Meet the Team: Richard, Amy, Josephine

Hi, everybody! To help you get to know our team, we’ll be posting a short series where each team member will share a bit about themselves, as well as what drew them to serve in Malawi. This week, we have Richard, Amy, and Josephine!

Richard Liang

Richard HeadshotHi! My name is Richard, and I’m a rising senior studying Science and Public Health at UCLA. I enjoy exploring the outdoors, helping out my mom’s daycare, and trying new food places while meeting up with people. I grew up in a loving Christian home in the San Francisco Bay Area and came to know Christ in middle school. However, it wasn’t until my freshman year of college where, under the guidance of many patient, loving older brothers-in-Christ, I began to take my faith (and sin) more seriously. Through the years, God has been graciously changing my heart: from a heart that was narrowly focused on pursuing career, to a heart that wants to pursue and honor God. One such turning point was hearing Dr. Steve Lawson preach on Romans 11:36, where the Apostle Paul exhorts, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

I’m looking forward to this opportunity to serve the missionaries, their families, and the students in Malawi. Up until this year, I’ve always had excuses for not going on an STM trip; but in the past year, God has shown me that the Great Commission doesn’t stop in the comforts of my neighborhood—it extends to all nations! Praise God for this chance to honor Him in the context of His global church. Please be praying for our team, that we may constantly hold a high view of God as we strive to be humble servants, just as John 3:30 says “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Amy Junus

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Hi Everyone! My name is Amy Junus and I’ll be entering my 3rd year at UCLA this upcoming Fall. I’m currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Psychological Biology (a.k.a. Psycho-Bio), with the hopes of continuing my education to become a nurse practitioner. The list of things that I love and enjoy is practically endless and seemingly randomly bizarre, but I will make an attempt to show you a bit of who I am. I love listening to and playing music (anything from Saint Saëns to Whitney Houston), standing in the freezing cold with a million layers on (so the wind bites at your face but your body stays warm), drinking boba with friends (I’m not picky as to what type), and standing at the edge of tall hills or mountains (to look over the edge at how beautiful everything is). Yet as much as I love everything I just mentioned, God softened my hardened, prideful, and sinful heart and gave me a heart of flesh that was repentant and eager to obey and love Him and His people more than anything else. In that moment, when I was a junior in high school, my Heavenly Father saved my soul and defined who I am as a child of God.

During the Spring quarter of my first year, Elliot randomly came up to me at Grace Community Church and asked me if I wanted to go to Malawi. Up until then I hadn’t really given much thought to going on a ministry trip or what ministry was, but through that encounter I found myself joining the CAPA home team. It was through my service in the CAPA home team and trying to answer challenging questions about our call to the Great Commission that God graciously grew my heart for missions and for the church in Malawi. When God provided the time to go this Summer, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m so very excited to meet and serve, in person, the people that have filled my prayers for the past year. I’m so excited to learn from the amazing missionaries that God has sent to support the church in Malawi. I’m so excited to see how God has grown the church in Malawi. Please pray that we would humbly be a source of encouragement and joy that are willing to serve in whatever ways the missionaries need and see best. May we take every opportunity to glorify God’s name and sing his praises with the global church in Malawi. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support so far!

Josephine Wang

MalawiBlog

Salutations! My name is Josephine, and I am a rising senior at UCLA. I enjoy making new friends, eating ice cream, making new friends while eating ice cream, large dogs (samoyeds and bernese mountain dogs are my favorite!!!), and engaging in activities that pump up my adrenaline (I went skydiving this summer and it was so much fun, hehe). Although I was raised in a Christian home, I did not acknowledge the wickedness of my own heart or my need for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior until my first year of college. Despite the fact that my immediate family members are Christians, the hurt and brokenness that I felt from them (and I’m sure I gave off as well) caused me to resent and run away from the church for the first eighteen years of my life. However, praise God that through my pride and stubbornness, He nonetheless pursued me relentlessly, called me His own, and made me a new creation in Christ.

The word that immediately comes to mind when I think of Orange County, the area I grew up in since I was three years old, is comfortableComfort is a state that I catch myself gravitating towards in so many circumstances, and before hearing about the STM to Malawi, I genuinely thought that UCLA was an ideal and sufficient field for evangelism for me. This is because is there a large need, people are willing to converse, and of course, it’s an environment that I find very comfortable. When I first heard about the opportunity to go to Malawi, I did not really think twice of it because I was planning on taking a summer course and I wanted to rest a little bit before starting class again. However, I still prayed about it, not really considering it to be a possibility that I’d ever go. The Lord graciously revealed to me during this time of prayer that the Great Commission is not an option or something I am only called to do as a believer when it is convenient or comfortable; rather, it is a command that is meant to be obeyed out of the joyfulness of my own heart. The missionaries that we are going to serve in Malawi are so admirable to me. These people have submissively given up their careers, their communities, their whole lives, their comfort (are y’all catchin’ my drift here? Ok good because I didn’t italicize it five times for nothing), all for the sake of furthering the gospel. The mentality I had prior to joining the Malawi team confined God in so many ways. I did not realize how my desire for comfort created such a limiting perception of God, and it was by no means biblical. I want to go to Malawi because I want to respond to the love that the Lord has shown me through joyful obedience and a worshipful heart and have high expectations of the ways He will move. I desire to serve the missionary families in any capacity that I can, and I am so excited to learn from them, as well as the seminary students my team will be interviewing. The condition of my heart that I strive for is not one that I will be able to accomplish on my own, though, so please be praying not only for my heart, but for each and every heart of the members on this team! Thank you all so much for your support; we would not be able to function as a unified body without your love and prayers. 🙂 ❤

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Meet the Team: Jeremy, Kandace, Nathan, Georgie

Hi, everybody! To help you get to know our team, we’ll be posting a short series where each team member will share a bit about themselves, as well as what drew them to serve in Malawi. This week, we have Jeremy, Kandace, Nathan, and Georgie!

Jeremy Wong

Hey friends! My name is Jeremy Wong and in the upcoming fall, I will be entering my junior year at UCLA. I am currently studying Economics, with the goal of potentially pursuing a finance-related career. My hobbies include photography (both digital and analog), hiking, and playing guitar. I enjoy making coffee, spending time with friends, and trying new foods. I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents who stood firm in their faith. Yet despite this, I refused to believe and surrender my life to Christ at a young age. It wasn’t until moving churches prior to entering high school that I began to grasp the horrendous nature of sin and where that placed me in the sight of an eternal, righteous God. Grieved at my sin, and awestruck at the price that Christ payed for me on the cross, I turned to repentance and was brought to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. Since coming to college, God has blessed me immensely with fellow believers whom I can care for and run alongside, as well as many opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel.

Over the course of my time at UCLA, God has grown my love for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, both here and abroad. I loved hearing the stories of missionary families at ECHO meetings, and how God worked in their lives to bring them to where they are now. From seeing how God has worked through the prayer of His people and how He continues to sanctify across the globe through His son, I grew extremely excited to have the opportunity to serve in Malawi. Please pray that God would use us to further support and encourage the missionary families. Additionally, please pray that we would prepare our hearts to serve humbly and selflessly.

Kandace Mok

13422333_10210033817788463_7087753529954045719_oHello there! I’m Kandace (the short girl with wavy hair), and this past June, I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics. I really love ice cream, Disneyland at night (and in the day too! but especially at night), puzzles (they were a great distraction from schoolwork), Maltesers (it’s not the same as a Whopper), going to aquariums (the touch pool is my favorite), and stuff animals (pretty sure I have way too many). But above all, God has given me a love for Himself and His people, and He has saved me beyond my comprehension. What an awesome God we have!

Two years ago, I went to Malawi, and had the privilege of being able to interview students at CAPA, meet and serve the missionary families there (who also served us so graciously and lovingly), and help the seminary by varnishing shelves and moving their library. Since then, God has given me a great heart for this country, and I find myself thinking and praying about them constantly. I am so thankful that He is giving me the chance to go back! One of the biggest challenges for me was deciding to go on this trip, especially since I am in the middle of job searching. But God is forever faithful, and I trust that God will use this team and this trip for His eternal glory. Please pray for our team! We thank God for you!

Nathan Lai

Hi, I’m Nathan. Malawi fun fact #1: llamas do not exist in Malawi. Malawi fun fact #2: I can’t say that for sure because I’ve never been to Malawi. Since I like to gauge how old I am and what life events have happened ever since I last saw that llama that’s in the picture there with me, I graduated from UCLA with a Civil Engineering degree one year before I met that llama and have been working for two years at a structural engineering firm since I last saw that llama. I grew up in the Bay Area and was blessed to be born into a Christian home and church family, through which God has extended so much grace to me. I remember being a kid who disrupted the Sunday School lesson by talking and joking around because the lesson was boring to me. I also remember complaining to my parents about everything from the food we were eating to the bumps in the road while driving and solely looking after my own needs. Even though I did all these things in direct opposition to God’s glory, He saved me and did not leave me to my sins. God used the Sunday School teachers and parents who I sinned against to teach me His word and through it, gave me life.

God has taught me over the years about the goodness and depth of His grace and love for me as well as all the nations. It is the kind of grace and love that I would never be able to find in myself or anybody else on earth, and it brings an overwhelming feeling that my life that all the praise I could ever bring God is not enough to match the glory of who He is. I am so thankful to see our missionaries spread God’s glory over all the earth and am glad that we as an STM get to help and encourage them. Please pray for our humility and selflessness during our trip, so that we may be refreshing and not a burden to our missionaries and the church over there. Please also pray that in our time overseas, the missionaries would be encouraged in the love and fellowship we share in the family of God. Thank you all for your support and prayers!

Georgie Mathews

Howdy, I’m Georgie, I’m a rising junior at UCLA where I’m currently attempting to learn Electrical Engineering. I was born in India and moved to Southern California at the age of 3. I was raised in the church as a pastor’s kid and went to a Christian school all my life. In fact, the photo of me above was taken in Rio de Janeiro the summer before my freshman year on an STM from my school. I was part of a team that teamed up with a local church to put on VBS in a few of the favelas of Rio. I like this photo for a couple reasons. First, it’s too blurry to see what I then thought was an awesome chinstrap. Second, it brings back fond memories of those precious kids. Third, and most significantly, it is a very solemn reminder to me of the lengths that I have gone, the great striving done, all in vain, to offer nothing more than false worship. I was not saved then and at the time I thought that among other things I did, going on the STM would boost my status with God, would make up for my lack of obedience, would somehow atone for my sins. I obviously did not understand the gospel, and it was only near the end of my freshman year at UCLA that God so graciously bought me to repentance through the testimony of a UCLA alumni (my awesome teammate Carissa Carns’ dad).  Day by day, God cultivates in me greater love for Him and obedience to Him.

This past year, God has helped me better understand what it means to fulfill the Great Commission in the station and season he has ordained for me. I was foremost convicted that the Great Commission is a command not a suggestion. It seems obvious, yet so often I viewed sharing the gospel as something that I could do if I had extra time or if on an Uber trip lasting longer than 10 minutes. What I now understand is that God has ordained a way for me to advance the gospel at any given time and he always provides the means to do so. This summer, I knew that there was nothing forbidding me from going on an STM and that I was able to serve. Based on all that God had been teaching me, I knew that I could be used by Him this summer to advance the gospel abroad and was sovereignly led to serve on the Malawi STM. I’m so unbelievably stoked for all that God has planned for our team in Malawi. I look forward to serving and fellowshipping members of His church abroad and look forward to learning from them. Pray that God would daily cause our love for Him to abound. Specifically, pray that that love would overflow to the missionaries, seminary students, and all those we encounter on this trip. Pray that he keeps us humble and that we keep Him at the center of our gaze. Finally pray for CAPA and pray that God would continue to sustain and encourage all those involved financially, physically, and spiritually. Thank you for all your prayer and support.

Meet the Team: Grace, Elliot, Samantha, Caleb

Hi, everybody! To help you get to know our team, we’ll be posting a short series where each team member will share a bit about themselves, as well as what drew them to serve in Malawi. This week, we have Grace, Elliot, Samantha, and Caleb!

Grace Ye

Grace
Hello hello, my friend! My name is Grace Ye and I’m a soon-to-be second-year at UCLA. My current field of study is English, but, God willing, there will be some expansions made upon that field; i.e., I hope to cultivate an accounting minor as well, but we’ll see how that goes. I grew up in a Christian household, which I always thought was unremarkable; but lately, as I look back at my life – and even as far back as my parents’ lives – I am able to see the miracle of my salvation. Though my natural inclination was oft to run as far as possible from the goodness of Christ, God graciously placed saving influences in my life to ultimately bring me to Him.

This past year at UCLA, God has opened my eyes to the true reason why we remain on this earth: We exist to spread the Word to peoples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). It is easy enough to understand, but in earlier years, my sinful heart did not truly grasp – and was perhaps afraid to grasp – the true extent of this calling. But this past year, the Lord has been gracious to pour even a drop of His inexhaustible love for the lost into my own heart, and has also opened this extraordinary opportunity to serve the people in Malawi. While in Malawi, I hope to serve both the missionaries who have dedicated their lives for the purpose of the Great Commission, as well as the students of CAPA, as they carry out their own callings as preachers in their native country. I look forward to learning from the missionaries’ examples, serving alongside and getting to know my fellow team members, developing friendships with the people in Malawi, and seeing God’s work on a global scale. Please pray that my heart will be in a posture to serve with right motivations, and that fellowship among STM members, CAPA students, and the missionaries be sweet and edifying for all parties involved!

Elliot Kang

Elliot_2Hi! I’m Elliot, and I just graduated from UCLA for the second time (I did both a bachelor’s and master’s in statistics). I like hanging out with friends, reading, good movies (plot, emotional investment, and/or cinematography are key), fountain pens, photography, and on occasion, baking. I don’t like wearing basketball shorts or sweatpants, poor grammar and/or punctuation, when people don’t say what they mean, and when my friends think that Korean food consists of soondubu and Korean barbecue. I was saved in the middle of my freshman year, and not long after that, God used the chapter on missions in Desiring God to make me think about His plan for being glorified in every corner of the earth (Ps. 96:1-3; Is. 42:6, 49:6; Matt. 28:19-20; Rev. 5:9). I have been looking for ways to support missions and missionaries to be obedient to Him, and because I want others to know and have the joy that I have in knowing God. This Malawi trip is an opportunity to do just that.

This will be my fourth time going to Malawi on a short-term ministry trip, and my third time leading the team. My favorite part of going to Malawi is watching what God does year by year. Last year, I heard students talk about what they had learned during their first year in the Master of Divinity program, and they spoke of areas of growth from loving their wives sacrificially, to becoming better preachers of the Word, to worshipping God for what He is doing in Malawi through CAPA. (You can watch short video clips of Stanford, Medson, and Maya talk about those things at the CAPA website.) I’m also excited to visit the missionary families to hear how God is growing them as they serve in Malawi! I love hearing their stories of how God has proved Himself trustworthy and faithful through life’s trials, and I learn a lot by listening to their decision-making process, whether that’s about why they came to Malawi or how they chose their spouse. (And I love watching them parent their children!) Thank you for your prayers and support! We wouldn’t be able to serve without you.

Samantha Leong

Samantha yeah

Hullo!  I’m Samantha, and this fall I will be a sophomore, majoring in physiological science.  I take pleasure in singing, ballet, tacos, bodies of water, the sky, and the color blue.  I grew up in a Christian family that faithfully went to a Bible-preaching church, and I attended a Christian private school from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  With this background, I accumulated a lot of knowledge but failed to understand what it really meant to be forgiven by God.  Out of His grace, God showed me the wonderful truth that His forgiveness does not depend on my attempts to obey Him but solely on Jesus’ perfection.

This past year, God has also shown me the wonder that is the unity of the Church.  Through conversing with other believers and observing their lives, I’ve seen how marvelous, unique, and valuable it is.  When I heard of the opportunity to serve missionaries, I was immediately interested in Malawi because my home church supports one of the missionary families there.  It is exciting to be able to participate in God’s work in His Church, which spans the globe.  Please pray that we would be humble so that we can be used effectively by God to serve and encourage; pray also that this trip would increase our love for God and for His people!

Caleb Ting

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Hey there!  My name is Caleb Ting, and I will be entering my sophomore year at UCLA this coming fall.  I am currently a psycho-biology major joyfully pursuing the pre-med route (yes it is possible).  I only wear basketball shorts/sweatpants and I have terrible grammar, but somehow Elliot and I get along.  I love playing basketball, or any other sport for that matter, eating at hole-in-the-wall restaurants, spending time with friends, and learning about various heresies in order to defend the Gospel.  By God’s grace I grew up in a Christian home, where my parents diligently raised my brother and me in accordance to Scriptures. Though much of my life consisted of me attempting to run and hide from God, He mercifully humbled me.  Before my junior year in high school, I was brought to repentance and to a saving faith in Christ Jesus.

This past year, God has shown me the the joys of fellowship, and the gravity and depth of the Gospel.  Growing up in a Christian home did lead to a numb heart towards the message, and the saving truth of God became head knowledge rather than heart knowledge.  However, God showed me that the Gospel was His power to save (Romans 1:16-17) and that, only He could save those who have heard the Truth.  The very phrase “power of God for salvation” had me in awe!  God began opening doors for me to learn more about missions through ECHO meetings, and I became very excited to see how the Gospel was shared around the globe.  I saw the Malawi STM as a door opened by God, giving me the opportunity to serve His kingdom and to grow my love for believers abroad.  Please be praying that I serve selflessly and wholeheartedly for the Lord, and that I praise Him ceaselessly for the saving work that He is doing in Malawi!