My Tribute to the Kennedys.

Standing on the steps of the Michigan Student Union, my life was first changed. It was there that I first fell in love with the idea of serving community, others and even for our country. That was the year where I began to learn about my own Asian American journey and our AA community. It was there that I became angry at the injustices done to ethnic Americans in these United States of America. The next year as a Sophomore, I founded the Asian American Association and began encouraging our members in self expression and to participate in community service and politics on campus and beyond. It was an exciting time to see how my one little life could effect change for our community. I fell in love with service hook line and sinker! Two years later when I began to grow spiritually, I also got involved in making a difference for God and our Asian American student community. It was phenomenal to see how little seeds of service can grow to touch so many’s lives, including my own. God was at work in our community!

As I have recently reflected over my college career, I truly see how God used men like the Kennedys to change my destiny. As the country and the world mourn for the death of the last of the Kennedy brothers, I too have been very affected by this loss. Though I have never met these Kennedys and I have not always agreed with their rhetoric or politics, I have been greatly influenced by them. I indeed have been shaped by their way of life of public service. And for that, I am very grateful! I feel that they were the ones that tilled the soil of my heart and soul for a life of service for God. So, their legacy will continue in my life every time I choose to serve others, serve our community or God’s community. Today, I weep for the joy of a life well lived and for the hope to do the same in my life according to God’s will.

Here is how I hear the Kennedy’s way of thinking in my heart both now and in college:
” Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” President John F. Kennedy said on the steps of the Univ. of Michigan student union.
“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” Robert Kennedy
“Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation; a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth; a young woman reclaimed the territory of France; and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the 32 year-old Thomas Jefferson who [pro]claimed that “all men are created equal.”Ted Kennedy’s eulogy at Robert Kennedy’s funeral.
” To whom much is given, much is required” From the Gospel of Luke.

As a Sophomore, I heard the cry to make a difference and that my small life can make a difference for the community. I saw the lack of something and I wanted to alter that sad reality even if no one would join me. As a senior in college, being active in a conservative Christian club was good for my spirituality; but at times offensive for my cultural awareness as an AA. There were times when I would sit at these meetings and wonder if I fit or if I could stand the prejudices of these well meaning Christians. There were times that I wanted to quit. But I think the call of God and the sentiments of these men and others reverberated in my soul to stay. To stay only as a means of changing things for the better for others and for the future. So stay I did. And I am glad for after 26 years I am still serving with that same organization seeking change for the better for God’s community.

I am glad that God made me see that even one life will make a difference and that my life can be a part of changing an organization for good. This is what I carry from these Kennedys that I have never met. It is a sad day in my heart for a piece of my history feels like it is dying. But again I hear these men’s voice booming also in my heart:

“The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.” Ted Kennedy at the DNC 2008. So, I wake up in a new day and I carry the torch to make a difference in this world for God and for the community. I carry on and pass that on as it has been passed on to me by men I have never met.

The Moment of Truth

It was a summer mixed with joys and pains and struggles. We were at the end of it and were playing a game to recollect and celebrate our summer together as a missional team in San Fran. One of our female students and female staff had designed a fun game using trivia about our project. It ranged from things like: How many birthdays did we celebrate this summer? Into more serious questions about who is who on our project. It was definitely an insider’s game of trivia. Very clever game indeed to celebrate with. They did a great job with it.

So, the question came up: “Who was the Assistant Project Director?”

At first, the students were contemplating…and were not sure and discussing this briefly for a short minute or so. I sat there almost sweating. I was telling myself: “THIS IS IT”. What will these students say? or even staff? Will they say: It was Margaret. She is the woman and she was the Assistant Project Director or Associate Proj. Dir. I was squirming in my seat and praying for the best and even bracing myself for fear of disappointment.

You see, in some Christian and/or Asian American settings, women can only be associates or assistants, and not leaders in their own rights. We in Epic have made it clear that our Proj Directors were both co leaders together and not fixed by gender. That is our value. However, values are only as good as how people really perceive it to be. In that moment, I remember saying to God: “Well, this is the moment of truth. Did we or did we not really teach them and showcase to them that men and women both lead out of their own strengths and that one is not lesser than the other.” I was praying and hoping that they would get the correct answer.

This was also very impactful for me as I knew of our women’s stories of past pains in sometimes being a woman and/or woman leader. So, if these women who designed the game said the wrong answer, it would have been very sad for me to realize that we had failed in living out our values in front of them or that they did not catch these.

So, the contestants and the 2 teams were baffled and they even suggested some funny names like one of the staff guys. But in the end, the students said:” No one was the assistant project director.” And the answer was: “No one!”

I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And it was only after a day or so that I realised that this moment of truth helped me see that God had indeed worked on our project. The men and women there were living out our values of empowering men and women to lead. I was so grateful for that. It could have looked very different! But God really allowed us to live that out the blessed alliance of men and women leading together for God’s glory.

I was so blessed to be a part of that.

leadership development for asian americans

This summer afforded me a great privilege of living with AA students and staff. I was so grateful for that. It brought to mind for me how challenging spiritual transformation is within our AA community. I was very aware of how difficult it really is to assist others in their spiritual growth esp. in light of our AA realities. Given all of our AA cultural challenges, growing in Christ really looks so different than other settings. As a result of my summer with our staff and students, I became even more grateful for our staff on the field on campuses who labor day in and day out for God to use them to influence young men and women for Christ. I was very humble in this process.

One of the things that I became convinced of was that we in Christian service must figure out how we can make plain and simple the reality of living in a community of grace. I saw the power of a graceful community and its power to change us. But I also saw how this kind of environment does not come easily and must be a product of much prayer and intentionality.

I was blessed to see this kind of power and community. In light of our AA communities penchant to stay in darkness or shame, it was such a healing balm for us to experience sharing about the hidden pains and hurts and sins of our past. It was powerful to see the healing power of confession, forgiveness and grace given to each other in community.

However, I also saw that there are so many distractions and temptations that keep us pursuing true biblical transformational community……


I love staycations. It is great that I did not have to travel to relax and vacation.
I literally did not do much but eat, read, slept, and shop a bit.
I loved it and I felt free to do this as I realised that it was a great picture of how
the world does not revolve around me. That indeed God is still reigning supreme for all of his people while I rest. It is very humbling and very reassuring for my soul to know that God is still at work while I rest.

I am so grateful to the fact that God rested on the seventh day. And that he desired all of us to rest from some of our labor every 7 years. (I must have a sabbatical for one year somehow!)

I have lots to do after my staycation. But God is in control…..
I must rest and trust in Him.

Grateful for such a loving God…

Humbling summer….

My summer was a great summer. The words that I would use to describe it would be humbling.
I entered the summer really tired and a bit discouraged with all the circumstances in my life.
I had begun my summer project hitting rock bottom as I experienced in a real way the effects of 3 months or so of just struggling and surviving. Since March of this year, lots had transpired. My mom was sick and was hospitalized; she was there for a week and I had to take care of her since she spoke no English. All of that happened while still dealing with our ministry crises that our HR team needed to deal with. I went to Texas to help the staff there while taking a short breather from Mom stuff. It was also a time to deal with Kevin, my nephew’s services being discontinued. During that time I had to do lots of work to appeal this decision. Then, my own financial situation became gloomier and gloomier while my brother, my biggest supporter and the co-owner of my home lost his job. (He is still looking for job.) The fun and hard working event of the spring was also our HR team hiring 14 new people to join us. (We called this spring: Turbo Epic as we worked like turbo charged.)

All that to say, this was the condition of my heart as I met to create our missional team for the summer. Unfortunately or fortunately, I hit rock bottom that day. And as I described in the last blog post, my past hurt also stirred in me as I sat there dealing with the reality of being an Asian American women in our AA community. This past hurt conjured up in my heart the aloneness of my past hurt. But as I deal with that hurt more and more, I realised that I was actually also hurt from having had to deal with so much drama this past spring. It was as if my aloneness was really more from my feeling kind of alone this past spring. In the midst of my many challenging circumstances, I think my heart just gave up and my heart became sad. I think I began to be sad because I felt God was not with me; and I was utterly alone in all of my dealings in my life. I was struggling to feel his presence in my life or was wondering where God was in my life.

What was humbling was that I had to lead a team of students and staff while I was feeling so vulnerable and sad.
God was very gracious to me in that our coaches helped me to sort through my fear of being alone in dealing with the women in leadership question. But they were so apt in saying that there was more to my energy and hurt. They were absolutely correct. My hurt came from my own past few months of my journey with God and my feeling alone with God.
In God’s graciousness, he had allowed my coaches to help me sort through this. And the night right before we were to drive to the Bay Area to truly begin our missional service there, God allowed me to have a great meeting with my friend who prayed and helped sort through my heart with me.

What we discovered that night was that I was finally feeling the last few months with God and I was also feeling alot of past hurts from the women in leadership issue. My friend and I agreed that I needed to let my self feel this and to be humble and make sure i ask for help. We agreed that I needed to let others into my heart that was so sad at that point. Then, we prayed.

I think that meeting changed my whole summer. Because I saw the condition of my heart, I felt a compunction to share with my teammates how fragile I felt. I felt the high need to have them pray for me and for them to help me as I serve. Our team was very gracious and loving in carrying this with me. The picture I have for this summer is of myself being like the widow who could only give Jesus 2 pennies as an offering. But Jesus commends her for giving all that she had. I felt that way about this summer. I did not feel fully myself; I felt weak. But I was fully myself in that I did not put on airs about me. However, I definitely felt like I gave all that I had and my all was like 2 pennies and He somehow blessed the offering.

Humbling…and good.