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The D Word

From a Pioneer in East Asia

We have been working with Jia* and Bao*, an East Asian couple who have been faithful in Bible study. But early this summer we realized that they had been separated for nine months. Three years of unresolved hurt, miscommunication and conflict came to a head. They began to discuss the d word—divorce.

We were saddened by the hopelessness they felt in their marriage, but we also knew that God loves them and was broken-hearted for them, too. Instead of trying to fix the problem, we resolved to love them the best we could. We met with them separately.

Jia felt like she had given everything to her marriage, yet it wasn’t enough. Our own natural love is never enough. We desperately need a supernatural, unconditional agape love that can only come from the Lord. As we talked with her she began to recognize her that her own love was imperfect.

When we met with Bao, we pointed out that “He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28). Surprisingly, he did not respond defensively, but owned his immaturity and selfishness. He realized that he had not loved and cherished Jia.

Later we invited them to our home together. We wanted to help facilitate communication and break their habits of accusation and blame. They sat separately on opposite sides of the living room, but by the end of the night we all believed that they were moving toward one another. We heard them say things like, “I didn’t know I hurt you so much.” and “I had no idea that was what you needed from me.” They understood some of the unfair assumptions they made about each other and began to communicate better.

A week later we asked them if they wanted to meet again. We were delighted when they decided to continue working it out on their own. We know that the Holy Spirit is much more capable than we are. Bao began to pursue Jia again and asked her and her parents to forgive him. It really was a work of the Holy Spirit to humble this proud man in that way. She responded to him by gradually opening her heart to him again. Since then, Bao’s thirst for God has grown. He attends two local church meetings now.

“I want to know more of God,” he recently proclaimed. “Nothing can stop me!”

Jia stopped coming to the Bible studies for a while, but she has re-engaged. Recently she explained that Jesus was an abstract idea to her in the beginning. But as she gets to know Him better, He is more personal and relational.

Though we feel encouraged by watching this story of redemption unfold, we are not so naïve to think that everything is perfect now. We trust that God is faithful to complete this good work.

If you are facing an impossible situation—divorce, disease, despair—we want to encourage you with this testimony of our faithful God who redeems and heals. We also plead for you to pray for Bao and Jia and the work here in East Asia.

*These names have been changed.

 

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