Tristan – Keeping the Gospel First


XASS: All right. I’m here with Tristan. What year are you?

Tristan: I’m a sophomore.

XASS: Have you declared a major yet?

Tristan: Not yet. I am interested in computer science, psych and econ.

XASS: So those are your academic interests. Do you have any personal hobbies?

Tristan: I like hanging out with friends, reading, and creative writing. Poetry & short stories — though I haven’t been doing too much writing lately.

XASS: Where are you from?

Tristan: I am from… Well, okay, so I’m from the Bay Area but I moved back to Taiwan when I was seven years old. My parents wanted me to spend some time growing up in a Mandarin environment. So I went to a Mandarin-speaking elementary school. After that I went to a middle school that was an international school, so we spoke English but it was still mostly comprised of Asian people and then I came back here.

XASS: Okay. Here meaning here as in Palo Alto?

Tristan: Yes.

XASS: Wow. So what was it like going to high school in the shadow of Stanford?

Tristan: It was really weird, especially when I got into Stanford. I never expected something like that to happen. But God has interesting plans that are unexpected in that way. I don’t know… I’d say I liked my high school years a lot. Yeah.

XASS: Would you say Stanford has overall been a net positive for your faith, a net negative for your faith, or a mixed bag?

Tristan: I’d say it’s a net positive. I think I’ve learned a lot. God has grown me a lot as a person. Being in fellowship with people is something that I learned in the past couple years in my church – I go to a Chinese church in Mountain View – as well as here in Chi Alpha.

XASS: How did you get involved in Chi Alpha in the first place?

Tristan: I was a freshman, it was club day, and I took pamphlets from a lot of Christian groups. I was first introduced to RUF because someone from my church had been involved with it, but I also took a pamphlet from Chi Alpha and it turns out one of my RAs was Naomi and she kind of gave me the spiel about Chi Alpha. I was also put in touch with Johannes through a mutual acquaintance who attended church / youth group with me. I showed up and I liked it so I stayed.

XASS: Awesome. What advice would you have for a frosh trying to figure out faith at Stanford?

Tristan: *long contemplative pause* I’d say try things out. And of course you keep the gospel first. You have to figure out how you prioritize characteristics of a fellowship. Obviously it’s got to, you know, preach the Bible faithfully. Look at the people, don’t just look at written statements. Look at how the people interact with each other. Look at how faithful they are. And then… yeah. Keep an open mind and at the same time keep it Bible-based.

XASS: Awesome. Do you have a favorite Bible passage or verse?

Tristan: I think I have to go with, “if anyone is in Christ he is new creation, the old has passed, behold the new has come.” Because without Christ we’re all sinners, and none of us deserves to get into heaven. But now we’ve been afforded this great privilege. You’ve got to be born again in order to even be a citizen of heaven and that is both very convicting and also gives me a lot of hope at the same time.

XASS: Final question: are you in a relationship?

Tristan: No, although I am open to it.

XASS: Alright ladies, you heard it here first! Tristan, thanks for your time!