Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister. Today we introduce Shauw Chin Capps.
Shauw Chin, tell us about your faith journey and your current ministry.
My faith journey began when I was a young child growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia. I remembered being chauffeured around in my family’s Mercedes Benz and looking out from the passenger seat window, wondering why there were beggars on the street and families living in makeshift houses. At a young age, God was present to open my eyes and heart to the injustices of the world. I spent most of my growing up years in Singapore and I was introduced to the Christian faith when my oldest sister came back from college in America. She wanted to find a local church to attend, and I attended a Baptist church with her and found community in the youth group. I started reading the Bible before I was a Christian. The first book I read was the Gospel of John. I was completely drawn to this man named Jesus, who always sided with the poor and with those society considered to be outcasts. I really liked him and wanted to follow him! At the age of sixteen, I made a public profession of faith and was baptized. That was the most important decision I made in my life as my faith became the foundation on which the rest of my life story is built on.
What are some of the challenges you have had along the way?
I grew up in a very traditional wealthy Chinese family. My parents had a very difficult time accepting my decision to be a follower of Christ. It’s hard for us living in this culture to understand, but Christianity is often perceived by other cultures to be a religion that belonged to the while people. So my parents felt that my decision was a betrayal of my roots. I was baptized without them knowing because I did not want to hurt them. I had to learn how to navigate between two cultures and to be sensitive to my parents’ culture and perspective. I also had to navigate my decision to marry cross culturally and to make things worse, I married a missionary kid who is white. I often say that my husband Paul had three strikes against him – he is white, he is a missionary kid, and he is poor! It was challenging to help my parents understand and accept our decision. However, we learned to be patient, to love them, show respect and most of all, to lean on the power of prayer. My parents have come a long way. They love Paul very much and love their granddaughters even more. I have learned that God is love and that love conquers a multitude of differences. I am a graduate of the Carver School of Social Work. I attended Carver at a very tenuous time when the threat of closing the school was imminent. Those were challenging years as I had to focus on learning and discovering my call during a very chaotic time in Baptist life.
What brings you greatest joy in the work that you are doing?
My greatest joy in the work I do as the executive director of a non-profit Children’s Advocacy and Rape Crisis Center, where I have the privilege of seeing victims become survivors. It is a true honor to walk alongside these remarkable women, children, and men who have to overcome tremendous trauma so that the abuse they experienced do not define them for the rest of their lives. That takes a lot of courage and a lot of hard work and I admire that greatly! It is also a joy to be able to give voice to those who have no voice. I love to advocate for policies and laws that can pave the way for a more just and merciful world. To sum it up, the greatest joy in the work I do is to be able to do what God requires of us in Micah 6:8.
Who has been most influential in your faith and ministry journey?
When I became a Christian at age sixteen, a Baptist missionary family took on the holy task of discipling me. Janice Capps, who later became my mother-in-law, is one of the most influential person in my faith journey. I would not be where I am today in my faith journey without her guidance and modeling for me what it means to be a follower of Christ. If it were not for Diana Garland, I would not have made it through seminary. She was the rock and the constant during those tumultuous time at Carver. She was my mentor and kept me grounded and going. She pushed me and challenged me to be the best social worker possible. The lessons I have learned from Diana are the core values I bring with me to work every day. Annette Briggs was my campus Baptist minister and currently a pastor. She married us. She was influential in solidifying my passion and call to serve the least of these. I am eternally grateful for these incredible and godly women who taught me that there are no limits to what God can do when God calls us.