Dear A&M Epic

I’m really going to miss you guys. We’re all so quirky and weird. We’ve got josh with her random korean girl outbursts. Jenny with her awesome hugs. Justin asking “anyone sitting on a tack?” Ryan eating cookies. Stephen with his relentless enthusiasm. Jeff with his out of the blue quirky jokes. Michael with awesome socks. Eva with her evasmash. King william with his minions. Matt with his ticklelishness (ya’ll should try it if you haven’t). Jeremy with his hongkong style smile. Kelly with her ever changing hair. Bernice sharing testimonies about her testimonies. Alex using pinterest yolo style. And David, just being david. 

Thanks for the 3 years I’ve had with you guys. You guys are a real blessing, and I’ve grown from each of you (and many others) because God blessed me with a relationship with each of you. 

To all the new freshman: If you’ve even checked out Epic throughout these first few weeks, I urge you to stick around. You’ll really be amazed by this group of girls and guys. We’re not perfect, we’ll bicker over where we should go eat, and we’ll even loiter for endless hours at a time… But it’s all worth it when you begin to see what God can do with this community of Christ-followers. Stick around.

Anyway, next stop optometry school. EPIC MOVEMENT AT UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON!! (jk. sorta. kinda. ntrly.)

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Undervalued

I got some great advice from staff today. The guidelines I was given were very well thought out and explained; there were not much that I could disagree with nor was there anything I could complement with and contribute. I appreciate the discernment they put into the guidelines they gave me, but I felt very uncomfortable receiving it.

The reason I felt uncomfortable was because the guidance was so well detailed, and I felt undervalued as a past and current leader of Epic. For me, my thoughts wandered toward, “Why was I not given this much direction in the past when we in similar situations?” It’s not so much about whether our past leadership teams were personally cared for as much as it is about efficiently and effectively picking leadership that can mobilize a movement. You know, why didn’t the staff step in last year (or the year before) when we needed help sorting and discerning leaders then as well? The staff are stepping in now with more authority than before and their input and involvement makes a big difference, one that would have assisted us in the past. I guess the thought process is… “If they had helped us last year, actually helped us, we wouldn’t have dug so many holes to fill this year.”But even so, that’s not really what bothers me. What bothers me is me. 

I personally wish they had assisted us in earlier years of leadership discernment because it would have reduced the number of obstacles we’d have to overcome for the past 2 years. If the discernment process were simplified or we were directed more clearly, then I wouldn’t have experienced as many of the petty inconsistencies of leadership – visioncasting ability, commitment, personal growth, community building among leaders, etc. What this all culminates into is the thought that if they had stepped in and actually helped more previously, I wouldn’t have had to make uninformed decisions on how to pick leaders. If I learned how to pick good leaders, I wouldn’t have some of the problems we’ve had. If we didn’t have these problems, we would have been an effective movement. If we were more effective as an Epic movement, then I would actually feel like I achieved the vision of epic while I was here at A&M. 

And there it is, my pride speaks louder than anything else. I wanted to accomplish epic’s vision, but because I don’t feel like I was an effective leader while at A&M, I’ll never see that personally come to fruition through my works. I want to feel and see the glory worked through my hard work, but I’ll never get that. So my pride tells me to get angry because “if only the staff had asserted themselves earlier, I would have been better.” And so as I was reading the guidelines, it was hard for me to absorb them graciously because the only thing that was going through my mind was, “I didn’t do good enough, whats wrong with me? I’m obviously doing the wrong thing now, and so I guess my time is up and I should get out of here. It’s time for the next time to step in, and they’ll be better than I was.” Something on those lines, with less or more intensity.

In a nutshell, it’s hard to accept that I was/am leading people wrong. And although accepting Jonathan’s criticism about how I can lead better or more effectively is nothing new, it’s still hard to realize and accept. There are good things coming for Epic leadership, and I will continue to pray and for their growth and success as a movement seeking true revival  on this campus. As for me, for now, I have some acceptance and growing to do. 

Taking shape

My life is generally going well right now. If you want a shorter account of things going on, you can always check the “prayer requests” page; I just updated it. I’ll just talk about the few of the things God’s been doing in my life

Tiara: We’re dating again, and this time, I’ve got a great feeling about it. These past few months have have shown that we’ve been growing progressively (I like that word). In our time apart, we’ve been able to see the Lord work in our lives individually. In addition to that, our futures have taken shape a little bit more.While she doesn’t necessarily know where she’s going to be next year, I think she has a better understanding of what ministry looks like/can look like and where she wants to be. I know I’ll be in Houston for the bulk of the next 3-4 years, so putting aside whether or not it would be easy, at the very least, it’s become more clear. I think a good chunk of the insecurities I have about our relationship have been addressed and I’ve been learning the importance of being patient and allowing things to work themselves out. Obviously, I don’t want to share everything online, but if you want to know more, I’ll tell you in person.

Optometry School: As of right now, I’m officially part of the UH College of Optometry Class of 2017! This is pending graduation though; calculus is the only thing standing in my way right now. I’ve always had this innate fear of walking across the stage without having any future plans. What if I was one of the people who graduated with a degree from a great institution and had no plans or idea what to do next? Partly, I think my fear was fueled a lot by pride. “I don’t want to be like those people.” In the past semester, God slowly began to teach me (also through humility and patience) that He’ll place me where me wants me to because where He wants me is the only place where I can experience His great love. I won’t always see the end result, and even if i do, I won’t always like it. But right now, I feel very blessed to have some insight as to where I’m headed. Naturally, I want to prepare well for that next stage. Currently some of the challenges I’m having are to take my academics seriously, starting with going to class. I can honestly say I haven’t gone to “many” classes in college (I don’t want to reveal how many). Next year, I can’t afford that laziness. I also am learning to sleep and wake up at respectable times. I can’t rule out naps just yet, but I’ve found in the past two weeks, it is possible to sleep 12-8 and go the entire day without a nap. Who would have thought that? Lastly, I need to steward my time well. I have a lot of relationships to maintain and ministry work to delegate, teach, and organize. This semester is extremely important when it comes to learning to steward my time well.

Epic: Epic is important to me, and it will always remain so. Epic has been shaping up a lot too. I’ve been watching a lot of young leaders and missional christians step up to the plate and pour out their hearts into the ministry. This semester, the roles and responsibilities are more defined and I can see people understand vision. I can say, without a doubt, the month we took at the end of the last semester and the winter break have allowed our movement to regain momentum and focus our path. We have serving teams that lessen the responsibilities of the core leadership team. With all leaders meeting on sundays, the weight of our responsibilities as leaders is reduced dramatically, and communication is easier. As of yesterday, I’m no longer in charge of leading worship (whew!), but I will say I enjoyed that great experience. This semester, I’ll focus on coleading small group/missional community with Jeffrey Joe. I’ll also be discipling him along with Justin Yeh. I hope to have a more formal meeting time with them, but God can do what works best. I’m also glad to see Ryan and Michelle discipling as well; that’s always exciting. I’ll also be one of the leaders for the outreach time, and that definitely takes up time. In a nutshell, I’m back to where I started two and a half years ago with a new set of leaders. It’s exciting.

I understand I’m really blessed right now. My life is being molded like a potter molds his clay. PTL

gap year

so  few of my friends take a gap year after college (most of them applying for med school) and take that year to do some ministry, whether missions, or in the church. I admire them for choosing to do that in advance and not doing it simply because it became their backup plan. perhaps I make too many assumptions about people who don’t choose to apply for medical school on time.

anyway, random thought: my upcoming school year is kind of like that. In part, I didn’t apply for O-school because I didn’t plan my prerequisite courses very well over the course of 4 years (and I changed majors which didn’t help). I think this 5th year is a true priveledge because I get to continue serving in the fellowship I love and watch leaders and vision grow. Lol it’s like my gap year where I can apply and just have some fun loving the campus.

How do you reblog tumblrs?

How do you reblog tumblrs?

Today was the most fun I’ve had pretty much all semester.

I remember my freshman year when I used to love playing games every weekend with friends—card games, board games, thinking games, all games. But then as the years went by, I either ‘matured’ or got too lazy to round up people to play with me.

It feels nice being with underclassmen who care. After tonight’s Leader’s Hangout, I just felt so refreshed. Everyone’s cheeks hurt from laughing, everyone’s throat hurt from yelling and laughing, and peeps were def sweating from the trust workout and of course..laughing.

I remember I was so worried last year about Epic’s future and what God would do, but God provided. As we finally ended about 3 hours of playing 5 different teamwork/communication games, we settled down and for the first time in…a really long time…I wasn’t the one giving the inspirational, ‘let’s go team! teamwork for Jesus!’ speech. i just sat back, looked at the new leaders, listened to people voice their opinions, and soaked in their care for the movement’s growth. it’s been a while since i’ve seen such energy and it’s so good to see.

Tonight was an answered prayer of many tiring months of praying. i always told myself, “if epic succeeds, we succeed faithfully. if epic fails, we fail faithfully. it’s all in God’s hand.” but it seems like God isn’t done with us yet, He’s got great plans and I am so excited for the way He’s going to use each one of those kiddos next year. They’re a great bunch.

I hope they grow with one another in the way that our past leaders couldn’t. I hope they grow in the Word, in encouragement, and in sincere praise for one another. I hope they do fail, but learn to rise together and come back stronger. I hope they learn from our past mistakes. I hope they fall on their knees and cry to God in plea and desperation. I hope they praise God for every circumstance. I hope they find joy in serving the God who never fails. I hope they break out of their comfort zones and seek out the lost. I hope they lift each other up with genuine love.

Being with them today made me so happy to see their cohesiveness and to see them bonding. But it also made me sad that I’ll be missing out. But it’s okay, my time is ending, there’s a time and season for everything 🙂 God is good!