The following interview was with Karen from Mighty Grace Positive Gaming, a gaming community Gaming & God is partnered with. We have similar values and they have lots going on, so be sure to check them out and enjoy the interview!
GG: Hi Karen, thank you for taking the time to be interviewed by me. Please share with our readers who you are, some of your background and what is your current favorite video game.
MGPG: I was born in China, and now living in the USA. I have my Doctoral degree in Professional Counseling and I am working with clients on psychological testing and counseling every day. I love my husband and family and they are a wonderful blessing in my life.
My all-time favorite video game is Skyrim, and I have put many hours into that game and to be honest, I am still playing it. I love the Elder Scrolls games for both single player and multiplayer online (ESO), and I can’t wait to play Elder Scrolls VI. Beside Skyrim and the TES series, I love open world RPGs a lot, so like Horizon Zero Dawn, Ni No Kuni 1&2, Legend of Zelda: Breathe of the Wild among others.
Strategy and building games are favorite genres of mine as well. I used to play Blizzard and Steam games on PC a lot, but right now I’m using my PS4 and Nintendo Switch. I love co-op and multiplayer games so I can play with family and friends.
I enjoy history and playing Assassin’s Creed games, but I turned off the blood and skipped all the romantic, intimate scenes for the most recent entries. I am not sure whether I will continue playing AC games if they continue making games with so much content like that though. If a game crosses the line that I won’t tolerate because of my faith and moral standards, I would stop playing it to honor God as He is my main priority.
Besides video games, I like playing board games, card games, and table-top games. Magic, the Gathering, Pokemon, and Star Wars card games are always fun. Playing WarHammer has been our hobby for a little while too. It is fun to play with people face-to-face instead of video games sometimes.
GG: What inspired you to start MGPG?
MGPG: Growing up I played a few video games on the NES and PC, but I never imagined myself as a gamer. Coming to the USA for graduate studies, I was introduced to the Steam platform (PC) in my spare time. While dating my husband (then boyfriend), who has been a gamer his whole life, I started to play them in order to learn more about him and his hobbies. Playing games with him helped me to see a brand new world outside of my comfort zone and gave me ideas to reach the gamer/geek/nerd/otaku community for God.
In 2016, we were living in New Orleans back then for seminary school. We went to local gaming stores and video game workshops often, seeing people struggling in life and dealing with issues that it broke our hearts. The Lord started to challenge me in what I could do for the needs that we recognized for God’s glory and His kingdom.
Without knowing anything about streaming or making a website or anything else, a simple “yes” started me on my journey of creating Mighty Grace Positive Gaming in October 2016. We never imagined how far this project would go, and we never would be able to get this far without God’s grace, mercy, power, and miracles. It has been Him that has helped us get to where we are today and to continue. We are His servants to serve His people on earth and to help them find hope, love, and faith in Jesus Christ.
GG: What is the Discord community involved in presently?
MGPG: We have participated in several events since 2016. We stream games sometimes, primarily open-world RPGs, Co-Op or multiplayer games like Fortnite, World of Warcraft or Destiny 2. Depending on the current gaming trend we will switch the ones we stream.
Currently on Discord we offer: weekly Bible Study Tuesday nights at 7:30 CST, weekly Community Game Night of Guild Wars 2 Wednesday nights, D&D Role Play twice a month, monthly Let’s Watch Movie event, monthly Podcast called Torch Lighters, monthly Christian Game Review, regular local game store outreach, Christmas Worship service, and more in the near future!
GG: How have you been able to combine your counseling experience with gaming and helping others?
MGPG: I primarily receive appointments with people through Discord communities. They contact me, and we message either through text messages or voice chat. Some talk with me regularly, or some talk with me when they are in need. I do not charge for counseling.
Usually, one session lasts about 45 to 60 minutes, but exceptions like a crisis last longer. I maintain my professionalism in sessions with people, including confidentiality and a safe open environment for them to build trust. I use all my skills and knowledge to help them and usually after the session, I will follow up with them to make sure they are doing well.
GG: Where do you see this group going in the future? What are some goals you would like to see accomplished through MGPG?
MGPG: We set goals every year to focus on.
in 2016, we were establishing our ministry foundation, then in 2017 we were connecting with other Christian ministries, 2018 was about building community relationships, and 2019 is training other group leaders.
Our goals in 2019 are to launch our Podcast, train potential leaders, grow our community and stabilize events, as well as increase influence with other gaming groups. If God allows, we would like to be missionaries in Japan so there is a possibility of a Japanese version of MGPG in the future.
Continuing to reach out to the geek/otaku community in any area and format we can is always key to what we do. As we train leadership, we would like them to also help with helping those with mental health as that’s part of our core mission. I see MGPG becoming a solid force to unite ministries, reach out to those in need, and to shine a light on the world. One day, we may even have a community meet up!
For those interested in contacting Mighty Grace Positive Gaming, please check below. Be sure to join the community as well, I’m part of it as well.
Discord server: https://discord.gg/R5grKhJ
Podcast: https://mightygracepositivegaming.buzzsprout.com/ and also on Spotify, iTunes and other podcast providers.