It's ironic. With the exception of one ministry trip to Chicago in 2017, I stopped traveling ten years ago due to family circumstances. At first, this felt like a liability.
But as I shared in a past letter, the limitations have proven to be a blessing, and even more so with the pandemic. For example, we've taught students from a wider diversity of subjects throughout the pandemic than ever before. These include ethnic studies students, medical students, therapists in training, and seminarians.
My favorite talk this pandemic season was teaming up with award-winning author Kathy Chin Leong, who had just released a one-of-a-kind book titled "San Francisco's Chinatown." Supported by the book, our talk took listeners to places often invisible to visitors, for example, 8' by 8' single-occupancy rooms that comprise a large part of Chinatown housing. We reframed how people might see Chinatown, offering a kingdom lens instead of a typical consumerist lens. In other words, we were shifting the narrative from finding that perfect BBQ pork bun to illuminating God lifting a community from shame to celebration. We'll do one more joint talk in 2021 and we'll invite you. For now, click this link for her book and some notes from our talk.
God is continuing to extend our reach, even early this year. Just this past week, I was interviewed by spoken word artists from Lyrical Opposition, a nonprofit that opposes injustice through the lyrical arts. I felt humbled to be included, given that every show I've watched featured spoken word poets, which I am not! Yet, I was invited because their director saw how Kingdom Rice could directly support their work. Consider watching this 90-min interview with my masked interviewer.
In this new normal, God has widened our preaching possibilities. Later this month for example, I'm preaching in two separate churches on the same day, 400 miles apart...this would have been impossible before the pandemic!
Our expanded reach is an ironic blessing, as Kingdom Rice does not have the worldly credentials to speak into some of these spaces. Thank God that He is behind the irony and using Kingdom Rice as a conduit of blessing across this diversity.