We are Jon and Valerie Fu. We live in Oahu, Hawaii and have been married for 10 years. We just welcomed our first son, Nathaniel Akio Fu. Jon is an endodontist and Valerie is an optometrist. We met back in our UC Irvine days. Zot zot!
Let’s actually start back in our Irvine days. Those were definitely formative years for both of us. I (Jon) was super enthralled with ministries that put on ‘big’ events to draw those that didn’t know Jesus. Then Kyu-Ho showed up in my dorm, and drew out a simple diagram that I won’t forget. He drew out what binary multiplication looked like and attributed that to what discipleship could look like. Instead of focusing on reaching hundreds of people at a time where you may see no real lasting fruit, pray for God to help you focus on just two people and teach them Jesus such that they can teach two others to do the same. The difference between the two models is that the latter equips that next ‘generation’ to teach others.
Those of us who are parents (and we are just learning about parenthood) realize the importance of imparting everything possible to them. Valerie and I love going to Japan and Japanese culture. She’s half Japanese. If you’ve ever seen any of the Netflix documentaries on Japanese culture/cuisine, you’ll notice the imperative to pass down what is learned to the next generation so that it persists; the sushi chef passes down every detail to just a select few and such. Passing down to the next generation is in their ‘DNA’ so to speak. If they do so well to train the next generation, shouldn’t it be in our DNA as followers of Christ to also raise up competent followers of Christ? That’s what we ask ourselves. For Valerie, UCI was the place where she found Jesus. She grew up in a town where she experienced professing Christians who were quite un-Christian. Her RA (resident-advisor for those of us who forgot), subsequent roommate and other friends started conversing with her about Jesus; all Navs folks. After seeing that Jesus was real to them and that they were sincere in their faith, Valerie opened up to Jesus and accepted Christ after experiencing a powerful answer to prayer.
In the past 10 years, we’ve moved around several times. LA to Oahu to San Antonio and back to Oahu. We’re going to illustrate with the last 10 years because we’ve found that seeing the fruit of disciple-making often takes years to see. Here’s what we’ve done to try our best to be faithful in making disciples:
LA: We had just been married, and were finishing up professional school. We were both involved with the Christian Medical Dental Association where there was a disciple-making culture. During our weekly meetings, we usually had a Bible study. I (Jon) had recently befriended a 2nd year dental student named Kenji. I found out that he was interested in dating one of my classmates named Liane. Kenji found out that Liane attended our weekly Bible study. She’d become a believer recently having been raised Catholic. One day, Kenji showed up to our meeting but to his dismay, Liane wasn’t there. I was leading the study and felt the Lord speaking to me to share the Gospel with Kenji. So it happened! I drew out the Bridge Illustration on a napkin and gave it to Kenji. I told him sorry that Liane didn’t show up but that he should consider what I drew on the napkin seriously. Kenji came back the following week and told me that I wouldn’t believe what happened to him a few days after. His best friend’s mom was moving to Hawaii for good and was dying to share something with Kenji. She had been practicing and rehearsing what she was about to show him for a few weeks. On a piece of paper, she illustrated the Gospel via the Bridge Illustration! Kenji was floored.
He went back home and really felt that God was speaking to him. He started coming to our Bible studies and one evening accepted Christ after one of my friends invited him to do so. To illustrate this example a bit more, Kenji was being ‘discipled’ all along over the years. His best friend of 20 years and the best friend’s parents had encouraged Kenji over the years to follow Jesus. They set an example of faith that he always remembered. They loved him where he was. But it was at the key time that the Gospel was actually shared (twice) when Kenji heard the Word and accepted Jesus.
I praise God in saying that Kenji and Liane have been happily married now for 8 years and are faithful followers of Christ and have a strong desire to disciple others around them. They have 2 sons and are really setting an example to us on how to disciple their kids as well. Liane is from Oahu and they moved back to Oahu 2 years ago. We’ve enjoyed hanging out every few months. They’ve been a reminder to us of how God works: in His timing if we are faithful and available.