By Melanie Mar Chow
Recently I had the opportunity to visit some friends at Fuller Theological Seminary. I noticed quite a bit of upgrading and remodeling of the buildings and grounds. Though very compact in size, (“if you walk too fast, you will miss it”, I recently told a friend), the campus has a large feel. The “large” can be found in the depth found in the God-given knowledge and heart that each scholar, student, and administrator brings. I most appreciate the depth of relationships with Kingdom-minded folk who continue to reach out to me to my surprise, given the years that have passed.
As I walk through campus now, the story of my past and what it represents refreshes my spirit. There is something about returning that reminds me that I once enjoyed this safe place, with the freedom to explore and discuss a myriad of subjects over coffee and long lunches – that which would shape and mold me theologically. I reflect now upon how those who had gone before and those who were journeying with me at the time contributed towards the formation of a theology that I would come to embrace. Each day held new challenges of what it meant to be a Christian leader that prepared me, along with others, for future ministry.
I return not to relive the past, but to refresh what was given those years ago. Jon Bon Jovi wrote and sang, “Take it in, take it with you when go. Who says you can’t go home?” Many writers, novelists, journalists, and others have debated whether you can truly go home. Places that feel like home are purposeful and God-ordained. It is a gift from God to find opportunities to return to those special places, not to recreate the past, but to be led by the Spirit – to rekindle what was given, and to “take it with you when you go.”
Rev. Melanie Mar Chow serves God through Asian American Christian Fellowship, the campus ministry division of the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). She has been an ordained American Baptist minister since 2004. A Pacific Northwest native, she currently lives with her husband and daughter in Southern California.