Growing up, Stan Kwan was always involved in ministry, but only as a volunteer. He never thought that God would one day call him to full-time ministry. He has now been the Baptist Student Ministry Director at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for the past year and a half, and God has taken him on an amazing journey.
Prior to accepting the role of BSM Director, Stan worked full-time in Information Technology, part-time in wedding photography and was a leader in the Single's Ministry at First Baptist Houston. After getting married two-and-a-half years ago, Stan and his wife Karen moved to Dallas and he was ready for something different. Leaving behind the world of IT, he decided to pursue photography full-time in hopes of starting a business. But God had other plans.
Through a colleague of Karen's, Stan heard about the BSM Director position with University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Initially, he was apprehensive about pursuing this because the only Theological training he had was a Bible class in college. After prayerfully considering what God would have them do, Stan and Karen were led to accept the position. Looking back now, they can clearly see God at work and how He was preparing their way.
The Kwans recently moved closer to campus, but prior to their move they lived so far away that it was difficult to be intentional with their students. Since that time, the Lord called them to sell their house in Mansfield, and now they live within 10 minutes of campus. Their students are at the Kwans home all the time, and their ministry has flourished. Stan even jokes that purchasing this house was essentially purchasing a BSM building. He knows that moving was the best decision they could have made, and it has already been a tremendous blessing. He hopes that by his example students will see what it means to live with Kingdom perspective.
Stan has learned that medical students are not typical students, and this presents a unique challenge for his ministry. Planning ahead for BSM events is almost impossible due to busy schedules and most students attend class online. Stan has learned to be intentional about inviting students to meet with him individually or in small groups, but he also provides a variety of ways for students to get involved: Bible studies, discipleship, worship nights, prominent Christian physician speakers, lunch break fellowship, group discussions and even sports.
Although his ministry has been fruitful, Stan admits his biggest challenge has been reaching the unsaved. Yet even in this area there is progress. Jaime Flores is a physical therapy student who grew up in Laredo. Stan and several BSM students poured into Jaime, inviting him to events.
In 2015, Jaime attended a Halloween party where he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior through a conversation with a faculty sponsor. Shortly after, Jaime learned of the BSM's annual Spring Break mission trip and desperately wanted to go. Support was raised through a colleague of Karen's in order to send Jaime on the trip. On the very first day of their medical clinics, Jaime led an elderly patient to Christ. This conversion set the tone for the whole trip. “This is one of those stories where we were like ‘yep, God works,’” Stan said upon remembering the trip.
Another student the Kwans have had a profound impact on is Natasha Varughese. Natasha is a third year medical student at UT Southwestern and has known Stan since 2015 when he became BSM Director. The first thing that comes to mind about Stan is his selfless giving. "He would sacrifice almost anything for a person in need - I've seen Karen and Stan open up their hearts, home, resources and time to countless people in the last two years."
Stan loves being able to give these medical students a break from their overly-stressed lives. Providing an environment where they can simply relax is such a reward for the Kwans.
“When you talk about rewarding work, I think of having these students sitting around our dinner table and seeing the joy on their faces. That is just worth more than a million dollars.”
One of the biggest things God has taught Stan through this entire process is how to be patient. “We live in a culture of instant gratification. We want to see change instantly,” he said.
When he first accepted the role of BSM Director, Stan questioned what he was doing in this role and if he really wanted to continue pursuing it. But through it all, God has shown him how to be patient enough to see how He is at work. In Stan's words, "This ministry gives us so much joy, just pouring into the students.”
Ashley Frerking contributed this story to txb.life.