I first felt the Lord call me to the Gospel ministry while still in college during my sophomore year. However, being young and unsure of what that call meant for my life, I continued along my career path as a mechanical engineer for 12 years, working in the design and construction of power plants—both fossil fuel and nuclear. After many years of trying to understand the nature of God’s call, my wife Judy and I finally felt the conviction, and God intervened in making the circumstance such that we were able to enter the Gospel ministry. So we packed up our two kids, rented out our newly-purchased house (which we did not even get to live in) and went off to Philadelphia so I could attend Westminster Theological Seminary to prepare to become a pastor. Upon graduating, we ended up back at our home church, Covenant Church, PCA where I have served since 1989.
The best part about being a pastor is the hard work that can keep you up all sorts of hours (all sorts of work from cleaning the bathrooms, emptying the garbage, fixing the walls, etc.) and the interruptions that can occur at any time. Never really being able to be free of “work” because ministry is never so clear cut as a project or job, being a pastor is a continuous act of shepherding and caring for people. All kidding aside, the best part of the pastoral ministry is to see the grace of Christ working in the lives of people, to experience His grace first-hand and the power of the Holy Spirit transforming lives, and especially to have the privilege to be used by the sovereign Lord for His glory.
I am the youngest of six children raised in a Christian home. Our family always went to Chinatown for church every Sunday. Throughout my early years, I believed that there was a God, but I did not know Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. My first significant spiritual event occurred in 1979 when I was at the age of eleven. Because my parents were first-generation immigrants from China and had to work very long hours to support our family, I went to live with my oldest sister Judy and her husband David Wong in New Jersey for three years. It was during these years that God laid a foundation for my spiritual life. Soon after moving to NJ, we began to attend a MNA church-planting group in Queens led by Pastor Samuel Ling. It was a small group of around 30 people gathering for fellowship and Sunday worship. There, my understanding of God grew and I began to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The roots of the reformed faith began to structure my belief and understanding about God and salvation. Being the youngest among the group, I was blessed with being everyone’s “little” brother and was always cared for and nurtured. Having no other children my age around me, I was always attending Sunday School with the adults, where the principles of reformed faith and the Westminster Confession were taught. In 1981, during a visit from Pastor Samuel Ling, I made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and became a member of Covenant Church, PCA.
In the past few years, God has been opening doors and my heart to the inward calling of full-time ministry. One of the signs has been the change of heart from my wife of over ten years. During our earlier years of marriage, she was against the thought of full-time ministry, but over the years, as we continued to grow in faith and serve in different ministries, God has changed her heart and now she is ready and willing to move forward into full-time ministry. Another was the confirmation of the pastors and the congregation, first in confirming my outward call as an elder, and now in encouraging me to go into full-time ministry. Yet another sign has been the support of our parents. Being traditional Chinese parents, status and financial security are very important, and they were against the idea of their son/son-in-law giving up being a doctor to go into full-time ministry. But in the past two years, we have seen God’s work in their hearts and the change of perspective they now have. Though they are still concerned, they understand and support our desire to go into full-time ministry.