Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A is for Asian

     This past weekend, I went to an Asian-American Leader's Day with InterVarsity. It was for Asian-American students and staff. The conference was in Baltimore, so I went down Friday and stayed until Sunday at Joy's house to spend time with Joy and Vanessa.
     Saturday morning, I got up all ready and excited for the conference... it was a 10 minute drive from Joy's house, so no stress, right? WRONG! I started off by missing my exit off 645, so I thought, no big deal, I'll just take the next exit and turn around. Well, the next exit was 83. UGH! Again, no big deal, I turned around on 83, and then was able to get on 645 and take the correct exit. Only here's the catch... there were two exit 26's... one was York Rd-North, and the other was York Rd-South. I took the first one since it corresponded with what the directions said. The only problem is when you're coming from the other direction, north and south are opposite what they would be from the right direction. This is scenario A, entitled "Why I Am To Blame." Scenario B is simply that the directions were wrong, or "Why It's Not My Fault."
     Well, whoever's fault it was, I didn't get there until an hour and a half late because I was in the wrong town. Same road--York Rd... but wrong town. I was looking for a 7000 address, so driving down York Rd had me at 1000, 1020, etc etc, then 2000, 2020, and so forth... it was SO LONG! So I said, God, please let these numbers go faster! And then all of a sudden, I was at 10000. God is funny. I giggled and said, no not that fast, God! So I turned around, 10000....9838...9800....2450. SAY WHAT?! Yes, it goes from the 2000's to the 9000's. And I know that IV's regional director isn't a liar just trying to mess with me, so I know this Central Presbyterian Church exists! So I just keep driving back and forth, thinking I must be missing it! That's what the guy at Wendy's said. But the nice man at the gas station hit me with the truth: you're in the wrong town! 7000 is WAY down on York Rd. Well, good to know! I wasn't happy with his news, but it was nice to have someone who knew what they were talking about. (Perhaps that's why the Harvard implicit test told me that I have a slight preference for Arab-Americans. Because of that man!) Gosh this is a long story, I'll skip to the end... So I wasn't in Towson like I thought I was. The directions that google maps gave me could have been a lot simpler. I was really frustrated, but I got there. It was just 15 minutes down the road, in Towson, not Timonium.
     Well now to the good stuff, Dakota, the regional director of IV in the Mid-Atlantic region, was kind of heading up the conference (when I say conference, I mean there were about a dozen students). Our speaker was supposed to be Greg Jao, another regional director of IV and author of a few famous books, none of which I have read, but still, an author! I was so excited! But his car broke down in New York, and he didn't make it. So Dakota vamped. I'm surprised at how great it was, in spite of not having a speaker! Praise God! Also, we ate Vietnamese food. I was never more proud of being Vietnamese... that food was AWESOME! (That was just hyperbole, I am proud of being Vietnamese for many other reasons, don't think I'm terrible haha.)
     We talked a lot about our sphere of influence as leaders. Who are the people that we feel comfortable reaching out to, and who are the types of people that we don't tend to feel as comfortable with? How can we change this? How can we challenge ourselves to reach out to other types of people? What kind of differing values do we have that might lead to conflict or miscommunication in our fellowship?
     It helped to renew for me the reason that I'm interning with IV. College is such a different situation than high school because it's a chance for those who are Christians and grew up in the church to take their faith as their own because their parents won't be there to make them go to church or anything anymore. It's also a chance for those who have never heard of Jesus to encounter him. That's why campus ministry matters. And the reason that this conference was specifically for Asian-American students is because having a minority in that leadership role opens the door of possibility in the mind of other students. An Asian-American IV staff is a witness to other minority students for them to know that leadership is a possibility for them, too. So I thought that was cool. I met a lot of cool students who really are leaders on their campus and really have a heart for their campus. And IV is a chance to minister to students who want to change the world... you know, Gary Haugen, the president of IJM, was in IV when he went to college? Yep, true story.

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