If you looked back at my Christian life you’ll see a young boy who knew about God and desired to serve Him in some way. But in my earlier teens, it wasn’t so clear to me how I could live out my faith. The general worldly advice tells us that we need to be educated, work our way to a good paying job, and establish a solid foundation for your future (i.e. to provide for yourself and for your family). While I completely agree that we each have a part to play in working in whatever capacity that may be, my greatest challenge was to figure out where I could best serve God. As a kid I dreamt of playing cricket for Australia and be able to use the overseas travel for mission opportunities (it was a win/win solution really: to play my favourite sport and serve Jesus!). While earning big dollars was never a priority for me, my focus has always turned to how I could serve God and help people.
My name is Stephen Khu and I’ve just finished my last semester at BST. I’ll be graduating in the February Commencement/Graduation ceremony with a Bachelor of Ministry. It’s been four years in the making and I am so relieved and excited to have finished!
Coming to Bible college wasn’t my original plan. As a 15 year old, my family moved to China for two years where I was asked to teach English to both kids and adults in Beijing for a couple of months, while my dad was also teaching English at a school further south. Living in China meant I was away from my hometown of Bourke in New South Wales. (I was originally born in Sydney as the oldest child of four kids to Chinese parents.)
Initially, I resisted the idea of moving to China because I didn’t want to leave my home and the plans I made for the coming year. But reflecting on those two years away they helped me to grow in my faith in Jesus. Despite having grown up in the church and having attended a Christian school, I didn’t feel as though I had solid discipleship to help steer me in my faith. Prior to moving to China, I had an opportunity to go on a short-term mission trip to India and play cricket with Teen Missions International Australia. After that mission trip, I came back with a stronger conviction that I wanted to serve God in some way. My time in China helped to affirm that conviction.
On my return to Australia, I needed to make a decision about what to study. After getting a taste for mission overseas, I had a stronger desire to serve in a cross-cultural setting and thought that something in the medical field would be an open pathway to overseas mission. So I enrolled in a nursing and paramedic course at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, NSW. While I studied at university in 2007, I got more involved in church ministry. That was the beginning of my involvement in youth ministry, and as I spent more time serving in church, my focus temporarily shifted from mission overseas to being more hands-on in helping out in the context of a church setting. I also saw a need for discipleship for young people. As I felt that was lacking in my teenage years, I really wanted to help disciple young people in their faith.
So after 18 months of studying nursing and paramedics in Bathurst, I came to a point of realising that it wasn’t exactly where God was leading me. I put my studies on hold and became more involved in church ministry with the intention of attending Bible college. In 2008, I moved back to Queensland to be with my family, and I joined Bribie Island Baptist Church. With a greater desire to come to Bible college, I spoke to my parents and my dad told me to do my research on colleges in Brisbane. I Googled a few colleges and was also given a few recommendations from people at church. A couple from church told me about a girl who had studied at BST (or Bible College of Queensland as it was then known) and they told me to give her a call to find out what the college was like. After speaking to the young woman about her experience I was sold on the idea of coming to BST.
I applied and here I am today. Looking back at what has been an amazing journey of personal growth, establishing great friendships but most of all, being able to grow in my knowledge of God. I feel better equipped to serve in church ministry and also, if the opportunity arises in mission overseas.
I have lived on campus for the last three years and there are so many things I will miss when I leave here, including the teaching, the fellowship with students and faculty, chapel and the general build up and preparation for college mission.
What I’ve loved the most about college is the opportunity to go on college mission. I’ve been on five of them! One of my favourite trips was with Australian Mission Outreach Support in 2011 when we travelled from Brisbane to the Northern Territory by 4wd bus. A group of us students along with lecturers John Coulson and Peter Law had an opportunity to minister to people from the Aboriginal communities we visited along the way. We ‘swagged’ it under the stars and met some incredible people. One of them was an Aboriginal guy who shared his testimony. He said that God literally called him from the gutter while he was drunk and told him to go down the road to a church. He obeyed , gave his life to God, and since then has been a strong follower of Christ and a leader amongst his own people, ministering to them and even helping to translate the Bible into their tribal language.
So now that my Bible college training is complete, you might be wondering what happened to my previous career aspirations? I haven’t gone back to my nursing and paramedics course. At the moment I’m faithfully waiting to hear back about a full-time Youth Pastoral/Musical at my current church church on the South-side of Brisbane. Please keep that in your prayers as I wait for confirmation.
As for my cricketing career, well you won’t be seeing me on the Ashes series over Summer, but you may see me playing in a Qld Churches Cricket Association competition with my team, St Stephen’s Scorpions (it’s named after my church St Stephens’Coorparoo – no association with my name at all, just in case anyone was wondering!). I’m currently serving as their co-captain. I am hoping to go on a short-term mission with a cricket team in 2014 to Ukraine for ministry. Stay tuned! You never know where God will lead you to serve Him.
Quick facts about Stephen
Full Name: Stephen Jared Khu
Nationality: Australian (Chinese heritage)
Favourite Bible Verse: My favourite verses are Isaiah 40:28-31. What I love about these verses is the reminder that while it’s great to have high expectations our lives, we realise that we’re not perfect and that at times we grow weary in our pursuits in life. For me it’s a reminder that God is ever-faithful and as long as we wait on Him, He’ll come through for us. He’ll pick us up and help us to soar again.
Nicknames: “Stevie Wonder”; “Khuman”; “Stevieboy”