April 22, 2024

We were a fairly typical Taiwanese family. My parents emigrated from Taiwan when I was four and we settled in Atlanta, GA. My parents did not practice any religion, though my paternal grandmother is a devout Buddhist. Our family was very involved in the Taiwanese American Association(TAA) community. One aspect of being involved in the TAA was that the Atlanta Taiwanese Presbyterian Church (ATPC) was one of the central groups in the TA community. My parents liked to sing so would often go to their meetings and even to church. But I viewed the church (and Christianity) as irrelevant, simple-minded, and above all, boring.

During my last quarter in my freshman year at GA Tech (May 1986), I was walking back to my dorm and passed by the Student Center. There were about 20 people watching a video out on the steps. So out of curiousity I stopped by to see what was going on. It was a video on Rock-n-roll music and it’s effects. After the video was over, a guy announced that there would be a live presentation tonight discussing it more.

I didn’t really listen to R-n-R music, so I don’t really know why I decided to go that night. But there was one thing during the presentation that hit me. They discussed about backmasking and played some examples of music being played backwards. The messages weren’t immediately obvious, but were intelligible. And all the messages were evil in nature. So, they asked how could the messages have gotten there? It could only be 3 possible answers. One is that is was an accident. But if so, the messages would be random like “I’m going to play umbrella in the boat.” But they all had evil messages. Another reason could be that it was intentional by the artists. But that is highly doubtful. Why would they even go through the effort, even if it was possible? Third reason was that the musicians were influenced subconciously by the devil. It made sense to me, so they had convinced me that the devil was real and actually influencing people.

Then the presenter said that you’re either living for the devil or for God. There was no middle ground. Well, I reasoned, I surely didn’t want to live for the devil, so I’d rather live for God. At the end, he did the typical sinners lure to the front of having people pray with their eyes closed, then raise their hands, then come forward. I felt trapped at that point when he asked people to come forward. But I peeked up and saw several people go forward, so I reluctantly went forward also. Someone prayed for me and then was assigned to follow me up.

I went back to my dorm room that night sort of dazed and wondered just what happened. I told my roommate that I became a Christian since I had thought he was one since I knew he went to church. He didn’t give any response except something about what he had eaten for dinner.

Summer break immediately came afterwards and my discipler tried to meet with me regularly for Bible study. I wasn’t too excited about it, but went along. Nothing much really happened spiritually during that summer.

Then it all changed completely when I returned back to Tech. I was not able to get into a dorm, but some of the guys that presented the Rock-n-roll seminar had one space open and invited me to live with them. Since I did not want to live at home, and also the rent was so cheap($150), I decided to join them. But there was a reason it was so cheap. We had 6 guys packed into an old 2 bedroom house with 1 bathroom. And all my clothes had to fit in 1/3 of a small closet.

I knew this was going to be different the first day I moved in. While I was moving in, I saw this white guy sitting on an old sofa massaging the legs of a black guy that was laying on his lap. But I also found out that two of the guys there were getting graduate degrees at Tech and both of them had 4.0 GPA as undergraduates at Tech. It was the first time I found out that not all Christians are dumb.

It was also the first time I found out what the true Christian life was all about while I lived there. We ate together, cooked for each other, served each other, prayed for each other, we served in the church (Maranatha Christian Church), we went to Bible studies, had outreaches. That fall, we had a mini-revival at campus in our Bible Studies. We averaged 50 people each meeting, people were getting healed, almost the entire Tech football team had attended the Bible Studies. It was an exciting time.

I soon got involved in MCC and helped out with the International Student Ministry. That was an exciting time too. At one point, almost 1/3 of the people going to church were International Students.

I am grateful to God for all the spiritual growth I had while I was at Tech. It laid a good foundation for my spiritual walk and it’s been an exciting journey since.