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Summer Immersion Project 2007 Wows Participants

August 19, 2007

“Wow, wow, wow!! That’s all I can say! I can’t stop talking to everyone about the experience we had last week. It’s like I’ve been reintroduced to the REAL Good News!!” That’s how Debbie Gin, Director of Diversity Studies at Azusa Pacific University, described ISAAC’s Summer Immersion Project that took place in Los Angeles this past July 25-28.

Margaret Yu of Epic Movement, the Asian American focused ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ concurred, “I really think it was a fantastic experience and would recommend this to any Asian American who wants to grow and is open to learning about our communities…It stimulated my faith!”

DJ Chuang, Executive Director of L2 Foundation said that SIP is “an excellent program to provide meaningful site visits to a wide range of Asian American communities.”

Okay, not everything went so well – so let’s get real here. We probably visited too many sites and did not have adequate time for reflection. But for the 15 invited participants, SIP was a very satisfying exposure to the diversity of Asian American organizations in Southern California. Our visits to Little Tokyo, Chinatown, and San Gabriel Valley provided a glimpse of the past and present issues facing Japanese and Chinese Christian communities. In our Mid-Wilshire visit, we learned about the work of Koreatown Immigrants Workers Association, Asian American health service programs, and grassroots Filipino organizations. We then visited the emerging Vietnamese community in Orange County and were blessed with an afternoon with David Gibbons of NewSong Church in Irvine. On Saturday, SIP concluded with a debriefing meeting and experimental contextualized worship service at the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society’s office in Little Tokyo (a more detailed overview will be posted on-line shortly).

In some church circles, “Asian American” means English speaking or second generation. In other circles, it is used subconsciously to generalize one ethnic group’s experiences. For example, a Chinese American may talk about being Asian American without ever meeting or learning about the Cambodian American experience. If anything, SIP demonstrated that the complexity and diversity of Asian America deserves much deeper engagement than is currently available in churches, seminaries, and other organizations.

The deeper engagement that SIP provided was based, in part, on the way Jesus built up leaders. Motivational speakers, insightful lectures and seminars, and inspirational sermons are not enough. Jesus knew this and brought his disciples along with him to walk among people, to eat with them, and to learn about their circumstances. SIP’s experience-based inter-generational and cross-cultural approach to understanding Asian American communities does not merely inform the mind, it also captures the heart. It confronts our prejudices and explodes our stereotypes. It forces us to recognize how truly human Asian Americans are and how much they, too, rely on God’s grace and love.

By providing breadth and depth, SIP adds value to any organization’s leadership development program. Indeed, after this experience, I am more fully convinced that the path to effective leadership in the Global Church will require a walk through Asian America!

Our local planning team, our hosts, and our co-sponsors (Logos Evangelical Seminary, Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society, and Tozer Theological Seminary) made SIP a powerful experience. I am grateful for all of them!

Planning for SIP 2008 will begin soon. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, suggestions – or if you are interested in being a co-sponsor next year! – Tim Tseng

Categories: report
  1. timtseng63
    May 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Reblogged this on Tim Tseng and commented:

    “One of my proudest training moments as Executive Director of ISAAC” – Tim Tseng

  1. May 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

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