A New Life

Dear friend,

This is my second life and career update with y’all.  Last time, I explained to you some of my expectations and hopes moving to Washington D.C.  This time, I hope to explain a little more about how this new world is challenging and bringing me new opportunities to adapt.

I know some of you are curious about how my new job is going.  The answer is it’s going really well.  Before taking my major-gifts fundraising job with YAF, I had done a lot of research about what such a position would entail.  I knew that it would involve a lot of travel.  I knew that it would test my persuasive communication ability.  And I knew that it would not be worth it if it wasn’t for an organization that I really, truly believed in. 

My job does involve a lot of travel.  So much travel, in fact, that in the last three months I have been to Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, and of course, Santa Barbara in California, the home of Ronald Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo.  Each place I go I conduct meetings with high-capacity givers with future potential.  I listen carefully to what these fine individuals care about and I match their desires with our mission. 

These are exhausting trips because I always have to be on my A-game when I am with a supporter!  But they’re also extremely rewarding.  I’ve gotten to know immensely successful people at all different fields.  Investors.  Lawyers.  Prominent judges.  Doctors who save lives.  All of these men and women, committed to their profession and committed to the country they love and values we share.  What a blessing it is to have this opportunity to make a difference with these people!

I’ve also realized an important thing about myself during these trips – that, most fundamentally, I do love people.  I believe God has given me a gift of talking and relating to people.  It’s crazy, when I think about the direction my life has taken, that I have arrived here – yet it all makes sense.  I remember back when I was in high school, I wanted to be a preacher.  Go back further, and I wanted to be an author.  (I still would love to do both those things going forward.)  All my life, I’ve wanted, and even longed to, communicate to people the things I believe and the things I think are good.  That has always been the defining string of my life, down to the very first time I sold a book as a 2nd grader, asking my next-door neighbor to by a comic book I wrote, Power Master, for 2 dollars.  2 dollars!  That was my world. 

Last thing about my job: YAF is a great organization.  We’re a small organization – about 50 people total – responsible for the largest conservative presence on campus in the entire United States and the preservation of a Presidential property.  Yeah, you can bet this job is no joke. 

I’m trying to meet new people and do new things.  I joined a Quidditch team.  I’m taking a Lindy Hop Swing Dancing class to learn a few more moves.  I’m making ample use of Avery, the name of my stalwart 2014 Chevy Cruze who keeps humming along cheerfully wherever I ask her to go.  Which is many places. 

I’ve started to cook a lot more too.  It’s funny, living next to a Trader Joe’s will do that.  Reston, Virginia is a planned community that somehow has both Chick-fil-a and Trader Joe’s and Honeygrow and running + biking trails and walking distance from the DC Metro and I am all about it

No lie, sometimes I fear for my future.  Will I thrive in my profession?  Will I accomplish my biggest ambitions?  Will I make the impact in the country that I want to make? 

Or even: Will I find the right church?  Will I find the right people to love and be loved?  Or – will I have something to do this weekend? 

Lots of uncertainties in life.  I know I share many of these same uncertainties with folks all around this city.  This city can feel like you constantly be on your A-game.  There’s always someone more aggressive than you at networking.  Always seems to have more friends and is more popular. 

But I learned a long time ago that popularity is a foolish idol to serve, because it is so fleeting and it will make you miserable. 

Instead, I’m chasing God’s will and the relationships He’s given to me.  Through work, through church, through life.  God is humbling me and I need it.  Before I move forward with my big ambitions – and they are big – I need to take solace in the fact that I am a creature loved by God irrespective of my accomplishments on this world

On Columbus Day, I went over to a local park and sat on a bench with a book and read it while taking in the lakeside view.  It was a beautiful day.  It was the kind of thing I didn’t do often at school.  It’s the kind of thing I need to do more often.

Work hard.  Pray hard. 

Love the life I’ve been given. 

With great joy,

Kenny Xu

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3 thoughts on “A New Life

  1. Kenny,

    Best wishes to you as you carry on God’s message in your new endeavors in DC. Humility before intellect and in all things, LOVE.

    Warm Regards,
    Wenyuan Wu from AACE

  2. Dear Kenny:

    Thanks for your thoughts, and writings. I would like to start a dialogue, and communication witb you, as I too, am a chinese-american christian.

    I live in NYC, and, have been involved with this ‘chinese-christian-quest,’ with my father, who just passed away, and migrated to the states in 1947. He just passed away, and unknownst to many — was the pre-eminent chinese-theologian in America’ history. I am presently working on a volume, to finish regarding his unknownst life and legacy.

    My email is johnvantaoszto@gmail.com. I am too, concerned with asian-american identity issues, as a christian, and, am a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in NYC; The Juilliard School; Westminster Seminary; and Columbia University; in addition to CUNY — Queens College. I admire your courage, and fortitude, and am hoping to be of some help to you as I am older than you — but, still figuring things out.

    Thanks for your kind attention, and your english and writing are so superior to mine! Humbly, John Szto. 1 718 658 7969. Reaching out to a younger chinese-christian-american sojourner!

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