“…by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel.” 2 Tim 1:8b
Suffering that draws one to God’s heart was the number one criteria I used when I was recruiting the Kingdom Rice board. Each of the board member’s faith has been tested in the context of business, ministry, and more. Cumulatively, they have stood in the gap for minorities, refugees, Native Americans, and have been ridiculed, persecuted, criticized, and arrested, all for being the hands and feet of Jesus. So in our board meetings, no one talks from untested “theory.” This team represents the “dream team” to help steward all of KR’s relational and financial capital for the mission. So going from left to right, I am excited to introduce to you the Kingdom Rice board!
Sid Mofya, Treasurer – “I was born and raised in a Zambian family, and have also lived in the UK, US, and Tanzania. My family and I (wife and 10-year-old daughter) moved from Tanzania to Silicon Valley in 2014 with the goal of learning about venture capital as a way to play a role in African entrepreneurship. I believe that there are some systemic issues that keep the African continent locked in a cycle of (relative material) poverty while enjoying (relative) spiritual wealth, compared to other places I’ve lived. Kingdom Rice attracts me because it insists on a different, perhaps unpopular, perhaps subversive, narrative that, nevertheless, rings true. I love to play. I think play is underrated: I play guitar, soccer, chess, and capoeira and think that playing is the best way to learn and the most enduring way to do serious business.”
What Steve appreciates about Sid: Sid so integrates his work with his worship. Plus, his awareness of using the same honor-shame framework that Kingdom Rice employs, but applying it to his venture capital work in non-Western areas of the world is amazing. We love playing R/B guitar together.
Kerry Curtis, Secretary – I am happiest when helping, so I was excited to join the Kingdom Rice Board to support Steve and help nurture the beautiful vision of Kingdom Rice, which invites people to a space where their vulnerability is met with God’s limitless love and acceptance. This “space” resonates strongly with me, as I am currently in a sabbatical season where God is encouraging me to embrace vulnerability and trust him for new expressions of creativity through connection with him. I long for all of God’s children to experience deep connection with Father God and feel especially called to support and encourage ministry leaders as they seek to build Kingdom culture. I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my husband, Sean, and two daughters, Meryn and Lyvia. I love a good Zumba class, holding babies and/or puppies, and all things hospitality.
What Steve appreciates about Kerry: I’ve witnessed her joy, faith, tremendous resolve and tenacity in the midst of tumultuous work contexts and transitions. Her hospitality is also out of this world. I’m sad that Kerry (along with husband Sean) will be relocating out of state, and will be stepping off the board this next season.
Sean Curtis, Vice-President – “I have a deep passion to see healthy communities launch that are full of the aroma, vibrancy, life, and power of Jesus. As such, I’ve been a church-planter and pastor for the past 16 years, but have been involved in starting ministries for the past 26. Currently, I pastor Great Exchange Covenant Church in San Francisco. It’s been such an honor to walk with Steve over the past 5 years as members of a prayer group composed of local pastors and faith leaders, and I’ve had the joy of having a front-row seat to watch the Holy Spirit birth Kingdom Rice through Steve’s life. So it’s a huge privilege to add whatever value I can to this part of KR’s development. My other great passion is spending time with my wife (Kerry) and my 2 daughters (Meryn and Lyvia). I’m also still on a bit of a high in the aftermath of the Warriors NBA Championship.”
What Steve appreciates about Sean: This brother has taught me to be more present, invitational and Spirit-sensitive than perhaps any other brother as of late. I know few people who have pastored an Asian-American church with such surrender to the Father. With Kerry, Sean will be moving out of state and has stepped down from the board.
Sarah Akutagawa – She’s one of our newest board members. Her bio is forthcoming. She’s been training others too to experience God’s presence through the history AND present day lives of the marginalized in Chinatown. She draws out such beauty from the sublime in such compassionate, concrete, and creative ways. Read this article to get a taste of what I mean. We are grateful to God to partner with Sarah!
Nate Lee – “I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a foggy, dank place called Daly City. I am a third generation Chinese American man who is, in many ways, trying to unlearn and learn anew what it means to embody those particularities. At the heart of all this sits my family, the Chinatown church, and the Chinese American community at large, because that is where my faith journey begins. That’s why Kingdom Rice matters to me and why I hope it continues to encourage more and more folks to excavate their own stories in hopes of finding a more whole way of embodying life and faith.” (natejlee.com)
What Steve appreciates about Nate: Nate is one of the most rooted, compassionate, yet articulate and outspoken “millennials” I’ve met. I’ve interacted with him now in personal, professional environments with other urban advocates, and preaching contexts and witnessed those qualities every time.
Steve Hong, Director – “A native San Franciscan, I am a former engineer, former missionary, former pastor, and former dance performer and guitar teacher. I love cities and my culture and grieve that churches of my own faith have not reaped the richness of these two areas that represent present-day globalization. For these reasons, Kingdom Rice was planted out of my desire to see how cities like San Francisco can be a basis for how we share God’s love with diverse peoples, and practice loving tolerance AND to see how “collective cultures” like Asian ones can be a treasure in God’s Kingdom. One of my greatest assets is my connections to many kinds of influential leaders in music, art, theology, and a diversity of churches and faith communities across different faiths. People in my ‘hood know me for my uke, recumbent bike, engaging dialogue, and my wonderful wife and rambunctious 11-year old son (who’s bike’s front tire is sometimes “tow trucked” to my bike in a one of a kind contraption).”
Honoring past board members:
Sarah Lee (no relationship to Nate) – She invested into each of the board members, and has offered Kingdom Rice such valuable, on-the-field insight, affecting the values and tactics of Kingdom Rice. When she was on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I saw her lead students into some of the most compassionate & creative initiatives I’ve ever seen. Today, she continues to “stand in the gap” for different marginalized communities. Her current work as the sanctuary coordinator for “The Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity” is just one part of this compassionate expression.
Soon, Sean and Kerry Curtis will find their names here too.