Welcoming Nikki Toyama-Szeto to Missio Alliance

I’m thrilled to share that my friend, Nikki Toyama-Szeto, has joined the Leading Voices of Missio Alliance! I have been listening to and learning from Nikki for several years. I found her interview about Female Asian-Americans: Finding a Voice quite informative. She is an inspiration to men and women everywhere, especially to women like me who have the gift of leadership. Today, Nikki serves as the Vice President of Global Strategies for Christian Engagement at the International Justice Mission (IJM). Most recently, she co-authored the book, “God of Justice: The IJM Institute Global Church Curriculum.” Take a look at her talk about the new face of human trafficking. I’m so glad that we will all be hearing from her voice more consistently. You can connect with her on Twitter: @ntoyamaszeto .


Here is her introduction from Missio Alliance:

My neatly ordered world crumbled when I got to college—like for many others. In addition to trying to find a new set of friends, making my way far from home, and navigating the thrill of having lots of people “like me”, I was shocked to find that my college experience upended my neatly ordered faith. Before, my Christian faith was tucked into a manageable box. I tried not to swear at tennis meets and to make good choices. But then I encountered a community of people who tried to be like Jesus. They studied scripture, took it seriously and let scripture inform the major decisions of their life. Being in this extraordinary community transformed my high school faith into an adult faith. And I became curious about what the world would look like if the promises that God made in the Bible were reliable and true.

So that began a journey of both seeking after God, and calling others to follow Him with their whole lives. I did this for years, with young adults on campuses with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in northern California. But who was the teacher and who was the student?   From Stanford students, I learned what it was like to merge faith with an intense leadership environment. From Berkeley students, I learned about a faith that was as big as the world, and God’s heart for those on the margins. And from University of San Francisco students, I learned about following God in the realities of a city, work, job, and other obligations.

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Two Stories of Race and Reconciliation

Meet my new friend & brother, Mark Moore (Courtesy and connect at: https://markmooreblog.wordpress.com)
Meet my new friend & brother, Mark Moore (Courtesy and connect at: https://markmooreblog.wordpress.com)

I have had wonderful opportunities to interact with brothers and sisters in Christ this spring during this season of travel and speaking engagements. I have loved reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. One of these new friends is Mark Moore, Director of Church Mobilization at International Justice Mission. Mark attended a forum titled, Grappling with Race & Reconciliation as Resurrected Sons & Daughters, where I was a featured panelist at the Missio Alliance conference a couple weeks ago. During this time, I shared how one of my white male high school teachers impacted my life and influenced the trajectory of my future. Mark, a white male, was overcome with gratitude and thanksgiving as he shared his similar story with me following the forum. His was my story in reverse. It was an African American male that positively influenced his life and changed his future. I shared with him the importance of sharing these positive stories and changing the negative narratives that are far too common and stereotypical in our society. I am honored to share our encounter and part of Mark’s story here:

Continue reading “Two Stories of Race and Reconciliation”