Who we are

Our Board: Most of the board members shown here have served faithfully since 2017-2018. By early 2022, all will have retired from the board (some will take on different roles in Kingdom Rice), and will have passed the baton to new board members…to be announced in 2022. Without them, Kingdom Rice would have been much more wildly out of focus, less faith-filled, and less proactive! They imagined Kingdom Rice beyond me; their legacy is baked into our values, operations and the integrity by which we accomplish our mission. I thank the Lord for these members and all they’re poured in behind the scenes.

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“…by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel.” 2 Tim 1:8b

Applied “heart-knowledge” that comes from “suffering for the gospel” was the number one criteria I used when I was recruiting the Kingdom Rice board. “Heart-knowledge” means that all members have been thoroughly discipled in the emotional life; their identities have all been put to the test where they work, live, and minister. 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 in the abstract. Their cumulative concrete experiences drive every conversation we have.  Together, they are a creative, rooted, articulate, yet operationally competent band of people with a compassionate vision for “thy Kingdom come.”

Plus, no one is afraid to challenge me! Going from left to right, they are:

Sid Mofya – “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 11-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. Check out is music site where he integrates the ancient with the new in English, Bemba and Swahili.

Andy Chu –  “I was born and raised in San Francisco so my love runs deep for the city. My mother and father are not following Jesus but allowed me to go to church at a young age where they felt I would learn good morals. That little decision has affected my life greatly. My passion is for people to come and know the Father and for their identity to be rooted in something more firm than this world has to offer. I love listening to people’s journeys through life because I believe those can be great lessons and so much wisdom can come from it.  I connect with the intentionality behind Kingdom Rice because it seeks to be Good News to ALL cultures and seeks to engage non-Jesus followers with Good News rather than just trying to “convert” people.”

What Steve appreciates about Andy: Besides his operational and financial experience and savvy, I appreciate Andy’s tender heart towards the Father’s heart. Andy hails from the church once pastored by Pastor Sean Curtis (legacy board member), a church I’ve served alongside for the last seven years, and Andy has always been tender-hearted, behind-the-scenes guy that gets the job done.

Sarah Akutagawa – “I am a third generation Cantonese American woman and San Francisco native. Having grown up in a Chinese immigrant church, my grasp of the Christian faith is woven together with traditions and histories that inspire me toward justice and reconciliation. I am always seeking to uncover ways the Asian American experience connects to theology and its practice in the world. I am drawn to Kingdom Rice because of the ongoing work to bring new questions and frameworks to thoughtful and influential contexts like seminaries and churches. At the moment, my husband and I (along with our new baby, Kota!) live in Santa Cruz. When I am not completely consumed by motherhood, I blog (sarahakutagawa.com), thrift, and binge Law & Order episodes.”

What Steve appreciates about Sarah Akutagawa – I know very few people who have so creatively excavated so much beauty from her Chinese-American culture of origin in a way that’s brought wholeness and healing to people well beyond her cultural background. She’s currently the InterVarsity diversity director. Read this article to get a taste of the kind of Kingdom beauty she’s excavated. She’s also led amazing immersions into Chinatown as part of her training of others. Read this article from Inheritance Magazine. 

Sarah Papé – “I grew up in Boise, ID with a deep love of outdoor adventures, but never imagined living in San Francisco. I moved to California for college, and a defining moment in my journey came during a spring break trip to inner-city Chicago. The trip challenged much of what I believed about the Bible, particularly around issues of power, privilege, race and class. I began investigating how my theology is shaped by my experiences as a white woman. With a graciousness that is rare, Kingdom Rice is doing the beautiful and necessary work of elevating narratives that are often buried by the dominant western culture. When I’m not working with middle schoolers or dreaming up science labs, I love hiking with friends, baking cookies, and searching for the perfect cup of chai.”

What Steve appreciates about Sarah Papé – I appreciate how she’s stewarded her religious studies and urban education training from Stanford and USF, respectively.  Sarah recognized the privilege she came from, pursued immersion experiences to lay that aside and today, serves as President for her teachers association where she can advocate for the many SE Asians who largely make up her school district. SE Asians are often looked over among East Asians (like Chinese) and the whole Crazy Rich Asians culture.

Steve Hong, Director – “A native San Franciscan, I am a former engineer, missionary, pastor, and guitar teacher. I love excavating stories of beauty from San Francisco and my cultural background as a way to share how God is breaking into these spaces. God has given me friendships with influential leaders in music, art, theology, and a diversity of churches and faith communities across different faiths. People in my ‘hood know me for engaging people with my uke, recumbent bike, and world view conversations over coffee.”

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.” See natejlee.com.

What Steve appreciates about Nate: Nate is one of the most rooted, compassionate, yet articulate and outspoken “millennials” I’ve met. The most forward-looking yet honoring sermon I’ve ever heard in an immigrant inter-generational context came from Nate at his home church in Chinatown.

1 Comment

  1. Tami Yanaga on October 28, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    I just heard Steve’s talk on the SF Chinatown book and the mission and background of Kingdom Rice sounded a little like another ministry. You probably know it already, but I thought I would just pass their website on to you anyways. It’s called “Iwa” and the site is http://www.iwarock.org/god-and-culture.html

    Thanks to Steve for his talk. I was interested in the Christian perspective on Kathy’s book.

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