Thank you so much for praying and investing in us and our ministry. This has been a great time of seeing God move in some very new ways. Our National Epic Conferences are all now finished. Between the 3 conferences in Texas, Philly, and San Francisco there were over 600 Asian Americans that attended. This is almost twice as many that attended last year. It’s a sign of God’s hand at work on campus as well as Epic’s gradual maturing as a ministry. Even two years ago this would have been unheard of. The Texas conference just finished and you can see the group pic below.
On a personal and family note, we wanted to share some things you can be praying for. First, Christine just underwent a full-body cancer scan that was her first follow up to when she had surgery 3 years ago to remove thyroid cancer. The follow-up was postponed because of pregnancy and breastfeeding, but it was time to do it. We’re still waiting for the results and even though we’re optimistic there’s still some anxiousness with the unknown. We’d appreciate your prayers.
Going with that is that the whole process is going to add to our plate a couple thousand dollars more of medical expenses so you can pray that God provides for those needs. There is financial anxiety all around us these days, but if you are in a position to make a special gift to help meet some of these medical needs, we would like to ask you to consider doing that. You can go to our website below to give online to our ministry or to get more frequent updates and prayer requests. Thank you so much for your prayers, we’re privileged to partner with you in faith to reach students for Christ.
In His Name,
Brian & Christine
The following is an excerpt from Invitation to Lead by Paul Tokunaga. It was written to Asian Americans, but it communicates the spiritual need of the Asian American community as well as the strategic nature of Asian-American Campus ministry in the overall effort to reach unchurched Asian Americans.
“Who are they? Unchurched Asian Americans: second to sixth generation Asian Americans untouched, unfound, unloved by the church.
They are everywhere but because most of our time is spent with people a lot like us, they are usually invisible to us. We don’t see them because we choose not to. We don’t even wish they would go away because they make us feel comfortable; in our world, they don’t exist….
Missiologists would call them an “unreached people group,” those nobody is connecting with on a spiritual level.
How will Jesus reach them? Probably through people who dwell in their world, do what they do and think in similar ways. Does that exclude us? It doesn’t have to. Most of us spend enormous relational energy finding people who are as much like us as possible. We don’t realize our common culture provides more of a bridge to unchurched Asian Americans than we might think. We should not underrate our cultural connection.
Strategically, college is probably the most opportune time to connect with secular Asian Americans. On campus, where a student’s world is smaller and more self-contained, opportunities about. Asian American cultural and social organizations can be found on most campuses.”
The last few weeks have been very full and we want to thank you so much for praying. A couple weekends ago EPIC had two national student conferences, one in Philadelphia and one in San Francisco. As we mentioned last moth, I (Brian) was in Philly for the East Coast student conference. Both conferences combined for over 400 students, up from last by over 100! Both conferences were significant times of teaching, ministry training, outreach, and community. Thanks for praying!
One of the highlights for many at the conference was the day of outreach. Some students partnered with churches for community-based outreaches in inner-city Philly. Other students went to local campuses like Temple, Drexel, Community College of Philadelphia, and University of Pennsylvania to engage students in spiritual discussions. Despite frigid temperatures, snow, and the unfortunate timing of the Philadelphia Eagles playing in the NFC Championship game during the exact time of the Day of Outreach, most students reported great opportunities to meet students and engage in meaningful spiritual discussion. Many ended up rating this part of the conference as the highlight of the conference because of the degree to which it was faith stretching and exciting!
One of my favorite stories was about Hui (pronounced Huey). He shared at the meeting after the day of outreach about how awesome it was and that it was his first time doing something like that – going out to engage people spiritually to talk about Jesus. He commented that during his time of sharing the gospel that he could see more and more about who Jesus really is and the truth of God’s word. The best part about the story is the Hui is NOT a believer yet! He’s been involved in the EPIC movement at Penn St., but said he hadn’t been ready to commit his life to Christ. He said after the day of outreach – “I’m getting close!” to the cheers of the rest of the students.
Another fun moment related to the girl in the picture to your left, Eihing. She’s a student in Buffalo, NY who attended the seminar my dad and I did. Afterwards we talked and she shared about her desire to share her faith and be more bold in communicating her faith to her friends. She shared that she had great fear that always held her back when the opportunities presented themself. (Can’t we all relate to that at times?!) I saw her again after the day of outreach and she was excited and told me, “I did it! It was really good!” Her experience of stepping out in faith was shared by many EPIC students in Philly and SF. Please pray for these students -that they continue to step out in faith back on their campuses to give witness to Jesus Christ through their words AND actions!
In His Name,
Brian & Christine
Here are a couple more testimonials from the Epic West Conference in San Francisco that I came across and was encouraged by. Hopefully you are too.
Paula Lee – Epic at UC Irvine
“I was able to learn so much more about God’s
plan and what He has in store for me. I went sharing
for the first time at Epic Conference and it was
so cool to see how God provides and uses us in
ways we don’t imagine. Epic Conference was also
an experience to physically see a glimpse of His
Kingdom, to see students from everywhere across
the west coast for one reason, for Him. I had a
great experience and look forward to whatever He
Trinh Ly – Epic at UC Irvine
I learned many new things during this trip. One
thing that stands out to me during this conference
was from a seminar I attended. I went to a seminar
that was called “Have you made the wonderful discovery
of the Spirit-filled life?” I learned more
about the Holy Spirit and my life will never be the
Here’s one of my favorite pics from those I’ve seen from our National Epic Conference in Philadelphia last weekend.
Hi all from Philly!
On an exciting note (and politics aside) – it was cool to be here when Ba. Obama hopped on his historic trainride here in Philly to head to the inaugural in Washington, paying homage to the same route Lincoln took. Very cool.
The conference has been awesome. I’ve really been enjoying it thus far. The conference is about 150 staff and students and there’s a cool vibe to the conference that feels a lot different from even what I experienced at last year’s East Coast conference in D.C. I’m very much encouraged by what God is doing.
The speaker, “Pastor Kenji” has connected very well and is speaking powerfully from the word to their unique situation as Asian American students. He’s really been on target and speaking to the areas that need attention and the hand of Christ.
We’re about to start a informational lunch to meet with juniors and seniors who are interested in exploring what it means to intern with us as campus staff for a year or two or even go on STINT, which is interning in an international location with one of our international partnerships. It looks like there will be about 20 students there. Pray that over half take the step of applying for an internship!
The seminars start in an hour and half and my dad and I will do our seminar at 2:00 eastern time. I think we’re ready to go and excited about it.
Thanks for your prayers – there’s great things taking place.
January 2009 Prayer Letter
Happy New Year!!
As we move into the new year we wanted to share with you one of our highlights from December and probably all of 2008 was a meeting that I (Brian) helped facilitate a few weeks back between many on my Epic HR team and from Epic at large with Dr. John Townsend from New Life Ministries (http://www.cloudtownsend.com). The overall campus ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ established a partnership with Dr. Townsend and his partner Dr. Henry Cloud about 15 years ago in the effort of providing a model or paradigm to help with intentional character and leadership development. They’ve written many a book – you might have come across them.
I’ve been leading a working group for the past few months to explore and reframe some of their material so that it stays true to a Biblical paradigm of growth and maturity, but also resonates better culturally within the Asian American community – eliminating any unnecessary cultural stumbling blocks that may hinder students and staff from thinking more holistically about who they are and what God is doing in their lives.
This has been a very challenging process and it has stretched me greatly as a Caucasian trying to think from a different perspective. Christine and have continued to learn so much this year in this regard! It’s a huge challenge, but our calling to build leaders of character and integrity demands that we go after this. Having a model that resonates with Asian American values and language is very important to our vision of seeing these leaders raised up across the country, reproducing other leaders and teams and student leaders of character and integrity.
Our meeting was really awesome and I appreciated Townsend’s leadership and humility. It’s so nice when you get in a more intimate setting with a big time leader, but he doesn’t act big time. He was down to earth, asked questions when he needed to, but was very comfortable with his cross-cultural limitations regarding the question of how people of other ethnic groups experience his material and content. I think I was most encouraged by how energized he was in recognizing the depth of the need for what we’re trying to do in the Asian American community and how by the end he was using “we” language as we tried to determine our next steps.
We’ll see where this relationship and partnership goes, but what a great highlight for Epic in 2008 as a whole as well as for us personally. You can pray for us all we we continue to make progress in this challenging, but exciting endeavor.