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Leslie: One of my favorite quotes is from Corrie Ten Boom and she says that "Faith is the fantastic adventure in trusting him." And for me this fantastic adventure has meant following God in places that I didn't expect.
Kevin: There was a mentor in our church who really challenged us when we were early on in our marriage journey. He looked at us and said, “One of the reasons that God's brought you together is that you work together better as a team. God has a mission that is the perfect blend of your two talents and gifts and passions.”
He looked at us and said, "What's your mission?"
Kevin: When I came to college I met up with a group of guys who wrote software for the Mac. And Apple happened to be in town at my university and they said, “Yeah, do you want to just try doing an interview slot just for practice. I mean you're a freshman so your, your not gonna get a spot. But just as practice.”
Leslie: And I remember this internship was a long shot, like this was not really happening.
Kevin: And about 4 months later I got a call from Apple saying, "Hey, do you want an internship at Apple?" And I remember calling my now wife, Leslie, and being like,
Leslie: "I'm going to CA." uh...and I remember just thinking alright, I thought this was our time to be together, but God is so clearly calling you. There is no other reason except him that you are goin’. So I'm gonna trust this.
Meeting Steve Jobs
Kevin: I was long distance from Leslie during my summer internships and so I would call her we would talk for, you know, an hour a day.
I was walking back into the building and I was still on the phone with Leslie and someone was coming out and my brain just subconsciously told me there is someone that you recognize you should say hello. And so I just kinda like....”What up’d ” the person as I'm on the phone and I realized that it was Steve Jobs. And Steve kinda just stops and looks at me like “Did you just ‘What up me?’"” And he just shakes his head and smiled and walks right by me and that was my first interaction with Steve Jobs.
Matthew: Yeah, Kevin fit right in from day one. Kevin was someone who grappled with problems so effectively that a lot of the engineers started to see that the things he was working on were actually real. They were concrete. They were actually coming to fruition.
I think Kevin's beliefs and values are patently obvious in everything he does. Kevin has unbridled sense of enthusiasm and that has not changed since day one till now.
Crisis of Faith
Kevin: In my first internship with Apple there was four of us in an apartment, kind of corporate housing. And I remember at some point in the summer we were, you know, hanging out and, and talking and the concept of Christianity came up. The idea of Christianity came up and I'm like, "Oh, I'm a Christian." And one of the guys just looks at me and he's like, “Why?” And I couldn't answer the question. I, I didn't know!
When I got to California and realized I didn't even have what I thought I knew as the answers I had a bit of an identity crisis. Who I thought I was started to fade away and slip out of my control.
Leslie: Ever since Kevin came from home from his internship he was starting to really wrestle with “Why do I believe what I believe?” Both of us had grown up in Christian homes, in Christian communities where it was sort of this is what we do. Kevin had never really questioned the why behind his beliefs.
And so we began to process these ideas together and talk about what it meant to trust God instead of trusting ourselves.
Kevin: That kinda for me started a journey of really trying to understand what, what do Christians believe and then do I actually believe that? Who is this Jesus? Who is he really? And do I believe what he stands for? What I'd come to believe is that Christianity was about following a set of rules and if you follow a set of rules it's like an achiever personality you get rewarded.
What I found was so much better. I found that what Christ was, was grace. Grace is giving you something when you don't deserve it. And so Christ both gave me mercy and grace and when I first learned about that it just blew my mind.
Leslie: We got married that next winter and then the very next day got on an airplane and landed in San Jose.
Leslie: Once we were married and we headed off to CA Kevin had really encouraged me to take a season and to figure out what this new life here was gonna be and what I felt God was calling me to. And so I uh...I wasn't quite sure what that was gonna look like, but I knew that I needed to be in God's word. And so I joined Bible Study Fellowship.
And I would sit every morning and I would do my study and I would read Ephesians and Corinthians and Hebrews and I was struck with the fact that the gospel was meant to be shared. I had lived most of my life not even, I don't think I would have been able to clearly put the gospel in words if someone had asked me. It was just almost assumed and for the first time in my life that Christ died on the cross for my sins took a whole new meaning and as I read these letters I realized this was something that was not just meant for me. This is something that God passionately wants others to know.
Kevin: We joined a church plant and one day our pastor gets up and says, “We are gonna start having a partnership with a church in Dubai.” And Leslie and I, we both just felt this sense of God is laying something on my heart and we just, we have to go.
Leslie: Just knew we had to go to Dubai. I couldn't explain it. I'm not an adventurous person so the idea of getting on an airplane to the Middle East was not on the top of my list. And yet I could not shake that feeling.
And so we reached out to our pastor and we said, “Hey, you mentioned this. We both can't explain this but we think we need to go.”
Leslie: The purpose of the trip was to go and love this church, to meet the pastor and his wife, their family, to worship with a congregation of sixty different nationalities who all come together in the heart of Dubai. And it was to capture stories, to come back to our church family and to share how God is on the move.
Kevin: We got to go to Dubai for a five-day trip, and kind of see the city and meet the pastor Dave and his wife Gloria.
Dave: We met Kevin and Leslie when they came to visit us with their pastor Justin. um...from Silicon Valley. They loved us well. They interacted with our kids. They came really seeking to encourage us. And encourage people on the ground here. We just kinda found out that we had a brother and sister in Christ half way around the world that, that God was knitting our hearts together and so we had sweet conversations, sweet times of prayer, sweet times showing them our city and our church. And so it was as if we were long lost brothers and sisters who were reunited
Kevin: One of the most impactful parts of that whole trip was Dave and I took a walk and one of the things Dave is so good at is just getting right to the heart of what are you doing? And what's your purpose? And so Dave asked me "Kevin, what do you want to do in life?"
I'm like, “Whoa... that's a big question. I don't know if I have a clear vision. Well, one of the things is I know God has really blessed me at Apple and maybe this idea of sending people or I'm not sure. It's kinda still unclear for Leslie and I.”
And he goes, "Kevin, this is great. We need people to pray knowledgeably, give specifically, and go intentionally.
Dave: It just seemed like the spirit was doing something and it wasn't, I didn't pray for it. I didn't know that this...I'm gonna give a pep talk or advice or encouragement to Kevin. We were just friends. We were just walking. We were just talking together, but something, you just see his eyes. It was as if he had purpose for his life.
Dave: So that, the, the divinely orchestrated conversation with Kevin that day led to a fruitful partnership together. I mean our friendship was already born, but Kevin and Leslie they go back to Silicon Valley, some weeks go by. They probably emailed a couple of times asking me what, what are the needs and I'm saying, "Well, you know, our ministry is going well. We always have needs.”
Then they decided no let's, let's get them on Skype, so we Skyped and they're like, "No, no really Dave and Gloria what are your needs? What do you need specifically?”
And I think at that point we said, "Well, we need some support.” And then I think there maybe was another Skype call and they said, "Hey, seriously what do you guys need?"
And Gloria and I looked at each other...really there was one need is we needed to put our kids in school. And here in our city there's no public schools, schools very expensive uh...we had no means to pay for our four kids to go to school and we just looked at each other and said, almost embarrassed to say, "Well, we need tuition for our kids so that we can live here and minister here."
Kevin: So we started praying for that: Lord what would you have us do?
Leslie: So when we were in Dubai we I think saw just the reality of people living without Christ and I realized we have the best news we could possibly share and so I started to see that God deeply cares about every culture, every people-group, and he wants them to have this good, good news.
Dave: Next phone call they looked at each other, looked at us, tears are starting to kinda, kinda come down their eyes and they said, "We want to pay for your kids school."
And we said, "Ok, so how much do you, what do you want to contribute?” They said, “No, we wanna pay for your kids schooling, like all of it.”
And we, we just started crying instantly like the tears were...Gloria and I look at each other...wait, wait, "You know how much that is? You know...” And I mean were just, I mean, still I mean, it's hard to talk about.
To see God use this young couple, I mean younger than us...it was just overwhelming.
Yeah, I think because of their support it has allowed us not to worry about where the provision would come from. It's allowed us to give 110% to the ministry here, to be all in here.
Kevin: God has given us a truth, it's his word that lasts forever. And God calls us to steward that, to share that, and to enable others to share that with the world.
Leslie: And realizing even though we're right here he has a role for us to play in this global mission that's going on. And as we support, pray for, hold the other end of the rope for those who are on that front lines, we are playing a crucial role in God's kingdom work around the world.