It was under rather unusual circumstances that we first got acquainted with Pastor Hsu. We were in Chapel Hill, NC then. During one of his vacations, he and Mrs. Hsu visited her relatives in Chapel Hill, who happened to be our friends also. Chapel Hill was a small college town without a Chinese speaking church. Our Bible Study Fellowship Group wanted to take advantage of his visit and invited him to head our evangelical meeting to reach out to the local Chinese. Characteristically, when it came to opportunity to serve the Lord, he promptly agreed. I was impressed by his passion for the lost souls.
By the time we moved to New Jersey, he became our pastor at Rutgers Community Christian Church. Over the ensuing years I have the privilege to serve alongside of him. There were a number of his character traits I came to admire. He was one of the most caring pastors I know of. His love for the Lord had the childlike simplicity and dependency. In dealing with people, regardless of their stations in life, rank or position, he was always his genuine self, transparent in sharing his inner thoughts. He never thought more highly of himself than others. There was a time the church needed to reserve more parking space for visitors and urged brothers and sisters to park in off campus lots as much as possible, he was among the first responding to the call. After meetings, it was not uncommon to see him helped putting away chairs, etc. just about any work around the church. Though he was the Senior Pastor, he carried no air being anybody’s superior. He was truly a servant leader.
Those of us who attended the Wednesday night’s prayer meetings know that “Nearer My God To Thee” was one of his favorite hymns. When you hear him sang it, you can really sense the tremendous deep longing from his heart to be close to God. He constantly sought to walk closely with God.
Pastor Hsu was always trusting and transparent to the constituents in the church. Very often, from his sermons, or many other occasions, he shared his mistakes and failure with us, so that we might learn from them. I believe not that we were trustworthy, for I know we were not, it was that he trusted the Lord more. That made him so approachable. One wanted to confide in him, knowing that one would not be judged, but would receive good counsels and encouragement or sympathy instead. To be vulnerable to others is such a rare quality among leaders. It carries the message that “I am no wiser than you are. I have gone through what you did. Perhaps I can help you by sharing with you how I overcome it from my painful experience.” It is such an encouragement to those who have gone through failures. It is also a key ingredient for meaningful fellowship in fostering the church into a family.
It is no wonder that he was so loved and well liked. How fitting it was, as he advanced in age, he had become the much loved Papa Hsu to many. His influences on those who came in contact with him must have been far reaching. When I think of him, I think of Jesus’ disciple, Nathanael, to whom Jesus said, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”
We shall miss you, Pastor Hsu. You were a dear friend to our family. We will miss the way you lived what you taught. Thank you for being such a shining example to all of us. We look forward to the day when we will meet again.