By God’s grace, I was born in a Christian home. My parents were immigrants from Taiwan. They did the amazing thing of first immigrating. Well, actually immigrating twice. We first moved from Taiwan to Brazil, which is where I was born. Then eight years later, they moved again to America. I grew up in Houston, Texas, in an immigrant church, Houston Chinese Church. By God’s grace, growing up under my parent’s teaching, growing up in hearing the gospel in the church and in Sunday school, the Lord used that in my life. I think I was converted around the sixth grade through a summer camp. All those years that I had heard about Christianity growing up; the Lord brought it all to bear in my life there at that summer camp. I finally begin to understand what it meant that I was a sinner. I began to understand what it meant, that Christ paid a debt that I could never pay. And for the first time ever, I was able to see the beauty and glory of Christ in the gospel.

Ever since that moment, I began following Christ. I can distinctly remember growing up and attending public school, seeking to be a Christian, and seeking to grow in my spiritual disciplines. I ended up going to university at the University of Texas at Austin. I studied business there, however, I was deathly afraid of any form of public speaking. I think if young me could see me right now, the young me would be very surprised to see what I’m doing, because, I was the kind of student that when it was time for class presentations, I would dread that assignment the whole week. I would never volunteer to go. I would wait till the last possible moment to go and I would hate it the whole time while I was doing it. So that was me, I went through school, received a business degree, worked in business consulting for a number of years, and yet during that time, a friend passed on to me a John Piper sermon. Like so many of my generation, we were introduced to the sovereignty and the glory of God through the preaching of John Piper. He opened up this whole world of this new theology that I never heard of, that was right there in scripture all this time. I began to grow, once again, in my hunger to read the scriptures for myself. Surprisingly, not only just to read it, but now I had a desire to share it with others. I wanted to share with people what I was learning in scripture and what I was reading. So, I began to volunteer to teach Sunday school and to preach to the youth in my home church. 

As I found myself working in business and serving in my local church on the weekends, my desire and passion for teaching and preaching God’s word, just began to outpace all other desires. I began to pray really seriously as to whether or not I should quit the job and go into full-time ministry. Although, my parents were very wise to caution me not to rush into that. I stuck it out and worked for almost four years in the business world. Thus coming to the end of that time, I really just asked the Lord, “would you make this clear? Will you provide an open door for me to pursue full-time ministry?” And at that time, the pastor of my home church, without me prompting anything, came and said, “Hey, we have an internship position available. Would you be interested in this?” And I saw that as God’s leading. From there, I went on to Southern Seminary. It was a wonderful experience of learning more of the Bible, more theology, Greek, and Hebrew. 

I grew tremendously during that time, but I think even more important than my time in seminary during those years, was when I applied for an internship at a local church. The church was Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. This internship focused on helping me think about ecclesiology and pastoral ministry. So, John Piper was sort of a revolution in helping me see all of life as being centered on God’s glory. This internship also helped me see that the local church was at the center of God’s purposes. Prior to that point, I would have been very open to pursuing all kinds of other ministries, whether it was being a missionary or being a Bible translator, or working with a campus ministry. In the end, that internship honed all that desire to help me realize that I might end up doing all those other things, but even so, I want to make sure that my life is centered in the local church. My main focus would be building up a local body of believers. If that meant being a pastor, great. If that meant serving as an elder, great. Even if that just means being a Sunday school teacher, that would be wonderful, too. 

Well, the Lord allowed me to stay at Capital Hill Baptist Church. Eventually, I went on staff there as a pastoral assistant and served in that context. It was such a wonderful place for me to grow and learn, to be mentored, and to learn how to preach. Over time, an opportunity arose. One of the associate pastors was called to be the lead pastor of a Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. Naturally, they were looking for an associate pastor. The associate pastor that I knew at Capitol Hill recommended my name. So, I applied at that church and that church in their kindness, also called me. There’s a funny story because they actually went back and told the associate pastor that they actually wanted somebody else. His name was Matt Schmucker. He was the director of 9marks at that point and Michael Lawrence, the associate pastor, told him, “well, you actually can afford Schmucker, but I know a guy you can afford.” And that was me. It was true that I was very affordable compared to my Schmucker.

Thus, the church called me as the associate pastor. Michael and I went out there together. So, that’s where I’ve been for the past 10 years, from 2010 to 2020. I’ve served as an associate pastor and in God’s kindness, we just saw Him do amazing work. Hinson church has always been faithful and preaching the gospel. However, over the years, it had become sort of very fragmented. They had seen many pastoral transitions. People sort of lost their understanding of their vision for what the church is supposed to be. So, under Michael’s very wise pastoral leadership, very faithful preaching, he was able to help us once again come around the gospel and help the different groups of the church to come out of their corners and learn what it means to be a church. Being able to do that in a context like Portland, Oregon, where the gospel is very foreign to a lot of people, it was just a joy to see God at work these past 10 years.

During that time, I began to be more confirmed in my calling to be a pastor. I thought that I was going to be in pastoral ministry for the rest of my life. However, God always has a way of surprising us, doesn’t he? I felt called and led by the Lord to pursue doctoral studies. And, I came to Midwestern seminary. Now, given that the Spurgeon Library was here and the good work that’s being done to Spurgeon scholarship, it just felt very natural for me to begin to bring these two interests together. I had the chance to study and write on Spurgeon’s pastoral ministry, his ecclesiology, and his love for the church. As I came to the end of my Ph.D., Midwestern very graciously and surprisingly approached me about whether or not I’d be interested in joining the faculty here to serve as a professor and the curator of the Spurgeon Library. When my wife and I prayed about this, we just saw God’s hand and his leading for us. We saw what a unique opportunity it was. Further, we really loved the vision of this seminary and everything that they are doing here, where we want to be aiming at building up and serving the church. All those things aligned with our passions and what we felt that the Lord was leading us to. 

As a result, this past summer, we moved our family here. I’ve been here now two months serving in this position as a professor and the curator of this personal library here at Midwestern. We’re just so grateful and as I said earlier, my conviction was that whatever I find myself doing, I want to be centering my life around the local church. Even though my work is here at the seminary, that doesn’t change that commitment. Just this past Sunday, my wife and I are so thankful that we have found the local church here in Kansas City. Wornall Baptist Church and in God’s Providence, voted us into membership this past Sunday. So, we look forward to getting involved there and serving however we can. No matter who you are as a Christian, this is what God calls you to write, whether you’re paid by a local church or not. That’s actually a secondary point. However, if you’re a Christian, if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, your calling is to serve the local church and be a part of Christ’s body here on Earth. To join in his purpose to build his church until the end, and I pray that you will do so.

If Midwestern can be of help to you in that; come and join us.