INTRODUCING THE LEONG FAMILY!
We are so excited to have Aaron and Kimberly Leong and son Ezra become part of the Lumenations family! They live in the San Francisco Bay-area and are part of the church in Walnut Creek where Ken ministered in the 1990s. When Ken visited there earlier this year, Aaron was intrigued by the vision of Lumenations and felt an almost immediate God-call. He and Kimberly have decided to take a leap of faith and join Lumenations. Aaron, with his deep love for the Lord and God's global Kingdom, is a very obvious answer to prayer. His background in engineering and curriculum/training design; his experience with media production from his YouTube channel; and his pioneering spirit and willingness to join this "brand new thing” make him a perfect fit.
HERE ARE THEIR STORIES:
FROM AARON: I am a 42-year old, somewhat politically-incorrect Chinese-Malay male. I was born and raised in Malaysia to missionary parents, then later as a preacher's kid, with all the foibles that come with that upbringing! By my side, I have a beautiful, highly intelligent, and God-driven wife, Kimberly, who strives to serve her family and His calling to the best of her abilities. We also have a 10-year old rambunctious son, Ezra, who loves life, aircraft, Lego, and sports.
I was baptized at 12, but truly came to faith and developed a really tight relationship with God and His Spirit much later at the end of my first marriage. However, I know that God has been fighting for my heart, as well as directing my life path towards Him since the beginning. Lumenations is just such an example of how He continues to mold me in ways I've never expected. I may have lived the majority of my life focused as an engineer and curriculum developer in the secular world but I have seen little (and big) nudges - through personal revelations, church activities, professional direction, and encouragement from friends and family - into a life of serving Him in a more dedicated capacity.
Lumenations is a huge draw to my wife and me because of its mission to mobilize local Christians to gather, develop, encourage, and multiply in an old-school biblical church sort of way. For myself personally, I see my role on the training team of Lumenations satisfying two curiosities (for the lack of a better word) - firstly, I haven't seen many, if any, effective missions courses created by professional curriculum designers, which means the opportunity is ripe to innovate and meld professional methodologies into the context of missions and religion. Secondly, I foresee many lessons to be learned from developing curriculum in missions that can be shared with and applied with the “mainstream”. Finally, I'm just excited to see where God takes this and takes us - it may be far-reaching, it may be short-lived, it may flourish in ways we never expected - but whatever comes, it's going to be a journey to remember!
Kimberly grew up and went to college in Michigan, then moved to Colorado for graduate school. Halfway through her graduate program, she felt God telling her that he wanted her elsewhere - she left that graduate program, sold or gave away most of what she owned, and joined the Peace Corps, spending over 2 years teaching Deaf children in Kenya. That experience was life-changing: hearing God’s call, dropping everything to follow it, then daily life doing a difficult job she felt under-qualified to do in a small village hours from any other foreigner. It strengthened her faith, relationship with God and dependence on HIm. And it got her hooked on the excitement and joy of putting her life in God’s hands, wherever it may lead even (and especially) when it’s scary and something she couldn’t or wouldn’t do on her own!
After returning from Kenya, Kimberly has been dedicated to doing her best to listen to God in all areas of her life. She went back to a different graduate school and program and is now a teacher for deaf and hard of hearing infants, toddlers, and their families. Aside from her childhood in Michigan, she has lived in 3 other countries (U.K., Kenya, and Switzerland) and 5 U.S. states (Colorado; Wisconsin; Washington, D.C.; Indiana; and California).
God brought us together in 2013 and one of the things we had in common was a desire to work in international missions and to do so in an ethical way. Through our backgrounds and experiences living in and observing a variety of missionaries in other countries, we've learned to value local people, their cultures, and their experiences. We wanted to avoid inadvertently propagating an impression of foreigners as experts, bringing with us the issues and cultural baggage of our home churches, and teaching more of our country’s culture and traditions than God’s word. And we certainly did not want to create a situation where people focus more on the missionary than the message.
Lumenations is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for - a project that capitalizes on my expertise in curriculum development and media creation, and empowers local Christians to reach out to their neighbors, allowing the focus to be on God and not the messenger.