In October 1997, during my junior year, I decided to take a study break. I started reading John Stott's pamphlet "Becoming a Christian," which I had picked up at an IVCF gathering. While reading, I grew convinced of my sin and need to be forgiven. I drove to an open forest area that night, knelt down on the grass beneath the stars, and committed my life to Christ. I had grown up in a sea of deities, yet never had a relationship with any of them. On that day, I experienced the living God, Emmanuel: "God is with us." A peace overtook me as I gazed at the sky. That night I became the first Christian in our family's lineage.
Honoring My Parents
By presenting the gospel in a profound and simple way, Stott's booklet had sealed my conversion. But over a dozen believers had led me up to that point. I had heard the gospel both through the message and its messengers, who embodied the Word of God in their lives. Some had an intellectual style and could answer my tough questions. Others shared about Jesus' mark on their life. A few of them regularly invited me to events. God sent his only Son as both the message and the messenger. Likewise, the IVCF community served as the message and messenger united as a faithful witness.
For months I prayed about how to tell my parents what had happened. When I was at home for winter break, I sat in our living room to read Following Jesus Without Dishonoring Your Parents. My father was stunned by my reading choice, but also pleased by the dutiful title of the book (written by a team of Asian American ministers, including Peter Cha and Greg Jao). When he asked why I was reading it, I told him I had become a Christian.
That evening, my dad, ever the scholar, took my Bible to his office and spent hours reading it to learn about my new faith. Being from a collectivist culture that emphasizes group identity, my parents insisted that our family religion was Buddhism. My mom recognized Jesus as a humble man with good character, but said he is one of many gods. Both parents held out hope that I would come to my senses and return to the Buddhist faith.
As the years passed, God's indwelling in my heart grew deeper, and I started to discern a call to vocational ministry. My parents said that if I followed through with this plan, they would cut me off. Sensing disunity in our home, I decided to stay and care for my father, who was battling heart disease. My presence and devotion built mutual respect and helped preserve our relationship. In God's timing, my family softened to my hopes of becoming a pastor. My parents continue to share their Buddhist experiences with me, and I continue to share my faith with them. My mom regularly prays to Jesus to bless and protect me.