Jon & Carol Chou
Like Andrew Yang and Jeremy Lin, I grew up the son of Taiwanese immigrant parents. My life goal was to please my parents and be the sort of son that they’d be proud to talk about with their family, friends, and church uncles and aunties. I pursued my goal by studying hard, playing a lot of piano, and being an outwardly compliant teenager. In college, I encountered the gospel of Jesus in a fresh way, repented for my sins, and committed my life obeying God and following Jesus' example.
Since graduating from college, I’ve worked by day as a rat-handler (or “laboratory research associate”), a computer programmer, and a patent attorney. But by night I was a bivocational youth and UC Berkeley college minister. In 2015, my wife Carol and I went into full-time ministry, and since then our family has been on the move, first to Santa Cruz to plant our church at UC Santa Cruz, then to Pittsburgh to help plant our church at Carnegie Mellon University, and then to sunny Santa Barbara, discipling and reaching out to students at UC Santa Barbara and surrounding colleges.
Carol and I have two boys, Stephen and Michael.
Myers-Briggs: INTP, which, according to Google, puts me in the illustrious company of Yoda, Gandalf, and Luna Lovegood.
Growing up, Christianity was mostly academic to me - learning the Bible stories and memorizing verses. I didn’t see much of a point to life and lived life vicariously through Korean dramas & K-pop. I generally avoided other people & kept to myself.
But all of that changed within the first week I stepped foot onto the UC Berkeley campus. I met people from our church who took God’s word seriously, desiring to obey God and see these old stories come alive in their own lives. Like Nicodemus in John 3, I wrestled with throwing out my old notions about Christianity, starting over, agreeing with Him that I am a sinner in need of the Savior, and agreeing that He is God, I am not.
So, as a sophomore in college, I decided to follow Jesus and it has been quite a journey since then to grow in faith. I’m thankful for our church community, where I have seen models of sacrificial love and costly decisions that have made it easier for me to do likewise. I have friends who’ve taught me how to apologize, forgive, and just be a friend. And younger ones have pushed me to grow up and have also challenged me through their discipleship.
I serve alongside my husband, Jon, through whom I get to experience God’s grace again and again. We’ve known each other since freshman year of college, got married a few years after we graduated, and have served together ever since.