Seattle native Andy Dong graduated in 2015 from Rice University in Houston, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology. After graduation, Andy planned to attend medical school, but he recognized a passion and call for vocational ministry. He is now a pastoral intern at Houston’s The Bridge Montrose, and is working towards a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. When not studying or working, Andy spends his time cycling, playing guitar, and watching his hometown Seahawks. He shares how God used Chi Alpha to prepare him for the vocational ministry path he is currently on:
Describe the impact Chi Alpha had on you as a student.
Chi Alpha was the first cohesive group of people my age I had ever met that was living a life centered on Jesus. I checked out a small group within the first few weeks of my freshman year, and immediately recognized that my small group leader and other guys in the group lived a life completely colored by the Gospel. They all had a deep value and desire to live God-glorifying lives in Christ-centered fellowship, things I knew I desperately needed and wanted. Joining Chi Alpha was a turning point in my life as a Christian, and provided me with essential experiences and relationships for maturing in my relationship with God.
How did the change of direction into vocational ministry come about?
The opportunities I had to lead as a small group leader and worship leader at Rice Chi Alpha were the catalysts for God exposing and cultivating the gifts He had endowed me with. Those gifts turned out to include teaching, leadership, and spiritual care, which are now what I hope to utilize in a long-term pastoral role. Josh Bell, the campus director of Rice Chi Alpha, was my resource leader for three years and we had a very close one-on-one relationship. He discipled me, giving me an abundance of opportunities to lead, fail, and grow as a believer.
What was it like for you being in Houston during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath?
The devastation experienced by so many was indescribably tragic, but it was profoundly encouraging to see the Church and those apart from it, made in His image regardless, come together during Hurricane Harvey to serve their hurting neighbors. I was able to lead volunteer teams to gut out people’s flooded homes, and it was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done, physically and emotionally. However, it was deeply humbling and joy-filling to serve people in their time of greatest need.
What advice do you have for students in Chi Alpha who have plans to go in one direction but God leads them into occupation ministry?
Plug into a local church. Let God continue building you up through your local church, to eventually direct you to your lifelong occupation in ministry. If you root into your local church and let them build you up, God will train and direct you in whatever path He has for you.