Subject: Re: Interview With Sean Ho For AGAPE -- Christian Magazine in Malaysia
From: Sean Ho <seanho@cs.unc.edu>
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2004 18:36:02 -0500
Hi , again sorry for not getting this back to you earlier; hope
this is sufficient for your use!  I tried not to use too many American
colloquialisms, but let me know if anything's unclear or should be
rephrased.  I hope you don't mind if I rearrange and group a few of your
questions together; you'll see why in my answers.


*QUESTIONS TO SEAN HO*

* *

1.         Your parents mentioned that you were the child they took along in the 13 visits to Malaysia. How many times have you personally been to Malaysia?

Well, it's been a while since I took those trips to Malaysia; my
memory's not very good!  I think I've been to Malysia about six or seven
times total.  My visits to Malaysia were a big part of my youth; and I
remember them fondly, even though I'm now 25 years old and studying for
my Ph.D. in North Carolina in the U.S.  The last time I was in Malaysia
was at least seven years ago; I imagine Malaysia has changed
dramatically since then, and I'd love to visit again!


2.         Have you ever traveled to Malaysia with any of your other
 siblings? If no, why did your parents choose you? Was it because you
 were the youngest?

At least twice my oldest sister Adina also was with us in Malaysia; it
made the trip a lot more fun to have her around to hang out and joke
with.  The rest of my siblings were simply unable to come for such an
extended time; at the time I was still in college and had my summers
free.  In recent years I also have been unable to visit Malaysia,
because of my dissertation work for my Ph.D.


3.         What was your first impression of Malaysia?

Hmm, if I remember correctly, on my first visit when I was 13, my first
impression of Malaysia was that it was very hot, and smelled a bit
peculiar.  :)   I loved the fruit (especially the pineapple in Triang!)
and the satay.  And of course as I spent more time there, I appreciated
the friendly people of Malaysia, and all the wonderful brothers and
sisters in Christ who welcomed us!


4.         Your father said that you were a very quiet child and that
 when they asked you to give your testimony once, you just stood up and said "Hi, I'm Sean." And sat down. He said the incident in Pontian broke the ice where he became sick and had to go to the bathroom and when he returned in 30 minutes you were having a good time with the children. Can you please tell us what happened during those 30 minutes and what made you feel at ease.

Heh, that would be on my very first trip to Malaysia; I think it was in
1991.  I was very blessed to have my translator and friend with me.  I
really don't remember much about what happened, except that it felt like
much less than 30 minutes, and most of the time was occupied with
answering questions from the students.


5.         Can you recall your earliest introduction to Jesus? Your parents mentioned all of you were very very young when they introduced Christianity to you. How does a toddler at that age who canít comprehend even the life they see comprehend the invisible God?


13.       How has your family, especially your parents, helped in your spiritual growth?

:) Nope, actually I cannot recall my earliest introduction to Jesus --
because He is an integral part of how our parents raised us, from even
before we were born.  A small child can most certainly understand the
love of his/her parents, which is something intangible.  That child can
definitely be taught the love of the Heavenly Father -- it's up to the
parents to train them.  For the same reason, it's impossible for me to
enumerate how my parents have helped my spiritual growth, because just
about every aspect of their parenting has been motivated by a desire to
guide me towards God, and exemplify Jesus' love towards me.


6.         At what age did you accept Christ? Were you aware of what
 you were doing?

24.       Would you like to share your personal testimony with our readers for their edification?

The first time I personally prayed to ask Jesus into my heart was when I
was four years old; at the dinner table.  Our family was talking about
how nice it would be if when Jesus comes again, we could all go meet him
in heaven, holding hands together.  My dad explained to me that he could
not "carry me" with him into heaven -- I had to make a decision on my
own to receive Jesus' life.  So my sister led me in a simple prayer
asking Jesus into my heart.  I'm sure that I did _not_ understand all
complex systematic theology and debates, but that I _did_ understand
that I needed Jesus and wanted Him in my heart.

As I grew older and learned more about Jesus and what it means to follow
Him, there were several "recommittments" when I again turned my life
over to Jesus Christ, to repent of the things in my life that are not
pleasing to Him, and make Him Lord of my life.  And I'm still growing
today, by reading the Bible and praying daily, by serving others out of
love, and by the encouragement and fellowship of other believers.  I am
by no means a perfect Christian, but Jesus has already won the victory
over sin and death in my life.


7.         What are the advantages you feel you have gained by knowing about Jesus at such a young age over that of your peers at school who didn't know Him?

I had the tremendous blessing of attending a private Christian school
from preschool through middle school (about Form 2), so most of my
classmates were also from Christian families.  That didn't necessarily
mean they were all Christians, but it did have an impact on the overall
atmosphere at school.  I think there were a lot fewer "discipline
problems" at our school.  We knew that there was an ultimate authority
watching over us -- that even if we didn't like our classmates or
thought the teachers were unfair, we each individually were responsible
to God for our actions, and He is both loving and just.

8.         You have the added advantage of being a genius. How were you different in these respects from others of your age?

9.         What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a genius? Can you please give us specific incidents?

16.       Did you ever wish you were normal or do you think life is a
 bliss as a genius?

I'm going to group all your "genius" questions together, because as you
must have heard by now from my parents, _everybody_ is a "genius"
("tian1-cai2"), gifted in one way or another!  God creates each person
with different gifts of different measures, in science, or music, or
communication, or administration, or preaching, or encouragement, or
compassion... and many other areas.  Each person is uniquely gifted.  So
in this sense I am no less "normal" than anyone else!  :)  I can't give
advantages or disadvantages of my life compared with anyone else's life,
since my life is all I know -- and I am thankful to God for my life,
because I know His plan for me is to prosper me and not to harm me.

10.       Again you are blessed to have your elder siblings in a similar position as you so you would not have felt like the odd one out as a child. Did you ever feel like you never belonged, whether in
 this family or in society?

I'm very thankful to my family; they were my closest circle of friends
while growing up.  There naturally was an age gap between me and my next
sister up; my three older siblings were born within four years of each
other, then there was a six year gap before me.  But my siblings took
very good care of me; our whole family is very close.


11.       It must have been great growing up in a family where everyone excelled in everything. Failure must have been such an alien
 word to all of you.

It seems that everyone has their own definition of "excellence" and
"failure".  For me, success means being a good and faithful steward of
the gifts and opportunities that God grants me, just like the parable of
three stewards in Matthew 25:14-30.  To whom more is given, more is
required -- so if I have a strong gift in one area, then I have more
responsibility to use that gift to serve others to bring glory to my
Creator who gave me that gift.

14.       How did you cope in university with the vast age difference
 among you and your collegemates? Did they readily accept you or were
 there problems coping?

15.       What were your methods for coping?

Well, in my early years in Uni, I only went to school for classes, and
spent the rest of my time at home.  So I didn't really notice if my
classmates accepted me or not.  My main circle of friends was my youth
fellowship at church, all about the same age as I.  As I got older, and
my age-peers started going to Uni as well, then I got more involved with
our college fellowship on campus, reaching out to other college students
with the love of Christ.

17.       What do you think are your greatest strengths and greatest
 weaknesses?

Good question!  I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer it; you'd better
ask my family and friends!  :)  God has opened up some tremendous
opportunities for me to cowork with other youth ministries through the
ministry of God's Word -- preaching the Word to teenagers.  It's always
a wonderful challenge; very rewarding and very tiring.  At the same
time, I'm aware that God is constantly working to develop humility in my
heart, and to train me to be a better listener, to be sensitive to other
people's unique struggles.

18.       If I understood correctly, you and your siblings are all actively involved in church activities. Which church does your family
 attend? Do all of you attend the same church?

When we were growing up, we all attended the Evangelical Chinese Church
[Zheng4 Dao4 Tang2] in Seattle; that was our home church.  Since then,
we've all moved away from Seattle and attend different churches around
the country.  All my siblings are very active in their churches.

19.       What activities are you involved with in church? Are you involved in any Christian activities outside your church? If so, what
 are they?

20.       Why do you choose to do what you're doing with regards to your role in church or Christian activities outside church?

For the past six years, God has placed me amongst a wonderful group of
youth at our small church in North Carolina; I have the great privilege
to be their Sunday School teacher and youth counselor, along with three
other excellent and devoted youth workers.  Six years ago, our youth
group (12-17 years old) usually would have about four kids (six
on a good day).  Now we regularly have over twenty youth, and most
importantly they are growing in spiritual maturity.  They are starting
to be bolder about their faith, telling their friends about Jesus; and
they also want to serve in youth group, by playing guitar or singing or
praying, or leading small-group discussions.  It's so exciting to see!

I don't know how much longer God will give me the chance to interact
with these wonderful kids, but whatever activities I do, whether in
church or outside church, whether labeled "Christian" or not, I choose
to do them because that's where God calls me, and those are the
opportunities He opens for me.  When He opens the door, I just have to
be ready, and walk through the door.

21.       You are the only child still unmarried. Any plans to get married in the near future?

Plans to get married?  Well, I don't have a girlfriend, if that's what
you're asking.  :) My future family is in God's hands.  I wait on the
LORD and trust that He will provide the right person at the right time;
and in the meantime, it's more important for me to work on _being_ the
right person than _finding_ the right person.

22.       How do you feel about your parents traveling all over the world preaching?

I think it's wonderful that God has blessed my parents with so many
opportunities to be used by Him as a channel of His love to many people.
 All four of us siblings are independent, so my parents are not "tied
down" to any location.  And wherever they are invited to go, my parents
have been abundantly blessed through the local brothers and sisters in
Christ.  God has been good to them.  But my dad needs to watch his blood
pressure and gout, and my mom needs to be careful of her asthma.
Speaking is not tiring for them, but travelling is -- so they need to
make sure they get enough rest!  :)


12.       Did you have your career path cut out for you as a child? I
 mean did you ever have to go through a period of "finding yourself"?


23.       Do you ever see yourself going into ministry full-time?


I think I'm still "finding myself"!  :)  In terms of school/career,
mathematics and computers have always been a part of me --
but my future path is completely in God's very capable hands.  Whatever
career I end up in -- teaching, or software development, or research, or
even pastoring -- it can always be a "full-time ministry", serving the
Lord in all I do.

``Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the
Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance
from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.''
        -- Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

God bless you and your readers!

in Christ,
Sean
-- 
  Sean Ho                                 seanho @ cs.unc.edu
  Dept. of Computer Science, CB #3175     http://www.cs.unc.edu/~seanho/
  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3175