1. How did you first get involved with Friendship Presbyterian? My wife (fiancée at the time) Sarah and I heard about Friendship from a member of our former church in Washington, D.C., and we checked it out when we visited Taiwan for the first time in February 2017. After moving here that summer, we attended a church closer to where we live in Tianmu before re-visiting and then joining Friendship this past fall.
2. What do you do Monday through Saturday? I am a college counselor at Taipei American School, where I work with students in grades 11 and 12 as they consider where they would like to attend college and how best to go about preparing and applying. Apart from logistics and deadlines, much of the job has to do with dealing with the stresses and anxieties that come with the college application process, as well as the discovery process that students can experience while making decisions about their future. From November through January, I also assist with coaching the varsity swim team (I am a former competitive swimmer, myself).
3. What is something people might be surprised to know about you? It might be surprising to know that I have spent almost half my life living outside the U.S., my home country. I never attended grade school in the U.S., but I lived there for fifteen years after graduating high school. Moving to Taiwan was a return to a home region for me, as I had lived in Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan as a child. This time, I get to experience it with my wife! This is Sarah's first time living overseas, and I love learning new things about Taiwan and the world by seeing it through her perspective.
4. What do you find most challenging about being a Christian today? Relatedly, as someone with an affection for the places and people I have met through the years, I can fall prey to the temptation of seeing this world as something closer to the perfect creation that it once was, rather than the fallen place that it is. Couple that with all the modern distractions with which we can engage, and it can lead to complacency on my part, when instead fervent prayer and reliance upon God for my every need are what I was made to do. Another challenge is being a relative newlywed (~1.5 years) and striving, by God's grace, to be a Christ-like example to my wife. It is a tall order and a daily reason to seek God's wisdom.
5. What is one of your favorite books of the Bible? For many years I would have pointed to Esther as my favorite book of the Bible because it plays like a movie screenplay (and I love movies!), while also displaying God's faithfulness to His people. Today, I would say Hosea is my favorite for how it displays God's burning passion for justice and for His beloved: "How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel?...My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender" (Hos. 11:8). I once heard a pastor sum up Hosea this way: "God answers our [spiritual] adultery with fidelity." As someone who struggled for many years to understand and accept God's grace, this truth is a balm to my soul.