Friday, January 29, 2010

Style Guide - why it's important

One of the projects our team is currently working on is updating our style guide. A style guide is something that all professional organizations create to provide rules and guidelines for how their materials look. It includes things like what the logo should look like in relation to the piece on which it appears (a brochure, a banner, a website, etc.), what colors should be used, which fonts are appropriate, etc.

Some people might ask, who cares? Why spend so much time thinking about what our stuff looks like? Does it really matter?

A big emphatic YES is appropriate here!

This is what my job is all about. My job as a graphic designer for InterVarsity is to visually communicate with students, donors and staff who InterVarsity is. Just like InterVarsity's core doctrines, all of our communication must be united in some essential things.We want InterVarsity's look to clearly communicate our identity: we're a national campus ministry. Whatever campus you find InterVarsity on, you can expect it to be about the same thing - reaching the whole campus with the whole Gospel. When our graphics are consistent, that communicates that the ministry is consistent and unified. When our logo is used across the country, InterVarsity will become a kind of brand. Not the kind of brand that is trying to sell something, but the kind that communicates our values and our mission. When we are haphazard about using the logo or other elements of the style, it communicates that we are not united, that we don't know who we are, or that we don't agree on who we are.

That being said, we also have a challenge as a ministry that celebrates and values diversity. There isn't necessarily one image that could aptly describe who InterVarsity is. We also are about student-led, indigenous, grassroots ministry. To try to control what font people use or what colors are appropriate can be very challenging. The process of creating a Style Guide as well as making it accessible and user-friendly for our busy campus staff around the country is a project that our whole team will be working on in the next several months.

Please pray for wisdom, grace, creativity and healthy interactions as we enter this process! And pray that ultimately our work will go towards advancing God's purposes through InterVarsity.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Project Focus: Greek Ministry

Every year 750,000 students are involved in fraternities and sororities on U.S. campuses, but they remain a mostly unreached group by churches and other Christian ministries. Many of these students go on to become influential leaders in the U.S. government and business world, and yet on campus, Greek students are often condemned and negatively labeled.

Greek InterVarsity aims to reach these students with the gospel, through discipleship, House ministry (student-led Bible studies within fraternity and sorority houses) and other events. Because of the nature of Greek life, Christians who belong to fraternities or sororities have a built-in community with whom they can share their faith. The influence also extends beyond college years through a strong alumni network within the Greek system.

I’ve been working on materials for two upcoming Greek conferences, each of which gather close to 400 Greek students, many of whom are non-believers. Please pray that God will transform the lives of both believers and non-believers who attend.

To find out more about Greek Ministry, please visit

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's ahead...

Life after Urbana has slowed down quite a bit - I am not complaining! I'm hoping that the slower pace will give me space to get more involved in a church community, as well as establish other activities where I can meet new friends. The pace is about to pick up again though, due to a lot of traveling in February and March. Here are some of my upcoming travel plans:

Feb. 5-7: Great Lakes East Asian American Leadership Conference, in Ohio. 
This is only the 2nd time my former region has had held a conference specifically for Asian American students. The focus will be on leadership development. I was on the planning team up until I left the region, so I am excited that I get to go and see what God will do there!

Feb. 17-22: London vacation! 
Super excited! It's been almost 11 years since I was last in Europe.

Mar. 4-7: Asian American Staff Conference in San Mateo, CA. 
We have this conference every 3 years. It will be great to spend time with other Asian American staff and have a time of training. I'm also going to work on some of the designs for it, so it's extra fun!

Mar. 8-14: Visiting friends/family in California
Since I'm already going to be in California, I'll be spending a couple of extra days in the Bay Area visiting friends, then driving down to LA to see my sister and other friends. Looking forward to some sun (hopefully)!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Praying for Haiti

Wanted to forward on an email sent from a leader in our sister IFES movement in the Carribbean. Please pray with me. 

Excerpt from email:
"It is still very difficult to get around the city of Port au Prince and we don't receive much news from the provinces. The first rescue teams are arriving in the country but they will have trouble to get organised. In the country, people are emotionally shaken. Itazienne [Associate General Secretary of IFES in Haiti] told me yesterday how difficult it was for her to see with her own eyes buildings collapsing and people dying.

...Meanwhile, we invite you to continue to pray for this painful situation. Therefore pray for: good organization of rescue around the injured people and the survivors; spiritual, physical and emotional strength to cope with the situation; news about the members of GBEUH we haven't heard from."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Life after Urbana ... what?

I'm so grateful for all of your prayers and messages of encouragement in these past days. Urbana 09 ended in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2010 and I am now taking a much-needed week off. I thought I'd post a quick update between now and February when a full report will come via my regular prayer letter.

Though this was my third Urbana conference, second as a staff, it never ceases to encourage and move me at seeing thousands of young people who are ready to be sent out to be a part of God's mission. The energy, passion and faith of the Urbana community is overwhelming. I thank God that I get to be a part of this event and have a part in helping students experience God in such a powerful way.

Working backstage was quite different from my past 2 Urbanas. I spent much less time with students and in sessions. But I also got to see the hard work that was happening behind the scenes, which gives me a greater appreciation for the people I work with and those who spent months and years preparing for this in advance. Many of them have thankless jobs, but I am very thankful for them. Patrick Fung, one of the Urbana speakers, mentioned in his interview that God's mission is often carried by the nameless workers who give their lives to serve God. I believe I work with many of these nameless workers and I'm  blessed to benefit from their quiet faithfulness. It is a challenge to me, as I serve in a role that is often uncredited, to strive to make Christ known and not myself (another quote from Patrick Fung's interview. You can watch his interview from Day 2 of Urbana here.)

I survived many moments of being frustrated and stressed out during Urbana. One thing I know about myself is that I get easily irritated when something is not done efficiently when there could have been an easy solution. Working on the Urbana Today newspaper was not as organized as I would have wanted. I'm compiling a mental list of 'things to improve for next time' - God-willing I will still be around by then! I guess I'm sharing this to let you know that even though I am serving in ministry, I still deal with my own sinfulness in the process! It's definitely a learning curve and I pray that God will help me learn to be more gracious and patient.

Urbana was also a time of reunions. I got to see coworkers from Ann Arbor and the Great Lakes East region, as well as former students and fellow alumni from AIV and twelve students from my home church, CBC (pictured above)! I had a lot of fun catching up with them. It would have been nice to have more time for fellowship but Urbana is such a full, busy week, especially for staff, that this was pretty difficult. Still, I love that Urbana is a place that brings together people who are from all over the place!

Here are some things you can be praying for in the days and weeks ahead:
  • rest! I am exhausted, as are many of the other staff. Please pray that we will be refreshed and renewed.
  • protection. after a 'mountain top' experience such as Urbana, students will be especially vulnerable in these days ahead. pray that God will protect them from spiritual attack, as the enemy wishes to snatch away whatever good things happened at Urbana.
  • confirmation. thousands of students answered God's call to be sent into missions at Urbana! pray for the Spirit to confirm this decision in tangible ways for them.
  • re-entry. after experiencing a glimpse of heaven (a huge multitude of people who love God in community for five days), it can be difficult to go back to the mundane, the difficult, the worldly places we live in day to day. please pray God will help us re-enter our lives in a way that doesn't lose what was gained at Urbana, but enables us to engage with the world around us.
  • action. many students made decisions at Urbana. please pray that they would carry out these decisions, and as a result that God's kingdom would advance in all corners of the earth! 
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise be to our Creator, Redeemer, and Lord, who calls us to work alongside him in making all things new through the gospel of Jesus.