Alumnus Faithfully Models Servant Leadership

When Philip Liu (’10) and his wife left China for Canada in 1999, they had a few goals in mind. They wanted to have more than one child (something that was prohibited in China at the time) and sought a better life for themselves. They knew things would change, but what happened next was completely unexpected.

In 2000, Liu connected with an old friend from his Chinese university. This friend was now the owner of Edifier, a multimedia consumer electronics company in China. Because of their connection, Liu was asked if he’d be willing to help get the company going in Canada. Liu accepted in 2003 and soon became the Executive Vice President.

Liu helped build the company from the ground up, working with distribution channels, retailers, balancing books, and helping in as they transitioned to online sales. It was a daunting task, but he worked faithfully at his job.

Things were going well, and he was achieving his goals. But still, he felt something was missing in his life.

Born Again in Canada

In 2005, six years after entering Canada, Liu decided to take his wife and two kids to a gospel camp. He wasn’t really expecting much for himself but hoped that his wife might be healed from the depression that had plagued her for years.

“Amazingly, I was touched by the speaker, though I wasn’t prepared to believe in anything,” Liu says. “I found out I was (am) a sinner, and I need salvation. My wife believed, too.”

Now living as a Christian, Liu was drawn to the idea of taking his Masters at Trinity Western University. He was drawn to the Master of Arts in Leadership program, knowing it would help him in his position at Edifier.

Through his time as a student, Liu connected with many of his professors and learned a great deal, though it wasn’t always easy. Two low grades caused Liu to become discouraged, and he almost quit the program. But thanks to Prof. Doug Atha (’97) and Stan Remple—the program director—Liu decided to stay and work at it.

Liu says that what he learned from those professors left a positive impact. Years later, when he decided to become a project advisor for Masters of Arts in Leadership in Mandarin, he says it was because of those men believing in him.

“I constantly remember what help Professor Doug Atha offered, and I would like to offer the same to other learners, too,” says Liu.

Because of the things he learned in his time there, he highly recommends the program to other Christians, believing it will help set them up to become great servant leaders.

Living Servant Leadership

After graduation from Trinity Western, Liu and his wife became involved in church plant with 20 other families. They prayed about the new church for a few years before moving to South Surrey in 2014, where they started South Surrey Christian Assembly.

“Today we have about 150 attendees. Every year, we baptize 15-20 people into God’s church. I have been serving as one of the leading brothers, as we don’t have full-time pastors,” says Liu.

In addition to church ministry, Liu has also been able to share his faith at work. One of the highlights of his career was hearing that one of his bosses came to know Jesus and that Liu’s testimony was part of the reason.

“He said I was the first one talking to him about Jesus,” says Liu, “and that I had helped him on the journey towards Jesus.”

While looking back on highlights like this, Liu says he cannot take credit for any of it.

“I just did what I should do. I believe everything else is in God’s hands,” says Liu. “I don’t think it was mainly because of me that the business is growing. I just practice servant leadership, keeping people in the centre of the business. Working hard is the right attitude and is the testimony.”

Though Liu doesn’t know where God will take him next, he says he is resolved to serve his church and work for the community every day by living out the faithful servant leadership he learned while a student at Trinity Western.

“I am only His tool for His work,” says Liu.