Uncategorized.
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“The All-wise, All-knowing God cannot speak without meaning many things at once.” Cardinal Newman.

This week has been a centering experience for me. On each side, there has been diverse encounters with God through circumstances and prayer. But I feel spiritually worn, emotionally famished, physically tired, spiritually jostled while amazingly redeemed by the rampant work of God’s grace. There is much uncertainty in this work…

Each step on this journey are riddled with so much doubt and I feel once again such a deep yearning and love for intimacy with Him…to trust…yet, I am compelled and love the Asian American church…and to continue to persevere through this pursuit of serving Him. But I am faced with the limits of what is being providing financially…But I will wait…and pray.

Thank you for your words and always the encouragement that comes from your prayers. Everyday, I am stirred in a pause to acknowledge the prayers that are lifted on my behalf. I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation for all that you do for His work through me. I praise God for the realization that I am the handiwork of your petitions and affections towards me. May we continue to spur each other on.

I was recovering from Teen Eastern Chinese Bible Conference where God continued to echo through the hearts of the youth, His desires for this generation of believers. I was amazed by their desire to go beyond the pale of basic faith…they didn’t want to hear about “dating” but rather about winning their friends to Christ. Yet, I stand here humbled by their faith and their passion. They are truly walking sermons to me and I am still learning from them through their sincere sharing online: their testimonies

I was blessed by a call from good brother and spiritual journeyman. We shared our hearts for authenticity and faith. I apprecciated his commitment and how God is using him to pursue me…to ensure that I am being real with him and most importantly with HIM. We are seeking to have monthly prayer to develop ourselves in the midst of serving Him.

My week was good and I had some opportunities to do some planning for the New York Summer Conference coming up soon. I am so excited to be able to share the word of God and realizing the wonderful privilege to speak to this generation of youth. Pray that I approach this with a sense of humility and responsibility. Pray that as I share God’s word there will be a radiance of His glory through me.

I spoke at Mid-Hudson Chinese Christian Church this past Sunday and was so blessed to discover that it is the home church of a Esther Feng (who is married to the great Michaelf Feng) who goes to Syracuse Alliance Church. Also had the chance to catch up with my old and special friend Dr. Wai Lau and his family who served with me at Camp Herald ministries. I also discovered this was the church that one of my friends, Josh Chen served with. As I arrived and was greeted by Moses Lam, I understood why I love the Chinese church so much. One of our strengths is the deep commitment we have for the ministry and the church by the laity. God has blessed our cultural desire for the unity in our families. Their English ministry is growing and as I preached about the importance of mutuality in the generation of believers, I saw tears from the parents for their children. I know that there is a delicate dance that the church has with its first and second generation…one that many suggest is irreversible trend towards assimilation but I find that there is much for us to appreciate in the culture…much to learn from being missional and engaging. Jesus is the Lord of our culture and it is for us to acknowledge and celebrate this legacy that He is redeeming. At the end of the sermon, I was approached by several of the youth who were able to recite some of the points from my Hofstra workshop last year. I was deeply humbled as we recounted some of my illustrations and stories. I saw Dr. Lau’s kids who I didn’t even recognize as they have grown. I had a chance to meet with the Senior pastor and the deacons to share about my ministries and they are considering how they can partner with the ministry and support me. They have invited me to speak regularly at their church and I am praying for balance and also submission to God’s appointment for me to share the word. But I must share this and confess…I feel that I have fallen in love with this church…it reminds me of serving with the Brooklyn Chinese Alliance Church as a regular speaker and how much they showed me the beauty of the Chinese family church. As Jamie and I drove away, we saw children and parents preparing to put up their VBS signs and planting new flowers together, I rejoiced for their unity…a unity that is based on the first institution that God created; marriage and family. Pray for me as I consider how God wants to use me at this Church…pray for their ministries as they are seeking to reach the communities there for Christ. Also pray for those who are heading off to college in the Fall.

Refl3ctions is a little over a week away. We don’t have a speaker and I think that the duty may fall on my shoulders. Pray for provision…pray for the artists Jinny Kim and Neah Lee as they bring their art to the hearts of the youth…pray for those who are inviting their friends to hear a message on faith.

I will be serving with Overseas Chinese Mission Church Zion (College) Fellowship once a month to speak. I went to their joint fellowship with Chinese Alliance Church where I enjoyed a time of worship and overwhelmed by the teens who I served are now in college and leading. I am also facilitating a mentorship ministry with Chinatown church, pray for diligence and vision for this ministry.

I will be speaking for Pastor David Koo at New Joy Fellowship Church at the end of June. I am excited for speaking at this church where I have met Kara Kim and learned about Broken For Good Records.

I am also preparing for the ONEHOUSE event in September where I will be giving a talk about justice and the church’s response to this important issue.

Praise God for Glennis Lo who has raised her support! She is looking for an apartment in NYC so let’s continue to pray for her future with EPIC and I look forward to see what God has in store for her.

Jamie and I are still working out our hearts as we serve one another. I am realizing that I am amazed by her support in the midst of the great unknown in my funding. She is so willing to support me and to go through this journey together. I praise God for her every morning. Pray for our marriage as we continue through our seasons.

Jamie and I will be heading out to a wedding this coming weekend for Duncan Hau and Jennifer Chan. Pray for this time of celebration as we gather to celebrate the mystery of marriage.

Pray for my refuge and my trust to be sustained…

To Financially Support the ministry please send checks to:
48-19 196th Street
Fresh Meadows, New York

Asian American Voters growing June 5, 2006

Posted by peterong in Asian American, Politics.
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Study Shows Significant Increase in Asian-American Voters

(KCBS) — With the June primary just days away, a study by the Asian American Action Fund shows a dramatic increase in the number of Asian-American voters.

According to the study's findings, Asian-Americans account for the fastest growing population in the United States and make up 12% of the California population.

That's according to the latest census department figures. "Asian-American voters are slightly more democratic than they are republican," UCLA Professor of Asian-American Studies Don Nakanishi told KCBS Reporter Mike Colgan.

So something like 40% democratic registered, somewhere in the high 20's to 30% being republicans and then a very, very sizable, approximately 30% being independents," said Nakanishi.

Nakanishi said the number of Asian-American office holders also has grown dramatically.

"There are now well over 2,000 Asian-American elected and major appointed officials," he said.

The study by the Asian American Action Fund shows the number of Asian-American candidates is increasing by 21% ever two years.

For a copy of this report in PDF click here

“Beautiful Mess” June 1, 2006

Posted by peterong in Uncategorized.
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“Better a little faith dearly won, better launched alone on the infinite bewilderment of truth, than perish, on the splendid plenty of richest creeds.”-Henry Drummond.

Dear Prayer family,
Thanks for your patience, I am recovering from a Memorial Day Weekend where I served as advisor and workshop leader at Teen Eastern Chinese Bible Conference.

As always, God continued to pour out his mercy on these teens. It was a special year for me because there was a group of teens who were once conferees coming back to serve as workshop leaders. I am amazed to see how much God has enriched these former teens. One is going to Japan to serve in missions this summer, another is going to Kenya with Wycliffe and studying linguistics, another is contemplating full-time ministry and the stories continue. These lives were part of the youth God gave me the privilege of serving at TECBC and now they are sources of such encouragement to me as they serve the Lord.

Beautiful Mess
One night at the conference, there is an all-night prayer meeting…I saw the teens crying out to God…these broken lives weeping, strewn about the sanctuary collapsed and exhausted from all their hurts.. and here it was…this vision…of the “beautiful mess” of God’s people. Beautiful broken shards of the mosaic of God’s redemptive canvas. I wept with them and prayed with them. As the words came out, I realized God was nourishing my soul…

Praise God. Praise Him, the wonderful counselor. The Redeemer.

One of the things that I learned was that God is showing me that there is much to be done in the work of the Asian American Christian community…in our preaching need to return to the character of Christ…to create an environment where we can engage and challenge each other to see what God is doing in our lives…to learn from one another the love of God. Our worship saturated with reverence, fear and most of all love. A ravished love for God that is overfilling with Joy.When I think of messy, I don’t mean ugly…but rather authentic joy….

A leader told me this week, “I don’t believe you have to be joyful in serving…” and I was perplex…how does one serve in love without joy? How can we possibly resemble the “joy of our salvation” without joy? I believe that we have forced a Christianity that is focused on what is “right” versus in making it beautiful. As one seeker once reminded me through a probing question…”Do you really love Jesus or are you just trying to make Christianty sound good…” so insightful…I am not saying that we have to yell Hallelujah everytime we serve, but it comes from the hope we have in Christ….and hope is not a duty…it is not joyless…

As I lead a workshop on evangelism, I found that we have a difficult time sharing our relationship with God but rather good at”selling” God because we are famished from our understanding of our intimate relationship with the heart of Christ. The gospel means Good News…what is the good news? Rebuke? Shame? Judgement? Discounting people into labels? We have broken people serving in our churches…thirsty people we have asked to give water to others. Without an encouraging word…

Are we prepared to give an answer….but with…gentleness and respect…(1 Peter 3:15). Do we respect those who we encounter as messy…we don’t care about the person…but have bulletted them as problems to be solved…ministry is messy…people are messy…but they are beautiful messes…and every encounter that Christ had with sinners reflect this…I wish it wasn’t so, I wish that I could just write people off without giving that person an opportunity to experience God through serving. I wish I could focus on a team of people I WANT…

That is why we can only do ministry with the compulsion of the Holy Spirit. To see the person as God sees them.

Everything….is redeemable…forgive us of our desire to label . forgive us for judging their abilities and not their hearts. Forgive us in how we have reduce them to a caricature instead of the glorious picture of what You wish to do through them. Teach us. Humble us.

Ministry Development:
Praise God that two churches will be partnering with me to consult their churches with a college fellowship and also another church to develop their mentorship program. I had great discussions this past week with some of the leadership and looking forward to serving. I went to a Syracuse Area Youth Workers Meetings and had a great time learning and also sharing about the training of lay leadership.

The Asian American Leadership Roundtable is coming along. I am excited as more ministers and workers are lining up to be part of this at the Eastern Chinese Bible Conference (College and Career). Special thanks to Lisa Yu from Intervarsity as she is partnering with me on this roundtable. She posed some issues to think about and some other possibilities. Pray for the speaker Paul Tokunaga as he prepares to share the word of God.

Refl3ctions hit a little speedbump with our speaker backing out two days ago…we are scrambling to find a speaker. Pray for this event as the youth are inviting their seeker friends. I pray that God will continue to use the wonderful talents of Jinny Kim and Neah Lee to speak into these thirsting young hearts. This event is coming up soon!

Fund Development
This is looking bleak…It might look like that there will be a need for a miracle as I did follow up calls and there seems to be some tentative support out there. I am praying that God will bring about a decisive moment for me…to pursue…to wait…to stop…so I am asking you guys join in me.

Speaking Engagements
I am heading to the city this weekend to speak at the Mid-Hudson Chinese Christian Church please pray for my message as I am speaking on one of my favorite Bible men…Abraham…I am a little unprepared but I am excited since many of the congregation are going to New York Summer Conference where I will be speaking for the youth track. I will be speaking for Pastor David Koo at New Joy Fellowship Church at the end of June.

I am planning some activities for the Syracuse Alliance Church, the local church Jamie and I attend. I will be leading several prayer walks and also mentoring a youth leader there. I feel that there is a strain somewhere that I can’t put my finger on. A large part has to do with my commitment with New York City but also my part-time job. Pray that God will speak into my heart.

Pray for comfort for those of my friends who are dealing with different degrees of lamenting. Some with parents…some with friends who are ill and others who are trying to start a family.

Pray for Jamie and I as we are working to develop a stronger prayer life regarding our future in partnering together in ministry. We are looking for opportunities to serve together to cultivate and practice of a life of serving God…with all our hearts…with our souls and all our minds….

Everything we give.

We are thankful for the answered prayers for relationships with different people in Syracuse. Special thanks to Brian and Rachel for their courage to eat Chinese food (even with the head and tail!) Thank you Kelly for being such an amazing brother to me, pursuing me towards authenticity and for all of you New Yorkers who have called me, emailed me and remind me that although I am deeply loved and cherished. I give praise to God for that.

Lastly, I want to pray for my faith to be protected during this time. I know that I am going through a crisis of belief regarding my future in ministry. Pray that God continues to build me up in faith…to seek His purpose.

To Financially Support the ministry please send checks to:
48-19 196th Street
Fresh Meadows, New York
please mark memo: Asian American Laity Ministries or Peter Ong

Ministering to New Face of Migrants from China June 1, 2006

Posted by peterong in Immigrant Church.
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by Cindy Chan


May 31, 2006

Alhambra Journal

ALHAMBRA, Calif. — Juan Du and her husband had good jobs in China. But in a country increasingly engaged in a capitalist free-for-all, they worried about being laid off. They worried too about whether their teenage daughter, faced with a fiercely competitive exam system, would get into college.

So the family headed to the United States last year and settled in this predominantly Asian suburb east of Los Angeles, though they had no work lined up and spoke little English.

Ms. Du then did something she had never done in China: She went to church.