For Kristen Hession
This from an email I wrote to Kristen on 24 January 2008 when I found out she would be working full-time with UCM:
“UCM has blessed me and shaped me and it's so awesome that you get to be a part of making that happen for other people!”
Now I’m ‘championing’ her on this site. Find out more in the posts below.
OK, it's actually 155 days because last week I had some umeshu made by my friend's dad.
So! Ending the year on a high note. I have to say that the fundraising felt slow though. In the end, about 1/3 of the funds was redirected from alcohol, another third came from friends and the final third from an honorarium I received for volunteer work.
But maybe the slowness was what made this experience meaningful. It gave me more occasions to think about and pray for UCM. It made me appreciate the value of small acts of faithfulness. It helped me realize a lifestyle that incorporates good works, like God designed for Israel, isn't difficult. We all have such potential to do good!
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."Ephesians 2:8-10
Thanks to everyone who gave to this little adventure! Thanks also to my family, whose thoughts on being a son of God have really shaped my thinking.
"'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours." Luke 15:31
Thanks also to Kristen for giving me this opportunity to get involved in what she does, and to the Global Village people for this platform.
I was reading about the "Live for Less than $2 a Day" challenge and was inspired by the creative ways that students raise awareness and money for the world's poorest. I thought about things in my life I could give up to re-channel my own money (and my hopefully my friends' money too!) towards something I believe in. Read more about why in "My UCM Story" (the post below or here).
So I'm going to give up beer until I (or WE!) raise C$500. When I get a chance to have one, I'll donate the equivalent amount of the foregone drink to Kristen's fund instead. (That’s about Singaporean $5-$20 a time.)
Join me! There are a few ways:
2) Give up a drink (e.g. beer, coffee, tea, soda, bubble tea, juices or fruit shakes, energy drinks, etc) to put the money toward supporting Kristen Hession’s ministry on the UBC campus instead. You could do this for a week, a month or until we reach our goal.
As a friend likes to say, let’s say no to something good to say yes to something better!
Donate | You can give via credit card or cheque (CAD or USD) through This Global Village. Registration is required, but you can donate anonymously and tax receipts will be issued for residents of some countries.
Join the Challenge | You can sign up for an account on This Global Village and leave a comment on this post, maybe saying what you’re giving up! Or get your own page to let more people know, in your own way. You can donate the money you raise through this page.
Follow | I'll be counting the days and the dollars at http://twitter.com/sargivesupbeer.
I grew up in Thailand. My Christian school and church comprised most of my social world, and reflected back to me a worldview I expected was universal.
Moving to Canada to attend Okanagan University College (now UBC-O) in Kelowna and then UBC in Vancouver didn't just put me literally on the other side of the world from where I grew up. It turned my world upside down and then shook it by the ankles to get the change out of the pockets. Right and wrong, heaven and hell, meaning and meaninglessness all got confused in my mind. Not only were culture shocks (from Thai to Canadian, Christian to secular, developing world to developed world, familiar to unfamiliar, private to shared) reverberating throughout me and re-arranging my internal world, but school was hard!
I suddenly had tons of questions I had never thought to ask, at a time when I was most doubtful of my ability to ask or answer! I mean, I was barely passing midterms, skipping whole questions because I didn't see them --how could I hope to maintain any grip on the really important issues of life?
Safe PlaceUCM was a safe place for me during those turbulent times. I didn’t have much of a personal walk with God at the time so I really needed to lean on the strength and warmth of a community of faith. Attending the group meetings and core (small group) didn't always give me answers* (or, more likely, I was too consumed with my own problems to recognize the answers!) but they did do two things:
1) gave me a safe place to be myself and express my pain and my doubts, and
2) patiently re-affirmed the truths that I wanted to believe in but didn't always have the faith to: God is real, God is good, God is God, I can know Him, love is powerful, people are valuable, life has meaning, justice is achievable, God answers prayer, change is possible, our hope will not be disappointed.
UCM has a great culture that makes vulnerability less scary and nurtures trust. I was embraced by so many people who cared about me and my spirit, for no apparent reason! I didn't have to prove myself worthy of their attention, care or time.
*Note: I hope I'm not being misleading! UCM has a lineup of amazing speakers during the school year. It's a buffet! UCM staff, UBC and Regent profs, campus missionaries from around BC, overseas missionaries, people who run other ministries (e.g. to people struggling with addictions, homeless people)--there's incredible range in the speakers' backgrounds but consistently the talks are challenging, honest and relevant. Man, I could list so many speakers whose talks still echo in my heart and mind today.
As Inspiring as Digging a HoleI left UBC and UCM in 2006, just a bit more confident in what I believed than when I arrived. My story isn’t very exciting, maybe about as inspiring as digging a hole! But digging a hole is a necessary part of building a strong foundation--and I really think that's what God was doing in me through my time at university. Obviously the earlier foundation wasn't strong enough! It couldn't hold up under the pressures of school and the complexities of life. UCM was a big part of the process of expanding and strengthening the foundation of my faith.
Wait a minute--'was'?!
Voted: Most Anti-SocialShould there ever be a 'Most Anti-Social UCM Alum Award', I'd definitely be a top contender for it. (I have never played Settlers of Catan! On Thursday nights, I came late and left early on purpose!) DESPITE this, UCM continues to richly bless me in the area of relationships, even today, eight years since I first connected with it. Much of the personal spiritual encouragement and peer discipleship I get now is from friends I met in UCM, particularly in the cores.
In 2008 I was going through a really difficult period at work in Singapore. I told a friend from UCM what I was going through. Her prayers and "check-in" emails were a critical support to me for more than a year, as God dealt with my character and my walk with Him. A few months ago I went to Europe for the first time to visit three friends I had come to know in core groups at UCM. I had a wonderful time, catching up, praying together and looking forward to what God has next for each of us!
UCM, this wonderful community of believers, continues to shape me and support me and I want it to for the rest of my life! My time at UCM planted seeds that have borne fruit that still feeds me. I have benefited so much from the work they do among students. That's why I'm 'championing' Kristen Hession! Go Kristen!
The DeetsKristen and I were in the same UCM core group from 2004-05, and were fellow Geography Majors.