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Cloudy Witnesses (A Prayer Update) September 7, 2006

Posted by peterong in Personal Ministry Thoughts, Rants, Uncategorized.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to another edition and prayer update. This has been a vibrant week of incredible moments of clarity and affirmation the work that God is doing in the Asian American church. I was especially encouraged for the direction of the ministry and nourishment for myself personally this past week.

As I was driving to NYC on Thursday night from Grace Christian Fellowship (see below for more on that) at Cornell, I was praying for the upcoming days for Labor Day weekend at Eastern Chinese Bible Conference (ECBC). I knew that there was a decisive moment to see a hint of what I wanted to do with the Asian American Laity Project. I had planned these programs with the expectation of raising the support for the project.

I the agenda was the Friday joint Intervarsity and Pastoral and Laity Ministries luncheon with Paul Tokunaga with pastors and laity. Then there was Asian American Laity Roundtable on the first day at ECBC. And as I drove, I was stirred by a holy imagination for an Asian American church marching towards victory…and this week…was just that…there was light in the darkness; hidden wounds were pierced by authenticity, tears, brokenness, honesty, and visions of hope. These cloudy witnesses were beginning to speak and create vocabulary for the state of the Asian American church and there was healing.

Fund Development
This week was a promising sign as support came in steadily. I was really encouraged by the support cards and the notes that people have written to me. I am so thankful for the prayer of these supporters and I am pressing forth. Someone approached me and asked me how is my funding coming along and I had a very poor and unthankful response…Jamie reminded me that my heart was not in the right place. God is providing. He is working and most importantly, His timing is perfect. I trust in Him and I trust His people. I am learning to love this process because in it, I am forced to wait and I am being still…so that His name will be proclaimed in all the nations. I will be meeting with some pastors this coming weekend to discuss the project and to get their feedback and their response for an invitation for partnership.

One of the best aspect of this waiting has been a time for me to cultivate the vision of this Pastoral and Laity Ministries Asian American Laity Project. Through this time, I have had the opportunity to listen to the hearts of other leaders and servants who are serving with such devotion. I am growing in affection for the church and yearning for the fullness of the impact of what God wants to do through this.

Eastern Chinese Bible Conference (ECBC)
In 1998, I attended ECBC and it changed my life with messages by Bruce Fong that called us to a commitment to Christ. At that ECBC I met a sister Alice who brought me to a Redeemer Church smallgroup, where I was challenged in fellowship and supported me as I took the first tentative steps as called me into full-time professional ministry at Chinese Christian Herald Crusades. It was an instrumental conference and after two years of not attending, it was great to be back and to see how the conference had grown. To my joy, the youth I worked with years ago at Teen Eastern Chinese Bible Conference are now adults! I was challenged by Paul Tokunaga’s messages and was nurtured by the community of others who have suffered and love the Asian American church. Here was some highlights:

* Asian American Leadership Roundtable
I facilitated a roundtable with DJ Chuang (L2 Foundation), Greg Jao (IVCF), Anna Lee (IVCF), Glennis Lo (EPIC), David Park (Asian American Blogger extraordinaire), Paul Tokunaga, and Lisa Yu (IVCF). About 35 people took time out of their freetime to “eavesdrop” on our conversation dealing with the Asian American church and the challenges of first and second generations ministries. I was amazed by the scope of the discussion and some of the hopes for the future and some exciting things that a new generation of believers are undertaking. I really enjoyed meeting David Park and DJ Chuang for the first time and we had an impromptu podcast/roundtable with Jamie, Anna Lee and Intervarsity volunteer Ho-Tay Ma, but unfortunately, our beloved Dave Park accidentally erased it…and lost all the glorious moments of our conversation (especially part when “someone” flushed the toilet in the middle of our convo).

* Workshop
I did a workshop entitled “Because the Bible Says So” and other ways of alienating seekers. It was a great time of serving and teaching some ways of ministry that challenges the status quo of evangelism and debunking some of the tools we use. Great responses from the participants and I learned and was blessed by their sharing.

There were many moments I was able to counsel and hear the broken hearts of God’s people. There was weeping…there was curiosity of how to live out this ragged faith…and I had improvised workshops on dating, marriage and of course ministry and the state of the Asian American church. Overall, it was an amazing time of serving this conference that has poured so much into my life. Pray for the future of the conference and that God will raise up need leaders for it to thrive and flourish for His name.

Pastoral and Laity Ministries/Intervarsity Christian Fellowship luncheon with Paul Tokunaga
Over 60 Pastors and leaders of the Tri-state area came together to hear Paul Tokunaga share about Level 5 Leadership for the church. It was a great partnered event and as a continuation, it was a talk that served the lay leaders a great deal and it gave me a picture of what the network/fellowship for Asian American Laity Project can look like. There were ministry representatives from IVCF, Campus Crusades, and Chinese Christian Herald Crusades. Jane Hyun, the author of “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling” made an appearance. Overall it was a great opportunity to meet over food and exchange our hearts for the Asian American church.

Partnership with ISAAC
As part of the Laity Project, I am exploring some possibilities of partnership with the Institute of Asian American Christianity. They are developing a similar vision for the Laity and ministry that is committed to a “…Christ-centered faith and calling must be integrated with Asian American cultures and identities. This is a crucial element in the life-long journey of following Jesus towards Christian maturity and wholeness. It is an important way to embody God’s fullness in the world.” Pray for wisdom and guidance as we seek a partnership together.

Grace Christian Fellowship (Asian American Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at Cornell)
Jamie and I had our first meeting at the Grace Christian Fellowship at Cornell. I will be serving as a volunteer staff with Intervarsity focusing on the Executive Team (see pictured). Please pray for unity and vision for the team and my role to serve them. They are a great group of young people and infused with holy passion.

Mid-Hudson Chinese Christian Church
I will be preaching at MHCCC at the end of the month and also having a meeting with their leadership to discuss ways they are forming their English ministries. I am excited to be part of this and wanting to serve them on this very wonderful journey of a growing generation of a church.

OneHouse 2006
I am being challenged as I prepare my talk on October 21 Asian American unity worship night of One House. As I prepare and develop a vision for our call for social justice. I am excited to work with musician Neah Lee and also with sponsors Bread and Water and World Vision. My talk will focus on the book of Isaiah and Jesus’s ministry on earth. The talk will be focus on the inclusiveness of the gospel to reach the outsiders so that it points to an exclusive God. Please pray for the team as we are under a great spiritual weight and doubt for finances for this event. But we ploughing forth to honor God’s vision for unity and justice. I am really excited for what God will do through the worship, through Neah and talk.

Article for Asian Avenue website
I am writing a feature article for Asian Avenue website called “Exit Wounds: The Disconnected Asian American Faith” about the malaise of young professional Asian American who have left church and discovering a new pursuit of meaning in a post-college era. I wanted to write about conversations regarding faith and why this group of Asian American young men and women don’t find church a place of community and discovery towards a discourse on broader issues of life. Interviews with church leaders, congregations, post-moderns, college campus ministries and clergy will offer some insight on the spiritual landscapes of this population. I will also like to profile some churches on both coasts to discuss what are some churches doing to effectively reverse this trend of flight from the Asian American ethnic church. I will profile New York City churches and West Coast churches as well. This will offer a compelling and intimate look at the state of this generation’s pilgrimage towards faith. Keep an eye out for it.

Misc.
Jamie and I just completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at Syracuse Alliance Church that helped us to think through our financial planning. We are so blessed by this course and would recommend that anyone who is still struggling with finances, debt and anxiousness regarding finances this is a great course for you to take. We feel that it was God’s grace that directed us to learn this very early in our marriage. Pray for us in this period of time to focus our role as stewards of what God has given us.

Pray for our church community as we are seeking a home for us to serve and to find authentic community where we are challenged and lifted.

Thanks for reading…I know it was long but I hope it was worth it.

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