LTC Testimonies

Abida Diep

Upon learning that I was selected to receive a scholarship from the Grace K. Ogawa Memorial National Scholarship, I was inundated with feelings of joy and gratefulness. I am humbled by this gift and would like to personally thank you for opening up the opportunity for me to attend the 2022 AACF Leadership Training Conference. My time at LTC was very fruitful and I would love to take this time to share a little about me and how my experience helped me grow closer to God and prepared me for the upcoming school year.

My name is Abida Diep and I am an incoming senior at the University of Southern California. I will be serving on core as a Women’s coordinator. During my time at AACF, I have been incredibly blessed to be part of a fellowship that has brought me closer to Christ, welcomed me with open arms, and given me many opportunities to serve. This coming school year, I want to focus on supporting the small group leaders. Small group leaders are an essential part of AACF and God uses them to strengthen the relationships between brothers or sisters and foster unity within the community. I am blessed with the opportunity to help build a stronger community that encourages small group leaders to grow and be vulnerable with one another.

At LTC, I really resonated with the theme of Life at 3mph. As leaders, it is easy to fall into the trap of prioritizing performance, but it was a good reminder to instead slow down and truly reflect on God’s presence. I appreciated the quiet time provided because I was able to make sure my heart was in the right place for serving. As I go into the women’s ministry at USC, I will view all our members lovingly and focus on building relationships with them.

I was also able to meet and fellowship with so many other students and staffers from other schools that I otherwise would never have met. I had great discussions in small groups and learned from everyone. It was encouraging to see my small group leader grow confidence leading in the three days we had small groups. Hearing everyone’s testimonies also reminded me of how amazing it is that we have one God, but He works in all our lives so differently. I learned so much from everyone and am excited to see how God uses them in their respective ministries.

As we start to plan for AACF next semester, I am praying for a servant’s heart that is ready to humbly serve and the application of all I learned at LTC into all areas of my life. At LTC, I realized how blessed I am to be a part of a community that constantly points me back to Christ. Thank you again for providing me with the financial support in order to attend LTC. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and one day, I hope to help other students and give back in the future. Thank you again! God bless and I pray that you and your families continue to have safety and health!

Alex Oshima

This was my first LTC and it was also a fitting way to end my first year as part of AACF. My name is Alex Oshima and I am going into my 2nd year at UCSD. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to lead for this year and it took a lot of deliberation and talking to people to figure out how I would serve AACF. I wanted to give back to AACF which gave me my entire college community but I didn’t think that I had enough knowledge to give back. I still don’t think that I have many answers to give people but I also don’t think that’s what serving is about. I want to create a space where people can share their own thoughts. It’s not my job to have the thoughts. I will be serving as a men’s small group leader in the upcoming year and LTC definitely gave me some much needed experience in leading small groups. I had never led a small group before coming to LTC, bar once or twice, and wasn’t sure what to expect in this upcoming year. By leading the small groups during LTC it gave me a better sense of what to expect and how to lead discussions. On a more personal level the week gave me time to reflect on why I was there and why I wanted to lead. I think one important thing that LTC provided was the creation of a space for my campus leadership to get closer together. One thing that I was worried about was how the leadership team would get together and the difficulties of creating a shared vision for AACF if we aren’t on the same page. Those worries aren’t completely gone but LTC showed that there is a way for it to all work out. On a larger scale LTC also gave me a better sense of the community that I was working with and becoming a part of. It was amazing to see how the community expanded past just my school site but across the west coast. I was able to meet people from all the different campuses and create connections that I never would have before. It was a new experience to think about having a support system of people and connections across the entire state (and Washington) that I could reach out to if I ever needed help. As a whole LTC provided a lot of vision for me to take back to my campus and try to make it happen on my campus site. There were a lot of good ideas and optimal situations and now we just have to make it happen during the school year.   

Alyson Choi

Reflecting back on LTC, I’m thankful for the experience as a whole. Unfortunately, during my time there, I was very sick. For a lot of the days, I skipped some of the morning events and slept in just to take care of myself to be ready for the rest of the day. However, beyond this inconvenience, I was very thankful to be able to interact with the other fellowship Core members and hear about their fellowships. We were able to express fears and concerns to each other with the upcoming school year. We were able to support each other and give feedback and advice on small group leading or any ideas that we needed to expand upon. I was a part of the community building track, and this track provided very practical information for me to take home as notes. Since my role in AACF involves a lot of event planning, the notes we were given were very practical. The resources we had access to were something that I was extremely thankful for. Additionally, I am very thankful to have spent time with my campus Core members. I think this was the beginning of our building our team. Bruce Chow, our staffer, put us through some fun and difficult team bonding exercises that helped us to learn about each other more. I was able to engage in fruitful conversations with some of my other Core members to reflect on this past year. We talked about our personal struggles but also the things that impacted our fellowship. Our UCLA campus planned our theme for the next year, and we were able to talk honestly about the things that our fellowship struggled with the most and needed to work on. I was inspired by how much history AACF has on the campuses. I was also really inspired by the staff members who spoke so passionately about the ministries that they work in. They helped me to see how much AACF can impact college students, and I’ve most definitely seen this impact in my life. I was reminded of the mission statement of AACF which is to spread the gospel to college students, specifically, Asian American students. While I was sick at LTC, the staff cared for me so much, and I saw a lot of their love and care for students. They made sure to prioritize my safety. Despite being sick, I got to engage in conversations with other students, and they asked our UCLA fellowship about advice and events and other items that our fellowship has as a larger, established fellowship. Many people were shocked by some of the organizations that we have, and we were able to share our ideas and experiences with them. I was able to hear many amazing ideas from other members while also forming friendships with them. Upon leaving the retreat, I was able to reflect on the things that I loved but also would change about the retreat. My first thing would be to change the fact that I was sick, but the Lord had plans with me on that one. Another thing is I would hope to have a guest speaker to provide more practical wisdom on leadership, rather than have various speakers that speak very generally. Other than this, I loved the experience. It is something that I will be grateful for and will constantly reference throughout the year while planning events and working with my core team in the future.

Brandon Liu

Hi, my name is Brandon Liu, I attend the AACF chapter at UCSD and will be serving as Core Coordinator next year. First and foremost, thank you for aiding in me paying for LTC, it was such a great experience and I will cherish my experiences at LTC for a long long time. Reflecting back to LTC, I’d say I learned a lot about what Christian leadership really means, especially regarding my struggles with balancing clear cut tasks and other important parts of ministry. This dichotomy between the task-oriented and people-oriented nature of ministry was a big part of the discussion of the theme: 3MPH.

3MPH was a good reminder for me to slow down and remind myself that while tasks are important to complete and are oftentimes crucial to success of a ministry, they are not the end all be all of ministry. It is clear through Jesus’ ministry that The Gospel and ministry at its core is people oriented and tasks should fall in line with the people being ministered to and the team of people ministering to others. Going into this year, one of my largest goals was to run Core as more of a small group and less of a planning committee and this theme has strengthened my convictions towards that. I will strive to firstly care for my fellow leaders and them for the fellowship.

The first prayer meeting and quiet time/Bible study was also a good “waking up” moment for me. We repeated the The Lord’s Prayer and read over John 15 (abiding in the Lord our vine). As the busyness and stress of school closed in on me last year I had felt abandoned and burnt out and because I was in a constant fight for extra time, I pushed aside doing my devotionals and quiet time. Being at LTC gave me a whopping whole 5 hours to start my day in prayer and in The Word with prayer meeting and quiet time/Bible study. I was reminded that without abiding in God’s vine, I can do nothing. I was reminded of the greatness of God and the importance of starting my day off with prayer.

In my scholarship request letter I detailed some of the changes to the overall structure that AACF at UCSD is moving forward with. We are implementing changes to the structure of small groups as well as the way the Core team is being run. These visions have been grown and finally brought to fruition by seeing what other campuses do with their AACF structures. At UCSD we will be going forward with freshman/mens/womens small groups in fall quarter, breaking those small groups into smaller life groups in winter quarter, then finally moving into passion based small groups in spring quarter with mixed attendees. For Core team, we will be moving into having normal meetings for two consecutive weeks then having a core bonding week where we will be doing a variety of activities to promote living life together and being more involved in one another’s life.

Thank you for this opportunity. Starting off my summer with LTC being away from other distractions and focusing on Christ alone was the best way I could imagine starting my summer. I pray that I can go forward and continue doing Jesus’ people ministry at UCSD.

Catie Shin

My name is Catie Shin and I attended LTC 2022. I will be going into my 4th year at Cal State Long Beach as a Psychology Major and Human Development Minor. I will also be serving for my 2nd year on core as our women’s coordinator, previously having served as prayer coordinator. My first LTC in person was probably one of my favorite conferences/retreats I have ever been to. The plethora of opportunities and beautiful people throughout the 5 days were so enjoyable and I felt so blessed by the whole experience.

To start, I have to mention my small group. On the day we did the amazing race activity and we were introducing ourselves to each other, I recognized the intentionality of each of us being in that group. All of us being from different campuses and serving in different positions was such a blessing. We got the opportunity to share the different structures of each campus’s ministries and impart wisdom to each other. Though we were all so different, I love how we came together and formed a cohesive, tight-knit small group. We quickly grew comfortable with each other, opening up and being vulnerable during discussion times and sitting together during meal times. As for my community building track, I thoroughly enjoyed being mentored by Thomas and Mel. I thought the activities we partook in were relevant and helpful for my role. Though I will be the women’s coordinator next year, our core team only contains 5 people, so we will be splitting the role of reach as well, so between reach and women’s coordinator, I found the track appropriate. Within the groups we were put in for parts of the track, we really bonded and also spent meal times together. There was definitely a theme of community throughout the conference and I think that was my favorite aspect of LTC, getting to meet so many different people. Though we came from different campuses, were of different ages, etc. we all had the same goal in common, so it was really lovely getting to know people so intentionally. In terms of the structure of LTC, I appreciated how there was structure, but did not feel too structured. The morning devos were such a blessing. The extensive time we were given was really great. The abundance of free time and campus time was also really good. Though it felt like we were constantly doing something, there was also a good balance of breaks and time to freely fellowship which I really appreciated. I am also very thankful I got the opportunity to serve with the worship team. As someone who is always looking for ways to serve and help behind the scenes, it was a really cool opportunity to see worship leaders from different campuses and everyone’s servant hearts. Overall, I had an incredible experience and LTC made me really excited to serve this next year, especially in planning joint events with other campuses to see my LTC friends. I cannot put into words how blessed I was to be surrounded by such faithful brothers and sisters with such servant hearts. I was so encouraged by their hearts for the Lord which helped me to strive in my own walk. I thank God for His provision and sovereignty in making LTC possible despite COVID-19 and many other factors. He surely provided and blessed us with a wonderful conference.

I’m sad this was probably my one and only LTC in person, but I am incredibly grateful for the experience and the many blessings that came from the conference from new knowledge to new friendships to a deeper love for the Lord. Thank you Ogawa family and donors for making my attendance at LTC possible. I am extremely grateful I was able to grow my love and servant heart for God through this conference.

Damian Cheung

My name is Damian Cheung, and I am an upcoming fourth year at Cal State Long Beach. From June 12-16th of 2022, I had the privilege to attend AACF’s Leadership Training Conference at Palomar Christian Conference Center. As someone who never attended LTC before, I did not have many expectations going into it. From what the recent graduates have told me, LTC is a place to meet new people. But when I arrived, I was in awe of how many people there actually were. When we all congregated into the chapel for the first time, I was in shock to see so many other AACF members from different campuses. While it was a bit intimidating and overwhelming initially, I was grateful for the opportunity to meet a lot of other AACFers. From the fruitful conversations I had, I was so encouraged to see their plans for the upcoming year as well as their heart in serving. In those interactions, we were able to brainstorm ideas together and share our goals. Despite being a part of AACF, it was really interesting to see how AACF from other campuses are different than how it is at Long Beach. Each campus has their own unique ministries and even for the similar ones, they had their own differences.

Furthermore, I found the core coordinator track very encouraging and learned a lot from it. I will be serving on core for the first time and to be honest, there has been a lot of worries personally. But after attending the track, there was a lot of comfort in the content that was discussed. All the activities, discussions, and topics that were covered at the track helped significantly in preparing me as a servant leader and what it means to be a core coordinator. I learned that it ultimately stems from doing it for God. One thing that stood out to me was the staffer mentioning that in order to give 100%, we must be at 100%. While there may be worries and troubles during the school year, I am putting my trust that the Lord will work through our core team and in AACF to further grow his kingdom at Long Beach. In trusting that, I can lift up these worries and burdens and find rest in believing that God is in control.

Overall, my experience at LTC was one to remember. Leaving the conference center was a bittersweet moment. Although knowing that it was over, I was so encouraged after all the conversations and sessions. Logistically, everything was planned out perfectly. The planning team did a wonderful job of carefully planning with consideration of even the smallest details, whether it was scheduling enough time to walk from place to place or having free time each day to be able to rest if needed. The overall theme as well as the morning devotionals and nightly sessions were well thought out. I would definitely recommend this conference to anyone who has a thought of serving in any capacity because of how insightful it is.  

Daniel Atienza

Before attending LTC, I did not know what to expect. My understanding of AACF, in terms of how they function and what they believe, was limited to the information on the website and the several meetings that I attended at the CSUN campus. It was because of this lack of knowledge that I felt like God called me to go to LTC. So that I could learn, be equipped, and gain a deeper understanding of both God and how to help out AACF on campus. However, after experiencing and going through the whole process of LTC, I can definitely say that it exceeded my expectations.

I decided to take the community building track because I wanted to learn how to build a community. Our AACF at CSUN is very small and 2 of our 3 core members from this past year are graduating/ transferring. So, we are trying to build up this small community from the very start. I assumed that this track would teach me the foundations of a Christian community and how to build up from those foundations, and that is exactly what I learned! I was able to learn about the mission of AACF, the basics of event planning, how to build a gracious leadership, and how that leads to a gracious membership. However, I think the topic that struck me the most was about hospitality, how important it is to show widespread hospitality to everyone you meet, and what that hospitality looks like. So many of the leaders I met at LTC shared with me about how they first got involved and fell in love with their campus fellowship, and so many of them had a similar story. They told me that one leader from their campus would constantly show them genuine love, kindness, and interest in who they are as people by reaching out to them diligently. They would tell me just how much it meant to them that these leaders would go out of their way just for them. This love that the leaders would share is reflective of God’s love. An unconditional, unstoppable, and genuine love for who they are as individuals. It reminded me of how I first got led to Jesus because my experience was just like that. One leader from my church would constantly try to be my friend. Despite my flaws and attitude, they still chased after me, and eventually, they helped bring me to Jesus. So this concept of Christian hospitality is something that I will definitely bring to my campus, and also my everyday life. I hope I am able to apply it to every single person I meet, so that I may come to believers and unbelievers alike as an ambassador of Jesus.

The hospitality that I learned about was also something I saw in all the leaders I met at LTC. I honestly was not expecting to meet and make so many friends during my time there. I have been to retreats and conferences before, but I have never been to a conference that was solely attended by leaders, and it felt so different. Everyone that was there was so engaged to learn, exchange knowledge and befriend everyone. They were all so like-minded in trying to seek more of God through fellowship and service, and it was such a blessing to see. It definitely brought a different atmosphere to the conference as a whole, and it made my learning experience so much better! Being able to trade information and learn about how other leaders were running their fellowships on their campuses was so eye-opening for me. They told me about problems they faced, how they overcame those problems, stories they experienced, and events they planned. Just from the conversations alone, I learned so much. Even just making new friends was amazing too. I was so happy to be able to meet people with the same faith as me. I was even able to exchange contact information, and I’m still talking to quite a few of them today! All these new connections I made were definitely not something I expected, but I am forever grateful to God for the people I was able to meet at LTC!

My experience at LTC was a blessing from God, and I’m grateful to Him and the people He used in order to make this happen.

Daniel Fung

Hi everyone! My name is Daniel Fung, from USC and I will be serving as a small group in AACF next year! I went to LTC on the small group leading track and I would love to tell you about the wonderful experience I had. Entering LTC, I had an open mindset of wanting to learn how to become a strong small group and also how to further grow in my walk with God. This was my first experience at LTC and I was beyond excited to meet other AACF members from different campuses and hear their testimonies.

First and foremost, I enjoyed the theme of LTC, which was Living Life at 3 mph. As college students, we are trying to balance school, our social life, and our walk with God. Our lives are moving so quickly, however, sometimes we need to take a step back and reflect on what and who we should prioritize in our everyday lives. I was reminded that we can’t rely on our own strength however, God empowers and is constantly working through us. LTC allowed me to reflect on the past year and allowed me to have intentional time with the Lord. I loved having the morning prayer/quiet time because it gave me that one-on-one time with God and allowed me to dive deeper into his word. I realized that we will face worldly temptations in our everyday lives however, we must abide in Christ and put our complete trust in the Lord. No matter what, God always has a plan for us and LTC reminded me that our lives should be centered around Christ, and without him we are nothing.

Next, I thoroughly enjoyed the small group workshop, where I learned so much from both of the staffers. Bruce gave a great overview of what a strong small group leader looks like and provided amazing tips on what to do in certain situations. A huge takeaway I have is, that not knowing all the answers is ok! I’m there to serve as a facilitator and someone who encourages others to engage in the conversation. Also, within the workshop, we were given time to practice small group leading, which I found beneficial especially because we received feedback from our group members. Within the workshop, we were tasked with creating questions that were more personal and how we apply it to our lives.

Finally, came campus time where we had a time of reflection amongst our campuses. There were eight of us from USC, which was relatively small compared to other schools, however, I found that having such a small group was beneficial because we were able to grow much closer together. Through campus time, we were able to be vulnerable with one another and express our struggles or concerns for the upcoming year. I found this time to be refreshing and realized that many of us have similar struggles, which was eye-opening. I understand that everybody is at different stages of their faith and nobody is perfect. I’m leaving LTC a completely different person and want to be someone who shows compassion and love to all people.

Daniel Serna

Hello! My name is Daniel Wesley Serna, I am currently a sophomore serving in the servant team at AACF Long Beach. I would just like to express my thanks as a recipient of the Grace K. Ogawa Scholarship and am writing a reflection letter of what I learned during my time at the Leadership Training Conference (LTC) in Palomar Mountains.

LTC was such an amazing experience full of amazing like-minded students who are willing to serve their campus ministries. First off, it has been so encouraging to meet the students who are serving on core, as it is just an indicator that I am not alone in my struggles and that there will be people who can help me along the way. Being able to meet people from other campuses has opened a new door for me and it is setting up a new path for my future, letting me experience the bigger broader world. As other AACF’s campuses have their own differences and by interacting with their leaders I felt led to bring some of those nuances to my own campus. This also leads into the second thing that I realized after coming to AACF. The second thing that I realized is the role of AACF in our spiritual life. I came to the conclusion that AACF is not really meant to grow those who are further in the faith. In other words, AACF is mostly to spread the gospel to the college community. I did not realize this in the beginning as at first, I felt that the college ministry on my campus should have more challenging topics and have deeper talks. I felt this after I experienced such a conversation after my first seminar lesson. I had a conversation with four of the men in my seminar group, and we talked about topics such as predestination, and what we think is good versus what God says is good. I felt that such conversations and topics, ones that made us really think and go throughout all of scripture to come to conclusions too were beneficial for AACF and that it should be implemented into practice. However, I came to the realization that AACF is not the place for such topics. I was talking about this topic with one of the small group leaders from my own campus’s AACF and I realized that AACF is just a parachurch. It does not and should not take the place of a church. AACF should act more of a gateway, we should not cling to the idea of staying one year longer at AACF, as we should go into the community and join a local church and eventually serve there. If we do want to stay in AACF we should become a staffer or a similar role, but we should not stay in a student position forever. This realization was further cemented when I had another talk with a different small group leader from a differnet campus ministry. He shared his own thoughts on the role of small groups, that AACF small groups should leave us wanting more, that it should be focused more on those who are newer to the faith. That they should teach more about the gospel, create a sense of hunger towards the scripture, and develop a feeling or yearning towards God. He wanted for people to move away from AACF small group, and to join a church and their churches small groups. We did talk about how by doing so we could lose valuable relationships, but he mentioned the more crucial point of whether we were serving for the relationships with the people or the people’s relationships with God. This was just after the message about task centered versus people oriented and so we had a decent understanding of the dangers and benefits of either viewpoint. Which leads into my third point, which is my motivation for serving. As I am not part of my campus’s core, I am not given a specific role or title. I serve on part of the servant team which means that I help assist the core members and do whatever the core members need help with. Even though not many campuses have their own servant team and did not even realize that such a position existed, I was not disheartened or discouraged. In fact, I really enjoy not getting all the praise that came from a core position. It really places the responsibility on me, on where my heart is for serving. Whether I am serving for the role, for the glory, for the power, or am I serving others because it is what God wants, and it has to be done. I heard some stories about people who were discouraged because they did not get the role the wanted when they applied for core, but they chose to serve that role anyway because it needed to be done. I am also, on a certain level, paralleling those people, as even though I may not get the recognition from the congregation that I am doing good things. I can say that what I am doing is what needs to be done, as it is done for the glory of God. I can tell myself that I am not doing it for myself, but for God. Being placed on servant team and being granted the opportunity to be trained and surrounded like all the other leaders is a good enough position for me. I have grown to love the term, servant team, as I realized that I can do what core does, and more as I will be doing what core does not have the time to do. In the end, a title is just a title, and in five or so years, my title will no longer hold any weight. So why should I place all my hopes and dreams on such a title? I would rather place my hopes, aspirations and worries on the work of God, as in the end, all that matters is Him.

LTC was such a wonderful experience, and it brought me boundless joy to attend. The knowledge, guidance, and friends that I made along the way are things that I will take with me into the coming year and hopefully the rest of my years on this earth. I would just like to once again thank the sponsors who helped sponsor my trip to LTC this year. I hope that that any future scholarship winners will also be blessed and be able to have such an encouraging experience as I have. Thank you once again.

Emmeline Lin

I am writing to express my gratitude for your generous scholarship that has helped me to attend AACF’s Leadership Training Conference this summer. LTC was an extremely blessed and fruitful experience, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate.

Coming into LTC, I was excited yet nervous to learn more about what serving as a Core Coordinator entails. I knew it would be quite different from my previous role as Outreach Coordinator because now my focus would be caring for a different group of people—the Core servant team, instead of the greater college community who had yet to know Christ. However, as I soon learned in session one of the track, just because I was in a different position (that seemed to be less Gospel-sharing oriented) did not mean that upholding AACF’s mission and vision to reach out into the collegiate community with the life-changing message of Christ (treating our campus as a missions field) was any less important. If anything, it was more important than ever! It was so wonderful to be reminded about our ultimate purpose to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission, and it gave me a new perspective and focus for the upcoming year. Additionally, the CC track itself was super helpful in multiple facets: the session topics were relevant and informative, from caring for our spiritual and mental health to those of our core team, to how to effectively plan for the school year, to handling large and small logistics. Talking to CC’s from other campuses and getting to hear about the lessons they’ve learned, struggles they’ve overcome, and things they were grateful for made me realize all the more the abundant faithfulness and grace of our great God, and it was overall a really encouraging and uplifting experience. And lastly, having the opportunity to ask our loving and generous staffers questions that were on my mind was extremely helpful.

The theme of the conference was fantastic and very relevant as well; pondering how to live in presence rather than performance was a convincing wake-up call for all of us. As a servant, it’s easy to fall into the trap of measuring things by tangible outcome and trying to do as many right things as fast as possible, instead of remembering to slow down and be thankful for all that God has provided us. The morning devotionals and plenary sessions helped us to realign our mindsets and heart postures as we remembered who and why we were serving. Overall, the conference was an extremely edifying experience that I will never forget! I grew in my relationship with God, as well in my relationship with others—both from my campus and from other campuses. I have been once again inspired and encouraged to serve in a self-sacrificial and fully faithful manner this upcoming year, and I cannot wait to see how God uses our ministry for His will this year!

Once again, thank you for your support and generosity!

Isabelle Liu

Thank you so much for your gracious heart and support in allowing me to attend the AACF Leadership Training Conference earlier this month. LTC was an incredible experience to help equip me to lead Care Team, one of AACF at UCLA’s in-reach ministries, this upcoming school year. I learned that God’s love and hospitality are the foundation for a community built upon Christ. I hope to continue growing in my understanding of God’s love for me and allowing His love for me to overflow into my love for others. With event planning for this upcoming year, I realized that what we do as Care Team and AACF as a whole should be done with the right intentions, looking to Jesus’ ministry as the perfect example. Reminding myself of the purpose behind why I’m serving allows me to trust in the Lord and His greater plans for me and others around me. LTC taught me the importance of spending quiet time with God and slowing down to be filled by Him through prayer and reading His Word. I also learned what it means to steward my role as a leader in AACF well. I hope that the decisions we make as Core next year would have a biblical foundation and that we would continue to pray for the fellowship. As a Care Team leader, I will invest my time in fostering relationships with those who serve alongside me and others in the fellowship in order to care for and meet the needs of the fellowship as a whole.

LTC was also a unique opportunity to fellowship with many faithful believers from different campuses and encourage one another in our servant leadership. I enjoyed the bible study time and growing closer to my small group as we asked each other difficult questions and shared our personal experiences related to the passages. It was refreshing to see fellow college students finding joy in the Lord and being so willing to step into leadership positions in AACF. I was inspired through my conversations with others about creative ways we can better serve AACF at UCLA and reevaluate the purpose behind our own ministries and events. I know that the relationships formed at LTC will continue to grow even as we enter into summer and return to our respective campuses in the fall.

Our Core team also decided on the theme, Running the Race, for the upcoming year during our campus time. We chose Hebrews 12:1-2 as our theme verse to remind ourselves that as we set our eyes on Christ and the gospel truth, we can have this hope and joy to continue to pursue God and be a light to others in this world. As students, we can easily get caught up in the busyness and distractions that come with college, but it is important to remember our purpose and calling as followers of Christ. I hope to continue studying and meditating on these verses as an encouragement for me to grow in my relationship with God and my love for others. LTC was truly a memorable experience, and I am grateful I was able to meet so many people involved with AACF.

Jacqueline Wei

Joseph Wong

It was a blessing being able to go to LTC this year. I can confidently say that I have learned a lot through this conference and that I feel more prepared to lead as a Core Coordinator this coming year. Cal State Northridge has had some trouble gaining members in the past couple of years which is why it was so important to make these valuable connections with other leaders at AACF. I was able to meet other Core Coordinators in person for the first time and be able to exchange ideas and get a better feel of how AACF is meant to be ran. Before LTC, I did not even know the different roles there were to fulfill in order to run an AACF. I also really liked the theme of slowing down and just spending time to reflect and spend time with the Lord. This time we spend with God shouldn’t be rushed throughout the semester no matter how busy we get. There should always be a time for us to slow things down and just seek Him and His plan for us and more specifically for AACF. Without taking time to seek God and spend time in His presence, it would just be like any other club on campus. However, as Christians, we aren’t leading by our own strength, but leaning on Him completely. In doing this, we are able to lead how He has called us to lead and serve the way He intended for us to serve. One of the Bible Studies that stood out to me the most was the Bible Study which focused on John 15:1-11. This passage is actually the same passage which we took our theme verse for my church’s Bible study group. In our church’s Bible study group, we picked this verse because we wanted everyone to stay rooted in the Word and to have a solid foundation. We wanted our members to always go back to their foundation and to stand strong even when life got challenging. However when we went over the passage at LTC, we were more focused on the part about removing what was unnecessary in our lives as a gardener would remove the parts of a tree which would only drag it down. This reminded me of how we must not only be willing to say we surrender our lives to God, but we also must constantly be allowing Him to remove those parts of our lives which will bear no fruit. These parts of our lives may seem nice to have around, but will do nothing to benefit our lives or our ministries. It was a good reminded to surrender and let God lead, but it was also a good reminder to focus on what is necessary and continue to bear fruit where you can. Another big takeaway from this conference was that as leaders, we must come from a place of compassion and real friendship rather than from obligation or duty. I learned this throughout the whole conference. It was mentioned at the Core Coordinator’s track and on Tuesday Evening’s session by Victor Quan. So many of the leaders at AACF today have taken up positions of leadership because their previous leaders had spent quality time with each and every one of them. They were cared for and treated as genuine friends rather than people that needed to be led. Going into this coming semester, I think it was so important to emphasize this sort of mindset. Although it’s natural for people to make friends at any club, the quality of friendship is what we will be focusing on as we go out and invite more and more people on campus. We will make sure to share Jesus’ love to everyone we come across and more specifically, to those who are in AACF at CSUN this coming semester. We hope for the Gospel to be shared and for people to continue to strengthen their faith as we plan ahead for the coming year!

Joshua Kwok

I would like to begin my reflection on my mindset coming into this past LTC.

Entering this past penultimate year of university and AACF, I was determined to attend LTC this summer regardless of whether I would be serving on core or not. I had heard from past core members of how good LTC was in-person and how it was a far better experience as such compared to the last two years of online LTC. I was inclined to believe this; I had, after all, spent my first two LTCs online while living halfway across the world. While I learned a lot, I cannot say that I remembered a lot. Needless to say, I could not remember the people who I met in the zoom breakout rooms and the staffers who lead the sections after LTC had ended. So, this year’s in-person LTC was a must for me.

Serving on core this year has shown me three things (among many others): my love for the AACF UW community, my desire to serve the Lord and His people, and the spiritually draining challenge of serving on a small, 3-person, core team. From these three things, I also came into LTC with an intention to be poured into, to refresh my Spirit, and renew my vision as I prepared for my third and final year of serving on AACF.

Praise God, for He heard my desires for this LTC. I will undoubtedly look back to this short retreat in the Palomar Mountains of Southern California as one of my favorite college experiences and favorite experience with AACF. Though our campus is alone up in the PNW while the other AACF chapters are in NorCal or SoCal, I did not feel isolated when mingling with the other AACFers. In fact, the Lord blessed me and my fellow UW leaders with brothers and sisters who were loving and encouraging. In my small group, I was admonished, corrected, taught, and humbled by believers of the same age, believers with a servant heart and the same love for their community. My eyes were opened to the many things our Lord Jesus was doing in the other campuses, but also finding comfort in our shared struggles. More than anything, LTC brought about a renewed sense of unity across the many AACF chapters and revealed the amazing character of God.

Apart from the new friendships made, I was challenged during the CC track. I had my own visions and ideas for what I wanted to do as CC, but the leading staffers Mark and Johannah reminded me of the vision and mission of AACF, how to do certain things, what to consider as a CC, and what the purpose of the role is. I praise God for these two experienced staffers because I now have a reformed vision as CC for core and for the AACF community. So great were these challenges that I felt convicted to share my renewed vision as CC and my heart for AACF to my campus. I, in turn, challenged my fellow leaders to consider the unity of the body of AACF, the alignment of our agendas, the centering of the fellowship on Christ, the continuing growth and development of our walks with the Lord.

Now, one week removed from the end of LTC, I am thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to have been able to spend an intentional 5 days off the grid to connect with our Californian brothers and sisters (and staffers) and to reconnect with the Lord through them. It affirmed my compassion for the AACF community and my resulting desire to serve, while pushing me to be even more intentional in my serving as I prepare for the final year of college and AACF. Even now, I am trying desperately to continue on what LTC started — morning prayers, quiet times, and devotionals — so that I will not forget and keep my walk with Christ persisting.

Thank you to the Ogawa Family and the donors for your generosity and providing me an opportunity to be able to attend this year’s LTC and relieve me of some financial burden such that I could wholeheartedly focus on the Lord and His people during these 5 days. May the Lord see the investing that is happening and turn your faithfulness into fruitfulness of the Kingdom. In turn, I pray that my learning and my serving would be used by God to serve His people at UW AACF and more – doing so through faith – and lead others into living a life worthy of Christ.

Below is the UW AACF Core team for next year. I am on the bottom row, second from the left.

Katrina Pan

Hello, I cannot believe it! LTC is already over. Attending this wonderful conference was already an honor but receiving this scholarship to help lighten my mother’s load was an even greater blessing. First and foremost, I want to show my appreciation and gratitude for providing this scholarship to low-income students. It has been beneficial to me tremendously, and I hope it will also help future Christian student leaders. Thank you again!

Moving forward, here is my experience at LTC! Where do I even begin? I loved LTC! I cannot express how much I enjoyed every minute of the conference. Everyone there was wonderful, from the other student leaders to the staff. I felt extremely welcomed and loved by each individual I encountered. I had the opportunity to hear about God’s mighty works on each campus and the individuals on those campuses. Although we operate each AACF differently, God is ever-present in each, truly emphasizing it is not our work but all God that everything turned out the way it did. I never imagined myself having more brothers and sisters to contact and grow alongside on different campuses, but God continues to surprise me and has given me relationships I cherish.

Other than the people, the whole structure of LTC was incredible! Although it was optional, the morning prayer was nice because it allowed me to start each day in God’s presence, talking to Him with my brothers and sisters. I learned more methods on how one can pray, which is fascinating since I never knew there were many ways to do so. Mealtimes were so delightful! Even though we began the conference by sitting with our campuses, we soon branched out to sit with other campuses. I was able to connect with more people on a deeper level and discover others that consume food similarly to me. When you dine with others, there is just a certain closeness that makes you feel closer to one another. Morning quiet times allow all of us to spend alone time with God and understand more of what it means to truly rest and abide in God. Bible study is awesome! I love my small group! They bring many thoughts, and perspectives into the conversation and willing to be vulnerable with each other. It is crazy how my small group and I have grown so close in such a short period. We are even planning on hanging out together this summer to grow even closer! Free time was nice because we can take naps but also participate in the activities available on all the campuses. The training track was incredible! I absolutely love Dave and Susana because I went into the Bible Study track without any expectations but learned so much from them two. I was able to reflect on the past year serving in women’s and see the potential changes and vision I can implement coming into the new school year for the ministry. Campus time was a special time. I grew much closer to my core team and we were able to gauge how our dynamics are working together. At the end of the day, the plenary was a great time to connect the theme and all that we learned throughout the day into a reflection of our lives.

Lastly, the theme “Life at 3 MPH: Moving from Performance to Presence” is absolutely magnificent! This theme is extremely relatable to students like us because we are taught by society that we should always work hard to achieve more and network to gain more favors from others. With this mentality in mind, we tend to focus on our works like Martha rather than putting more emphasis on allowing Christ to pour into us like Mary. I am still struggling with this, so having a theme I can connect to on such a personal level is amazing.

On a final note, I will 100% recommend anyone to attend LTC!

Lucy Lee

Going into LTC, I was extremely nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. This past school year, I had served on Core as a junior at UW and felt pretty lonely a lot of the time. I was the only girl serving on a team of three, and was also the only junior girl in the fellowship. Being complacent with the mindset that I would always be serving underclassmen without a group of girls to walk with me in my faith, I expected my LTC experience to be the same.

However, LTC ended up being one of the most valuable, life-changing and fruitful experiences I’ve had in college. I would say that LTC was definitely the highlight of my year so far. I didn’t expect to meet so many amazing people that were my age and had already served on Core like I did. I made friends that made me feel comfortable to open up, even though we had met a day ago. I shared about some current obstacles that I was facing, and they showed genuine support while praying for me and even checking in after we all went home. I was also filled by the plenary and worship sessions each night. Seeing the different campuses come together to lead worship was inspiring and it was one of the most beautiful sights I’d seen in a long time. I felt so hopeful that God gave me the opportunity to meet this community after a year of feeling alone. Everyone at LTC either understood what it felt like to serve in AACF, or had the heart to start their first year of serving on Core. This feeling of unity is one that I hadn’t felt before on my own campus, and I came out of LTC excited about my faith and serving for next year.

My favorite part of LTC was the morning quiet times. Back home, it was rare for me to set aside time, let alone over an hour, to meet God and pray. I am someone who lives a very fast-paced life and loves staying productive whenever possible. This is also the reason I thought the LTC theme was impactful and appropriate for what I’ve been going through, because it helped me reset and refocus on slowing down to center myself back on God. I was joyful to do my QT every morning because it was a new experience and I looked forward to how God would change my heart during this time. During my QT on Wednesday, I felt touched by the holy spirit and could feel God’s presence surrounding me — something that has been missing from my life for quite some time. I got emotional and teared up at that moment, feeling so blessed to be a child of God. LTC taught me that being Christian is a privilege and reminded me of how grateful I feel for my faith. Moving forward, I am so excited to share this gift that I have with others and reveal God’s heart to my peers during my final year of college.

Mingwei Zhu

First of all, I would just like to say thank you JEMS for funding my learning experience at LTC! Hi everyone, my name is Mingwei Zhu and I am currently an incoming third-year at UCLA. Coming into LTC, I had a minimal mental conception of what to expect as this was the first in-person LTC in the last couple of years. Consequently, no returning senior members of our AA chapter have been to in-person LTC in the past few years. Without much information or expectation, I was fully ready to be blown away by the grace of God, His revelations through fellowship, and the invaluable journey God has set out before me.

Modern society and the world have this systematic emphasis on the importance of hustle and constant devotion to hard work. As a Christian living in these contemporary times, I often see myself easily falling into the idols of work and worldly accolades. The theme of LTC this year: Life at 3 MPH, was then an amazing reminder from God to realign me with the peace and rest that were set through the Gospel and to re-center me with the grace and love shown by God and His Word rather than the work idols of the world. The ample time provided by JEMS for morning devotionals was more than sufficient for me to experience God’s word and meditate on the fundamental truths of the Gospel in quietness and peace. The questions and commentaries on those devotionals were insightful and introspective and fully allowed me to contemplate its applications to my life and my leadership style in Christ.

Beyond the devotionals, one of the most fruitful aspects of LTC this year was the small group. Coming into LTC, I was certainly excited to fellowship and bond with believers from other campuses and fully recognized this special opportunity I was given by God to network with people across the West Coast. However, I did not expect to bond with my small group so deep in such a short amount of time. From barely having anything to talk about after the questions were discussed to sitting together in meals for the last few days, I can confidently say that I not only gained new friends but got to know the Body of Christ deeper. We shared struggles, fears, and our walks of faith with the Lord, and encouraged one another to hold steadfast. Praise God for His provision!

Last by certainly not least, the best aspect of LTC was certainly the community. It is not every day that members of AA can get the chance to fellowship with other AA members from different campuses and the abundance of like-minded believers who are strong in their faith and far in their walks with the Lord was not only extremely encouraging to begin with, but also spiritually rewarding. Throughout the duration of LTC, I had the amazing opportunity of getting to know fellow outreach/EV coordinators at different campuses. It was great to bounce off ideas with one another, navigating through convictions, and discuss future plans and collaborations for ministry in the future to best carry out the commands of the Great Commission. I thank the Lord and for JEMS for creating this amazing opportunity of LTC for allowing me to foster these amazing relationships and hopefully plan and implement these activities that are going to further God’s kingdom.

Thank you all once again for the amazing financial support and God bless!

Pierce Chu

I am Pierce Chu, a rising sophomore at University of California San Diego. I am writing to you to thank you for the opportunity to attend the 2022 AACF Leadership Training Conference. It was such an honor to receive this scholarship and such a gift and blessing for my leadership journey.

Despite all the flies buzzing around at this year’s conference site, I still gained so much from this year’s conference. The experience, knowledge, and relationships were truly worth staying the extra week in San Diego.

It was extremely beneficial to gain so much experience as a small group leader this year. Although it was quite unexpected to lead small groups during the conference’s Bible study, it was great to get feedback from other peer leaders. It was very helpful to have such open discussion and constructive criticism because I do not think this is something I will often encounter during the school year. As a freshman small group leader, I do not think many freshmen will offer criticism as to how I lead a small group.

Additionally, I gained a lot of experience in leading small groups during my training track. This year, I enrolled in the Small Group Leading Training Track and in this track, Bruce gave his insight on leading a Bible study small group. Although leading so many small groups initially seemed like a lot of work, now looking back at it, I realized how beneficial it was as a small group leader.

Secondly, I gained a lot of knowledge for this upcoming school year. Coming into the conference, I was pondering upon a question—Is it okay to play favorites in a small group? This question was upon my heart because I recalled a couple of summers ago where I was a camp counselor. I had inadvertently made a camper cry because I had apparently been favoring another camper. So going into next year’s leadership position as a freshman small group leader, I wondered if it was okay to have favorite freshmen.

After a Bible study, I brought this question up to my small group. And one member provided me with a great answer that helped a lot. She revealed that it is okay to have favorites within a small group, and sometimes it is inevitable since some people just click better. However, as a small group leader, I must put equal effort and time into each small group member, not just my favorites. Additionally, I learned that having favorites may be beneficial because I can use this special relationship to help the “favoritee” to grow more. I can use this special relationship to push them in pursuing a relationship with God.

Lastly, I gained many new friendships this year. I was able to meet other leaders from other campuses that I would not normally meet. We were able to bond over superficial stuff as well as deeper talks about our spiritual walks. As a freshman, I was very open to listening to what older peers had to share about their college experiences. I look forward to growing these friendships in my upcoming years in college and beyond that.

Ryan Chang

This has been the second retreat-esque activity at a campsite I have attended in my life, the first being spring retreat this past quarter. As a whole, I really enjoy these AACF events, not only for the social aspects, but also for the opportunities I have to learn the Bible taught by new voices. In relation to the overall theme of LTC, I really appreciate the idea of living life at 3 miles per hour and slowing down the fast pace of life to focus and set my eyes on Jesus. Although I did not feel at all that things happened slowly at Palomar, I do relate to the hustle of life, especially during the week of finals that had just happened. I recognize that constantly considering the speed of life is a definite necessity and as a result of not doing it much, I particularly found the hour of designated quiet time productive as I was able to sit alone and spend time reading the Bible, answering the provided questions, reflecting on the passage, listening to Christian music, and concluding how I could apply what I read to my daily life. It did surprise me that I was able to sit for practically the whole hour with a clear mind in the stress-free environment that the camp provided because my mind is usually thinking and planning about many aspects of life. Another thing that stands out to me about LTC is the connections that I have to some people outside of just home church. A primary factor for me in joining AACF is some fellowship members at UCLA and USC attend my home church, Immanuel Bible Church in North Hills. Because I do not go to IBC during the school year, I was able to meet 3 new people, and one of them was actually in my Bible study small group. In addition, I met more people through mutual friends, and most interestingly, I was able to reconnect with someone from my middle school whose dad went to the same UCLA fellowship as my dad in the late 1900s. I also had the desire to get to know some students at UC Riverside because my younger brother will be going to school there and I wanted to do my best to help him get started in AACF because I love it so much and think it would be a great add-on to going to church for him as well. Coming into leadership training, I was under the notion that all the AACFs ran the same since they are all under the same parachurch organization, but I learned that due to a variety of factors, the majority of AACFs tend to have a different format which can continually be adapted to best fit the needs of the community. Getting to know my new Santa Barbara Staffer, Clarissa, and the rest of the SB servant team was also great in seeing how the core group dynamic changed with the seniors having graduated and a group that has the same goal of reaching into the collegiate community with the Gospel message, but with slightly different point of views.

Samara Shui

Scott Lin

 For me, the big blessing of LTC was having the opportunity to meet and have extended conversations with people from many AACFs. Spending a lot of time with AACFers from my own campus and people I know from my church, many of my spiritual conversations come from people I am already very familiar with. Meeting and having small groups and other intentional talks with people we had just met from other campuses was a reminder that God’s family is big! I really felt that everyone there was eager to have good conversations, learn about and from one another, and build one another up. It was also a special joy to get to know the UW students even better since we carpooled to and from the retreat site. I hope that friendships will be maintained in the years to come and that we can help each other practically with things going on in AACF as well as check up on each other spiritually!

Hearing about how other AACFs have been doing was encouraging as well. It brought me a lot of joy to hear how other campuses, like UCSD, are growing so rapidly and thinking about how they can best serve with that in mind, but also how the fellowships that are not quite as large are joyful and love their smaller groups just as well. It was also cool to see the shared vision for AACF to glorify God among core members from AACF chapters that are both big and small. And finally, the conversations I had with other campuses reminded me to be grateful for the servant culture at UCLA. We are so blessed to have an abundance of members who are really eager to step up and serve those around them at UCLA, both in and out of the fellowship.

The other “category” of conversations that I really appreciated at LTC was our campus time. As we looked forward to the coming year, I think a lot of us could see that people in our core hold different convictions about some secondary issues, and there are also some of us who can be pretty outspoken about them. We all have gotten to know each other this past year, but until LTC we hadn’t had too much time to meet in a focused way as a core group, and I think some of us weren’t quite sure how it would look or be different from other conversation. But our time as our campus’s core, whether bonding, talking casually, or making decisions, showed us that we are capable of getting along well and working together. I think it brought a lot of optimism for how our core can love our fellowship this next school year.

I think people from my campus and others came into LTC with varying expectations, but from the people I’ve talked to, the relationships built have been a consistent top takeaway from the conference. We are all appreciative of the focus on taking a step back and loving the people around us, both during LTC and as we look forward to the coming school year.

Seth Amano

Thank you so much for helping to fund my participation for AACF LTC!  The time that I spent there was extremely practical and helpful in teaching me how to better love the fellowship next year in my leadership capacity.  The main point of the theme being to slow down and not be so focused on getting results that you hurt people was extremely helpful.  Ministry should not be seen as a chore, but something we delight in doing for the glory and praise of God.  The messages also focused on how rather than focusing on how to get a task done, we must slow down and focus on God which in turn would allow us to love those we are serving better.  Before going to LTC, I was quite burnt out and too focused on getting results.  Though it is still important to “run the race with endurance” and “to live is Christ and to die is gain,” focusing on only the results is wrong if you do it for impure reasons.  I feel that it definitely is a temptation for leaders to lose focus on God and to focus on results, and I am no outlier.

As for the training track I participated in, the small group track was very helpful and provided ample time to practice what we learned.  We were taught how to lead Bible study, to ask open-ended questions that allow for people to answer and reveal their hearts, and we learned how to act as facilitators of a group discussion.  The most difficult part of this for me was creating questions that didn’t only have one sentence answers.  To me, having knowledge of the Bible was very important, but I never thought about how I needed to help the people feel a personal connection to Christ. 

LTC also helped me to learn about rest and compassion.  We had around an hour and fifteen minutes each day in order to do our daily devotionals.  I definitely wasn’t resting properly in my spring quarter of this year and didn’t allow myself to rest in God’s goodness and grace.  If I was to properly love others, I needed to be available for informal ministry opportunities and be able to gift others simply with my presence rather than me doing a bunch of different ministries and wearing myself thin.  I also learned a large amount about compassion.  In the Christian life, we learn and talk a lot about the term “love,” yet it is something near impossible to actually live out.  How kind, gentle, humble, and graceful do we be without hiding or running from the truth?  We must speak the truth, but the truth without love is “a resounding gong and a clanging cymbal.  So how much of truth and kindness is the right balance?  I was stuck on how to act, thus I always leaned towards speaking the truth.  These hour-long devotionals really helped me find the quality of Christ that I was missing: compassion.  Compassion was something that was definable and demonstrated by Christ.  It was his immediate response to seeing the brokenness that sin caused in this world.  Due to LTC, I want to better apply this quality to my life.

Thank you so much once again for helping all of us student leaders to receive proper training by providing financial support!

Stephanie Chu

It was an absolute joy and blessing to attend this past LTC! I’m beyond grateful to have

gotten to experience LTC in person because I had an amazing time interacting with and getting to know students and staffers from all the other campuses. I loved how everyone was at LTC for the purpose of getting away from the busyness of life in order to intentionally grow our understanding of Christian leadership. I genuinely grew in my confidence to be a leader at the AACF on my campus because 1) I was reminded of God’s sovereignty in placing me on Core this upcoming year and 2) I was equipped with some of the practical skills I would need as a leader.

I was greatly encouraged by the constant reminders of God’s placing of me and everyone else at LTC as leaders in our respective AACF chapters. Coming into this past school year of serving, I still felt like a freshman, and most definitely did not feel like an upperclassman about to be on Core. I felt underqualified and inadequate to serve as a ministry and small group leader. Then as this past school year started and went on, I experienced a growing abundance of God’s grace and goodness as leading Care Team at AACF at UCLA easily became one of the biggest blessings, joys, and highlights of my junior year. I learned to rely on my ministry partner and team, to openly share joys and struggles alike with them, and to serve the fellowship with humble hands and hearts. But it’s funny how easy it is for my human heart to forget God’s goodness and faithfulness. When I was asked to serve in a different position on Core for this upcoming school year, I was once again hit with a familiar wave of fear and inadequacy. Coming into LTC, I was surprised to find that other people, also asked by their fellowship to be a leader, shared the same inadequacy that I initially felt. It was comforting to know that I didn’t struggle with this feeling alone, and it helped so much to know that I had other brothers and sisters to work through this with. The community and solidarity that LTC provided was so meaningful to me, especially in terms of working through feeling inadequate and nervous to lead. Though I am but a sinner, God has extended His mercy in allowing me to serve Him and His people through AACF. And by God’s grace and the power of His Spirit, my hope for this upcoming year is that I would be a ready vessel for His use!

I learned an immense amount at LTC and left feeling very equipped, by means of both the intentional theme and my training track. I really enjoyed the theme, Life at 3 MPH, because it emphasized slowing down and enjoying God’s presence and the joy of serving Him with true hearts. I really needed this reminder in my life, especially as I was coming from a long and stressful week of finals, where I spent nearly all my waking hours cramming for exams. It was imperative that I slowed down and intentionally made time in my day for the Lord, something that the hour-long Quiet Time really helped me with. The theme was a constant reminder to rest in the Lord and search my heart regarding my purpose of serving on Core. I loved the story of Mary and Martha, how Mary chose the better part because she chose Jesus. I needed the reminder to be still and to choose Him over working for Him. I also learned a lot from my training track. I was a part of the Small Group Leading training track led by Bruce and Jasmine.

The entire experience was amazing because I received so much hands-on training and got to practice leading small groups in real time. Leading small groups in Bible Study was a challenging, but extremely growing experience for me. In the training track itself, I learned many practical tips and skills from Bruce and Jasmine, applying them as the week went on. I can confidently say that by the end of the week, I had grown in my ability to lead a small group and this is all thanks to the firsthand practice we received during Bible Study and the training track time.

Another highlight of LTC for me were the small groups! I had my small group for Bible study and my small group for my training track. These were people that I saw and interacted with consistently for the duration of the week, allowing me to connect, make memories, and form relationships with them. Even several weeks after LTC ended, I still text people in my small groups because they were individuals that I genuinely connected and shared life with.

All in all, LTC was the best possible way that I could have kicked off my summer. I am grateful for the in-person experience of God’s goodness and faithfulness, displayed and demonstrated in the success of this conference and the impact that it has made on my life and on many others. Thank you for reading my reflection!

Sydney Cheng

My name is Sydney Cheng and I am the Inreach Coordinator at USC for the coming 2022-2023 school year. Attending LTC was incredibly edifying and I learned a lot from both the Community Building training track and the main sessions. I was really appreciative of how Melanie and Thomas led the Community Building track and the interactions they enabled between Core members of other schools and me. I was also the Inreach Coordinator last year and attended the same training track online, but participating in person was so much more beneficial and joyful than I expected. It was a blessing to talk to and relate with others about their fears and excitements for the incoming school year, whether this was their first year serving or not. On the last day, my training track small group discussed various worries or insecurities we had and this created opportunities to encourage and affirm one another, and ultimately point each other back to Christ.

As I mentioned before, I was Inreach Coordinator last year for USC, but this year of experience definitely did not make me feel more secure or prepared for this next year. In fact, it definitely made me more nervous because I felt as though I wouldn’t have the excuse of being a rookie to shield myself from any perceived failures. Therefore, I had a lot of hopes for LTC to better equip me for ministry. After the second message, I realized how self-centered these hopes were. I wanted LTC to give me magical advice that would help me efficiently build a better fellowship; I wanted a list of ideas that would make intentionality in event planning easy and that would boost attendance and enjoyment. I wanted to figure out how to make my ministry team more excited to serve and eager to serve with one another. The second message gave an answer that I really needed and felt super convicted by. It talked about how including others in ministry is Christ-like and therefore a service to them as well. One line the speaker said that stuck with me was something along the lines of “serving someone else affects one person: them. But allowing them to serve alongside you impacts at least two people: the both of you.” I had a lot of trouble letting go and giving others more responsibility last year; even when I told people on the inreach team that they were in charge of the event, I still exercised a lot of oversight and often changed things instead of making suggestions. I also wasn’t good at delegating and if no one volunteered to do something right away I would just do it on my own. The third message was a panel in which they talked about being task-oriented vs. people oriented. This discussion clarified what I had been doing; I had been prioritizing events happening and getting done over allowing people on my ministry team opportunities to serve their brothers and sisters, as well as the Lord. LTC taught me a lot about leadership, but those are the two main things I will take away from the experience.

Finally, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, blessings of LTC were the connections and friendships I made with people from other campuses. I had been feeling really socially burnt out since the end of the school year, so part of me was dreading all the socializing that I would have to do, but God really transformed my tired heart into one that sought to know people more. I had really great conversations with people in my small group and at night in the main gathering room and especially with my own campus, too! Overall, it was really a blessing to create and deepen friendships and now so many campuses want to do joint events for next year. I’m really thankful for the scholarship that was provided to me because I truly believe my ministry team would be worse off next year if I hadn’t gone. Thank you so much for everything that you do!

Taliah Sofaer

Thank you so much for the opportunity to go to LTC this year, I most likely would not have been able to attend without the financial help. I am a part of the AACF at CSUN, and our current situation is that the chapter is dying out, we had a good number of members graduate just before the Covid-19 pandemic and it was very hard, if not impossible, for us to grow during our time online. In addition to this, I actually have not been attending CSUN, I go to a community college that is in the area, and attend the CSUN AACF because it is the closest chapter. I graduated from community college this past spring and will be transferring to another school this coming fall. Because of this, I’m not imagining that I will be on core in the future at other AACF chapters, therefore I came into LTC with, I think, a bit of a different set of expectations and goals compared with the other students. I saw LTC as much more of an opportunity to further my leadership and ministry skills in general, as well as looking back on my time on the CSUN core team this past year, and evaluating what I could have done better, as a leader.

At LTC I was a part of the Bible Study track, which taught a lot of very practical and useful skills for preparing and leading a bible study or a small group. I did find it very helpful; as I was reflecting I was realizing that a lot of the information that was presented I already had heard or knew of (my parents are both leaders in ministry, so I have had a lot of exposure to these concepts), however I found it very helpful for the information to be structured and compiled in a way that I could actually apply and use it. The leaders of my track were very skilled teachers, I really enjoyed learning from them, I also really appreciated their willingness to take questions and help us through the concepts that were a bit more difficult for us to grasp. Apart form the track, I think my favorite “activity” was the quiet times in the morning, I really appreciated that it was a very long amount of time that was intentionally structured into our day, so I didn’t feel rushed or feel like I was missing out on some other activity. The material that we went through in the quiet time was really helpful, the questions we very thoughtful and I felt like they were not as much, just telling us applications from the passage, but rather they were helping to learn how to apply a passage and thinking about it for ourselves. Along with this I appreciated that during our bible study time in the morning it wasn’t lead like a mini sermon series but the students were expected to work through the material for ourselves with questions guiding us through.

On the whole, I think there was much more of an emphasis on teaching spiritual formation principles for ministry leadership, and this was not was I was expecting going into LTC, but It was over and beyond what I was anticipating from this conference. It felt like a teaching of not just how to practically be a leader but how to be a wise, godly, and caring person who is completing God’s calling on their lives through the role of being in leadership.

Tiffany Yang

Yiyang Wang

Out of the eight students who attended LTC from the University of Washington this year, I was the only one who was not going to be serving on core for the subsequent school year. In the beginning, I was unsure of whether I should come, however, my campus minister, Thomas Chen shared with me that he was also not on core during his first time attending LTC. I was still not entirely sure of what to expect and my decision to come to LTC was on a whim, however, my five days at my very first LTC had affirmed my decision to attend, and to grow as a Christian leader in my fellowship.

The theme of LTC this year was “Living Life @ 3 MPH”, before knowing the theme my expectation would be four days of non-stop intensive training. I mentally prepared myself to be ready to soak in all the information. However, to my surprise, the theme championed the exact opposite mindset, focusing on moving from “performance to presence”. The days were scheduled with plentiful time for devotionals, learning, and fellowship with other students. The training track that I had chosen was Bible study. I chose it with the intent to grow in studying and reading scripture. Taking those skills and translating that into leading a small group. Of the many things I learned, a life-changing discovery was learning to use an interlinear. For the first time, I used an interlinear and discovered that there is so much more to just the text and that certain words can carry different meanings. The example which we examined was, John 21:15-19 where Jesus asks if Peter has ‘agape’ love for Peter, but Peter responds with a ‘phileo’ love, after a series of exchanges Jesus meets Peter where he is at and asks if he has a ‘phileo’ love for him. I was amazed when shown this, and since then I have begun to use an interlinear along with my Bible when reading.

Outside of the training track sessions, I also learned a lot in my conversations with students from other campuses. Seeing the fiery passion that other students had for their campus fellowship left a positive impact on me. On the way to and from camp, I was touched by the hospitality and care that the California AACF students had shown. They went out of their way to show us around and brought us to restaurants and boba spots around the area. I am extremely grateful to have met gracious and loving brothers and sisters in Christ, and consequently have a new found excuse to visit California.

A message from one of the evening plenary sessions that stuck out to me was, moving from being task-oriented to being people-oriented. The message made me realize that too often I focus on being task-oriented, that I overlook the relationship that I have with both God and the people around me. When approaching my faith and work, it is not just about checking the boxes and reaching goals but also praying for God’s will, to repent, and to constantly remind ourselves that all that we do should be done to glorify God. I found this message powerful as too often I am only focused and driven on finishing tasks, I overlook the time that I should spend with God and the people around me.

Reflecting on my time at LTC, the brothers and sisters I met, and the mountain of knowledge I gained. LTC had really encouraged, affirmed, and convinced me to grow spiritually. I discovered that God had put a heart in me to serve my fellow brothers and sisters in AACF. It was a spiritually restoring time where I was able to focus on God and his will for me in growing and serving as a Christian leader. This goes without saying that I am tremendously grateful for the blessing and support from the AACF staff and the Ogawa family who have granted me this opportunity to attend LTC. LTC has had a profound impact on me in giving me the faith, knowledge, and confidence to grow in Christ and in leadership.