William & Esther Kang
At the age of five, I became aware I would one day die. Afraid of the thought, I sought to understand death by killing bugs and trying hard to empathize with them. But unable to do so, and knowing that death was far, far away, I decided that life would be about pleasure and fun.
Somehow, I got into one of the magnet high schools in Southern California (Whitney!). And it was there that I decided that my life was also going to be about academic and financial success. If I was to have fun later on in life, I would need the means to get there. So by the time I was 14, my gospel was “work hard to play hard.” And work hard I did, sometimes with the focus and abrasiveness of Darth Vader. (We’re both ESTJs!)
It was during my third year in college that I realized that my gospel did not satisfy me. My experience of pleasure and pride were all subject to the law of diminishing marginal returns (yup, I majored in economics). I was at the peak of my life. I had good grades, a sports car and a motorcycle, and I was in a fraternity. But this peak was a valley, and I couldn’t muster up the strength to keep climbing.
And that’s when I met Christ. It was at a cafe on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley, CA. A friend introduced me to Pastor Ed. I asked many questions about God and sometime during that talk, I realized that God exists. And when I did, I saw a way out of the valley: it’s not through anything in the world, but only through Christ who has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
That was 1990. And since then, my goal in life is to testify to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24). I’ve been doing so with my wife, Esther, in California, Japan and the East Coast. We have two grown children who’ve been with us every step of the way, our son who is serving in our Boston church and our daughter who is in college.
My grandfather and my dad were pastors. I have memories of my dad teaching Bible studies at various colleges in the LA area and our living room filled with students. I resented my upbringing because I wanted a normal family life that I saw on TV. Now, after 30 years of ministering to college students myself, I am grateful for my upbringing and the example I was given of what it looks like to love God and others.
I came to UC Berkeley wanting to find answers to whether Christianity was true. I had many questions that I was afraid to ask growing up. I prayed that God would take me to a college where I could find answers to my questions, and God answered my prayers. I attended a Bible study on the Berkeley campus and was amazed to see a group of college students eager to study and actually try to obey God’s word. I made a decision to make Jesus my Lord and Savior in my junior year after a Matthew 1 Bible study. I wanted to be like Ruth, Tamar, and Rahab who took hold of the lifeline to seek God and follow him. What a journey it’s been since that day I decided to follow Jesus. I thank God for how he’s led my life.
I met my husband at our church serving together in our children’s ministry as college students. I thank God for the privilege of doing ministry with my husband these past 30 years. We live in Fairfax, Virginia overseeing our ministries in the DMV area.
Favorite Part of the Day: Doing my daily devotion with a cup of black coffee, as I look out the window at the beautiful grass, trees, and birds.