“God has been leading me in this direction for a long time.”

Billy Ko has pretty much known what his path in life would be since before he started school.

I’ve often been envious of people who have figured out their life calling at such an early age. Nearly five decades later, Ko is still working in a career that he had set off to do since grade school.

He is the pastor of Columbia’s Chinese Christian Church, the only church in town to cater to the resident international Chinese population.

I met with him several times in November and December for a story, my very last story for the Missourian.

I was interested in covering a culture not often brought to the forefront of a community, let alone in a small Midwestern university town. Learning about the growth of the international Chinese population in town throughout the last 30 years demonstrated to me the importance of sharing their stories with the people they work, play, learn and live with every day.

It was this community that my mother, aunt and uncle had become acquainted with as they transitioned from life in Hong Kong to life in Missouri. By learning about the Chinese Christian Church, I learned about an entire community within Columbia, as well as why this kind of community is so important to the newcomers of Columbia, Missouri, the Midwest and the U.S. at large.

With his account I wrap up my semester of reporting with the newspaper. For now, at least. I may not have as clear of a path as Ko did to teach about his faith as a pastor, but his inspiring story of doing so makes me all the more excited for my own chosen path in life.

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