Ann Chen is a student at Fuller Theological Seminary getting a dual degree in Intercultural Studies and Theology & Ministry. On the side, she is conference chair of the World Christian Conference (WCC) and does volunteer staffing with InterVarsity. Ann has a BA in Urban Studies & Planning from UCSD, a Master’s in Education, and six years’ experience teaching middle school. She attends Epicentre Church, and enjoys prayer and worship, playing piano & guitar, and discussions about church ministry.
What are your ministry passions?
Throughout my life, my primary passion has been to help others to recognize the depths of God’s love for them and to empower them into their God-given callings. For a while, I didn’t know what that looked like practically, but in the past 5 years, God has been raising in me a heart for missions and church planting in unreached nations. Slowly, God has been bringing all these passions together, and it’s becoming clear to me now that my passion is to help people step into their roles in the Great Commission. Whether in Asia, America, or anywhere else, I want to help people get past their barriers so that they can run freely after what God has for them.
Another important area of my life is in ministering before Jesus through prayer and worship – it’s an important part of who I am, and is how I choose to live out the first commandment to love God. I regard my ministry in ministering before God personally in prayer and worship as my primary ministry, and all other ministries as secondary.
What has been the greatest challenge in your faith journey thus far?
Learning how to really trust God. I had various challenging circumstances in my life, sometimes with health and sometimes with other things, but the common vein through it all was that I just didn’t trust God. I said I did: went to church, sang songs, ministered before God, did church ministry, but it didn’t show in my personal walk and relationship with God. When difficulties came, I always had to have a plan B and have things under control, which was really just a symptom of not believing that God would take care of me. Lately, God has been healing my heart and teaching me how to let go and trust, even when I have no idea of where I’m going.
What is a word of advice that you would offer to other evangelical Asian American women?
In my experience, too many Asian American women find their identity in what they do because they’re really good at whatever it is that they’re doing. I know this to be true for myself — I’m really good at doing things and taking care of people around me. However, it’s easy to find myself suddenly defined by what I do. This is fine when things are going well, but when things are going badly, all of a sudden we’re asking ourselves, Who am I? What’s wrong with me? We find ourselves shaken and confused, because our identities were misplaced on our capabilities, rather than on God.
My one advice to Asian American women would be to figure out ways to root yourself deeply in God’s love so that your identity is not based on what you do. I think it’s one of our biggest struggles. I really want AA women to be secure and to know that God loves them, no matter how they are doing in ministry, their job, family, and relationships with people.
Interviewed by Joy Wong