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AACF Story

The ministry of AACF, Asian American Christian Fellowship, began with a group of college students who had attended the JEMS Mount Hermon summer conference. They wanted the summer fellowship to continue beyond the conference. And in 1972 that desire crystallized at CSU Los Angeles where the first bible study was held. A handful of college students gathered on campus for a bible study. More bible studies popped up all over the west coast of the U.S.. Groups started up at UCLA, UC Berkeley, UW Seattle, CSULB, SJSU, and Stanford. And in 1977 these bible studies became known as Asian American Christian Fellowship. At that time, the AACF leadership realized that there was a void for college-aged Asian American. So began the mission, to reach college campuses with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ and to raise up the next generation of Christian leaders. In 2020 we have 20 AACF chapters that includes nearly 700 students who are, in turn, reaching thousands of college students and faculty.

What makes AACF unique as a campus ministry is student ownership and initiative. Our ministry empowers, educates, and equips students for service and witness in wherever God calls them. They are taught to cast vision, plan events, set budgets, form succession plans, teach scripture, share the Gospel in their communities, and much more. They are supported by campus ministers. These men and women serve as mentors, disciplers, counselors, consultants, and missionaries to the campus. Together, students and staff, along with the Holy Spirit has given AACF a legacy of reaching the college campus and raising up Christian leaders.

Our first leadership training conference was held in 1985. This conference was designed to formalize the leadership development that was happening in the staff-student discipleships.  This has become an annual conference that continues to prepare the next generation of Christian leaders.

Here is a testimony from Victor Quon (pictured with #17 black jersey, currently serves as a Campus Minister) about the first AACF Leadership Training Conference:

There are times when we get ourselves involved in something of historical significance and kingdom impact and not realize it until later in life.  Such was the case when I was asked to participate in the 1985 AACF Leadership Training Conference (LTC).  At the time, I only had a surface-level understanding of campus ministry.  I was the Christian Education & Youth Director at my church in San Diego.  As part of my job, I took on a volunteer role with the AACF group at UC San Diego.  I was simply looking for a way to interact with college students.  When then AACF Executive Director Rich Hong led the staff in putting together a leadership training conference, they asked me if I would like to participate.  I would like to say that I agreed to this offer out of obedience to God.  But it was more along the lines of not having anything else to do, so I decided to go.  My memories of the first LTC are taking the group picture, inventing the selfie (which I can explain on another occasion), participating in a group game that demonstrated the plight of economically impoverished people groups and leading a workshop on How to Study the Bible.

After the conference was over, I drove home and continued on with my life.  But over the years, I have come to see the significance of LTC.  Once, in a conversation with former AACF Executive Director, Tommy Dyo, he called the conference The Crown Jewel of AACF.  But after thinking about it, I had to agree.  It is the one week of the year in which our ministry is shaped.  Students are trained to lead and serve other students.  When I meet alumni who once attended LTC, they will often say that they were first exposed to the use of ministry skills at the conference that they still use today.  Jason Lowe, a graduate of San Jose State once told me that LTC changed his life.  

There were about 35 students and staff at that first LTC.  None of us could have imagined the foundation that was being laid that week.  Relationships were created, experiences were shared and gifting for the expansion of God’s kingdom were being discovered.  Yeah, it was indeed a week of historical precedence.

And by God’s grace, we continue to faithfully fulfill our mission on college campuses.

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