Rachel Ma

I grew up in a small town in the Northwest of China. Growing up in a house church led by my parents, I was surrounded by spiritual people. I knew so many Bible verses, hymns and Bible stories. I decided to follow Jesus at summer retreat a few times. But I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. My walk with Jesus was more like a first-aid kit - every time I was in trouble, or needed help for better grades, I would pray. Then I forgot about it after the problem was solved. When I approached the end of my junior year in college, many of my classmates and peers started to land internships and jobs. Hearing them talking about job hunting and career plans made me anxious. I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation, but all my friends seemed like they already had that figured out. I felt that I was the only one who is lost and unprepared for entering the real world. I called my mom on a weekend, asked her what I should do. She said: “My dear, you should pray for the Lord’s guidance and ask Him to lead you into your career and future plans.” I was a bit frustrated with her standard Christian answer, “I’m talking about a job, mom, and you are telling me to pray. Can you be more realistic?” I vividly remember her serious and calm tone: “Our faith is the most realistic thing I know. And I pray that this faith will be the heritage you inherit from me and your dad.” That conversation didn’t end well, but my mom’s words struck me. I started to read the Bible, searching for answers for my future. In Matthew 6 I found the right priority of my life: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well… Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25, 33-34 NIV This passage turned my anxiety for future into peace in Christ. I was reminded often that God cares for me so much more than the birds of the air, or the flowers of the field. He has the best plan for me. All I have to do is to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV As my academic career continues, I have encountered and will face many more challenges. But I’ve been learning to lean not on my own understanding, but to know what the will of the Lord is for me. When I look back to see what the Lord has done in my life, I marveled at how patiently and mercifully He has shaped and transformed me. Each day I’m growing to be more and more excited and hopeful to find out how God will use me in His grander story. Most importantly, I found the ultimate purpose of my life: commit to encourage, inspire and challenge those who God puts in my life in their journey to seek the Truth and become a follower of Jesus Christ.

My Life

Friends describe me

as a good listener

My hobbies

cooking, hiking, and watching movie

Fantasy dinner guests

C.S. Lewis, Jesus

Best advice I ever received

make every decision by faith, not by fear

My undergrad alma mater

Qingdao University, China

My worst subject in school


In college I drove

didn't drive until graduate school, it was a volve s60

If I weren't a professor, I would

be a farmer, have my own farm with fruit trees, veggie garden, chicken, sheep. Two dogs and a cat.

Favorite books

the Bible, Every good endeavor, Mere Christianity

Favorite movies

the Shawshank redemption, Forrest Gump, It's a wonderful life,

Favorite city

hard to choose, I like small town like SLO

Favorite coffee

not a coffee drinker, but I like Jasmine and oolong tea

Nobody knows I

love to wander in the kitchen gadets aisle in Target

My latest accomplishment

taught myself freestyle and backstroke swimming over this summer... and lost some quarantine weight...

Current Research

healthcare packaging and its printability printed electronics and sustainable packaging