Jeremy is currently a first year at UCLA, studying Business Economics. His hobbies include drinking boba, playing acoustic guitar, and playing basketball. He also enjoys meeting new people and trying new things (like food).
Growing up in a Christian family was both a blessing and a stumbling block for me in my earlier years. The concept of God’s grace was an extremely foreign idea to me, and was something that I took for granted for the majority of my lifetime.
I grew up in a Chinese church in Monterey Park, and was one of the many church babies that was raised with the constant reminder that Jesus loves me, which I distinctly remember singing almost every Sunday in Sunday school. However, despite the lessons, games, and songs that I participated in throughout my elementary school years, I hardly ever meant the words that I sang and never thought much of Christianity as a whole. I thought that going to church was merely a chore, and that it was just the “normal” thing for Christians to do.
Towards the end of elementary school, I began to become more and more bitter towards church. I would constantly fall asleep during service and would even ditch service with my friends to mess around and play video games under tables — or wherever we could escape to. I was not saved in my early childhood and although I claimed to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, I did not love Him at all, nor did I want to have anything to do with Him. Instead, I would spend my time playing video games and skateboarding more than anything else.
At the end of my seventh grade year, my parents decided to move churches, which had a drastic impact on my life. I grew up with my church friends, and we had known each other for all of our lives up until this point. My parents’ decision to look for a new church confused me, and I couldn’t think of a feasible reason for my parents to want to move from the church where they, themselves, grew up. Having a very weak grasp on the fundamentals of Christianity, I was unable to understand my family’s reason for moving churches until much later in my life. The primary reason why we moved was doctrine-based. My old church was easily influenced by psychological methods, which it implemented in discipling others and counseling marriages. They clung to man-made methods rather than going to the Bible for their decision making.
My family church-hopped for about a year before finally settling on a church during my eighth grade year. Moving from a church that I grew up in to new churches every Sunday felt strange to me because it was was extremely hard to make new friends. However, during this church hopping period, God began to work in my life, and softened my heart toward the messages that I would hear every Sunday. My interest toward Christianity sparked around this time, and I slowly began to enjoy visiting churches each Sunday. After a year, my family settled on Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, and although it was hard to get plugged in, due to the church being massive in size, my family slowly started to integrate ourselves by serving in the different ministries that the church had to offer, such as feeding the homeless ministry ministry and VBS. Attending Calvary Chapel was pivotal in my Christian walk because the lessons that were taught constantly challenged my faith and advanced my knowledge of the God’s character. Calvary Chapel placed a huge emphasis on the proper interpretation of the Bible, and constantly looked to the Bible as the basis for all of their decisions, as well as their lessons.
In the midst of the settling my family’s church situation, my father was laid off from his job, which had a large impact on my faith as a whole. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and stopped working when she married my father, and with my father out of a job we didn’t have a source of income. Unsure of what the future held for my family, I began to both question God and question our financial situation. I was afraid of the future. Despite my fears, my parents’ attitude toward my father’s work situation was completely the opposite of my own. They were not shaken, and instead, assured both my sister and I that God would provide in the end, to which I became skeptical. “What does that mean?” and “why are my parents like this?” were thoughts that constantly ran through my mind. I dug deeper into the Bible and listened intently to the sermons every Sunday in an attempt to figure out the difference between my parents and I. As the months passed, and as I continued to seek the God of the Bible, my own heart began to soften more and more, until I found myself praising God alongside my parents for providing for us in the first place – instead of harboring bitterness and hatred towards Him.
My father got a job after just about two years of being unemployed, and even became the Chief Financial Officer of a pharmaceutical manufacturing company based out of West Covina. Both my parents and I were blown away by God’s grace in providing for us. As I looked back over this two-year period, I realized that my life had changed drastically. Despite being raised in a church all of my life, I felt that I finally understood Christianity and our need as humans to be reconciled to the one-and-only, holy God.
Entering high school, I began to actively read my Bible and learn about the life of Jesus more in depth. The idea of God’s grace through sending His only son to die for a sinner like me rattled me to the core. God used the obstacles that I faced throughout my life to work in my heart; to ignite a passion for His word. Even though I continued to struggle with my own sins, such as pride, throughout high school, I continually found refuge in the word of God, praising Him for saving me – a sinner who despised and rejected Him despite being raised in the household of God-fearing parents. I believe that I was truly saved before entering my freshman year of high school.
As I progressed through my high school career, I grew in both my faith in, and love for, Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful to God for not only sending His son to die for me and face the consequences for my own iniquities, but also for granting me a place in His kingdom. I was formerly an enemy of God, indulging in my own wicked works. Yet through God’s gracious plan, He invited me to sit at His table. Even now, as a student at UCLA, I am constantly awestruck by God’s provision throughout my life and I strive to be obedient to Christ every day. The Christian walk is definitely not easy, but I will praise God for everything He’s done for me through the highs and lows – until the day that I get to be with Him in heaven.
“To grow in your passion for what Jesus has done, increase your understanding of what He has done.
Never be content with your grasp of the gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than any diamond. Its depths man will never exhaust.”
– C.J. Mahaney, The Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing