I hope everyone’s summer has been going well so far whether it’s been lazing around, taking summer school, getting excited to be newly weds, or preparing to go on missions trips.
**Important Note- Visitor’s Day is this Saturday, July 19th for the whole day (see previous blog entry for more info). Please send me a text (or your respective BayUP student) if you plan on visiting!
Back to the recap–We are over half way through BayUP and we have less than 2 weeks here at City Team. If you read the last post from my buddy Tim, you’ll get a general idea of what we have been doing.
I’ll just share what has been a barrier for me so far and how it has gotten better.
Something that I have been trying to figure out is where my place is here at BayUP. I would go to our program days (where we recently learned about Food Justice and Immigration) and feel bogged down as to why I was just “not getting” it. I would compare myself to other students, seeing them emotionally affected by the topics we were learning about. Why didn’t I feel the same way? I felt like I was missing something. I wanted to “feel” and understand, but there was a disconnect. There was an inability to emotionally engage with the topics of injustice.
One reason why was that I was focusing too much on my lack of understanding instead of actually understanding. Kaitlyn, another BayUP student, helped me realize this. My mind was more preoccupied with ‘how do these topics apply to me’ rather than ‘how do these topics apply to these people who are sharing their struggles with injustices.’ Instead of focusing on their perspective, I was frustrated on why I didn’t have their perspective. Since the reality is that their story is not my own, it would be unreasonable to think I could experience the same feelings as them.
Second reason why has been not knowing about my own culture. I was told that with knowing more about my culture, the justice part will follow. Recently I have been visiting the local Asian branch of the Oakland Public Library reading different books to learn about the Chinese American journey. I’ve been trying to learn more about my parent’s background through calling them and starting a letter penpal with my dad. Also, the Asian American students recently had an Asian American discussion with a professor from SF state. So it’s been revealing learning how Chinese were severely discriminated when they came to America. How assimilation to America has resulted in a loss and possible shame towards our own culture. And how the distinction between American and Asian cultural behavior and attitudes result in confusion especially between second+ generation children and their parents.
So it’s been a process learning to be more comfortable with where I am at in this cultural and justice exploration. To be honest with myself and with God and ask Him to show me how to care. So far, things have been getting better and I’m finding myself being able to better emotionally engage. Its slow going, but going. Being here so far has been good. While it may be hard to see, I know God is slowly working on my heart to care more about these issues.
I’ll just keep it to that for now. There have been other things going on, but that was just a main thing I wanted to share. Here are some social justice topics we have been learning about:
Hunger and Obesity
ICE (Immigration customs and enforcement)
Please pray that God would break our hearts for social injustices. That we can humanize the stories we hear about. Pray against barriers preventing us from truly being “present.” Pray that I can discover more about my culture and my people and that that will help me have a more personal understanding of justice. Pray for the men at City Team and their daily recovery. For the other students and their experience here at BayUP.