Sean Neely & Ester Suan-Tjoe
Sean: I was born in Seattle and grew up in Bellevue. Not necessarily unique, but my family always had tons of books. Our basement was wall to wall with shelves of books – it looked like a mini library. I have continued that tradition, much to the dismay of my family (we will need a bigger house soon – no more room for more shelves). Growing up, my family was nominally Christian, but we typically only attended church and activities during the holidays. By high school, I was firmly agnostic – God existed, but I wasn’t convinced about the details. As I grew older, I began searching for a stronger answer. Ester provided an “onramp” to the church and pretty much jump-started my faith journey.
Ester: I grew up in Malang, Indonesia. We had no books. Christians are very much in the minority in Indonesia, so there were challenges at times to be able to practice my faith. So, my family placed great importance on keeping our faith and being faithful, regardless. In fact, our family hosted Sunday school for neighborhood kids out of our garage for a while.
Both: We met at work and were married in 2003. Sean’s aunt and uncle are long-time members at BelPres. Ester visited because of them and liked the church’s vision and message. After a while, Sean agreed to visit with her to see what “all the fuss was about.” He, too, found he liked it. We really like being able to support one another in the Deacon role. In fact, we can bring our daughter, Keira, into the mix to make it a family effort. Keira comes to the Deacon meetings and often helps out with various activities. It has turned out to be a wonderful way to both model service AND to provide a chance for her to practice it as well. Being a Deacon is deeply rewarding. Beyond the joy of coming alongside people to support and help them, we also have found wonderful community and connection with our fellow Deacons. It also has been great for our own faith journeys. It allows us to engage in prayer more often than we probably would otherwise and helps keep us focused on being open to how God might want to use us.
Sean Neely & Ester Suan-Tjoe,
Deacons in Area 3, covering parts of zip codes
98031, 98038, 98056, 98058, 98059
For more information please visit: belpres.org/Deacons