What could've been a traumatic experience turned out to be a tremendous opportunity. I ended up getting a job in the publishing industry in Taiwan, and stayed there for close to eight years. I loved my job in Taiwan. My position as design, web and managing editor of magazines was highly challenging and fulfilling!
In 2002, I was extended the chance to obtain a masters degree at Azusa Pacific University in greater Los Angeles. While working on my studies, I taught ESL at the university's language school. I also taught academic writing skills for APU in Ethiopia.
While at APU, I felt called to return to Africa for a season. After graduating, I spent three years in rural Kenya, working as a missionary with Empowering Lives International. Through ELI, I also did projects in Sudan and the D.R. Congo. My role was that of photographer, writer, trainer and liaison for visiting teams. Most of my entries on this blog is from my time in rural Kenya.
During my stay in Kenya, I embarked on pursuing a Doctorate in Transformational Leadership. I wanted to do my dissertation on theology of work, our call to honor God and impact our world through the way we work. But having worked primarily for Christian companies, I wanted to gain insights into working in a non-Christian environment. I returned to Taiwan and had the opportunity to teach preschoolers, thus testing my theory if one can seek to honor God in your work, even if you don't work in a field you particularly feel gifted in.
I am not a preschool teacher. But two years in the early-years classroom (in Taiwan and Indonesia) afforded me the opportunity to gain invaluable insights into a theology of work. My dissertation ended up being on what I call Serious Play: the intersection of a person's skills and his/her passions, exercised in a meaningful context. A serious player is someone who can look back at the end of a week and say, “I enjoy life. I like what I do—at work and in life! But life’s not only good for me, I get to make a difference in my community.”
I believe that serious players can transform their communities through the way they approach life and work.
I now work at Compassion International as an advisor in their Leadership Development Program (LDP) in Asia. I call Chiang Mai, Thailand home nowadays, but travel extensively throughout Asia to support the LDP staff. I love that I get to do what I do, and look forward to many more years with Compassion--an amazing company to work for!
I believe that my life matters, and since the majority of my waking hours are spent at work, my work has to matter. I find joy at work, and I hope to influence both the LDP staff and students in Asia, helping them also to find joy at work.