50 Years. 50 Grads. 100% Regent

50 Years•50 Grads
100% Regent

50 Years•50 Grads•100% Regent

2006 Betsy Peichi Wang

Urban Missionary & Church Planter Oakland, California, USA

On Campus 2004-2007 ∙ DipCS ’05, MATS ’07

Having been born in Taiwan and immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager, I have always felt a bit like a Third Culture Kid—constantly having to cross between different cultures and boundaries. Though trained early on as a materials science engineer, I later discovered my true calling as a missionary pastor to the unchurched urban poor.

Most important lesson:

The most important thing I learned at Regent is the relationship between prayer and activism. Our prayerful contemplations give birth to missionary activism, and our actions drive us further back into prayers. Through various Regent courses and mentors, I’ve learned to pray with rich and diverse traditions of Christian spirituality—Benedictine, Franciscan, Ignatian, Celtic, and Charismatic.

Betsy Peichi Wang
  • More From Betsy

    How I got to Regent:

    After working briefly as an engineer after college graduation, I went overseas for a few months to learn more about church planting among an unreached people group in Southeast Asia. Upon returning, I was convinced that I needed further training and equipping if I were to return to overseas missions. I started the DipCS program at Regent, but quickly realized that I should work toward a master’s degree.

    Suffering and community:

    When I first arrived in Vancouver, I became very ill. It took doctors months to diagnose me, and not knowing what was happening to my body was terrifying. During that very dark season, my Regent community supported me through those early days of learning to cope with the rare health condition. My theological education and formation gave me a new framework to worship through lament and to embrace suffering as an integral part of our Christian calling to follow our crucified Christ and be agents of healing and blessing in our hurting world.

    How Regent made a difference:

    My housemates at Regent would often come to my room and sit silently in my reading chair as Gregorian chants played in the background. Although they often joked about my “monkish” tendencies—including the practice of sitting in silence for an extended period of time—discovering monastic spirituality through some of my classes was a gift both to me and to the people around me. My time at Regent helped me to cultivate a prayer rhythm, along with various spiritual practices that continue to serve as a cornerstone for sustaining a healthy “with-God” life and pastoral ministry.

    Life after Regent:

    After finishing at Regent, I briefly went back into the engineering field, only to discover my calling as a pastor through an invitation to teach at a youth retreat.

    Before studying at Regent, I had always thought God was calling me to overseas missions to work among unreached people groups. I never thought he would call me to be a pastor at a local church in the United States! Little did I know that answering my first pastoral calling would eventually lead to a blended missionary-pastoral calling to plant house churches among the unchurched urban poor and immigrants in underprivileged neighborhoods in Oakland, California.

    These days, I spend my days sharing the gospel with those who have never heard of Jesus or are far from God, as well as discipling first-generation Christians from struggling neighborhoods. My work is part of the ministry of Missio Dei Oakland, an urban house church network in the San Francisco Bay Area that I co-founded in 2012. Oakland was our starting point and remains the hub of our work, but recently we’ve also expanded our ministries into other parts of the Bay Area, recognizing the need to serve where poverty is growing the most these days: the suburbs.

    In 2016, I married my husband Nelson Lu, a Taiwanese-American public defender working in Stockton. The two of us share the same vision and calling to serve the poor among us, seeking to live out Mother Theresa’s motto, “Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love.” We share our home with our seven-month-old son, Benes, and our ten-year-old Australian Shepherd/Labrador, Oreo.

    Why I support Regent today:

    I believe every follower of Jesus should have access to quality theological education. Regent’s vision of “equipping ALL people of God” is what sets it apart from many other seminaries. This “Un-seminary” is about educating not only pastors and missionaries, but people from all walks of life and vocational callings. Regent’s summer programs continue to give opportunities for people to access quality theological education year after year. Supporting Regent will continue to keep that access open to everyone. I believe the Church, the Body of Christ, can be a better witness and signpost in the world when we are better informed, equipped, and educated. Theological education should never be only for the elite few, but for all people of God.

    Only Regent people…

    …can be okay with having absolutely no concrete ideas about what to do next after graduating with a master’s degree in theology!

    Regent in three words:

    1. Community
    2. Prayer
    3. “Un-seminary”

    Best Regent memory:

    Chapel. Weekly chapel grounded me in a posture of worship as I sought to make sense of all that I was learning in my classes and in life. It gave me a safe space to integrate my head and heart in worship.

    Funniest Regent memory:

    The student association organized a costumed bowling in the dark event, and some faculty members came along. Let’s just say that my fellow Regent students and faculty members really knew how to be goofy and have fun!

    Favorite Regent class:

    “Inner Healing and Deliverance” with Charles Ringma and Mary Dickau.

    Favorite place to study:

    When trying to study, the Atrium was my favorite place. When I had to get some real studying done, an obscure corner cubicle of the library was my place.

    Favorite things about Vancouver:

    Nature. Food. Public transit system.

    Aspect of my life that would have surprised me as a student:

    After learning that I probably could never become an overseas missionary to unreached peoples due to my health problems, I would never have imagined that ten years after I sensed that initial call, God would bring those same unreached people groups to me. But here I am, evangelizing among Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees in California!

    Fun facts:

    1. I had my very first cup of coffee just three years ago—but I’m a bit of a tea snob.

    2. Consistent with my “monkish” tendency, my favorite blended tea from Vancouver is called “Monk Blend,” first introduced to me by the Well Café in Dunbar.

    3. Whenever I return to Vancouver, one of the first things on my to-do list is to visit Oyama at Granville Island and grab a bounty of charcuterie varieties so I can enjoy them with my friends in Vancouver. That is our “communion” practice of breaking bread together.

    As a donor, I'm supporting Regent's ongoing mission.
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  • Betsy Wang, Nelson Lu, and their son, Benes
    Betsy Wang, Nelson Lu, and their son, Benes
  • Betsy and Benes
    Betsy and Benes
  • Rocking the Regent onesie!
    Rocking the Regent onesie!