What a beautiful way to enter the New Year! I’ve recently had the immense blessing of interviewing a dear sister in the Lord who is so humble and so on fire for Christ I was warmed with our Lord’s presence just chatting with her on the phone.
I’d seen our sister Larissa Lam on JCTV’s “Top 3” before, but I never knew about the depth of her passion for our Savior and His Gospel message. I just thought it was great to see a cute, little spunky Christian gal making a positive impact on younger girls who would really be inspired by her honest, open and genuine demeanor. Little did I know, behind all her spunk, was a fire for Christ, well contained by the Holy Spirit with whom she strives to stay in step with as she seeks God’s guidance for every aspect of her life.
I am very pleased to introduce to you, our sweet sister, Larissa Lam.
Hello there sister Larissa! Thank you so much for allowing me this interview. I’m very intrigued by your story and can’t wait to hear all your responses to my questions. I’m confident it will be a sure blessing for our readers as well.
Both On the Way Up and Beautiful Faith Ministries are a department of A.C.T.(Artists in Christian Testimony International), which I discovered about 4 to 5 years ago as I began to search out exactly how God wanted me to use the musical talents He’s given me.
I realized that while I enjoyed writing songs, singing and producing, I felt there was more to Christian music than just that. Beyond the concert, my heart is very connected with smaller and multi-ethnic churches that do not have large budgets to host conferences, have musical guest and/or speakers. That’s where On the Way Up comes in. At OTWU, we provide resources for Christian musical artists to:
- EVANGELIZE – through outreach concerts and events across the U.S. and abroad.
- EDUCATE – others about Christians in the arts and the importance of missions through conferences and guest speaking at schools and universities.
- EQUIP – though music training seminars, workshops and disciplining others to use their gifts to spread the Gospel and be competitive with the mainstream.
- ENCOURAGE – by offering musicians prayer support, mentorship, networking and other resources.
How did God inspire you to create your latest ministry, Beautiful Faith?
God’s inspiration came to me as a twofold passion:
- I want to motivate believers to grow in their faith and see what God is doing in their lives and share with others. I want to encourage believers to spread the Gospel without comparing themselves to other people who have different personalities, gifts and talents.
- I also want to speak to unbelievers and help them to understand what God’s beautiful faith is truly about. I want to tell them that Jesus is someone they need to know personally in their own lives.
Wow, that’s fabulous sister! It’s just like what you wrote as your slogan on your Beautiful Faith website “The hope is that everyone will experience God’s beautiful faith in their lives.”
Can you tell us how God introduced you to the other 12 sisters who have joined you in this mission with Beautiful Faith?
After God made it clear what He wanted, I worked through Christian networks and personal referrals for Christian female artists who had a ministry that encompassed a mission’s heart. As the music portion of Beautiful Faith began to develop, God revealed to us, the wonderful stories that emerged beyond the music for each of us. We want to make sure that we never lose sight of the stories God has given each of us that demonstrate His miraculous power in our lives; even with things that might be considered as insignificant. This is very important to us as we’ve witnessed that even the seemingly insignificant aspects of our lives, becomes something amazingly beautiful when they are placed in the hands of our awesome God.
Thank you so much for pointing out that simple, yet often forgotten truth,“even the seemingly insignificant aspects of our lives, becomes something amazingly beautiful when they are placed in the hands of our awesome God.” AMEN to that sister!
If someone was interested in hosting a Beautiful Faith event at their church or home, how would they go about it?
I remember many years ago, I had to say “No.” to an event due to finances. The church that asked me to come didn’t have much of a budget and I didn’t have personal finances to get myself there either. I hated that and never want that to happen again. Once is enough. Due to this, we at Beautiful Faith do not have a set fee for any of our ministry services. Instead we work on a case by case basis so that money will never be the hindrance for anyone who would like to host a Beautiful Faith event.
If anyone is interested in hosting a Beautiful Faith event, they can contact methrough our website.
The Higher Sounds CD includes 10 bonus, downloadable songs and 13 devotionals that accompany each song.
Some of the plans for Beautiful Faith in the near future will include our readers/supporters to submit and share their beautiful faith stories on our blog either through writing or with vlogs (video logs).
That sounds very exciting! I’m sure many of our readers would love to submit their beautiful faith stories! Thank you so much for providing this opportunity. Now about the ministries you’re involved in, hosting JCTV’s “Top 3” and “The Hope.” Can you tell me how you got involved with these ministries?
Sure! About 6 years ago I had several friends in the music ministry who were involved in the TV industry. They said I was a good talker and suggested that I would make a good host on a TV show. I didn’t think much of it at first, but the Lord put it on my heart to pursue this avenue, so I did. In the beginning, I kept getting cast, but nothing would happen. After some time, my business manager met someone who was a friend of a friend of a friend who was responsible for reviewing material for a new youth channel called JCTV (Jesus Christ TV, a ministry of TBN). I auditioned and got one of the four hosting spots for JCTV’s “Top 3” program. I’ve been a host on “Top 3” for four years now.
I got involved with The Hope through a referral. This film is somewhat like the Jesus Film Project and a video Bible combined. The producers (Mars Hill Productions) needed an Asian-American female to be one of their main storytellers. Somehow they heard about me, contacted me and asked me to submit a video audition tape.
The interesting thing about this experience was that my first day of her filming was on 9/11. We all just stopped and prayed. After we finished praying, we were even more convinced that this movie needed to be made.
I’d like to get a bit more personal if you don’t mind. Since it’s obvious that you have a huge heart for evangelism, would you mind sharing with us how you got saved?
I’d love to! I’m the only child of Chinese-American parents who took me to church pretty much since I was born. My aunt and uncle who still live in Hong Kong were the first in our family to get saved and they basically evangelized the rest of us.
But it wasn’t until my cousins (children of my aunt and uncle who told us about Christ) from Hong Kong came to live with us for a few years that I really came to understand who Jesus is. I was 10 and they were 16 and 17. I loved having them around because it was like having sisters! Even though they were a lot older than me, they were kind enough to invite me with them to attend the youth group at our church. One Friday night, the pastor gave a message on forgiveness and a personal relationship with Christ. This was the first time I’d ever heard this! That same evening, the pastor also extended an invitation for all those who wanted to know Jesus, personally; to believe and trust that He alone can save anyone from their sins. I trusted Jesus as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life, that very night.
That’s truly an amazing story Larissa! How wonderful it is to know that God sent your cousins to you from across the ocean, to save your soul? I’m in wonder of it all. God is gracious. Is this one of the reasons why your songs and all the ministries you’re involved in are so evangelistic in nature?
My upbringing has something to do with it, but honestly, the most significant reason is simple, it’s in Scripture. God commands that all His children evangelize according to Mathew 28:18-20. This is why He made us. Our whole purpose is to see everyone glorify the Lord. When you see God’s word change people’s lives, this becomes your passion. I didn’t always feel this way though, especially not when I first started in the music industry. At 16, I began incorporating an evangelistic message in my music, but it was secondary and certainly wasn’t the focal point that it is now. It wasn’t until I began to personally grow in the Lord that Jesus’ purpose for why He came to earth, became the passion of my life.
I have a great desire to encourage others who don’t consider themselves to be an evangelist, because really, neither do I. But I’m doing it and God’s using me, and I want others to see that He can use them too. God doesn’t require nor expect everyone to be a Billy Graham in order to preach the Gospel. God only requires that each person have a willing heart to use whatever He has given them. Personally, I didn’t think I was equipped at all to do all that God has called me to do. In fact, when I started, I really had very little knowledge of the Bible. But we all have to start somewhere. As I grew in my knowledge of Christ, I also grew into a much deeper relationship with Him. It really all ties together, every step of obedience grows a person in their faith.
Even though I didn’t use to, I now purposely look for situations to share the Gospel with someone and I use whatever means God’s given me to do it.
Well sister Larissa, I’m just blown away with the passion God has put in your heart and your desire to encourage others who feel the same ineptness you once felt. Your conferences, seminars and concerts must be amazing! The only thing I’m wondering now is how we can host one of your events at my church! 🙂
You got saved when you were 10, wrote you first song at 13, but didn’t begin to incorporate the Gospel in your music until you were 16, why?
Although I was saved at 10 and wrote my first song at 13, I was just doing it for fun and never really considered music as an option for a career. Up until I was 16, I thought I was going to be a doctor. But one day I visited my dad’s office, got completely disgusted, and realized that I probably wouldn’t make a very good doctor. This was not a good day for me because I’m somewhat of a control freak and have always felt that I needed to have my whole life planned out, and up to this point, I thought I had. I was very upset, because in just one incident, my entire life’s goal had just vanished and I experienced a nebulous void; with no concrete plan for my life. It was a strange place to be. That’s when the Lord came to my rescue and called me into music missions.
Don’t you just love it when God causes our personal dreams to vanish, just to put before us, His greater will for our lives? I love when God does that!
After God called you into the music industry, how did you get started?
In college I worked at a recording studio. The owner of the studio, Bill Schnee, was very influential in helping me see what it really means to be a Christian working in the mainstream; the salt and light for Christ. Although I had the desire to shine a light into the music industry, I wasn’t spiritually mature enough at the time. To be honest, up until that point, I really had some illusions of grandeur. It wasn’t until the end of my college years that everything and everyone God used to guide me as a music missionary, that I truly understood what it meant to be doing all this for the Lord.
After God instilled the purpose of His call to me; to be a messenger of His Gospel through music, I graduated from college, and was hired as the CFO for NSOUL Records (an independent label). Within only a few months of working with NSOUL, one of the groups at the label (Nitro Praise), were in need of a singer for a Campus Crusade Conference. They asked me, “Do you want to go?” I said, “Yes!” and that was that. I worked as a CFO at NSOUL by day and sang with Nitro Praise for the next 2 years on the weekends.
God used my time with both Bill Schnee and Nitro Praise to shape and train me to more effectively communicate the Gospel as a performer. Everyone with Nitro Praise really helped me to see that there was more to our music than entertainment, but that we could and should use all that God has given us to impact the world for Christ. After every concert all the members of Nitro Praise would go and talk to the people who attended. They showed me that the heart of the concert, wasn’t the performance, but personally sharing the Gospel with those God brought to the concerts.
God is sovereign and He is faithful! Praise the Lord our God for all His goodness to us!
Well, now that I’ve gotten so personal with you, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind sharing with us how you met your husband Only Won (a.k.a Baldwin). I understand that you’re newlyweds?
Yes, we’re newlyweds! We were married on March 29, 2008. 🙂
I really like telling this story because this is just one of the many stories of how God uses the seemingly insignificant aspects of our lives to truly make something beautiful.
One of my friends from college heard about Only Won and suggested that I connect with him, but strictly on a professional basis of course (wink, wink). It turned out that Only Won’s producer, Maximillian just happened to be one of my other good friends from Nitro Praise! So I thought, “Well, any friend of Maximillian’s is a friend of mine.” That’s what began our 2 year emailing to keep in touch, but remember it was strictly just business.
Then one day, Only Won invited me to do a concert with him at his church in Sacramento. It was pretty funny from that point on. Our friend Maximillian began to play matchmaker, but this wasn’t one of those well-thought out mature matchmaking situations, no; it was more like the ones we all remember from our middle school days. Maximillian would say to me, “Hey, I think Baldwin likes you, but he’s not sure how you feel.” Then he’d go to Baldwin and say the same thing about me. And the really funny thing about this, is that Max was right….about both of us…obviously. 🙂
You see, even in this story about how I met my husband is all about God’s miraculous work in the things that we would never think would be significant, like singing with Nitro Praise. Had I never sung with them, not only would’ve I not benefited from their love for Christ, but I would’ve also never met my husband. I look back now and see how God used everything and everyone to be who I am now, both as a wife and as a music missionary.
Again, I’m just in awe of how God is using you to show the rest of us that in God’s economy, nothing is wasted. God can use one situation to bless the multitudes, we just have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so we can see what He’s doing.
I really love your voice and I especially love what, or rather Who you sing for and about. 🙂 I found out that you freely give of your time and talent to teach others on Expert Village. I’m very impressed with some of the things you do, (like the yawning warm-up exercise) I mean, you’re very transparent and well, I think it takes a lot of humility to teach the way you do. Can you share with us how this all came about?
Oh, thank you Sunny. And honestly, until you mentioned it, I never thought about the embarrassment factor. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. 🙂
The way I found out about Expert Village is by seeing a notice/casting for people with different expertise. Even though I was sure they wouldn’t choose me (because there are so many talented singers out there), I went ahead and submitted a video. The next thing I know, they’re calling me and asking me if they could have a camera crew video me giving some singing lessons. And now people can watch me yawn on the world wide web. 🙂
I’ve received many emails from around the world due to my training videos on Expert Village and I’ve even gotten a student from this as well! I see this as another venue God has provided me to share the Gospel message.
You’re generous heart blesses me sister! Well, are you ready for some light-hearted, easy questions now? I understand that you love trying new foods, me too! I love to eat! And even though you’re Chinese, you don’t like Chinese food, why not? I’m Korean and I love it! 🙂
I’m not really sure why I don’t like Chinese food. For one thing, I don’t like ginger and there’s lots of ginger in Chinese food. I have some other theories, but they’re just theories. 🙂 But you know what? I actually like Korean food better than I like Chinese food. Oh, and the best part about being Chinese and not liking Chinese food, is that people ask me that question a lot and God even uses this quirk of mine to start a conversation with someone so I can witness to them! Isn’t that great?
That is great sister! I love how you think! So do you ever eat Chinese food or is it banned from your menu?
Now I get to share with you how much I love my husband. Only Won absolutely loves dim sum. So I eat it with him, even though I really don’t like it. It’s one of the ways I show him that I love him and prefer him over my own desires.
It sounds like as a newlywed, you’re already putting biblical submission into practice. Way to go sister!
Besides your love for trying new foods, I understand that you also really love Garfield. Precious sister, could you please elaborate on your Garfield fetish?
Ha, ha, ha! You found out about that, huh? It’s true, I love Garfield. I think it all started when I was six and I got my first Garfield comic book.
I now have a collection of Garfield stuffed animals, comic books and I’ve even attended a Garfield Cruise for Garfield’s 25th birthday celebration with the creator of Garfield and other fanatics.
Do you want to know something else? Garfield was at my wedding! Yes, I had a 2 foot tall Garfield that sat right next to my parents. My mom dressed him in a vest and bow tie. He looked great!
If you lived closer, I think we’d hang out! Your love for Jesus is so intense and it shows in how you choose to live your life. You also know how to just relax and be silly too. I think that’s great!
I’m really inspired by how passionate you are for our Lord and for the people He came to save. Would you share with us a Scripture verse or passage God is using right now to penetrate your heart to refine you?
Yes, I’d have to say that it’s my life passage: Proverbs. 3:5-6. I’ve been meditating on it a lot lately as I reflect on all that God has done in my life this past year and just wondering what He has in store for me in 2009. And I don’t mean big picture wise, I mean the specific steps God wants me to take in everything, whether it be in my wifehood, singing, hosting beyond JCTV, Beautiful Faith events in churches, homes, etc. I’m not sure just yet on the specifics, but that’s okay, because God does and I trust Him to move me forward.
In closing, since you’re so good with step-by-step encouragement, would you please share with our readers something you do personally to live out your life passage?
I’d love to! I want to encourage all believers to remember that we are all ambassadors of Christ, we are all messengers of His Gospel.
I use something I call a “target list”. This target list consists of all the people and/or ministries God’s put in my life. This list was created when I found myself overwhelmed with trying to daily remember to write down all the names of people and ministries I needed to pray for each day. I hate forgetting to pray for people and I know I can’t pray for everyone, so I started a target list that is found at the very back of my prayer journal. Instead of trying to daily remember people’s names and ministries I need to be praying for, I now have them organized on my target list, into categories i.e., family, friends, coworkers, unsaved friends, ministries, etc. This way, I always have them written down and I can add new names under the appropriate categories or take off the prayers that have been answered. It’s really nice to go back and see all the prayers God has so graciously answered.
Sister Larissa, thank you so much for visiting with me today! I just love your heart and am so grateful to God for all that He is working through you! I for one have truly been encouraged to be more purposeful with my everyday evangelism and to allow God to use me, even with the things I might deem as insignificant. Thank you so much dear sister! I’m going to include your name on my “target list.” 🙂
Please visit our sister Larissa at:
Beautiful Faith.org or:
©2009, Sunny Shell