The Metro Staff Retreated With Jesus And Each Other

Our Metro Staff just got home from a 2 night staff retreat at Spruce Lake Retreat Center in PA. They had a wonderful time as these testimonies tell us....

I’m immensely thankful for our staff because they are people of integrity that genuinely love God and people. As the lead pastor of the church, I do not take it for granted what a wonderful team we have. God has blessed me and Metro for bringing us together to serve his kingdom. – Peter Ahn

Thankful to be on a staff that genuinely cares for each other and loves spending time together in prayer and fellowship.

Every year staff retreat is one of the highlights of my year because it’s a time for us to have fellowship and recharge and pour into one another as a family.

Thankful that I joined staff in time for the retreat. I’m so amazed by how open and honest and loving this group is. I feel blessed and honored to be joining this team.–Janet Kwon

I’m thankful to have the opportunity to get away from regular day life and every year it has been a blessing in a different way.  And once again, this year, God reminded me what a beautiful community we have at Metro staff.

I especially appreciated the opportunity to share and to practice spiritual disciplines in the same space as my friends and colleagues.

At this year’s staff retreat God invited me to hide in the Shadow of His Wings, both in solitude and in community, to escape together and REJOICE together in laughter and MOURN together in tears with such depth in the unity of the Spirit. Thank You, Father! – Shirley You

At this year’s retreat, God really ministered to me through the opportunity to share my story and to hear others’. Witnessing the work of God in each person individually, and how God brings all of our stories together to form the corporate Body, is witnessing glory.  – Reba Kim

I love the transparency of our staff in sharing their pain and brokenness knowing that there is love, support and encouragement in the eyes and words of each person.   I especially appreciated the opportunity to feel safe to share and be my true self.  I am glad I got to spend time with each person in conversation, games, encouragement and affirmation.   I am grateful for each person on staff for the gifting and calling God has on their life.  I love that staff retreat allows us to get closer which helps us to serve together better.  – Ancy Post

We have the best staff family ever and once again the staff retreat served as a reminder of that. We talk about pain being the commonality that unites us but it’s integrity that allows us to share our pain. In listening to people share their pain and hardships I realized that we are people of integrity who are honest and aware of who they are but also the work that God is doing in them.

I came to grow and rest in God with my church staff family. We did hard work digging deep emotionally and spiritually. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to share such great hurts and the encouragement of the loving affirmations. God did many good things during this retreat and we leave better equipped and encouraged.   ~Anna

The staff retreat was a wonderful bonding experience. Betty.

I really appreciated the time with God and was reminded that I need to do this on a weekly basis.  Jenny

 

 

She Leads Conference

Last Saturday, a few ladies from our church went to “She Leads” conference at Jacksonville Chapel in Lincoln Park, NJ. It is a conference to equip and train women who are leaders in different ministries.  Since some of us are in the process of re-launching women’s ministry at Metro, it was a timely conference. Our God knows what we need and He provides at the perfect timing.

The conference started with women from different churches worshipping together. Many wonderful speakers presented great material during the two keynote sessions and three breakout sessions. We were able to select the topics that interested us the most.  

During the first keynote session, the speaker started with a powerful Bible verse. “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)

I learned that everyone is made to influence others in a way no one else can. People who are close to us are typically are the ones who influence us or we influence the most. The speaker had us draw a small circle and write down the people who we influence daily. Usually they are our immediate family members. Then we drew a bigger circle around it, like a bull’s eye circle, wrote down the people who are our close friends or people we see or meet on a regular basis. Then we drew an even bigger circle around it and wrote down the people who are our friends or neighbors in our community. Those are our circles of influence.

In my personal journey, the people who influenced me may not even know they have great impact on me. Our work is not about impressing others, but about making impression. When we are called to be influencers, one of our reactions may be fear. God doesn’t say, “Don’t be afraid, you’ve got this." Instead, He says,” Don’t be afraid, I’ve got this.” We need to replace fear with God’s truth.

One of the workshops Lisa Ra and I went to was, “Beginning and building a balanced women’s ministry." It was a smaller group and we were probably the younger ones there. The woman who taught began her presentation by explaining why women’s ministry is important. Women's Ministry will encourage women to grow in their relationship with God and with each other, to help women feel accepted, to advance the body of Christ, and to benefit the family. WM is simply women encouraging women, helping meet the needs of one another and inspiring each to grow together in Jesus. The leader has served in WM for 25+ years and she said it feels like she is passing the torch to the next generation. The group was very supportive and excited for us to start women’s ministry at our church. They shared their experiences and wisdom with us.

All of us were glad we went and felt encouraged through this conference. We hope more women will be able to  go next time.

Submitted by Jennifer Kao

The Beauty Of His People

I’m not a great singer.  I can’t harmonize for my life and that’s exactly what I told Eric, our choir director, when I signed up to be part of this year’s Easter choir.  He reassured me with his easy smile that I would be okay.  Who was this unusually tall, energetic, piano-playing Korean brother who told me that I would be ok despite the fact that they wanted us to sing all six songs on the Easter program; that we had a total of four rehearsals together; that I could not understand his hand-written music arrangements (“We come in when, after repeating the pre-chorus twice, skip over verse 2, come back in from which line?  Oh, just stare at you and you’ll give us every cue?  Got it!”)

When I signed up for the Easter choir, I thought it would be fun, something different than what I normally got involved with at Metro.  Well, it turned out to be very fun—it turned out to be something special indeed.  Though I’ve been part of Metro for many years and I know a good number of people, it still isn’t easy to connect with new faces, let alone make new friends.  Let’s face it; we are a sea of faces coming in and out through the doors each Sunday.  How many of us have introduced ourselves to the same person about six times only to forget their name again the next week?  

And so, what started out as an act of half whim, half self-challenge turned out to be a beautiful example of what happens when God brings together a bunch of mostly strangers into one place to become—the body of Christ.  Had I not taken a chance, I would’ve certainly missed out on the blessings.  To be more exact, I would’ve missed out on the gift of new friends, meeting a servant-leader whose example blew us all away, the awesome experience of being on stage on Easter Sunday to bless God and the church, the satisfaction of working hard in each of our parts to later come together in joyous harmony… the beauty of His people.

“Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together.  We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.”  (Ephesians 2:20-22, MSG Version)

Suah & Pastor David Dabble With DNA

Ever since I’ve had the honor of meeting the one and only Pastor David and engaging in impromptu conversations with him around the office, we’ve had an ongoing debate about whether or not it is actually feasible to distinguish between various East Asian ethnic groups solely based on physical appearance.  

As someone with two Korean parents who has no reason to believe that she is anything but, being constantly mistaken for Chinese or Filipina has always been a source of curiosity for me. I’ve always wondered if there was any biological basis as to why I may appear so…not Korean. I mean, my dad’s side of the family did all hail from North Korea, which shares a border with China so, it wasn’t that much of a stretch to consider the possibility of there having been some intermarrying in my paternal lineage.

Clearly, my constant chattering about it eventually wore Pastor David out, and he so graciously gifted me with a DNA test kit for my birthday this past year. We decided to send off our saliva samples and do a video reveal together when the results came back (of which the most difficult part was not eating for 30 minutes prior to gathering the sample #snackersunite). 

And that brings us to the video that you are about to view...

Suah's Reflections

I’m not going to lie: the “big” reveal turned out to be very anticlimactic in reality because, not only did I find out that AncestryDNA does not differentiate between the various East Asian DNA’s, but I also found out that I am nothing but East Asian.  What?! 100% East Asian!? Who, in this day and age, is 100% of anything? This girl, apparently. 

So anyways, in my quest for additional information, I did a bit of digging around as to why AncestryDNA did not differentiate between the various East Asian DNA’s, and most of what I found seemed to point to the fact that the DNA of East Asian individuals is very difficult to differentiate, especially those DNA samples of Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

There are many thoughts and reflections that have been percolating in my mind following my discovery of my supposed 100% “thoroughbrededness,” but I think, overall, this study led me to reconsider some of the ideas I had always harbored about different ethnic groups and cultures. For example, many Koreans, both in the U.S., as well as in Korea, are notoriously ethnocentric in their ways (a pattern that I think is derived from the history of the country, but I think that that would be a discussion for another entry altogether).  I had always grown up believing that there were very real, very distinct traits that characterized each of the various East Asian groups and that these traits served to mark how different we really were from each other. And while, yes, there are some very real, very distinct characteristics of each culture, I am highly doubtful that these traits are as inherent and as immutable as I had once been led to believe.

Needless to say, it was very much a poignant experience to actually see that, genetically, the East Asian people were virtually indistinguishable, and to find that even differences that are perceived as more marked and visible, such as those that construct the concept of “race,” are more or less a reflection of a relatively small number of what makes up our collective DNA. It turns out we have infinitely more in common with each other than we do that is different. 

I guess I shouldn’t really have needed to pay money to a company to find out this truth as God made us all in His image and we all represent the Imago Dei (Genesis 1:27), buuuuuuut, maybe I needed another reality check. And also, I didn’t pay, Pastor David did, soooo….THANK YOU, PASTOR DAVID! You are forever my favorite pastor!  

Pastor David's Reflections

By universal acclamation, Sunshine Suah is Metro staff's most intelligent, enjoyable, engaging conversationalist on almost any topic, as evidenced by her office which is affectionately known as "The Black Hole". In conversations involving ethnicity, it was observed that without any cosmetic surgery, she doesn't have that stereotypical Korean look (whatever that is). This led us to wonder whether she may have a more interesting history of frisky relatives who may have crossed national borders to multiply and replenish the earth.

On my part, my sister who took a similar but more sophisticated health and ancestry service test for medical reasons, turned out to be predominantly East Asian (45%, with 33% Chinese and 0.5% Korean), European 44% and 11% Sub-Saharan African. Unless siblings are identical twins, they do not have identical DNA, as the 50% DNA contribution from each parent to an offspring varies with each offspring. Though my "muttdom" and "mongrelicity" was unquestioned, its variety was unknown. Interestingly, people from places like Jamaica and Hawaii take greater pride in the greater diversity of their ethnicity.

So with Betty's Christmas gift to me, and my birthday gift to Suah, we decided to settle some of our curiosity scientifically. In hindsight, we should have gone for the more expensive, sophisticated test rather than the basic one which has broader, general categories like "East Asian" which doesn't distinguish between say, China, Japan, and Korea. So this means that while our thoroughbred filly Suah may be 100% East Asian, this does not necessarily mean that she's 100% Korean. Unfortunately, earlier DNA testers and Japanese have muddied the waters by falsely attributing Japanese DNA to Koreans, and our president stated recently that Korea was once part of China! So Korean indignation and ethnocentricity is understandable in the light of these malicious or ignorant false news.

Also, with a limited sample population in many areas clearly designated as a "Low Confidence Region" by its DNA testers, results need to be taken with a grain of salt. Not surprisingly, my results were similar to my sister's, with a higher percentage of East, Central and South Asian (49%) and Pacific Islander (7%), lower European (35%), and similar African (9%).

Undoubtedly, our DNA of nature is a significant component to who we are, though there are other critical components of nurture such as culture, geography, community and family that may have also contributed to varying degrees. For example, in Jamaica our national motto is "Out of many, one people", so in principle, we embrace diversity, and have mated across ethnic lines without religious barriers. Historically, our political and educational roots lie in England, while in cultural and entertainment values are shaped by Uncle Sam. From birth, my primary community and family was deeply Christian. Similarly, Suah's formative experiences in Central America with a unique family and sub-culture have had recognized or unrecognized influence on her.

The New Testament's emphasis that with Christ there is no difference between "Gentile or Jew, [Chinese or Korean], circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free" reminds us of our common and equal humanity with its rich diversity, including DNA composition. Also, Metro's one word summary of "Transformation" (into Christlikeness) reminds us that while all ethnicities and cultures have been tainted by the Fall to varying degrees, Jesus' redemptive death and resurrection have begun the reversal of the death to our human race. With our new spiritual DNA as new creations in Christ, we ought not to rational-lies our behavior by claiming that the devil or our genes made us do it.

By the way, even though I may feel that I am Suah's favorite pastor, and that she's my favorite staff person, she has the unique gift of making everybody feel very special, and that they are her favorite person. There will probably be no need to enforce the 10 minute rule for staff conversations when she follows John with family to N Carolina, but we are already grieving the loss of this genuine thoroughbred (at least in spirit), who ethnic purity has not hindered her from being a friend and reconciler of people of varying pedigree, including fraternizing with mongrels.

Launching T3

Metro's newest ministry, T3, which stands for "Top Tier Transformers," held their first meeting on Saturday, April 29th at the home of Susan and Peter Kim in Closter, New Jersey.  Led by Pastor David and Betty Ho Sang, this ministry strives to help those in their 40's+ with the unique challenges of being an "older" Christian.

T3 was met with much enthusiasm.  Over forty guests were present at the initial meeting, and almost all who attended stated that this ministry was greatly needed.

Please be on the look out for the details regarding the next T3 meeting!  For more information about T3, please contact Pastor David Ho Sang at david.hosang@emetro.org.

Submitted by Maria Kim

Spring 2017 Marriage Retreat

As our church family gathers to worship this morning, the marriage retreat is winding up a wonderful weekend at Spruce Lake Retreat Center two hours away in PA. Pastor Kevin and Linda Swanson were privileged to lead six amazing couples through the retreat, and help them invest in their marriages. Each of us is very thankful for the work God did in us as individuals and couples to help us grow in our ability to love and respect our spouses, and have the marriages God dreams for us to have. 

 

 

Preparing for Easter

Excitement and teamwork filled the air at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ, this morning as Metro volunteers and staff set up for our 9:30 and 11:30 Easter services tomorrow morning.

Easter Sunday is a high point in our annual church calendar! Worshipping our God and celebrating His love and power to forgive and transform us will be so special! Today's camaraderie and joy in preparing for tomorrow's services was a small picture of how great being together for tomorrow's Easter services will be. 

 

 

 

UG Year Review

It was Friday, October 7th, 2016, the first meeting of our new Underground Group. On a crisp fall evening, we met at the Metro House, and thus was the start of a new spiritual journey together. We gobbled down pizza as we went around and introduced ourselves. There were many new faces, and also familiar faces that I know personally or have seen in passing. Although not all of us knew each other, we did have one thing in common: we were all in the beginning stages of a new chapter in our lives.

 

Our UG focused on biblical marriages, particularly as all of us were learning to navigate our engagements and early years of marriage. The first half of our UG centered around the book The Meaning of Marriage by Dr. Timothy Keller, where each week we read and discussed one chapter of the book. One chapter that stood out to me most was “The Power of Marriage,” where we discussed Paul’s thesis on married couples and the need for the Holy Spirit in our lives. We shared about our personal experiences with self-centeredness, and how that has affected our relationship with our partner. Through our discussions, we explored what it truly means to serve one another and to practice holy matrimony.

 

While the first half of our UG focused on a contextual perspective of marriage, the second half focused on Metro’s sermons, and how they relate to our relationships. We debriefed each week and discussed our personal experiences with marriage and courtship, and how we handled conflict. We shared about how some of our differences in personality, habits, values, and culture have perpetuated tension, disagreements, and arguments. Most importantly, we shared best practices on how each of us overcame these experiences and how we have learned from them. One couple shared about their implementation of “sharing time,” in which they both intentionally set out time to speak about what was on their heart in order to better empathize with one another and overcome conflict. Personal testimonies are what stood out to me most about our UG because it offered a safe space for each of us to be authentic and vulnerable while being loved on at the same time.

 

Our serious discussions about marriage were equally paired with laughter, fellowship, and hilarious stories that were truly one for the books. We broke bread and displayed our culinary talents with one another, and had many couples who opened up their homes and offered the utmost hospitality. This time of fellowship was crucial in our early stages of marriage as we continued to lean on our community while casting our cares on our heavenly Father and lifting each other in prayer. I came out with newly found friendships in which I connected with on a deeper level. UG gave me the platform to plug into Metro and to get to know people that I wouldn’t have met had I not joined a group. Before I signed up for UG, I was hesitant due to my competing obligations and priorities. But I am so thankful I chose to join and decided to be intentional about my need for community. We are called to act as brothers and sisters in Christ, and to love on one another despite our brokenness.

This was my very first UG at Metro, and it was one that was truly memorable and invaluable. I grew so much in this past year and learned to put Jesus at the center of my relationship. Despite having gotten even closer with my partner and being intentional about navigating through marriage, I’ve learned that no other person in this world could ever overpower the love of Jesus. His love is unconditional, and I’ve learned to follow in God’s footsteps as He teaches me how to love my partner, just as Christ has loved us.

Submitted by Doris Yau

MUG ~ Hug An UG

Every Wed. nights I've been attending a MUG, or Mother's Underground Group. But this week, we had a special UG night with some special ladies. They are a younger group of ladies UG and we had a joint session with them. We call it a "Hug an UG Night."

It was a relaxed night of delicious food and great fellowship. We all shared our backgrounds with each other. The mamas shared words of wisdom and years of experiences to our younger counterparts. The young ladies shared adventures and life lessons with us as well. We were all encouraging and inspiring one another. We cheered, we laughed, and we clapped for each other. Both groups learned a lot from each other and although we are at different life stages, we all feel part of a bigger community of being women of God.

It was truly a night where I felt blessed by my sisters in Christ. It was a great opportunity for all of us to get out of our comfort zone and meet other people in our church. Our "Hug an UG night" is more than just a fun night, it really helps foster unity and diversity in our church. It is definitely something I would encourage everyone to do- to seek to connect to others, whether it's through a similar Hug an UG event, through the ministries, and even by a simple act of saying hi and talking to the stranger beside you at church. Just as Jesus reached out to all of us, if we can all go out and reach out to each other, we can create an authentic and much deeper sense of community in our beloved church.

Metro Cultural Day: A Travel Album

We are so blessed at Metro!

I sat across the room and watched as two families, with their heads bent, plotted and planned on what they wanted to have to represent their culture at their shared table. What makes this notable is both of theses families attend Metro Community Church, but possibly pass each other in the hall each week (or attend different services).

There were so many "aha!" moments like this at this year's Cultural Day!

I felt especially thankful when I was watching our South Korean representatives wearing Hanboks and dancing Salsa with our family from the Dominican Republic.

And let's not forget the food - there were so many types to sample, you didn't want to miss a single table! The oxtails from the Ghana, sausages from Portugal, treats from Thailand, and so much more! There were trays and trays of culturally diverse foods to

Each table also provided a prayer of need for that country. If you attended, I hope that you took time to read and pray for those needs. If you didn't, please know that the need still persists and that this is how we can stand in solidarity with each other at our church!

As I looked around at all the people talking, laughing and enjoying each other's differences, I thought - these are the moments that make a difference. These are the ties that bond us together as God intended.

THANK YOU to all the volunteers that made Cultural Day this year possible. From everyone who helped set up and break down tables, decorated the gym, represented their countries, cooked the food, all the way to those who blew up balloons - I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating this special moment at our church where we could worship God by celebrating our diversity with each other.

Special shout out to: Pastor Kevin Swanson and Pastor Doug Cho who both didn't mind getting their hands dirty helping with set up and clean up.

I also want to thank Estela Kim. Thank you for or your tireless, diligent, well organized work. I shall keep you around for future Cultural Days. Expect a hug from me soon.

If I've forgotten anything or anyone, you know Mama is old and forgets stuff 😊

Don't you love it when the spirit of God moves though his people? There were so many moments that touched my heart - my cup was over flowing with joy. Let us continue to move in the direction of being a body of people that celebrates diversity, embraces different cultures, and stands in solidarity for our fellow brothers and sisters.

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Love and Hugs,
Deborah Moore

Photos by Isaac Nho

Metro Goes To Uganda

I'm in Uganda to help put on a retreat for missionary women serving in this region of the world. 33 women from about 7 nations and many organizations stepped away from their responsibilities as teachers, doctors and nurses, engineers for clean-wells, agricultural specialists, and church planters who all have a desire to see people come to know Jesus and grow in their faith came to the retreat. It was a wonderful experience for all of us; the volunteers and our guests.

I spoke four times to them and met with many for one-on-one prayer. They told their own stories of God's work in their lives set in the setting of war, violence, famine, refugees, evacuations and displacements, poverty and injustice. It was a such a privilege to listen and pray with them and I was changed by being with them. 

I'm thankful that Metro uses part of the Christmas Offering to participate with me in my work and that so many people at Metro pray so I can serve. I am not a brave or courageous person on my own. Being away from Kevin is not my favorite thing to do and I miss my church family. But, when I realize that these women have left everything to serve here I'm humbled to be able to come alongside of them. Over and over and over again I've been hugged, cried on, and told how grateful they are and how refreshed they feel after the retreat. As they return to their real lives today, they inspire me to live a life spilled out for Jesus. 

Submitted by Linda Swanson

King: Metro Youth Retreat '17

OY VE! FIFTY-FOUR YOUTH! FOR REAL?!?!

This would be the largest group to go on a youth retreat in Metro’s history. The kids’ excitement level was at a frenzied pitch. With their faces stuffed with pizza, their hearts and souls shielded with a powerful prayer by Kelly Glavin - one of our parents - we packed the kids and their stuff into a school bus and 2 cars and embarked on our March weekend retreat and arrived at Harvey Cedars Christian Conference Center about 2-hours later.  

The theme of the youth retreat this year was “KING.” We were going to learn, meditate on and worship what “King” meant to us and how it could be reflected in our lives. We were so blessed all weekend to be led into worship by our stellar youth praise brand. They didn’t just play instruments or just sing - they WORSHIPPED the King in heart and spirit...and it was infectious, evidenced by the fact that the youth sang and praised like I had never seen before.

Our guest speaker, Pastor Chris, was anointed as he took the topic of “King” and divvied it up into three topics - “Obedience,” “God’s Presence,” and “The Good Shepherd.” He really had a way of opening up the scripture to the youth in ways that they could comprehend and be impacted by them. This became obvious during our small groups, as we discussed questions that pertained to the message we had just heard - it was apparent that the kids had actually listened and there were “God moments” where kids shared from the sincerity of their hearts. 

Cold temps, rain and overcast skies on Saturday were not going to dampen the moods of the kids on their weekend getaway. The kids ran, jumped and shouted as we played group games, board games, foosball, ping pong, ate cup ramen noodles, and the overdose of sugar that the kids had from all the candy seemed to contribute to them truly enjoying each other...and even their “fun” seemed to be a worship of our King. 

The retreat began winding down on Saturday night as Pastor Chris shared his final message, but as far as the kids were concerned, they were going to be up for the long haul that night...or at least as long as they could last. Some kids played games, other talked, some went to bed, many partook of the leftover snacks, and some spent time writing notes of encouragement to each other at the retreat. As I roamed a bit and observed the various on-goings late, late, late into the final night, I could not help but be incredibly grateful because the King had bestowed upon me the gift of this weekend.

Sunday morning we watched a video for a devotional and we then partook of communion as a group. We then made time for the youth (and teachers) to share a testimony about the weekend. Many students came up to share what the weekend meant to them and how God had blessed them. 

“Pastor Chris, what was the biggest thing that helped you get closer to God?” I probably wasn’t supposed to hear it but it was a question asked of the guest speaker that rang in my ears, stuck in my craw, and brought tears to my eyes and down to my knees in worship at how God just poured out his Spirit upon us. It was quite obvious that the retreat had been baptized in prayer, the program had been anointed and the Lord had been welcomed; all evidenced in the fact that there was a transformative move of the Holy Spirit in and through the youth (as well as the leaders) during this weekend. Random acts of kindness amongst the youth toward each other, the inquisitiveness in the questions asked, the prayers lifted up, the boisterous fellowship, and the communal bonds forged between Merge and X - teachers and youth, old and young - were all acts of worship to the “King.”

Throughout the retreat I saw kids stepping up to help each other. I saw kids praying with each other. I saw kids worshipping their hearts out together. I saw kids sharing their hearts with each other. I heard youth encouraging each other. I heard kids confessing things they had done in the past. I saw kids enjoying each other. All these things and more is what “KING” meant to them. 

At the end of the classic movie, Karate Kid 2, Mr. Sato humbly says to Mr. Miyagi, “Your student has become my teacher!” That is exactly how I felt after the weekend. I kind of feel guilty saying this but I learned more from the kids than I could ever offer them. I went on the retreat as a teacher, chaperone, surrogate parent, but what the Lord helped me realize was that I was not working WITH these kids, but He was working on me THROUGH these kids.

As much as find myself yelling at the kids from time to time, I love working with them. They blow my mind at how incredible they are. My prayer is that the youth at our church will continue to seek out what King means to them in order that they may live out the lives that Christ desires for them. 

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Submitted by Dan Kim
Metro Merge Volunteer

Metro Sends Its Best To Visit Zimele In South Africa

With a mound of luggage including eight extra suitcases full of gifts Metro collected to give to Zimele in South Africa, our finest are taking off this morning. "We are thankful for Metro coming together to collect these gifts and send us with your prayers! Thank you!"

Please pray for the team as they spend the next eight days learning about Zimele's work in South Africa and using their own gifts to partner with Zimele to bless the people Zimele serves. 

Janice, Diana, Renee, Anna, Joe, Angie, Jee, Pastor David

And they're off!

Another first for Metro! The combined Metro X / Metro Merge retreat that started today was so large that we had to rent a school bus! Would you join me in prayer for our students and their leaders as they spend this weekend together? We want God to prepare them to be all He created them to be which will result in them changing the world!

Pastor Kevin

Culture Study Through Film

In the fall of 2016, Metro Church's UG programs were posted.  One program of interest to a number of people was,  "Culture Study Through Film," which was offered by Pastor Peter Ahn and Suah Hwang.  This UG would view films and explore the origin histories of the members of Metro Community Church.  After viewing a film, the group would discuss the film along with input from group members' personal family backgrounds.

Each time we met, we ate a dinner supplied by the members of our UG. The first evening, we shared our backgrounds and family histories. The group became very open as we shared our backgrounds.

We watched the film, "13th," first. It deals with black history in America and proved to be an eye opening presentation of slavery to modern day lives of black Americans.  We were disturbed by what we saw and heard.

Metro is a melting pot of numerous nationalities who came to this country for a better life. We have also watched films on Korea and China.  Our discussions helped us to understand the difficulties immigrants face to become a part our society. Those of us new to America shared how we were received when we came to this country.

We have discussed white privilege. Black Americans and other nationalities arriving to America have faced problems whites do not normally face. An example of white privilege is often how a white person is treated during a traffic stop compared to people from other groups.

As we discussed the issues of the different groups within Metro, we wondered how to bind each of us into a cohesive group within our church.  We've asked this question numerous times.  To strengthen the congregation, we must care for all members.  The problems of any member or group within Metro are problems for each of us if we are following Christ's teachings.

We have now started a second UG to continue our understanding of the background and problems of our members with hopes of bringing us closer together.  Most of us from session one are back for session two because of our strong interest in this topic.

I'm an older white member attending the group. The historical background and discussions are very important  to help me have a a better understanding of Metro.  When I entered the church for the first time 2 years ago, I was greeted and welcomed to Metro.  I told the greeters I was looking for my wife, Judy.  It seemed everyone knew my wife and they helped me find her.  We continue to be involved in the church programs and recommend that more members become involved with the church offerings beyond the Church service.

Submitted by Bruce Atkins

Painting For Fun And Metro

This past Saturday, AiM held its first ever painting night. I am by no means a painter, but I was surprised at how relaxing and easy it was to follow along as Jess taught the class. Jessica came into my office a few months ago with this idea in response to our church's budget crisis. Quietly, she explained to me her vision and her hopes that this would be a means in which she could serve to help raise funds for our church, regardless of how small the amount might be. She had never done this before, and it would be a challenge for her because it was outside her comfort zone, but she was following her conviction. I told her AiM would support her vision and this event, and left the rest into her hands. The first wine(less) and painting night was a blast and I must say that I never knew painting could be so relaxing and fun! I am thankful for people like Jess, who want to use their gifts and talents for God's church, and I'm thankful that we have a place where we can gather and fellowship in cool ways like this. We definitely want to have many more so I hope to see you at the next one!

Submitted by Pastor Doug Cho

Comic Books And Bible Reading

There’s no secret formula in cultivating a Christian home as any parent can attest, but in our house we try to read a passage of the Bible and take turns praying every night.  I wish I can say that this practice is diligently upheld by us, the parents, but sadly it’s usually our children who remind us that it’s time to read Psalms.  Before anyone thinks these are signs of a super Christian family, let me level those expectations.  Firstly, we are almost at the end of Psalms and it has taken us a year, and secondly, our boys developed a habit of enjoying the Bible on their own through a set of comic books.

Five Christmases ago, when the boys were 7, 6 and 4, their uncle gave them "The Power Bible," a carton version of the Bible from Genesis to Revelations.  When I saw the box set, I was a little skeptical.  It didn’t seem “biblical” – would God honor the reading of his word through speech bubbles?  Absolutely.  God showed up and made himself known to three young boys in their young boy language.   Getting to know God became enjoyable and voluntary, rather than forced or dreaded.  Little did I know that reading the cartoons was beginning a practice that would turn into a habit that would make the transition into reading the NIV easier.

When I see the boys still pick up and read The Power Bible for leisure reading (who doesn’t like a good comic book?), it’s a sobering reminder that God comes to us where we are.  He’s there when we open the NIV and in theological texts and definitely in speech bubbles.

Submitted by Susan Son

Showing The Love In MetroX

I've been going to Metro since I was two years old. Growing up in the same church for 13 years, I graduated from MetroKids and MetroMerge. Last year, I graduated to MetroX, which was a scary experience for me. I left all my close friends from MetroMerge behind. I didn't know if I would fit into the high school crowd. Hardly anyone knew me and the thought of having to make new friends terrified me.  As my first year in MetroX quickly came to an end, I was able to make some good friends at MetroX and then the best thing happened, all my friends from MetroMerge graduated to MetroX.

In MetroX, we break up into small groups according to our gender and grade. Therefore, I was placed with a group of girls that were in 9th and 10th grade. Although I already knew most of the girls, I really got to know them in a deeper way. They truly became my sisters in Christ that I could depend on when I needed someone. My small group teacher is simply amazing. She has created a culture of love and fellowship like I have never experienced before.

I look forward to Friday night gatherings and Sundays. Every Sunday, my small group leader brought snacks for us to eat. Everyone loved it since we love food. Week after week our teacher brought in snacks, but a couple of the girls and I felt that we should contribute and bring in snacks as well. So, I suggested it to my teacher and she thought it was a great idea. That day, I passed around a piece a paper with the dates and told everyone to sign up for one if they can. Now, each week, someone brings in snacks for our  small group. It is not a burden or feels like a chore. It is our way of showing love to our teacher and our fellow sisters. 

Submitted by Christina Ahn

Dinner For Eight And Talking About Racial Justice

On Sunday night, ten of us gathered in our home for one of Metro's dinner for eight. We enjoyed eating together and learning from each other about racial issues. Scott Whitehurst and Giovanni Rosario led our conversation, sharing from their own experiences and asking leading questions to help us discover our own experiences and perceptions. 

Some of our take aways:
I now have a deeper understanding of how our African American brothers and sisters, and their families suffer through the injustice of racism.  I am hoping that when I talk to my friends and family on this matter, I will be able to share what I learned and make them aware of the injustice that African Americans have faced in the past and in the present. (Ling)

When I signed up for Dinner of 8, I did not know what to expect, but wanted to gain more knowledge on the rising issues of racial justice. I was shy at first and hesitated to contribute my ideas and thoughts, but as the evening went on, I became more and more comfortable as our facilitators, Scott and Gio, did an awesome job with leading the discussions. I was able to share my experiences as a Korean-American. I truly enjoyed listening to different experiences the group had while they were growing up in America as well as their perspectives on the issues. (Yuna) 

Who is my "neighbor?" One of my deepest revelations from the Parable of the Good Samaritan was that your neighbor is someone who is NOT like you. Different backgrounds, nationalities, experiences and cultures is what came together this past Sunday as we met together for our Dinner for 8. In the presence of the Holy Spirit, as we ate, asked questions, shared, learned about each other and listened, it became clear that outside the walls and confines of a "church service," we had "church" because we were building bridges through honest and open conversations and communications. We were taking a step towards our awareness for, our love for, our understanding of our brothers and sisters who are not like us. Honestly, as great as the dinner was, the feast of koinonia, at the table was that much more delicious. (Daniel)

My take away from Sunday's supper was an appreciation for a more personal look at black American history. Being a Chinese American, to recognize what other minorities  suffered and fought for so we can have the rights and privileges we have today. (Christina)

I learned that people could hold some kind of prejudice toward certain group of people or race based on their past experiences or what they were taught. We may stereotype certain race without knowing the whole truth or the history. I also learned more about the injustice our African-American friends experienced, and feel more personal about it. I hope to share what I learn with my friends and children.  Thank you, Scott and Gio for leading and sharing your experiences with us. Thank you, Linda and Pastor Kevin for hosting. (Jennifer)

It was really good to get together with some new and old Metro friends this past Sunday evening to engage in a conversation about racial justice. We had at least 5 different ethnicities represented at the table which gave us a good opportunity to see the the race situation in our country through a variety of lenses. Everyone had something to learn and something to share. I was reminded that a significant step in the journey to racial reconciliation is taking the time to listen and learn from each other. (Pastor Kevin)



Submitted by Linda Swanson

Lights... Camera... Discussion!

This past Wednesday, we kicked off a brand new video format at Metro - a Facebook Live discussion panel with our Metro pastors, where pastors Peter, Kevin and David discussed some timely social topics as it pertains to our faith...but also provided an opportunity for our viewers to ask questions for them to answer on-air.

This first show was essentially a "proof-of-concept" using a new piece of tech that we invested in last year - a small camera that allows us to create live multi-angled productions from a single, simple device. Since we weren't 100% sure if the technology would work well, we were hesitant to properly promote the show in case it didn't; but now that we have done it...and it didn't crash and burn...we are excited to say confidently that we intend to produce more live shows for you and will let you know when the next one will take place well ahead of time.

While we really enjoyed the casual banter between Peter, Kevin and David - what we're really excited about is how you will shape this medium, which we hope will help you to plug more into God, your walk with Jesus and the life of our church. In fact...we would love to hear from you! At the bottom of this page is a form where you can share your feedback of this first show, what topics you would like us to engage with for future shows, and any questions that you would like our pastors to address.

Finally, if you missed the video, you can watch it here below. Thanks for watching and we shall see you on the internets!

Submitted by Timm Chartier
Director of Media & Communications
 

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