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Meet the Elder: Edet Okon

Story told by Edet Okon, Elder Class of 2019 on November 30, 2016

Name: Edet Okon, Elder Class of 2019                  

Occupation: Pastry chef

Family info: Single, no children

Where were you born and where have you lived? I was born in Jos, Nigeria. I received my elementary, secondary and college education in the same city. I moved to Hyde Park, New York to attend Culinary School and then to Houston for graduate school. 

How did you find your way to FPC? A close family friend, Karen Elliot, who served as a missionary in Jos, Nigeria and was a former member told me about FPC and encouraged me to visit when I moved to Houston. I did and I liked it.

Why did you keep coming back? The relationships and friends I've been fortunate and blessed to have developed and made over the last decade have made FPC a vital and very important part of my life. They have been Jesus in the flesh to me and have constantly challenged and encouraged me in my spiritual and personal life.

What is playing on your iPod/computer right now? I’m an Apple Music person so that's a bit of a tricky question. However, I will say that I take pleasure in asking Siri to play obscure song titles just to see what she comes up with and sometimes the results are excruciatingly funny.

What book(s) are you reading? Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I just finished The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and I can't wait to start Swing Time by Zadie Smith.

What is your favorite Houston restaurant? Latin Bites (Peruvian), Bistro Menil (Modern American), Coltivare (Modern Italian American).

What do you love about our city? I love the diversity. Houston offers such a wonderful and generous mix of people and cultures from all over world thus giving me the opportunity learn and grow from their experiences and lessons these cultures have to offer. I also love that Houston is a large city with all the added perks and benefits of living in large city at a reasonable cost. I'm not particularly intrigued with the summer weather though.

What do you do for fun and relaxation? I enjoy reading and working out. I'm a bit of a "podcast junkie" who enjoys having deep and long conversations with friends over a meal or glass of wine. I'm also a fan of the performing arts who tends to enjoy "binge-watching" TV shows.

Who has been an influence in your Christian faith? I strongly believe in the saying "it takes a village" and my spiritual life, growth and experiences do testify to this. I have been blessed with an enormous and exceptional "village" that started out with my mother and spans a broad spectrum of family members, friends, Sunday school teachers, pastors, authors, songwriters, poets and podcast hosts. God has used all these exceptional people to speak, shape and direct specific areas of my life and I'm so grateful to and for each and every one of them. Looking back at my journey thus far I can't help but connect the dots specific to each person to see then the unfolding of a surprising and intriguing story of which God is the author. In this current season of my life, I'm learning a lot about authenticity, showing up and being present, and compassion and empathy. God once again has provided me with the "village" I need to help me along this path and it includes but is not limited to Krista Tippet, The Liturgist podcast, my wonderful small group, a specific group of friends and Sara Groves.

What is your greatest hope for the church? To be the place that fully and completely expresses to the world and everyone, the unconditional and sacrificial love as demonstrated by our savior Jesus Christ. To be that place that lets every person know that they are worthy of Love and belonging. To be the vessel that God uses to pour out his transforming love, grace, compassion and healing to a world that so desperately needs it.

Discuss a bit of your faith journey. Now that is a story that would require a lot of space, it's also a story that is still being written, and one I don't think I could properly summarize. So here is what I'll do – give me call or send me an email, I would love to sit down to coffee with you to tell that story and to also hear your story (if you'd like to share that with me). #FaceToFaceConversationsRock

What are some of the mission/service programs that excite you? I am excited about the Ministry Empowerment Team and the up and coming projects they are currently working on. 

What service do you attend? 11:05