Blending his culture and faith, Faatauvaa Wong leads students at CSUSM

Andrea Martinez, Copy Editor

Leader of the Asian­Pacific Islander (API) Bible Study group at CSUSM and Fundraising Chair for Alpha Psi Rho, Faatauvaa Wong fuses his culture with his leadership on campus.

A senior, Wong has co-­led the bible study, a small group under InterVarsity, for two years with three others. The group has about 10 members who meet from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Cross Cultural Center in the USU.

“As a Christian, I want to share the good news of the Gospel, so I decided, along with a few others, to focus in on the API community and friends who would love to learn about how the culture and the Christian faith collide,” said Wong.

Incorporating API culture with the Christian faith, a typical meeting involves members reading scripture and reflecting on how it applies to their daily lives. While the group is API­interest, they welcome members of all cultures to attend their meetings.

“I love when people who come from different places and have different backgrounds are sharing things within their culture,” said Wong. “When people come together to just talk about life, that is what we want to create—a safe space for people who are API or non­API to come together and just talk about how they feel about God and culture together.”

Samoan and Chinese, Wong’s upbringing was influenced by both his culture and faith.

“My culture has taught me to always look on the bright side, to fight for what you believe in, to treat others equally, to love on strangers, and that is where our faith comes into play,” Wong said. “A lot of times, people tend to box God and their personal life—party on Saturday, and church on Sunday—but it doesn’t work like that. My faith teaches me that God’s love is more of a relationship, and in order to make that relationship grow, both parties must give everything, and God has given us everything. We just need to learn how to give him everything.”

In addition to his leadership with the API Bible Study, Wong holds the position of Fundraising Chair in Alpha Psi Rho, the only Asian/Pacific Islander Fraternity at CSUSM.

“Alpha Psi Rho holds fundraisers to support the underprivileged youth of our community. Therefore, we work closely with the YMCA. As a whole, we fundraise because we believe in the institution of the YMCA,” said Wong.

This spring, he has been in charge of setting up fundraisers such as selling lumpia and Thai tea at the USU, “fRHOyo” at FroYo Love and Taiwanese shaved snow at Iceskimo in San Diego.

“A Psi Rho is an extended family; it’s a home away from home,” said Wong. “It helps me stay true to my roots.”