What Offering Will You Bring to the Lord at “Offerings 10”? Sign-up soon!

Video: Highlights of various “Offerings” over the years (for much more, enter “offerings” in the search bar)

Hey TD! 


You just got a glimpse of some of the fun, amazing, and original Offerings we’ve seen over the past 5 years in this short clip!  This year, we will be hosting Offerings 10 on November 20!

“Offerings” was originally developed to get you TD’ers more in touch with your creative side, to help restore holistic balance to otherwise often-imbalanced lives. Today, most TD’ers are spiritual consumers, with few producers. We’d like to work towards changing that reality by challenging you to sit with the Lord, meditate on His Word, and dream, allowing you to create an “offering” to give Him for His pleasure.

Unlike your typical talent show, which highlights the performer, Offerings highlights the greatness of our Creator — through the talents He has given us to create with! Whether through art, music, writing, poetry, reciting, baking, dancing, or whatever you can create, Offerings lets us celebrate and enjoy an amazing God who created amazing people!  

Your “offering” doesn’t have to be great or anything; it just has to be from your heart. If it’s great, then great! If it’s amateurish, then great as well! 1Samuel 16:7 says “Man looks at the outward appearance; the Lord looks at the heart.” It’s the heart He’s after … a heart that’s willing to create for Him and take a risk for Him in pointing others to Him.


So, we highly encourage you to take a risk and participate in Offerings 10! The theme is CHIRST FOR REAL. You can do it on your own, or you can collaborate with others. Let your small group leaders know you’re interested, ASAP, so you can start brainstorming and collaborating! 

  • Theme: Christ for Real 
  • Event Date: 11/20/20  
  • Time limit: ~5 minutes (for live sharing/pre-recorded video) 
  • Submission deadline: 11/13/20 

P.S. Need inspiration? Search “Offerings” on the TD blog and take a look at the posts for previous “Offerings”. You’ll get plenty of food for thought! Let any of the leaders know if you have any questions. 

“Why We Do What We Do” Recap/”Becoming the Christian You’ve Become, Pt. 2″ (videos)

Video: “Why We Do What We Do” – TD Wk. 3 Recap

Video: “Becoming the Christian You’ve Become, Pt. 2” (What’s Wrong w/Dedication to God)

Hey TD!

Here’s a recap video on why we suffer from performance anxiety, the trap we fall into caused by insecurity, and what to do about it. Video courtesy of Michael Chan

To review the fuller treatment of it, as well as what living for God actually looks like, and how Is it possible to be too dedicated to God and His will, watch the video, “Becoming the Christian You’ve Become, Pt. 2” (What’s Wrong w/Dedication to God). Here Arthur explores these issues as part of TD’s Christ For Real series.

Start Your Week by Worshiping Our “Way Maker” w/Daniel & Robert (video)

“Way Maker” Worship Cover by Daniel & Robert

Hey TD!

In our ongoing effort to help you worship during the pandemic, here’s another worship video for you to sing to, as sometimes it’s more personal and meaningful to worship with those you know and love!

If you missed the last one, here you go:

“Worship Session w/Daniel & Angela”

Enjoy!

– Arthur

“A Word to SAT Takers!” (podcast)

A Word to SAT Takers (podcast)

Hey TD!

Not that I need to remind you, but two SAT testing dates are coming up very soon. Some of you will be taking the test, you’ll be anxious, and you’ll feel the pressure to perform.

Here’s a reminder and some encouragement for you. God bless you!

– Arthur

“Kaboom!” Original Music & interview w/ TD alum, Melody Hung!

Video of Kaboom! by Melody Hung

Hey TD!

I thought I’d share with you an amazing recital of largely original work, composed by our very own TD alumnus, Melody Hung.  It’s a real treat, both musically and visually.  I hope you’ll be blessed and inspired by her music and her passion that oozes through her music. It’s music and hope for those who may be in a dark place.

There’s a bit of everything – classical pieces, contemporary songs, a love song to God that she plays and sings, graphic art, a re-scored Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer (w/video), movie-like music, and even original video game music!  I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy it, as I did.  Just click SHOW MORE to see the contents.

I also hope you’ll be enriched by her sharing and raw honesty as she shares some of her up-and-down life journey with us, from church kid, TD’er, and beyond in an interview I did with her for you TD’ers. – Arthur

Arthur:  Wow, that was an amazing senior recital, Melody! What a feast for the senses! It felt like a 5-course gourmet meal at an upscale restaurant, with an anchoring in classic faire but an exploration into modern technique and fusion. Congratulations!

What was your inspiration and vision for Kaboom! ? Obviously, it was a requirement for you to graduate; but it was more than that. It was an opportunity to let your passion and heart flow out and present an offering to the Lord. Can you describe what went in to this whole process; what it took; what your dreams and visions were for this?

Melody:  Thank you; I’m glad you enjoyed it!

My vision for this program was to relate, comfort, excite, and inspire. 

This recital was an honest representation of my life’s journey thus far. It’s the road that the Lord has led me down, and it hasn’t been easy. At the beginning of college, I asked Him for an adventure to bring me close to Him, and He has definitely given me one.

Some of these pieces I wrote during my college career, but I admit I wrote half of the program during the past month because: (1) I hadn’t composed enough during college; (2) I had composed pieces that absolutely required a live choir and orchestra, so I had to scrap those pieces from my program when the pandemic hit; (3) I have matured as a musician, so some past pieces simply did not seem good enough to go on my program.

I named this recital “KABOOM!” after the last piece on my program, the piece for symphony orchestra that I wrote this past year. At the end of 2019, my professor challenged me to write something with the energy in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture and John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine.” Up until then, I had been writing music that could be described as contemplative, wistful, pretty, and pretty safe (in terms of tonality and harmonic language, at least). Even though I hated to admit it, my compositions reflected my life, and, being the conflict-avoidant person that I am, I was hesitant to face the challenges the Lord had placed in my life, and I was empathetic to the challenges in other people’s lives.

But at the end of 2019, after a year of intense mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual strain that earned me my first ambulance ride to the ER, I felt something explode within me. I was at my breaking point, even though I couldn’t allow my friends and family to see that (I’m sure a lot of you high schoolers have felt this way, and my heart is with you). I was ready to take on the challenge my professor had given me, and promptly formed a new, blank folder on my laptop and typed in “KABOOM!”

And I hoped that whatever became of this recital would relate, comfort, excite, and inspire someone in the middle of his or her own dark time.

Arthur:  Growing up at MBCLA, it was obvious that you had an immense amount of musical training; you were often showcased growing up in the children’s choir performances (remember those?).  In fact, I think I have some old videos of you that I’m thinking about bribing you with! haha

Towards the end of your high school years and early college years, I invited you to join my Sunday morning worship team to open an avenue for your talents, your love for music, and your heart for musical worship.  For those who are not regulars on stage, it may seem to be somewhat of a “glamorous” role.  Can you speak to some of the joys and struggles with being a “performing” or highly visible part of Christ’s Body … especially being so young in doing so? 

Melody:  Haha! I was in children’s choir and I took on-and-off again piano lessons from ages 5 through 13, and I started violin lessons at 12. Looking back, I wish I had had more serious musical training, but growing up, I was warned against seriously pursuing music and so didn’t think about doing it.

Ah, yes. I was thankful for the opportunity to be on the musical worship team. I learned a lot. The joys were very great: I got to know you guys, I got to learn to make music in a band, and I got to worship through music. It is a blessing like no other to worship through your instrument and your voice— with others!—, and to encourage the congregation to do so was a blessing. 

The main struggles I had were: (1) having to respond to praise from church members after the service was over, (2) the sense of pride that gets to you as a human being, and most painful of all, (3) distance from peers because some thought I was unapproachable and prideful. It was a blessing to be used and apprenticed, but also kind of hard when it feels like people have their eyes on you. It’s a lot of pressure if you’re focused on it, and I’m thankful that I was guided by you guys and my counselor to keep my eyes on the Lord in this area of my life, as in all other areas of life.

Arthur:  You’ve always been a passionate person and strongly in tune with your feelings, which comes out in your music and gives it that “extra” that goes beyond playing or singing the right tune; your music is moving to the listener.

Some youth are musical by training or because they were given lessons, etc. from early on. For others, like you, it is a passion deep within that God has given them. It’s part of what God made and called them to do and be. Yet, that’s not always practical and consistent with what many parents envision for their children. 

You’re still young, so I’m sure your answer will change in the future; but for now, what was that journey like for you and what thoughts would you have for youth in an Asian church, like TD’ers, who may have similar gifts and passions as you?

Melody:  Right… Well. I’ll start off with talking about my journey and then some of my thoughts.

I tried SO HARD not to end up in music. Growing up, I was told repeatedly by family members and music teachers alike that music is a hard path— don’t do it— but, play violin well so that you can get scholarships in college. So this was my vision of my career growing up: to get into a good college and get music scholarships to pay off the fees on the road to become a marine biologist or occupational therapist (which were some of my interests growing up) or something. Anything but music. 😀 For this reason, I was always a little half-hearted in my studies of music throughout my childhood. I did it for pleasure and was afraid to commit.

Sure, I started off my college career as a composition major at APU (low-key, I had applied for this school knowing I’d probably get in with any major, so I put down composition for fun and scholarships. — Okay, and I was also a little curious about music…) And yes, I faced some disappointment and criticism for being a music major— at APU— from the people around me.

But I switched my major after one week of being in music classes because I was terrified of being in those classes. I switched to Social Work.

Two years later, I had a conversation on the phone with my dad. I called my parents occasionally at night, because I was living on campus, and tonight, we happened to be talking about my career. I felt the stress of many Asian kids as I talked to my dad, and I tried to impress him by talking about my studies and grades. Even though I was very well down the road to becoming a social worker, I had been in the APU orchestras (for the purpose of receiving scholarships, as I said) now for two years, and at that point I was wishing every rehearsal that I could’ve been a musician. I didn’t tell this to my dad. But my dad suddenly asked me, “Melody, what do you really want to do, with all of your gifts, after APU?… Is it something to do with music?”

I was fortunate enough to have gotten the support of my dad through this all. And after talking with professors and music friends, I was convinced that music majoring could actually work out, if I put my all into it. I really did put my all into it.

Now, I’m still young, but I’d like to give some practical advice to you who might want to pursue a field in the Arts.

One of my professors who composes, arranges, and orchestrates for Disney’s attractions and is a regular keyboardist in the big recording sessions in town (Hollywood, London, etc.), scared/scarred us with this statement in the first day of an advanced music class, “If there’s something besides music that you are interested in doing for a career, I recommend that you go do that instead.” (A pause for an eternity as the room went silent). “… But if you’re here and you want music more than anything else, then welcome. It’s a deeply rewarding path.” 

If you think the Lord has put it in your heart to be an artist, and you want to be an artist more than anything else, think about it again— And then give it your all and don’t look back. My experience is that: talent matters little, passion matters a lot, and work is what will actually get you somewhere. Talent + passion + work is the dream combination. You gotta work for it, my friends. Especially if you’re an Asian and you have expectations to fill… I empathize.

Here’s some practical encouragement, though. If you’re going to MBCLA, you’re probably living in the LA County. I can’t even emphasize this enough: there are so many opportunities for artists here in LA. If you are smart, you will look for those opportunities, and if you are a person of character, you will obtain them. I’m confident you will succeed, and especially if your life and purposes are for His Kingdom.

Arthur:  As a TD alum from TCHS, you were very involved with TD, your Christian group on campus, the music department, and the swim team. As you look back at the rear view mirror, what do you now see God was doing in your life in high school? What areas do you now have greater clarity about, where you now are able to say, “Ahhh, now I get it, Lord!”

Melody:  Yeah! At TCHS, I dabbled in a lot of different things. As you said, I ended up being a leader in the Christian club, and I invited you to come speak to our high schoolers several times! I also tried hanging out with the popular kids, then found it more comfortable with the nerds, I was in the swim team, and of course with the orchestra dorks. But I joined the Speakers process in the 10th grade, and it changed my life because I reevaluated the way I looked at things and tried to commit my life to the Lord. I’m thankful for that, looking back, because it grounded me in God. But then, I began to swing a little too far in that direction, if that makes sense—

My friends in high school began to think that I was hard-headed and “too spiritual.” I regret not spending more time with them and with my family. I regret being prideful in my faith and staying in a Christian bubble that nonbelievers had no access to. I didn’t realize how much my friends were going through. I actually became legalistic in my thinking and in my relationship with God, and I regret that God, my friends, and family had to bear with that.

But I also think that, because I had formed certain habits in high school to make sure I was grounded in the Lord, I was sheltered from a lot of hurt and mistakes I could have made. Some of my friends also told me that I was like a light for them, and they could always trust me because they could tell I was a person of faith. I’m thankful for these things.

I don’t completely get it yet, but I’m starting to see that high school taught me about being disciplined and determined in my walk with God— and to place God above the million expectations of a high school student . There’s a balance to be struck— being in the world but not of it— and it’s the art of the Christian life. And high school is HARD, I learned that!

Arthur:  Do you have any words of encouragement or advice you’d like to give our current TD’ers, now that you’re five years removed from high school and TD? 

Melody:  (1) I have faith in you and I’m proud of you. You’ve got mountains to climb, but you have brothers and sisters ahead and behind, cheering you on.

(2) God loves you. You’re created for Him. Come before the Lord humbly at all times, and wait in stillness for Him. He will reveal Himself to you. This is your one and only task in life as a Christian with eternal life, as spoken by Jesus Himself, “And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

(3) Write out your priorities, then work hard at them. Don’t work hard blindly, or else you’ll waste precious God-given time. 

Arthur:  Thanks for such honest sharing, Mel! It was great catching up with you! God be with you in the days ahead!

Melody:  Thanks for asking! It was a pleasure. Thanks for having me!

“Heart-Healthy Habits” mp3

“Heart-Healthy Habits” mp3 (Kathy & Abigail)

If you cannot directly access the podcast via the embedded icon above, please click the link below:

“Heart-Healthy Habits” mp3 – Kathy & Abigail

Hey TD!

We had a wonderful time of fellowship and learning how to develop “heart-healthy habits” for our spiritual lives.  Kathy and Abigail did a tremendous job leading our study – lots of really good stuff to take away and implement.  Listen to the mp3 above to review, take notes, or refresh yourself on the importance of strengthening your spiritual heart.

Congrats also to Caleb, the Chans, and Rebecca for winning the Crazy Hat contest and Amazon gift cards!

 

God and Gaming: Is It Wrong To Play Video Games? (RZIM podcast)

14 Years Later – China Fully Lifts Video Game Console Ban - China ...

“God and Gaming: Is It Wrong To Play Video Games?”

Ask Away Podcast with Vince and Jo Vitale

Hey TD!

I always tell my clients that time is the most valuable commodity we have – you only have a limited amount of it, and unlike other commodities, you never have the possibility of getting any of it back.  Once spent, it’s gone.

So, does that mean playing video games is wasting this precious commodity of time?  Not necessarily.  Does that mean that video gaming could possibly even be a good use of time? Possibly.

In this Ask Away podcast with two of the world’s leading Christian apologists, Dr. Vince and Dr. Jo Vitale of RZIM will share their thoughts and perspectives on the subject.  Their responses will likely surprise you and enlighten your thought processes, not only about video games, but about everything else we use our time doing.  Enjoy. – Arthur

Dr. Jo Vitale

Jo is Dean of Studies at the Zacharias Institute and an itinerant speaker for RZIM. Interested in the questions surrounding sexism and the Bible, Jo wrote her doctoral dissertation on the topic of how female beauty is depicted in the Old Testament.

 

Dr. Vince Vitale

Regional Director for the Americas and Director of the Zacharias Institute, Dr. Vince Vitale is a speaker and author who journeyed from skeptic to evangelist while studying at Princeton and Oxford. He and his wife, Dr. Jo Vitale, host the Ask Away podcast.

 

A Father’s Day Podcast – “That’s My Dad”

Daniel and Arthur’s “A Father’s Day Tribute” Podcast

* If you cannot directly access the podcast via the embedded icon above, please click the link below:

“A Father’s Day Tribute” Podcast (mp3)

Hey TD!

My son, Daniel, knows my heart.  He knows I love my family.  And he knows my mind is always thinking of how to edify those under my spiritual care.  So, for Father’s Day a few years ago, he produced a 12 minute multi-generational podcast for me that kills 3 birds with one stone: 1) his introduction honors me (while leaving me laughing); 2) the message honors my father, K.C., who raised and led me to my Eternal Father; and 3) through this podcast, you will come to understand who I am and why I am the way I am better (you’ll learn a lot about me that you didn’t know); which will help us both, as I attempt to push you, challenge you, lead you, cheer for you, support you, teach you, provide for you, protect you, inspire you, equip you … to love, honor, cherish, and live for your Eternal Father in a fuller and more meaningful way.

So, click on the icon above and enjoy!  I hope it will be an encouragement to you. Thanks, Daniel!

TBN Father’s Day Special - That’s My Dad with Steven Curtis Chapman - Watch Now

That’s My Dad TV special hosted by Steven Curtis Chapman

The title of today’s post is inspired by a special TV show that my friend, Steven Curtis Chapman, hosted this weekend, called That’s My Dad.  It was a terrific show that was fun, encouraging, uplifting … and challenging … to me.  You’ll recall that his daughters, Emily (Executive Director of Show Hope) and Shaoey were so kind to join us at TD several weeks ago!

That’s My Dad has everything

– great music from Tauren Wells, Jillian Edwards, and of course, SCC himself (including the world premiere of his new song, That’s My Dad.

– great interviews with Naomi and Nathan Zacharias, Tauren Wells, Ernie Johnson, Jr., and Scotty Smith,

–  great recollections from Michael W. Smith, Zach Williams, the Chapman kids, and Mary Beth Chapman of their fathers.

I’d encourage you to watch it with your family.

Since Steven forgot to ask me to be on his show, the podcast is my tribute, as I join the others in saying … that’s my dad!

Would you take the opportunity to give thanks to God for your dad this Father’s Day? And then would you go to your dad, tell him you love him, and share with him why you are thankful for him?  I know you’ll bless his heart when you do.

– Arthur

In Joy Podcast #4 – “True Freedom” (Sandra)

In Joy Podcast #4 – “True Freedom” (Sandra)

If you cannot directly access the podcast via the embedded icon above, please click the link below:

In Joy Podcast #4 – “True Freedom” (Sandra)

Hey TD!

In the midst of such historic times of social unrest, people of all colors have been protesting for the equality and freedom of those in black communities across the nation.  I sometimes wonder if everyone really knows the true nature and quality of that freedom that they are protesting for. It not only comes at a significant cost, but with a significant responsibility.

In this fourth installment of our In Joy podcasts, Sandra brings us to some of the history of this conflict through the lens of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, who was wrought with heaviness over a nation torn with racial strife over slavery.  It’s a timely podcast on the aspects of true freedom that aren’t often thought of … but need to be.

Listen, consider, and enjoy!

If you missed any of the other podcasts in the In Joy series, you can hear them by clicking below:

In Joy Podcast #1 – “Joy in the Un-Enjoyable” (Rebecca)

In Joy Podcast #2 – “Enjoying the Presence of God” (Robert)

In  Joy Podcast #3 – “Finding Rhythms of Enjoyment” (Angela)

– Arthur

Ravi Zacharias: A Personal Conversation, Pt. 2

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Pic: Ravi and his son, Nathan, at our home

Once again, we have the privilege to hear from Ravi Zacharias via an interview I did with him.  Though done years ago, his answers are timeless, interesting, and applicable for us.  This time, we take personal and insightful look into his life and ministry.

For those of you who missed Part 1, Click Here .  Ravi was a precious friend and hero who has had an immeasurable impact in my life as well as thousands of others.  He was widely considered as the finest and most impactful Christian apologist/evangelist in the world before his passing on May 19, 2020.

We have used the last two weeks to honor his life and legacy and to help inspire you to have a greater perspective on life and your calling in Christ:

Ravi: A Poetical Sketch – A Tribute to Ravi Zacharias by Daniel Hsieh

Ravi Zacharias: A Personal Conversation, Pt. 1

Ravi Zacharias: A Singular Life (1946 – 2020)

Ravi Zacharias Buried in Casket Built by Prisoners

A MUST WATCH! – Ravi’s Memorial

Enjoy and glean from this titan of the faith! – Arthur

Arthur:  You said at Founders Weekend (an annual weekend retreat for close friends of the ministry), with respect to the ministry, that God gave you a vision without giving you omniscience.  I knew what you were saying because if you really knew what lay ahead, in your human mind, you would have been overwhelmed and felled before you even started.  But what was it that you did see?  I’m sure you never envisioned the grandness of the impact that RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) would have.  What was it that you were looking to do when you started the ministry?

Ravi:  The need.  I saw the need .  That’s about all I could see . . . that the need was incredibly vast to reach the mind and that we were going to be committed.  What I did see in my mind were university open forums, businessmen’s luncheons, international conferences where we are reaching the thinker;  and so I very clearly envisioned these audiences coming in large numbers to listen to a defense of the Christian faith but I did not envision, say, the growth of the radio ministry, the growth of our team, . . . the marvelous opportunities that have come are extraordinary.  I mean we have a full time staff of 18 here (Atlanta), 14 or 15 in Madras (India), and now with Oxford (England), and Canada . . . we have contained growth in our planning.  We have made every effort to limit growth.

[Note: It was in 1984 that Zacharias founded RZIM, which today has 16 offices throughout the world in the United States, Canada, Peru, Kenya, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Austria, Spain, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, and the Middle East. Through its global team of more than 90 full-time speakers and nearly 300 employees worldwide, RZIM seeks to impact the heart and intellect of society’s thinkers and influencers through evangelism, apologetics, spiritual disciplines, training, and humanitarian support.]

Arthur:  That’s a new approach!  Everyone else seems to strive to do it the other way (i.e. strive for growth rather than limit it).

Ravi:  (chuckling) This is the truth.  People sort of chuckle at it in our meetings but I think one of the most difficult decisions in life is to know when you are at your maximum and not to go wider but to go deeper.

Arthur:  That’s something I came away with at Founders.  Let me tell you that that has been so profound in my life.  Not only the messages but the people I was around . . . talking to different people and listening to the testimonies, I was there humbled . . .  It was kind of scary for me because I had never thought in such grand and deep terms.  It seemed that everyone I was meeting had that kind of deeper vision for ministry.  I was kind of scared because I think, as you would say, Aslan is on the move;  something was going on in my heart, like I was approaching a next step [in my spiritual life] or something.  That was so enriching.  We appreciate that (being included) very much.

Ravi:  I appreciate that, Arthur.  That was a special weekend, no doubt.

Arthur:  Back to the ministry, how did it come about that the vision came to mind.  [Weren’t] you in the business world before you were in ministry?  How did God bring you to this point?

Ravi:  When I came to Canada (from his homeland, India), I worked in the hotel industry.  I trained in catering technology and hotel management.  My whole goal was to be in the hospitality and hotel industry.  I enjoyed that very much and still miss it a lot because I like the hospitality industry, my focus mainly being food and beverage management;  but after working in it for two years, there was no doubt in my mind, that as each day was going by, God’s voice was getting clearer and clearer.  By that I don’t mean an audible voice but a tug at the heart to get myself into theological training and into ministry because that was where I was most fulfilled – in sharing my testimony or speaking to audiences.  It was very obvious to me where it was going but I just did not know what form it would take.  I knew it was going to be ministry but I didn’t know whether it would be as a missionary or an evangelist.  I just did not understand those terms very well, coming from India. . . .  I finished my undergrad and then worked full time for the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) for one year.  I then felt I needed graduate level education in philosophy if I was to truly wrestle with the questions people were asking.  I did my graduate level work at Trinity and after that became a professor for the Alliance . . . When I finally left the professorship to form RZIM, it was with the goal of reaching the thinker and training men and women to be able to think again for the glory of God.

Arthur:  Going back to [your early life], you were converted in India.  You said you were very sick or something?

Ravi:  Well, I was on a bed of suicide when I was 17.

Arthur:  Oh, that’s right. Was it really that meaningless or seemingly so at that point?

Ravi:  I think so because of the kind of culture in which I lived.  There’s a lot of pressure to do well in your studies and if you’re not going to do well, there’s no hope.

Arthur:  The Chinese kids that I work with have a strong feeling of that.

Ravi:  Exactly.  I talk to them here at Georgia Tech.  I’ve had them come to the office.  A Chinese youngster understands that very well [and] an Indian youngster understands it very well.  There’s a great similarity because of the size of our nations and the emphasis that is placed on scholarship, and then limited opportunities . . . it’s not good enough to do well, you have to be at the top of your class.  That’s the pressure.  If you don’t make it, there’s a lot of shame.

Arthur:  That’s right. So, you said your mother brought the Word in to you?

Ravi:  Yes, somebody brought a Bible into the hospital room –  a friend of mine whom I didn’t know that well – and he gave her John 14 to read to me.  In the hospital room, when she read it, that’s when [I made my commitment].  I had heard the gospel before but I didn’t have full understanding of the terms.

Arthur:  When she was reading the words, did something happen?

Ravi:  When she came to the verse when Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also” I said, “Lord, I don’t know exactly what this means but if this means that You’re the giver of life, then I want it, and I want Your life because the life I have I do not want.  I will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of truth if You will just change my life for me.

Arthur:  Afterward, then, was there an immediate difference?

Ravi:  Yes, an incredible difference.  I left the hospital room a brand new man.  I got involved in Bible studies with Youth for Christ and they became my nurturing agent really.

Arthur:  You told me in your letter to me last year that you thought the Chinese people had a special role in God’s plan in the next century.  What did you mean by that?

Ravi:  Well, I think they are a very, very uniquely gifted people.  If you look at the Chinese culture, there’s almost nothing, in terms of human capacity, that they as a culture do not possess.  [They are] incredible artists, very competitive in athletics, very gifted musically.  They know the diligence of thinking [and] scholarship – the Chinese scholar and so on.  They’re very, very gifted in business acumen and learning to make the best out of difficult situations.  They have an incredible survival instinct . . . through thick and thin, somehow they have managed to keep the home fires burning.  There’s a lot of courage in Chinese culture . . . If the gospel takes hold in China, I have no doubt that they will be the agents of change in the twenty first century . . . the key is going to be how the gospel takes root.

Arthur:  Are there any plans for RZIM to (minister in China)?

Ravi:  I think so, Arthur, I think so.  We generally wait for things to come about naturally;  we seldom construct a specific plan but the way God has opened up doors for us in the past, I think something will happen because of the impact we had in Hong Kong and in Singapore.

Arthur:  In your last statement here, what is your life’s passion or purpose?

Ravi:  Oh, to receive the divine accolade, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”;  I think to win the applause of God rather than anything else;  that God would be pleased with my life, that is my goal without a doubt.

Arthur:  Ravi, this has been a great time for me.  Thank you so much!

Ravi:  Oh, I appreciate that, Arthur.  We appreciate you, too, very much.  Give our love to Sandra . . . and thank you for taking the time.  It’s good to talk to you again.

Arthur:  You and your family have a great Christmas.

Ravi:  You too, my brother.  The Lord bless you.