Category Archives: interview

legacy of Johnathan Sim

L2 Foundation has a vision to develop leadership & legacy for Asian Americans. Legacy simply means leaving something behind. To read of this man’s legacy was particularly touching, because it came as a shocking surprise to so many. I had an opportunity to meet with Johnathan Sim several years ago in New York City, and he was doing some really good things for World Vision. Then I heard 2nd hand that he suddenly passed away with no warning signs.

This Seattle Times’ article, Legacies of love and learning, speaks of a Korean/Asian American’s legacy. This poignant excerpt from “Daddy’s Letter” video of Johnathan Sim gives us a look at his legacy [hat tip: Eugene Cho] ::

This is an excerpt from the “Daddy’s Letter” video to his young son, Nathan, now 5, that Johnathan Sim made in May of 2002. Johnathan Sim died of a stroke on July 25, 2005. He was 33 ::

Soon, work will begin on another of Sim’s legacies.

In the small, isolated village of Twachiyanda, Zambia — 9,700 miles from Seattle — the building supplies have been delivered, and work to build the town’s first school is scheduled to be finished in August. It will house 430 children in the elementary grades, many of them orphaned because their parents have died of AIDS.

The school will be named the Johnathan Sim Legacy School, honoring the staffer for World Vision, the Christian relief agency based in Federal Way that sends help to more than 100 countries. Some $110,000 was raised in donations in Sim’s memory to build the school and buy school supplies.

… At that time, Nathan was 7 months old, and Natalie not even born. Sim decided to leave a recorded message for his young son.

“… life is unpredictable, and anything can and does happen, and just in case, I wanted to leave a message for you,” Sim began the video.

He would go on to tell his son:

” … I have a lot of dreams for you … study hard … be a leader, not a follower … ”

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checking-in on Virginia Tech

[mirrored from the Leadership Network Learnings blog]

I talked with Josh Deng to check-in on what’s happening there in terms of a Christian witness on the Virginia Tech campus. Josh is a Virginia Tech junior (who is Chinese/Asian-American) and on the leadership team of vtONE, an organization that unites the body of Christ at Virginia Tech in worship, prayer, and repentance. vtONE holds a semesterly worship event that draws some 800 people from many different campus ministries. Listen to this 8-minute interview about vtONE, how God has been showing up at that campus, and how we can pray specifically for them:

Josh’s blog also has several in-the-moment entries with his thoughts and feelings from earlier this week.

example of true reconciliation

Today’s Christian magazine has a new interview with Soong-Chan Rah, who helped call attention to a controversial skit in a book published by Zondervan and Youth Specialties. [ht: Edward Gilbreath, editor of Today’s Christian magazine]

Soong-Chan has some very insightful things to say about the importance of reconciliation in the church, and he adds this informative summary about what people need to know about Asian Americans — as quoted in the article, Speaking Up for Asian Americans: How a Christian book’s racially insensitive content led to a demonstration of true reconciliation

Q: What do you want the public to know about Asian Americans?

A: We have a wide range of cultural backgrounds and nationalities. In the past, Asians have been fairly quiet and passive. There were very few national Asian American leaders. That’s not necessarily going to be true in the next 10 to 20 years. There are a growing number of churches drawing significant numbers of Asian Americans. This is a segment of the population, especially the Christian population, that needs to be heard.

interview with Hoon Kim

I recently interviewed Hoon Kim, the author of a Bible study titled, Creative Bible Lessons in Genesis, published by Zondervan/Youth Specialities in the Creative Bible Lessons series. [view an excerpt here] He has also written a Youth Specialties article titled Ecclesiastical Pornography: The Danger of Popularity in Youth Ministry. I thought it was particularly notable for an Asian American ministry leader to be published with a large Christian publisher and wanted to find out about his publishing experience and learn about his ministry insights as well.

Q: Please introduce yourself and your ministry experience.

Hoon: My name is Hoon and I’ve been involved in youth and college ministry for more than a decade. I am a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary and am currently serving at the Korean United Church of Philadelphia as the student ministries pastor. Shelly and I live in Philadelphia and have just been blessed with an addition to our family; our son Sean was born on February 5th.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for the book?

Hoon: Well, I got to know some of the Youth Specialties people and wrote articles for Youthworker Journal and The Journal of Student Ministries. Youth Specialties was looking to complete their Creative Bible Lessons series and I connected with another one of the authors and began the conversation. The publishers were looking for something a little different from the earlier CBL’s; theologically more engaging and activities which were more geared towards postmodern, tech savvy kids. I was involved in the emergent postmodern church dialogue 8 years ago before it became the buzz topic it is today, and wanted to apply some of the lessons I learned!

Q: What was it like to get published with a major publisher?

Hoon: The whole experience was awesome and learned much along the way. Youth Specialties was recently bought out by Zondervan, but the people are still the same; same bunch of great people. I valued the fact that although they are very professional and thorough, they are still extremely personal and available. I very much enjoyed working with Jay (Howver) the publisher… coolest guy in the world, and hope to do more stuff with them in the near future. Bottom line, yes, they are a major publisher, but having said that, it’s ultimately a group of people whom I believe love the Lord deeply and are committed to the Great Commission…

Q: What kind of feedback have you heard about your book?

Hoon: From those who have reviewed the lesson, the feedback has been great. The studies have a redemptive-historical, biblical theology slant to them, and I tried to make each lesson as Christo-centric as possible. Also, I tried to make the activities as ‘un-cheesy’ as possible; activities include both projection activities, manga drawing, video scavengers (use your phones!) and what not…

Q: Any specific insights you can share about ministering with Asian Americans for over a decade?

Hoon: As far as ministering to Asian Americans, the basics are still the same… relational ministry, small groups, and prayer… I hope that we can unite the Asian ethnic churches (there is much talk about multi-ethnic churches… but yeah, one step at a time!) first and rediscover the process of discipleship. With ministry becoming professionalized more and more, I hope we always keep a simple love for Jesus as our fuel… trying new things and trusting in His power… I love what you are doing and writing by the way!

save more to give more

Ministry to English Speaking Asians (MESA) was founded by Louis Lee, a veteran Asian American ministry leader in the San Francisco Bay area. Listen in on this conversation about Louis’ principle for turning frugality into generosity.

[update] Louis mentioned that MESA is also working (in partnership with churches and ministries) on an upcoming conference called the Asian American Fathering Conference (AAFC), in conjunction with the Evergreen Baptist Church – San Gabriel Valley. This conference will be in the Los Angeles area this April 2007. Stay tuned here for more details.

business skills can bless people

Met up this morning with Tommy Dyo, who is currently the National Director of Epic Movement, the Asian American ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. He was in town for the Epic Conference East Coast. There’ll be an Epic Conference West Coast in San Jose, California, February 15-17, 2007. Both conferences will equip many who reach Asian Americans on the college campus.

In this side conversation, he shares about Heavenly Treasures — a non-profit ministry developed by Kathy Gaulton, a pastor’s wife, who has used her business experiences to help sell handmade products made by people in developing countries, providing income to change lives. Listen to the conversation and visit the website at heavenlytreasures.org .

reaching Vancouver

Got to catch up with Jeff Wong of Point Grey Community Church out in Vancouver, British Columbia; that’s north of the border in Canada. Jeff’s a gifted musician, worship leader, and pastor I met at L2 Foundation‘s inaugural event back in 2001. I recorded a part of our phone conversation– listen in as Jeff shares about a spiritual revival in Vancouver, where Christian leaders from churches and organizations are coming together, finding new unity in Christ, and worshiping together in a powerful way at a youth rally called One Life, described as “Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Highschool, Multi-Region, Multi-Denominational… Multi-Everything”, reaching over 1,400!

What do you think? We’d love to hear what’s happening in your city, too!