My TCF Class Update: To My Fellow Seniors

Now that I’ve had all summer to think about what I would include in this update, I feel some sort of pressure to make sure that it’s worth reading. Bare with me and tell me if it is.

First, welcome to my blog!  (Make yourselves at home as I'll be posting about my travels here and
on this blog, too.) I created it in 10th grade and if you go back far enough, you’ll see some pretty pathetic teen-angsty posts sprinkled among articles and posts I published when I was planning to become the next editor-in-chief of Vogue. I’ve redesigned it several times, changed the name, and went back and forth on deciding if I was going to delete posts that were evidence of that awkward stage. I’ve decided not to. Instead, keeping them reminds me of the journey I’ve been on that eventually lead me to where I am today: reminiscing on 3 amazing years at USC, and now ready to follow God to Hong Kong.

I spent my summer as an intern for Turner Broadcasting [a media company] focusing on the strategic communications for internal changes going on within the company, and learned the corporate side of taking care of people in your organization.  What God showed me here is that our experiences as members of TCF have far more significance than we realize. Being able to mentor people, identify their strengths and weaknesses, exhort them, encourage them, and check in on them-- are people development skills that will yes, make you an amazing area leader, employee, manager or boss. But also, these are traits needed to truly be a person of God in the workplace, and particularly in the industry you find yourself. God constantly reminded me of the significance of media in society, and to see my place in it as leveraging it as a tool for change.

The other half of this is that right outside the CNN Center, are many displaced homeless people, a few of whom I’ve gotten to know over the five summers I’ve interned at Turner. In past years, I spent a lot of time talking with some of these guys, even being late to work to get them breakfast and hear their story. This year was a little different in that though I used a lot of my resources on helping these men, my heart was not open to getting to know them, and I occasionally took a longer route to work in order to avoid a particular older guy I knew from last year. (There's a specific reason for avoiding this guy, ask me personally on this one.) I thank Keely for helping me conclude that this diminishing sense of openness and increase in feeling a burden came from the fact that I was trying to serve these men on my own strength, and not seeking God for how I should relate to them, like I did in the past.

There’s something about the brokenness of homelessness, sitting right outside a multi-billion dollar company every day. God has made this awareness pretty significant to me and I have an idea of where I want to go forward with reconciling this.

Though I spent my summer very aware of God’s presence in my life and my family, I struggled to spend regular time with Him, and even to understand the state of my relationship with Him. I have a hunch that I (and I’m guessing you, too) am experiencing the awkward transition of following Jesus as a student minister amidst community, to figuring out how to do life well and continue following Him after college and secure situations.

It’s clearer to me now that God is giving me a new way of seeing Him, as well as seeing myself. A lot of junior year was spent wrestling with Him about vulnerability, and stepping up to challenges raised because of it. My hope for my time in Hong Kong (while deciding to go) was that I’d get to experience a new side of God, one that would guide me in life without community, in my singlehood, and a side of Him that I could know even more intimately, especially as the upcoming changes in our lives begin to take place.

As summer ends, I feel a lot stronger in Him than I have in a while.

I knew this before this summer, but my family members are pretty awesome. I got to spend a lot more time with each of them (my parents and five siblings--I’m the middle child), and that has ultimately been the highlight. There’s been a lot of hearing stories of my parents’ earlier years and realizing that they too are human(!), seeing my younger ones grow in their personalities and encouraging them to pursue hobbies they are interested in--I feel like a proud parent and could go on for days about these guys.

A main highlight has been seeing my older sister move to start graduate school this week, and be completely provided for by God. She used to be the state director for a campus ministry affiliated with our church denomination, and her team threw her a surprise farewell dinner, where I felt deeply inspired by the legacy she’s left with them. (Her position was basically that of Old Chung, but all volunteer, while she worked full time for the non-profit function of a university biology department.) I’ve seen her be faithful in costly ways, and I’m so proud of the fact that she’s now seeing fruit and experiencing God’s provision in her new role in Pittsburgh.

What’s Next
In a few days, I’ll be in Hong Kong. I’ve been interested in the Asian diaspora for a long time, and I’m excited to enter by spending a few months in Asia’s “World City.” Even in deciding to go to HK, I felt that I was being invited to experience God in a semester without titles. I didn’t realize how much I would miss campus, and you guys, but I feel a lot more excited than scared of this next step.  

I don’t really have expectations--shocking for me-- but my hope is that I will truly experience that new side of God I’ve been desiring, while truly letting myself be free from the pressure I used to hold myself to. I’ve been on a long journey of learning how to give God control, and it seems like I’m beginning to understand how this whole thing works (haha!)

Like Neriah mentioned last week, I hope that we as a class are very intentional about finishing well. Just how we’ll navigate being great students, impactful upperclassmen, and prepare ourselves for transitioning out and into postgrad life--I don’t know. How I’ll do that while spending half my year on the other side of the world? I also don’t know.

What I do know, is that God has always been very faithful to me and this summer was no different. Please pray for me as I experience life with Jesus in HK, and figuring out how to be a light to the people in my exchange program.

That all being said, I miss you guys already and hope to catch up via Skype and the many gifts of the interwebs. By God’s grace, I’ll see you in January! [Unless you happen to be making your way through East Asia this semester!]

Thank you for reading this, and being a truly amazing family!
--We've come so far!--

No comments: