“Our lives are not for us at all and we don’t live our lives to please our own selfish desires. God has a calling for our lives and that’s the central thing”.
C.A.S.S: Hey Sierra, oh sorry Serena, hahaha
Brian, you have to put that in *amidst laughter**
C.A.S.S: Sorry Serena (still laughing), how’re you doing?
I’m actually not that bad Brian, how about you?
C.A.S.S: I’m doing well too. :). So we just want to get know a little bit more about you, our wonderful financial officer. So why don’t you start us off with telling us a bit about yourself.
Okay, so my name is Serena, my middle name is Grace and my last name is Lin. I’m studying English and I’m also premed. I grew up in Southern California in a suburb called Temple City and it’s part of this little Asian pocket outside of L.A. And so the high school I went to actually was around 60% Asian. And so it’s been a little adjustment to come to Stanford.
C.A.S.S: Ok great! Can you also tell me a bit about your family and what growing up was like?
I have an older brother who is three years older than me. He also went to Stanford and graduated in 2016 and he’s currently attending law school in Boston! I miss him a lot and he’s one of my favorite people in the world. We’re extremely different, but that’s also why it’s so fun that we’re family! I am also really close to my parents. I’m like super best friends with my mum and i am completely unashamed by that. My parents both immigrated came from Taiwan. My mum came in 7th grade and my dad came in 10th grade. And they both went to college in America.
C.A.S.S: Nice, how did they meet?
They met in high school through friends.
C.A.S.S: WOW!! High school love!! Are you kidding me?
No yeah, I’m serious.
C.A.S.S: So they have known each for about 30 years?
Hahahaha, Yeah Brian.
C.A.S.S: Wow! That’s amazing. Couple goals right here. Okay so tell us about your time here at Stanford.
Sure! So I have always really been interested in Medicine because my parents are both in the health field. I had also always loved reading but during the later part of middle school, I actually started to love writing which I hated as a child. And so after taking more writing classes, I fell in love with it. I felt torn between my two interests, but after finding out you can apply to Medical school after taking the required classes, I decided that I was definitely going to major in English. This combination is great because I can have some diversity of course schedule and classes and its been going really well.
Lol Yeah, so I’m grateful I could major in something different too.
C.A.S.S: Oh great, I’m happy for you too. Okay so how did you come to discover Chi Alpha?
Yeah actually, so I bumped into Phoua during NSO tabling and I remember trying to ask all the groups tough questions to see how they would answer.
Not like really tough questions, more like “Are you guys part of a denomination?”, “ Why would you choose Chi Alpha over other groups?”, etc. And so, I ended up coming to Refarmation, Chi Alpha’s first event of the year. There, I was so lucky and God just set up a divine appointment for me to meet Clara who ended up becoming my life group leader, and I was her Bridesmaid in her recent wedding.
C.A.S.S: Oh wow, Bridesmaid! Hmmm, interesting! Okay, so are you from a Christian family?
Kind of, so my mum is a Christian but my dad isn’t. So I grew up going to church as a child. So how my mom ended up going to Church is interesting. So when my mum, uncle and my grandparents moved into America, they got a postcard from a church in their neighborhood and they went! They were not Christian then.
C.A.S.S: Wow really?
Yeah, so my grandma is actually the oldest member of my church. I completely grew up in that church. It is a small church, pretty intimate and I have met some of my really close friends there. They’re basically like my second family. I also love that we often have combined services for the big holidays and so the service is bilingual! This is so funny but in preschool, I was really good friends with these girls and we took ballet classes together at the local community center and we ended bringing them to church. And so I have known this group of girls since I was like 3 and we are still really good friends. Church ended up being a way to connect with each other even after we didn’t go to the same school.
C.A.S.S: Wow, that’s so cool! I also like the way you maintain long friendships
C.A.S.S: Ok, Serena. I usually ask this question as a way of getting other Christians inspired. I ask if you pinpoint a time in your Christian walk when you faced a particular challenge or difficult and how you maneuvered that process.
“It used to be hard for me to pray about practical things like making friends, but seeing God move this past year and grow incredibly deep relationships with me has challenged me to rely on Him. I think for anyone that wants to get closer to the community, I would advise you to also pray about it. Praying about it will allow God to move in so many unexpected ways.”
Yeah, I think something that was pretty difficult for me going into sophomore year was that I felt I had a solid group of friends who I was drifting away from. A trend in my life is that a lot of my close friends are not necessarily Christian. Being in college has made my Christian faith grow in a very new way that the college environment stimulates. For me, that made me drift away from my friends because they did not share this core value that is so important to me. And so that was something that I was really worried about. I had always wanted a group of extremely close Christian gal friends, but it had always been an area that I struggled to develop. And so I talked to Paula about it and she asked me to pray about it and so that is an area God has been working in by placing specific Christian friends in my life that I have drawn a lot closer which I am grateful for. The relationships have been so different from other friendships that I’ve had because I know that I can rely on them to pray for me and support me in Godly ways. It used to be hard for me to pray about practical things like making friends, but seeing God move this past year and grow incredibly deep relationships with me has challenged me to rely on Him. I think for anyone that wants to get closer to the community, I would advise you to also pray about it. Praying about it will allow God to move in so many unexpected ways.
Here are some random Facts About Serena.
C.A.S.S: Who is you Second Favorite Music Artists?
I don’t really have one but I really want to see Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith in concert.
C.A.S.S: Which color best describes you?
So my college friends think I love blue because my dorm is Blue themed but my room back home is all pink. So that’s really interesting.
C.A.S.S: What is your least Favorite ice cream flavor?
I actually love Caramel, but I can’t stand salted Caramel. And there’s like salted caramel everything; that was such a trend.
C.A.S.S: What do you do for fun?
I either watch movies or hang out with friends and those are not mutually exclusive. I also watch some TV sometimes but there’s really not much time for that and I also play some video games.
C.A.S.S: Ok a few more questions before we end. So are you dating?
Laughs for a while
Yes I’m dating. No actually, I’m being courted.
You need to see her face when she said that
C.A.S.S: Okay Serena!!! Is it someone within the community?
Hahahahaha, yeah Chris. Chris is actually an alum now, but he often pops up at random Chi Alpha events. We bonded over our shared love for video games and personality tests. Although we were both pretty involved in Chi Alpha my Freshman year, his Junior year, we didn’t end up meeting until we were at church! We got to know each other over the spring leadership retreat and continued talking after that. Actually this is embarrassing but I will say, so when Chris and I went on our first date, he chose this place that had salted caramel gelato but he knew that I didn’t like salted caramel so he for no salt and it worked out.
C.A.S.S: hahahaha, wow. So as the F.O of Chi Alpha and as an officer, how has the role been so far and what are some of your visions for the rest of this year?
The role has been really interesting and pushed me to think more broadly about what the community means to me and what our mission is as a Christian community on campus. I love serving the community and really enjoy getting closer to the other leaders as well. Everyone has such fun and vibrant personalities, and it’s cool to see different people exhibit different aspects of God. There have also been a lot of unexpected logistical challenges that we have been working through, but it has been great to see us pilot and continue to grow a lot of our past ministries. To finish off the year, I just really hope to solidify our new members and continue to focus on encouraging each other and challenging each other in our walk with God.
C.A.S.S: Oh and if folks don’t know Serena and I currently staff in Branner Hall together. So Serena how has that been?
Staffing in Branner has definitely been super fun this year! I especially love that staffing gave us an opportunity to grow closer and work together. Staffing is always challenging, and it has made me face and learn more about who I am. My personality has really changed after coming to college, and I keep seeing it shift, which is both scary but incredible. By being part of the public service theme dorm, I also feel that I have learned so much about that area and it’s intriguing to look at service from both a secular and Christian sense.
C.A.S.S: Finally to conclude Serena, do you mind sharing your favorite Bible verse?
Yes! Ephesians Chapter 4 Verses 1 and 2.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
And I think the first part really speaks to me so much. Living a life worthy of a calling we have received. Our lives are not for us at all and we don’t live our lives to please our own selfish desires. God has a calling for our lives and that’s the central thing. So regardless of our struggles or goals, we want to live a life worthy of God’s calling and for me that is so comforting and convicting!
C.A.S.S: Thank you so much Serena for this. That was truly uplifting!
No problem Brian!.