Ji Ma (馬驥)

CCCTO Elder Nominee

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

My service history at CCCTO:

  • Baptized at CCCTO on 3/4/2001
  • EnGuang fellowship chair 2012
  • Deacon, Treasurer 2013-2015
  • EB chair 2016
  • Deacon 2018-2019
  • Deacon, Treasurer 2020-2021
  • Served in Finance, Pastoral Search Committee, LOF Committee, Timothy Fund Committee, Worship Team, Choir, Sunday School, Children Sunday School, Fellowship, and Mexico Mission Trips.

Who's in your family?

My wife is Shu Ping Li(李淑娉), she was baptized at CCCTO on December 3rd, 2000 and she is currently serving in Children Choir, Caring Ministry, and Sunday Nursery. We have two children: our son, Brian Ma (馬嘉明)was baptized at CCCTO and he is currently a 2nd year med-student at Midwestern University. Our daughter, Joanne Ma(馬嘉慧)was also baptized at CCCTO and is now a junior at UCLA.

How did you become a Christian?

I grew up in an atheist environment in mainland China, and took pride in self-accomplishment before I believed in Christ. My family moved to Thousand Oaks in 2000 and we found out there was a Chinese church nearby after our neighbors preached the Gospel to my wife Shu Ping. Our eldest son was only a few months old at the time, and Shu Ping decided to check out CCCTO. I did not object and went along every Sunday, but I thought at the time that religion in general was just spiritual fantasy to make people feel good. Thanks to God, He did not let my pride and bias blocking my ears and eyes. I met several Christians at CCCTO, they were all perfectly normal, educated with sound reasoning. Many were very talented, and all of them were very humble. So I began to listen and think seriously at the Good News Sunday class for seekers. Soon I was convinced that there is God and He created everything, I no longer resisted the reality of sins. Pride and greedy, those were obvious manifestations of the sins. I prayed to God in Jesus’s name earnestly the first time when sudden unplanned events occurred during my mom’s journey to US. That started my spiritual journey of not only knowing God in Bible but also experiencing God in real life. Soon I repented and accepted Jesus as my personal savior and was baptized at CCCTO on March 4, 2001. 


What is your relationship with Jesus like right now?

My inner life and everyday life changed after I became a Christian. In the past, I solely depended on my self-abilities, now I depend on God and ask the Lord for directions more and more. Previously I would argue with my wife trying to prove myself and would resist apologizing sincerely, now it appears that the Lord has given me new viewpoint and humility to see truly - how much Shu Ping has done for me and for the family and my lacking and shortcomings in contrast. Praise the Lord, He led us gradually got involved in serving at fellowship and at the church, and God’s grace continued to pour in our family. My mom, Shu Ping’s parents and our two children subsequently believed in Christ and were baptized at CCCTO.

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

In December 2020, I accepted the invitation to join the elders training class that would last for more than a year and half, thinking only to better equip myself. I knew at the time the enormous responsibilities of an elder as well as my lack of spiritual capabilities and trainings. But more importantly, I did not know at the time if God called me out to serve as an elder. As the class went on, I learned that the responsibilities of an elder were a lot more than what I had known, which is to protect, feed, lead and care for the flocks. I also got a good chance to reflect and became more aware of my own shortcomings in spiritual leadership qualities when we had focused discussions on “Spiritual Leadership” book by J. Oswald Sanders. I started giving reasons and excuses to myself and was even telling my wife Shu Ping why I should not be an elder.  And in small group discussions at the training class, I would ask from time to time the similar question, how do you know whether it is God’s calling or just men’s ideas?  Looking back now, I realize this is part of God’s answer to my question.  In September 2021, my attitude had a sharp 180-degree turn.  I no longer struggled with the calling question, I was at peace with all the possible challenges an elder would face.  The contrast of my attitude change was so big, I concluded it was God’s answer for my stubborn question.  Not too long after, I shared this with my wife and Pastor Ming. If it is indeed God’s calling, we will be able to face any future challenges with trust and peace. We will get the answer and confirmation through the examinations and feedbacks from the pastoral team, the coworkers, and the brothers and sisters. Regardless, we will continue to serve at CCCTO with the roles God prepared us for His church, with joy, with humility and without complain.

And finally, I would like to share with you the following Bible verses from 1 Corinthians 1:30-31: It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Wayne Chen

CCCTO Elder Nominee

Could you please share a little about yourself?

  • 1986   I came to CCCTO, and serve as a youth counselor
  • 1994   Served as a deacon
  • 1995   Married Dorothy at CCCTO
  • 1997   Left CCCTO
  • 2013   Started to attend CCCTO again
  • 2019   Served as a deacon

I was at CCCTO from 1986 to 1997, served as a youth counselor for most of this time, and as a deacon for two years. We left CCCTO in 1997, and attended a multi-ethnic church called Mosaic in East LA. Later, we helped at a small startup church called Rivers in Westlake Village. In 2013, God led us back to CCCTO. I have been a born-again Christian since 1984. 

Who is in your family?

I am married to my beautiful wife Dorothy. We don’t have any kids but God has blessed us with many friends and their kids as well as one nephew and three  nieces that we love and cherish.

How did you become a Christian? 

I was born in Taiwan to a loving family with very little religious background except some ancestor worship rituals.  But when I asked why we do some of these rituals, most of the time, I just get a blank stare and my parents would tell me to be quiet and go play with the rest of our cousins.  As I came to the US when I was 12, I often argued with my parents why study when I am just going to get into a college, graduate, find a job, get married, buy a house, grow old, and die.  And just the same when I was young, I received no answers, no explanations.  What I did not know at this time was that I was in search of the “meaning of life”.  

This spirit of searching continues when I entered college at the age of 16 as my parents was moving to California and I did not want to go with them for my senior year of high school, so I applied to college while I was a junior in high school.  I skipped my senior year in high school and went straight to college with my parents 3000 miles away, I felt a sense of freedom.  

Everything to me was new and I started to make some poor choices.  I tried marijuana as my roommates had plenty, I wanted to belong so I partied on weekend with all my floor mates. I felt in love, then broke up, and because of the breakup, I did not attend the final exam for my classes, so I was put in probation for one year.  After this failure, I stopped alcohol/partying, I started looking for some other meaningful activities.  I learned Aikido, a Japanese self-defense martial art with philosophy of harmony and peacefulness, I tried transcendentalism, another different philosophy.  I became a vegetarian, I tried picketing “save the whale” because I liked a girl.  I dated again and broke up again.  And just like last time, I did not attend my final exam and this time I was expelled from school for one year.  

During this one year, I worked but kept all these hush hush from my parents.  I started hanging out with a new sets of friends mainly sports, softball and basketball.  We participated in tournaments and tours various colleges to compete with their Asian American softball or basketball team.  In our first year of participating in a Midwest softball tournament in Toronto Canada, we won the championship.  At the end of each tournament there was always a celebration party with food, alcohol, dancing.  And every time, I noticed one of our teammates is always skipping the party, self-assured, confident, with quiet demeaner.  I was attracted to him and want to get to know him more.


I don’t remember how, what and when he introduced me to Jesus, but in the subsequent year, I met all of his friends, hanged out with them, get more exposure to who Jesus is.  In the winter church conference of 1984, with the song of “I surrender all”, and the urging of the preacher to step forward and accept Christ, I walked forward and committed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior to my life.  I acknowledged that Jesus is God and that He died on the cross for all of my sins and He resurrected on the 3rd day and I asked God to forgive me.  

What is your relationship with Jesus like right now?

For 10+ years of my youth, I have been searching for something to fill my heart, give me meaning of life.  And the last 38 years, I found that “something” to fill my heart.  The French philosopher Pascal said that all of us have a “God-shaped” vacuum in our heart, and only Jesus can fill it. If you are like me, and you are searching for something to fill your heart, it is my prayer and hope for you to know who Jesus is and what he had done for you.  In the Bible, it says that if you ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open for you. Will you investigate who Jesus is?

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

It has been a joy to work with many brothers and sisters at our church the last 3 years as I served as a deacon. I sensed the Spirit urging me to continue with the ministries (Mission, ACE and Alpha) that He had entrusted me with. Through the Power of His Word that helps me to know God, love God, and beyond any doubt that He loves me (studying and teaching of His Word, ACE) will enable me to love our neighbors better (Mission, Alpha).