A Call to Ministry
Ministry has always been in my mind. But I didn't necessarily see myself as a pastor — the track I was on was career and success.
Four years into my job at an internet startup, I sensed a call to ministry. My pastor asked me if I'd be interested in starting a young adult ministry at our church, along with a paid internship. There were two options: I could keep working and do the internship part-time, or I could quit my job and do a full-time internship. I decided to quit my job, which meant a huge pay cut.
Enter Billy Vo
One of the scariest thoughts about becoming a pastor was going to school for it. Graduate level academia was too intimidating.
Enter Billy Vo, the director of Seattle Pacific Seminary's Asian American Ministry Program. He thought I would love the program at SPU. This was late into August, and the first Seminary intensive would be starting at Camp Casey at the end of August.
As I asked God for guidance, the weirdest thing happened: My former boss called me and said, "We'd like to talk to you about coming back to work for us." With Billy talking to me about seminary, and now this enticing offer from my old company, I was really confused. The company was going to Las Vegas, so my old boss invited my wife and me to come. It would be at the same time as the start of the intensive. I had a weekend to decide.
One night, an email caught my attention. It was on Philippians 3:12–14:
[T]his one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
I knew it was God's word for me: the things that were behind me — my previous job — I needed to put behind me to focus on the things that were ahead — the prize set before me. The next morning I emailed my boss and turned down his offer.
That's how I ended up at Camp Casey instead of Vegas.
What stands out for me about SPS is the professors — not just their knowledge, but their passion. The notion of professors caring for students is foreign to me — the fact that they care not only about how we're doing academically but also about us as people. I'll run into [Dean] Doug Strong, and he'll ask me, "How are things going?" "How are the kids?" Being in community and having professors who are there for me is something I've appreciated.