She's a mother of a 6-year-old daughter, but before that, she was a student, looking for the other half, and didn't know God had prepared one for her and she just needed to follow him.
Author: Wei Liao. Translated by Jiming Lindal
I am “caviar.” I like reading and writing. I like crafts and the Bible. I am a mother who has a lot of fun with her daughter, and a wife who is willing to listen to her husband for the sake of God.
“There is content joy in front of you, and eternal blessings in your right hand. You are my Lord, and your goodness is not outside of you. I meet my blessings the moment I meet you.” This is a song that I like very much, and it is also a song that my six-year-old daughter and I love to sing together—“Meeting You.”
For everyone, there’s a time for God to prepare him alone. The story I want to share with you today is how God prepared me to meet my spouse.
The scene of this romantic moment is pulled to the River Thames in London, and the time traces back to 2007. I was an international student, a little lonely, and I had been studying in London for more than ten years. It had been many years since I was baptized in Taiwan under my mother’s influence, and I had enjoyed and grew accustomed to the life of the church.
They all say that it is not easy to meet a spouse prepared by God, and they are right!
I still remember that it was a hot summer in 2007 in London. When I was in graduate school, I had a group of Korean sisters with whom I got along. Because we were serving the students’ worship team together, we would often share prayers and spiritual journals. That summer, the best season in London, we sat around on the lush green grass with cicadas’ sound lingering in the breeze. The sisters said that we should ask God earnestly to meet the spouse He has prepared for us.
I listened and smiled a little because I didn’t desire marriage.
However, I heard these words. Ever since I read the book "No More Dating" many years ago, although I didn't have a passion for marriage at the time, I agree with simple and beautiful romantic relationships.
With this idea, and after experiencing a couple of disappointing romances, I began to pray like this: “Father, please prepare me a spouse who would come to my life at the right time.” I didn’t just pray once or twice on a whim, but I sincerely prayed and asked God constantly for that person in my life.
The autumn in London was serene and chilly, and the air was filled with the sense of coming winter, descending on me, a feeling of loneliness.
Every year when the school started, the Asian Student Ministry of Undergraduate Studies would check if they needed to pick up any freshman from the airport, and help anyone who needed company. I was not active in participating in these services, because I was no longer an 18-year-old college student at the time, and I always felt a bit of a gap with them. But one day, a lovely Taiwanese sister came to me in a panic and told me: “Sister, Sister, we know that there is only one Taiwanese graduate student in the list of new students this year. We want to invite him to church, but he’s a little old, so we may need your help.”
When most people hear this, they would say apathetically, okay. Besides, the sister said he was a bit old.
I couldn't help but ask about the next step, and said: “Sister, how do you want me to help?”
She said: “You can get acquainted with him and make him feel welcomed to come to church. Others in our church will take care of the rest.”
At that time, we all went to the British Church in the town next to the school. There was a team dedicated to our international student ministry in the church. The evangelist was Paul. He was a nearly 40-year-old British man who was responsible for the evangelism of international students. For example, there would be a weekly bible study group. Paul would drive a church’s yellow bus to take us students who didn’t have a car to and from the church. At the same time, Paul would also take us to church meetings every Saturday night (youth worship) and Sunday morning. There was a big clock, a landmark on the university campus, and we usually waited for Paul there. The student fellowship we frequented was mainly composed of Koreans, Taiwanese, Hong Kongers, and Chinese. Everyone helped each other out. It was indeed simple and beautiful when I thought about those years.
Therefore, that year, we would preach the gospel to the new student from Taiwan, who was a bit old.
The bell of the campus echoed, ringing the vitality of youth. There is a bridge in front of the gate, connecting to a dorm on the opposite side of the campus. Located on a beautiful hill on the outskirts of London, apart from the stillness brought by the misty fog, the rest was the lingering loneliness, unique to the British years. That’s why I liked to go to church and invite students to the bible study groups. I also attended a British family fellowship and liked to go to church services on Sundays when my loneliness overflowed. I could immerse in the church for almost three to four days a week. The classmates and friends that I usually communicated with were also brothers and sisters in the church, which kept me from being troubled by loneliness and nourished my life.
So I asked the sister, how old was that student, and she answered, "Sister, he seems to be 30 years old and graduated from National Taiwan University."
I rolled my eyes to the back of my head, come on, I murmured in my heart, how would 30 years old be old, I am also 30 years old! So I said: “Okay, I know, I will help welcome this new student and bring him to the church.” But, would it be difficult to deal with someone from National Taiwan University? I complained.
I was a little unsure. At that time, I didn't have much training in evangelism, so I didn't know how to pray to God. Now when I think about it, I know that God had already prepared for us as he planned.
[Evangelism is not easy]
I got the email address of this old new student. At that time, everyone used MSN communication software, so I started to get acquainted with him day and night.
In the beginning, we talked about Eileen Chang and lonely England. Then every day I tried to use the words of the Bible to share the gospel with him and invited him to come to the student fellowship of our church. I didn’t have any great tactics for preaching the gospel. I could only invite him to our dinner party and coffee time. After all, international students were in great need to hunt for food. Gradually, we both enjoyed greeting each other in front of the computer screens from our dorms every day after class.
Every day, he always had 1,000 reasons to refuse to go to church.
One time, he said that because he had to study on Saturday night, he couldn’t wake up early enough to attend the church service on Sunday morning.
Another time, he said that on Saturday night, his group had a case study, so it wasn’t easy to come to church.
Some other times, he said that weekend was fleeting, so he would go to the suburbs to play.
Well, that's it, we emailed each other for a month or two. One day, he said he couldn't stand me keep pushing him, he was annoyed and blocked me.
I found myself a bit lost after being blocked. It proved that my evangelism skills were poor, and I didn't seem to help the sister to bring this somewhat old student to church. But I didn't take it seriously, just a little unwilling to accept it and a bit lost face.
Three days later, our chatbox was restored on MSN. The familiar sound effect flashed at that familiar time, and we returned to our daily conversation. At that time, we both knew vaguely that we liked each other a little, so that we needed and got used to caring about and greeting each other. This little old student told me that he thought a lot about what I said, including the literature we talked about, the meals we shared, and the intent of church invitations. He told me that I didn’t know how to preach the gospel, but I managed to break through his heart. He felt that I was sincere, so he accepted our invitation to attend the church fellowship.
Later I found out that he felt that my faith resembled the simplicity of "just believe without fear." At first, he didn’t think it was very meaningful, but gradually he came to the church to attend our fellowship, had a lot of brotherly talks with Paul, and renewed his knowledge of the Bible. He realized, God, in fact, never left him.
[We got married indeed]
Time needs to rewind to his college days when he was baptized and became a believer. It was only afterward that he was tripped up by the world, and his social circle became more complicated, so he gradually moved away from God and that beautiful beginning. After thinking over some life planning, he wanted to change his track and decided to pursue a degree, so he came to study in the UK. He was very experienced in Bible knowledge and church life, but there were a lot of questions he wanted to ask someone.
Then I invited him to my small group in the British family during weekdays to study the Word of God. Because the group communicated in English, he sat next to me one day and shared a Bible with me. I pressed him with my elbow and signaled to him that he should read the next passage. I felt, oh my god, there was a current passing through me, I was electrified.
I was relieved: the task the sisters gave me was complete.
Of course, this "a little old student" who is the same age as me, returned to the church and resolved the puzzling problems that he got stuck and tripped over years ago. In November that winter, he celebrated his 30th birthday. I gave him a Chinese-English Bible and told him that “establish yourself when you turn 30” would mean that we both rely on the kingdom of God to stand. We shared the beautiful seasons God created for this world. In the summer of next year, he recommitted to Jesus Christ during the sprinkling ceremony at a church in England.
We also moved to Los Angeles in the winter of the year after to start a new life for a lifetime.
Later on, I kept snickering in my heart and fearing God's plan. It turned out that when I asked God for a spouse, God would lead me.
So, I married that “a little old” student. He always likes to share with everyone humorously that I ran after him and kept at it every day. The only and first person to whom I preached the gospel was my husband. This is a long-told testimony that never gets old.
As for me, the prayer I asked God was answered. When we hosted a wedding banquet in Taiwan, we invited Paul, who led the International Student fellowship in the UK, to pronounce our marriage. Naughty and unforgettable youth, mixed with the mission of evangelism, has built a love that tugs your heartstrings.
Looking back now, though I didn't have a deep relationship with God in my youth, as long as we maintain a close connection with God, God's plan and guidance must have His good intentions. The evangelist wants to share the love of God, but the one who receives the gospel can feel the order of the church’s life, the counterpoint of the order of life, God’s words and wisdom, and what it brings invisibly is the protection of safety. Believe in God's words, don't fear, just believe, it is the grace that God bestows on us, and follow God's blessing, let the evangelism witness the joy of what God has prepared.