Q&A with Chris Beach

By Chris Beach
In eLetter
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In celebration of AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, we are elevating AAPI voices within our church body. This week, we’re featuring a quick Q&A with Chris Beach. If you don’t know Chris, he’s active across several IBC ministries and is known to roll up his sleeves and volunteer whenever needed. A big thanks to Chris for sharing a bit of his story with us today!

How long have you been attending IBC? What drew you here?

I've been at IBC for over 10 years. At first, it was all about convenience and location. I blew in and exited as fast as I could, checking myself as a 'church goer.' Eventually the Spirit tugged hard enough for me to say yes to volunteer in one event, then another, then another. The Spirit seemed to create more time and space the more I said yes.

How do you identify within the AAPI community?

I have a unique perspective. I was born in Vietnam, orphaned, raised in an orphanage, and then adopted by an American family in 1975. Raised as an Asian American, I tried to blend into the American way. My father was a Methodist minister, and I was raised Christian. My wife is Vietnamese: Her family escaped Vietnam in 1975 and settled in America, restarting their lives with nothing. When we married, we blended two cultures and two religions in one household—Christian and Buddhist. We've tried to manage our blended family by maintaining Vietnamese cultures and traditions. We celebrate most of the Vietnamese holidays, remain connected to my wife’s Vietnamese temple, and my mother-in-law cooks traditional Vietnamese cuisine for the whole family every Saturday.

How has your heritage shaped the person you are today?

I understand that the world is a place to explore, and that has inspired me to travel as much as possible to meet people and learn their cultures. Having lived in other countries, I've learned to appreciate what America provides and the opportunities available to those who work hard. I've learned that America is truly the land of opportunity.

Are there any specific beliefs or traditions within your culture that shape how you understand God?

Many Vietnamese believe in karma, that they will have a good life if their number of good deeds is greater than their bad deeds. As my relationship with God has matured, I know that God has already provided the map to eternal life, and it's not about good deeds, but to believe in Jesus and love one another as He loved me.

What can others do to learn about, support, and celebrate the AAPI community?

Most of it comes down to saying yes: saying yes to trying new food and meeting new people who don't look like us, talk like us, or believe what we believe. Learn that there are so many different Asian people and cultures. Looking similar doesn't mean we are the same.

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