For a long time, international student Hilary Tong’s personality reflected how she lived her faith. Quiet. Reserved about her relationship with Christ.
That may sound odd for a communications major. But there’s a meticulousness in how the Chinese native now is more outward in her witness among international students at her college and throughout Georgia.
Chinese student Hilary Tong at Wesleyan College in Georgia spends one-on-one time with campus minister Danielle Burdette. Tong is the current president of the BCM as well as Georgia BCM international student leader – the first international elected to the role.
“The thing I appreciate most about Hilary is her willingness to ask God to show her the rough edges of her life and faith, and then ask Him to put her into situations that smooth those out,” said Danielle Burdette, campus minister at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., where Tong is the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) president.
Tong also is the Georgia BCM international student leader – the first international elected to the role.
Last summer, Tong ventured into BCM missions on three trips – one to New Jersey to help ongoing rebuilding efforts from Hurricane Sandy; another to assist church planters in the upper Midwest; and a third as a camp staff member ministering to children with developmental disabilities as well as their families.
Tong’s position as Wesleyan’s BCM president continues to expand her spiritual growth.
“It’s been a chance to learn leadership skills, to learn how to guide a team and mix everyone’s strength, trigger everyone’s energy to serve,” she said. “It’s an encouragement to see how God has led my fellow student leaders and see how their lives grow. The chance to organize events and lead Bible study is valuable to me.
Hilary Tong (top right in gray sweater), president of Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Wesleyan College in Georgia, is intent on deepening her faith through Bible studies, leadership opportunities and personal witness. Leading the Bible study (at top) is campus minister Danielle Burdette.
“The people that I know through BCM are like family, and this relationship is very valuable to me for my days here in the U.S. I enjoy it and am honored to serve as a part of God’s Kingdom.”
This year, Tong felt that God was directing her to lead and teach others about prayer and walking in faith. At the beginning, the BCM only had a few students but now the numbers have grown to 10-15 a week, all also involved in a local church. Tong also has experienced leading a fellow student to pray to receive Christ for salvation.
“It is so good to be able to see God’s faithfulness in all of this,” Tong said. “He has answered our prayers. … I have learned what it means to be a part of a Christian body and how to work with a group of people for God’s mission together.”
How she lives her faith, though still reflecting her personality, has changed somewhat. There’s a time to sit quietly, sure, but there’s a time for action. A time to be a leader.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Scott Barkley is web content developer for The Christian Index at christianindex.org, newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention.)