Richard & Flo Tjhen
I grew up in Fresno (Fres-YES!), California, going to church from birth. However, in high school I grew skeptical toward organized religion and Christianity, and stopped going to church. Around the same time I took a keen interest in biochemistry and entered college with the ambitions to become a famous research scientist.
At Berkeley, my life took a turn back to God. By His grace God pursued me from the first day I moved into my dorm. After nearly four years of searching and wrestling, I gave my life to Christ at a retreat just a few weeks before graduation.
I started serving at our church as a graduate student in San Francisco, where I fell in love with college ministry. Since then I’ve served in our ministries at UC Berkeley, UCSD and UNC Chapel Hill and NC State.
People often ask my wife and two kids, how do you like living in the South compared to California? Personally, I love it -- there have been many pleasant surprises living in the midst of a forest, like being revitalized through my morning trail runs (through all four seasons!).
I grew up in a non-religious family of 6 in Brooklyn, NY. Growing up, I didn’t have big plans for my life. I almost went to Stern but in the end decided to go to UC Berkeley for college because it was in California, and I wanted to try something new. I stumbled upon our church as a freshman, and truth be told, I was weirded out by the praise since I never went to church in my life =)
I never thought much about God growing up. In my sophomore year, I started seriously thinking about life, existence, purpose and meaning, and that’s when I also found out one of my close friends was diagnosed with cancer. In my junior year, September 11 happened. I remember turning on the TV and seeing the 2nd tower fall. It was disorienting, frightening and again it made me think about my life - what am I doing with my life? I didn’t want to do the “get a good job, get married, have a nice family in suburb” thing because it just felt hollow, seemed to me like just kicking the question of existence down the road. Around this time, I started to seriously consider faith. I looked into other religions and found Christianity the most intellectually satisfying, its depiction of life and human nature the most resonating. Through a message on Romans 10:9-10, I found myself convicted of my identity as a sinner before a holy God. I needed a savior, so I made that defining decision to follow Christ.
In 2017, my husband Richard and I came to North Carolina to start a church, along with our 2 kids and a bunch of people from San Diego and Berkeley who have become very dear to us.
Likes: I love talking to college students about anything, love playing volleyball, dragon boating, reading books, and eating/making good food, especially soup.