We’re super grateful for the leaders who have committed to serving and discipling our youth with humility, silliness, and conviction. It is our hope that as “mini-shepherds” under Jesus, that we would “equip our [youth] for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12), training them in all godliness, so that when we (sadly) say “goodbye” around May/June of their Senior year, we would do so knowing the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection resides within them wherever they may go, transforming them from one degree of glory to the next. *Tears*. Or … we never let them go and make them serve youth FOREVER! Kidding. Anyway, here are our youth leaders and a brief description to embarrass/honor them and give you more of a snapshot as to who are the leaders in our ministry:
Although she will rightly make it a point to let everyone know that she is NOT as outdoorsy as this photo makes her out to be, Trisha Chan, AKA the “I’ll take the 101 to the 10 to the 405 for you” Valentines Card creator, is much more than an artist that does cool calligraphy on Instagram (#youthgroupfangirls #prettywriting). Currently, Trisha leads the High School Upperclassmen girls small group on Fridays, and has been a great leader, mentor, and older sister for our youth group, always challenging us to know the “why” behind what we do at church, and life in general. Though she was unsure about joining leadership for our youth ministry over two years ago, her desire for youth to really meet and know Jesus, and her transparency in the process, has been very apparent. In addition to youth ministry, Trisha loves holding babies, karaoke-ing a mixture of Chinese pop songs, Brittney Spears, & Celine Dion, and duking it out with Jon in the Pokemon Trading Card Game (Generation 1 and earlier please). And more recently, she has just discovered her deep passion for worship leading VBS praise music (dance improv moves and all) with her VBS Dance “Squad.” Trisha also just recently went back to school! She’s working on her Masters in Teaching at Biola University and can’t wait to teach and expand the minds of elementary-aged kids in the public school sphere.
On the surface, Carolyn appears a very shy, polite, & calm girl. In reality … she is pretty much all those things :). But as you continue to get to know her, you also get to see her humility, patience, & kindness towards people in general, especially our youth. Carolyn currently leads the middle school girls small group and has been a vital part of helping transition our new 6th graders girls into the youth group. It honestly was a pleasant surprise to get Carolyn to join youth leadership as about a year ago, we started asking the English young adults if there was anyone who was at least interested in partnering with us in youth ministry. As it turned out, Carolyn was not only interested, but 100% on board, wanting to fill whatever need we’ve had. It is only a testament to the type of person she is and we’re grateful to have her on the team. Also, although almost every one of our leaders is a foodie, Carolyn is a little unique in that she is a LOWKEY foodie and it’s always a good time when Carolyn really digs what we’re eating. On another note, Carolyn is EXTREMELY good at card games that require fast timing and produce stress for most people, and she is fun to compete against in almost any type of board game. Oh, and she is currently engaged to the handsome Phillip Lai (listed a ways below).
An FECDB Youth “Alumni,” Naomi loved the youth group so much that she couldn’t help but come back to serve it, much to her “former” youth pastor’s gratitude. While relatively still fresh out of youth group, Naomi brings a combination of youthful, college-y, HYPE/energy, coupled with a gift that most of our leadership doesn’t naturally possess: organization (Thanks Nay). Also known by many as simply “NAY NAY,” Naomi willingly serves our high school underclassmen girls in the midst of being a Sophomore at Biola University, and CHURRO-making extraordinaire at Downtown Disney (seriously go and pay her a visit and she’ll hook you up!). It’s her excuse to be around Disney as much as possible :). Nay also has a passion for praise/worship music, using her experiences from high school to relate and give wisdom for other high school girls, and leading FITS (“Fun in the Sun”), a monthly outdoor gathering to have our youth get to know Anchor Community Church (FECDB’s English ministry church plant) members through recreational sports. And on another note, everyone really should see Nay when she’s super tired/delusional while hanging out with the church family. It’s definitely a sight to behold.
As previously mentioned, Phillip Lai is the handsome man who popped the question to Carolyn Gani, and is currently leading the High School Underclassmen boys. Like Carolyn, Phil heard about the opportunity to serve the youth group and jumped at the opportunity, taking on whatever need was presented. Having worked with youth for several years at his previous church, Phil has been an example of humble servanthood, and unexpected quirkiness (and trolling). Though being active and gifted at almost every physical sport he’s tried (though apparently not including football), Phil has a fun time commiserating with Jon while they both get blown out together in team-oriented board games. Phil also is a junk-food addict. Or should I say … CONNOISSEUR. He LOVES any type of potato chip, sweet drink, and sugary pastry imaginable (Witness greatness when Phil goes to 85 Degrees with an empty stomach). Ordinarily this type of description would frighten most people, but Phil does it all with a look of determination and a smile that makes most forget the actual level of sugar intake one should have on a daily basis.
“Yansity,” AKA Justin Yan, is another of our former FECDB Youth alumni who asked early on when and how he could serve the youth when he began college at University of California Riverside. Now a sophomore, Justin leads the crazy, hyper, adorable middle school boys. And though such a task would scare off most people, Justin has experienced a year’s worth of awkwardly tough and hilarious situations that only leave him with a puzzled, wide-mouthed smile. For this reason alone, most of our parents ADORE Justin. It takes a certain patience and tranquility (as shown in his picture above) for such a task but Justin has shown not only an ability to do it but a heart for his middle school boys, as he remembers what he, too, was like at their age. Justin also has a passion for praise/worship music, watching and implementing basketball Youtube videos, and trolling the high school boys (KIDDING!). But seriously, it’s probably only one of them. It’s always neat to have youth group graduates (like Nay too) come back to serve their fellow youth, and it’s been a journey of seeing God through this inter-generational discipleship that Justin likes to be part of.
Jon oversees and JOYFULLY “shepherds” (just like this picture shows) the high school and middle school students in the English youth ministry and has been doing so since Fall of 2013. He’s a “Texas boy,” proudly born and raised in Houston, Texas and has a love/hate relationship with the Houston Rockets. He was introduced to the FEC Diamond Bar family through his mentor and Anchor Community Church Pastor, Ben Pun, who was Jon’s youth pastor in Houston. Currently, Jon is finishing up his Masters of Divinity at Talbot School of Theology (located on Biola University’s campus) to be further trained to pastor and can’t wait for the party :). Besides being a major basketball fanatic and enjoying Boba Milk Tea too much at times (#bobagram), Jon really has a passion for seeing youth and college students have their eyes opened by the treasures in the Bible, and their hearts transformed by the good news of Jesus. A former League of Legends addict (Hecarim > Lee Sin all day), add him as “HewbieTrippin” on Overwatch and you’ll see just how average an Ana player one can be.