Mitch Hsu (徐銘正)

CCCTO Elder Nominee

Could you please share a little about yourself and your family? How did you become a Christian?


I was born in and grew up in Taiwan. Both my parents’ families were Christian believers. My grandfather and fathers were elders at their perspective hometown churches, Huwei Presbyterian Church and Chunghsing Presbyterian Church. I received my confirmation baptism when I was 18.


I came to the States after the compulsory military service. Met Janice at church. After a few years of courting, she allowed me to marry to her, so I stayed 😊. God has blessed us with two sons, Christian and Ryan. Both graduated from college recently.


After we got married, first we attended Chinese Christian Church of Oxnard. We were there for about 14 years and served in various capacities. We started to attend CCCTO in 2007 when the boys started middle school. I was approved to be a deacon in 2010. I served the position of Treasurer as a deacon, and current serve as a trustee of CCCTO. While we, Janice and I, had served at church for many years, we were serving based on our flesh and own will. Not until in 2014, when I was diagnosed with cancers. There were several complications for the next year a half and we learned to submit to His will and truly rely on Him. With brothers and sisters’ prayers, God allowed us to recognize His love and grace. I have recently “retired” from a government job, which I was there for 23 years. If it is God’s will, I am ready to answer His call “Here I am, Lord.”  

 

What is your relationship with Jesus like right now?


I will summarize the answer by using Apostle Thomas’ exclamation, “Jesus is (You are) my Lord and my God!” The relationship is so personal it is hard for me to describe on paper. I know He has never let go of me, a sinner, and I would cry out from the bottom of my heart, “I need Thee”, when I wonder away from Him. Without Jesus, I am lost.


 

Why do you desire to be an elder and why is this important to you and our church?  


My flesh (old self) does not desire to be an elder. For many years, different pastors and elders at different churches had asked if I would like to be “trained” as an elder. I had always been hesitating and resisting. Until these past few years, after God guided me and my family through the struggles with my illness and family disaccords, I final realize that I am to be used by Him, and I shall live for Him. But in what way…?


I know from the literal understanding of criteria for eldership, I am truly lacking.  I need lots of help from Pastors and Elders to grow. When our Pastoral Team announced in the Executive Board meeting earlier this year that Steve and I would be elder candidates, I was surprised.  “I am not ready!!” I thought.  After prayers and reading scriptures, particularly Judges, I believe when God calls, we cannot procrastinate. If it is God’s will, I am willing to submit and serve.


What part of CCCTO's current vision and ministry are most excited about? Please explain why.


I am fully supportive of the Pastoral Team’s vision on reconciliation, not only among congregations, but also with the Lord. Good root, branch out, and bear good fruit. One of the evidences is the formation of the Great Oaks Christian Ministries, which has been in development for the last seven years or so. With God’s blessings and the Pastoral Team’s vision, in collaboration with the neighboring sister church leaders, it begins to have more structured formation and is on-track for operation. It includes Church Planting, Christian Education, and Community Care (Mental Health and Cancer Patients Care). While the tasks may seem (and can be) daunting, these are the works of disciples and churches did in the New Testament. We are doing this is not because we are good and capable, it is because God has bestowed the vision to our Pastors and Elders.


What are some of the challenges you think our church is facing today and what is your vision to counter these challenges?


We need to be truly live as God’s family. Christ is the head of our Church. Even though we have three congregations, we cannot be like long-distance cousins or even strangers. We may have disagreements, and quarrels at times, but we are all for His glory, not our own. Reaching out to each congregation, encouraging fellowship and serving together outside of regular grouping will help us to truly enjoying the love in Christ.


What changes you would like to see or promote at CCCTO that would help us to be His disciples and witness in our community?


I think we all have witnessed in the last couple of years, with PT’s visions and leadership, our Church is on a revival path. The changes are (rather, I would say continuous efforts) to grow the Heart to pray, Thirst for His Word, Zeal to Spread His Gospel. His love is never ceasing, so we shall respond with putting God first and love Him with all our hearts, our souls, and our strength. We shall encourage one another to do so at any given opportunity.


When you read the Biblical requirements for being an elder what is most challenging to you personally?  How do you hope to face these challenges?


The most challenging one I would say is preaching/giving sermons (able to teach). While at my past worldly jobs, I had given lots of presentations, However, preaching/giving sermons is NOT just giving presentation. God’s word cannot be just “copy and paste”.  In addition to techniques, I covet for the ability to make God’s Word alive when teaching.


I truly appreciate our Church’s Pastors and Elders who have been discipling/coaching me in the last couple of years, and I will continue seek their help. I also plan to enroll some seminary classes starting this summer. Please pray for me on this.


How can we pray for you and your family?


Please pray for humility as well as confidence. God has given me some gifts, let those be not my pride and become hinderance. At the same time, I am lacking on so many areas to be an elder, please pray that, if it pleases Him, grant me (and Janice) strength to serve.


Recently, Janice and I went on a Holy Land tour. In Jerusalem, we both got the chance to touch the West Wall and prayed. However, we did not know what the other prayed for, until I am trying to respond to this question! We both prayed from Joshua 24:15, ”… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Pray that God will be pleased and use us.


For our two sons, pray that the Lord will bless them as they started their careers, protect them from evil and temptation, guide them on His path and use them in His own glory.

Steve Yao (姚文棣)

CCCTO Elder Nominee

Could you please share a little about yourself and your family?

  • I was born in Taiwan.  After honoring discharged from military, I studied abroad and graduated from Ohio State University in Applied Statistics. 
  • 1993, Baptized in Chinese Christian Fellowship Church (CCFC) in Wilmette, IL
  • 2002, Moved to Thousand Oaks due to the job changed
  • 2004-2005, Served as a deacon in CCCTO.
  • 2011-present, Server at the P2 (college students and young professionals) fellowship and provide teaching at Sunday school
  • 2013-present, Serves as one of the volunteers in ELS (English Language School) Conversation Café.  A group of volunteers from several churches are helping ELS students to practice their English via the casual conversation during the conversation café.  The café is on every Monday 4 – 5:15 pm.


Who is in your family?


My wife, Wenne (Registered Nurse), Timothy (US Army, serving in Afghanistan with NATO since 2018) and Daniel (Graduated Student, major in Software Engineering in UC Irvine since 2018)


How did you become a Christian? 


When I moved to Chicago after graduating, I was taken by a friend (who later became my wife) to a fellowship.  I was touched by their hospitality and started bible study with them.


What is your relationship with Jesus like right now?


Be joyful with God during the peaceful time; be grateful to the God during the difficult time.


Why do you desire to be an elder and why is this important to you and our church?  


My philosophy is “Serving Without Title”.  I would like to say that the title of this “elder” is not something I plan to pursue originally.  However, if “elder” meant that I need to carry more responsibilities from the church’s point of view, I am willing to put myself forward.   


What part of CCCTO's current vision and ministry you are most excited about? Please explain why.   


橡樹播種協會 (Great Oaks Association) is what I am exciting about it.  This initiative connects all churches so one’s strengths will support other’s needs.  With this, all churches under Great Oaks Association will have an important vision: To Share.  Traditionally, church only focus on its own agenda (within) but lack of establishing kingdom vision (across).  I am hoping that this initiative will not only support the vertical growth of a church but also support the horizontal growth across all churches.   


What are some of the challenges you think our church is facing today and what is your vision to counter these challenges?   


We need to have a strong program to support mandarin speaking college students and young professionals.  The investment to this group today will be seen tomorrow.  To counter this challenge, it is my hope that we will search a minister with passion to lead the mandarin speaking young professionals. 


What changes you would like to see or promote at CCCTO that would help us to be His disciples and witness in our community?  


To rebuild CCCTO’s reputation in the community.  The history of CCCTO might have some noise in the past.  We, as a church, should encourage all members connect with the community in any forms.  Hopefully CCCTO will be viewed as the light house to our community. 


When you read the Biblical requirements for being an elder what is most challenging to you personally?  How do you hope to face these challenges?


There is always room to improve my self-controlled ability.  Occasionally, I may jump to the conclusion too fast.  I should always think “What will Jesus do?” first before making any intuitive responses.    


How can we pray for you and your family?


For me, please pray that God will strengthen my spiritual life because my strength will equal my days. For my family, please pray that God will prepare our future daughters-in-law to build up a biblical marriage with our sons.