Rick & Sue Yi
Becoming a Christian was the last thing on my mind when I arrived at UC Berkeley. And Berkeley was the last place I thought I would end up stepping into a church. But yes, both happened and it changed my life. I grew up in a place many consider paradise, the island of Maui. Contrary to what many expect when they first discover I grew up there, I don’t surf, I don’t dance the hula, and we have roads. And yes, I do speak pidgin English, even have (had) a pidgin accent to prove it.
After graduating from college with a Cognitive Science degree, I served in college ministry while working as a software engineer for about 20 years before joining our church as a full-time staff. But during those 20 years, I managed to marry someone with the exact same birthday as me, and raise two boys who went to college in the Midwest. I’m officially an empty nester and I oversee our Southern California churches, just a time zone away from where I grew up.
I grew up valuing self-sufficiency and a “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” kind of mentality, but all of that changed when I surrendered my life to Christ. I’ve been at our church over 30 years now and I love to see my story replay itself in others year after year — an unbelieving, self-reliant person realizing how the gospel of Jesus Christ makes total sense of life and gives the true lens through which to clearly see: the reality of who you are, what is wrong with this world, and God’s solution.
Church was a cultural, social thing for me – we went to a large mega church to make connections, have friends and have a place where kids can hear Jesus stories and learn wholesome morals.
It wasn’t until coming to college that I seriously examined my faith. Over time, I came to understand the gospel in a personal way. I made my salvation decision in the fall of my senior year at Berkeley after hearing a message on the Samaritan woman in John 4.
When my mentor issued a challenge saying she would train anyone who wanted to give Bible study, I took it and found a friend who would listen to me. I ministered to her, but God worked more on my heart and gave me a vision that I could be a minister of the gospel. That experience, together with the community I have at our church, led me to commit to minister to college students and help them understand the gospel.
After ministering on the UC Berkeley Campus for over 30 years, my husband Rick and I have the privilege of overseeing the churches in the Southern California region. We are very excited to see how God will use our next wave of churches to reach more college students!
Likes: Going to cafés with good coffee + a good book, watching basketball with my boys! (My two sons and husband are huge basketball fans), meeting college students, and salads
Dislikes: Birds, disorganization, and cardio exercise