I want Jeremiah to know God’s love. That starts with me. I want him to know my love for him as a father. I will read him stories from the Bible about how God loves his children and I want those stories to be believable because of what he experiences everyday. I hope my love for him does not depend on him being good, I want him to feel loved no matter what he does. I know that Jeremiah will upset me and do wrong things but I don’t want him to feel that my love is diminished because of it. My love does not depend on him doing the right things. One day I hope that he will believe that Jesus Christ came to save sinners because he loves us. I hope he will believe that.
I’m going to be leading a team this winter to serve our friends who grew up in the orphanage and now have families of their own 😍🔥🙏. This is something I dreamed about when I first started this work over 10 years ago. I’ve seen the statistics of what happens to abandoned children but God has truly blessed those who we have worked with. Now the challenge is helping them grow as parents when they’ve never known their own mom and dad. Some of the orphans have actually been parents for a couple of years now but I never felt comfortable teaching any workshops until I became a parent myself. I’ve been asking my partners, like Cari Furr and Mark Torvinen , to pray for me. This trip is going to be hard because preparing to teach about families is going to bring up a lot of my own fears about being a good dad. I don’t want to parent shame (if you read parenting blogs, you know what I’m talking about). I don’t want to go in with just a list of how they can be better parents. This winter, I want to have hard conversations about the difficulties of adoption. I want to have hard conversations about what it means to adapt to different disabilities. I might not be the best person to talk about the wide range of parenting hardships but I’m praying that God will use me to bring grace and healing. There’s been a lot of hurt in the Chinese church around the difficulties of families. It’s time for us to experience renewal.
I went to seminary because I’m insecure. Getting my master’s degree added to the student debt load I had from UCSD but going into professional ministry was terrifying. The only qualifications I had for ministry were a few years of leading short term teams to Shanghai and being a Bible study leader. I wanted to work with pastors and missionaries but I didn’t want them to make fun of me. At 21 years old, I already got strange looks whenever I sat in meetings with people who were twice my age. I was desperate to feel like I belonged. Insecurity feels like falling and I was desperately trying to find anything that would make me feel adequate. Getting a piece of paper from Bethel Seminary seemed like it would do the trick. I don’t regret the education that I got and I really appreciated the professors but I wonder what would have been different if I lived my life with faith first. I’ve been in ministry for 15 years now and I still struggle with insecurity. It’s made worse because I can’t hide my feelings through more accomplishments or education. I don’t think I can achieve my way out of this feeling. When I read the Bible, it sticks out to me that Jesus called fishermen to teach religious scholars. That’s the kind of courage and calling that I want. In my next 15 years, I am asking God to shape my career with faith. I can accept that some people are always going to think that I’m not qualified and over my head. My insecurity is still with me but I’m going to imagine myself falling into God’s grace.
My name is not David Pat in Chinese. My family name is actually Bi but my parents had to go to Hong Kong where the Cantonese pronounciation made it sound like Pa. The only reason my parents had to go to Hong Kong was because the US was not accepting immigrants from Shanghai but Hong Kong was under British rule so the entry process was different. Immigration officials chose an Americanized version of my Cantonese family name and that’s why you all think it’s weird that my last name doesn’t sound Chinese 😅. I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and my birth name is very American because Chinese Americans want to fit in. Shanghainese are very practical and a lot of them know the history of the Japanese internment camps during WW2. You will rarely see Chinese Americans with a Chinese sounding name because we were taught to fit in and the consequences that happen when you don’t. When I learned the history of my family in America, I thought a lot about the discrimination my family has gone through but also the great life I have now. One of the reasons why our family loves working with ethnic minorities is because we feel the struggle of new American families. We have friends who just arrived in Southern California and are learning about what it means to live in this country. I feel hurt that immigration has made me lose a piece of my identity but I am thankful that God has made me a person of many names. My family struggle has taken away a part of me that has existed for generations but this journey has allowed us to write new chapters in a story my ancestors would not believe possible.
I feel dad guilt. I work so hard to balance being a dad with bodybuilding and ministry but I never escape the feeling that I’m failing. I’ve been praying a lot about what God’s plan for me looks like. It feels pretty terrible that the results of my one year prep for Greece and Budapest was a bottom placing and the ending of our Mission trips to Hungary. The sacrifice for all these things doesn’t feel worth it. I want to be a good dad for Jeremiah and be true to who I am as a person. It’s been a hard year trying to learn about my son and learning about myself. When I wrestle with my feelings I take hope that God is with our family. I know that God loves Jeremiah and God loves me. He’s going to be with me on this journey. I have faith that Jeremiah will grow up to be a great person. I have faith that God still a lot in store for me in bodybuilding. I have faith that Jesus will save the orphans in Budapest. I can’t see it now but that’s what faith is.
We are finalizing our kids book! “Jeremiah Lionheart” will hopefully be ready for the Fall. Please 🙏 for us. We are going to send our files to the printer soon and this is the trickiest part of the process where we try to figure out costs and specs for the book. We created this book to help families see more stories about adoption and inclusion of those with disabilities. This book will feature both English and Chinese so that we can distribute it to our friends in China!
Thank you for seeing me the way I am. I’m not a muscle head who only thinks about sports. I’m not a nerd whose only love in life is video games and engineering. I’ve been stereotyped my entire life and it was a blessing to me when @tilda_garancsi drew me as a regular person. (Go follow her on IG!🔥👍) I love it when people in Budapest ask me questions and are curious about who I am as a person. I’ve spent my entire life in America or China where I’ve encountered a lot of preconceived notions about what I must be like. My friends in China are shocked when I tell them that I have a Master’s degree in Theology (not bodybuilding). I had someone at the dentist office in San Diego ask me if I was a scientist for a living 🤔❓🤣 God made my story unique and I believe yours is too. I love Missions because I learn about stories for a living. I learn about how orphan kids in Shanghai can grow up wanting to be architects. I learn about how different refugees found their way to San Diego. Thank you to all the people of Budapest who have taken time to learn my story. Thank you @bluebirdcafehungary for having this fun free drawing for customers. Thank you @agota.colnar @papa_roland for teaching me about your culture.