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        Bio: Grace Hsiao Hanford

    I am a second generation Taiwanese American child of God. I first experienced him the Fall of my freshman year at Stanford at an InterVarsity large group meeting. “The nails in his hands, the nails in his feet” suddenly had immediate and deep meaning to me, as I realized that God has always loved me deeply, unconditionally. How can you not give your whole life to God after that?  How can your eyes not want to see more of God’s love after that?

    Since then, I’ve witnessed at least 6 major staff overhalls, 2 presidential/executive-level changes, and 1 building campaign—and of course, the unsettling of relationships, priorities, and values therein.  Every major organization I’ve been a part of has been in an unusual state of transition—from the Urbana Student Mission Convention, to Regent College, to the Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity.   At first, my knack for transition was puzzling (and still is at times), but God overwhelmingly meant it for good.  Though it is at times sharply painful and heartbreaking to see the crud that bubbles to the surface, I can testify of God’s deep work in me and others in the midst of transition.  I can testify that He is startlingly wise and intimately loving.  I can testify that he does not favor one at the expense of another—but works his plans for the good of all.  I have seen the beauty of his ongoing activity, his sovereignty and also his deep respect for each of our souls and situations.  He is definitely involved in our lives, giving us his ultimate best and making us all the more his own.

    We are the ones who hold ourselves back, I especially.  We hold ourselves back by our lack of openness, our over-attachment to things that keep him from being first.  And his grace reigns all the more.   As I aspire to be fully his, my heart yearns too for deeper discipleship, reconciliation and unity for all who call themselves Christians.  Gandhi once told Christian Bishop E. Stanley Jones to “Practice your religion without adulterating it or toning it down.”*   This is my call, to point people to Jesus.  To point people to our God who has already given us more than enough through his Son.  And it is only in Christ, that we can have new life, a richer life to the full, and it is only in Christ that we have anything deeply eternal in common with our neighbor.  I particularly feel called to point the church at large to our own benchmark of Christ.  He is the way to a deeper reality of fellowship and community.

    To this end and as God has led, I have spent most of my adult life on the West Coast, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area.   Originally from the New York metro area, I currently live in Urbana, Illinois with my grad student husband. Both my degrees are in history.

    I can affirm the doctrinal basis of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and the doctrinal statement of Regent College.

     

     

    *E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Mount: a Working Philosophy of Life. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1931) 16.