Dark to Brilliant

I woke up on Saturday grumpy. It was a dark day, not weather-wise, but internally. Unfortunately, my husband also seemed under a dark cloud that day. We bumbled into each other a few times throughout the day.

It was time to get ready for service at a Mandarin speaking church. Mike offered for me to stay home since I was so glum. But I decided to go, gloomy mood and all.

It is the custom at this church to share a turkey dinner along with many delicious Malaysian dishes on the Saturday after American Thanksgiving. The pastor leads her congregation in giving thanks on that day. We picked up a prepared turkey dinner they had ordered for the church.

The songs they sung, though in Mandarin, had English translation. I was so touched that in moments  tears rolled down my cheeks and just wouldn’t stop. I had to quietly move to the back  to keep from drawing too much attention to myself.

The pastor led the people in thanks to all who had helped through the year and to the Lord for His blessings to them collectively and individually. Then, before asking my husband to speak, she talked to the people in Mandarin for a long time. She interpreted for us occasionally. She talked about our long friendship with her and their church, about our family coming to Malaysia, our family life, and more.

After the meeting was over and before everyone went to eat the prepared feast, many of the folks gave us cards, small gifts, personal thanks, and a huge fruit basket. They came and asked us to cut a cake. It said, “Happy Anniversary,” on it. After they lit three candles, they sang, “Happy Anniversary,” to the tune of Happy Birthday to you.

Mandarin Church gifts

It was at about that point when we realized the pastor had turned their annual Thanksgiving service into a celebration of our 30 years in Malaysia! We were so blessed and so humbled.

It was almost too much to take in. These people were so kind and generous and thoughtful. We cannot even speak their language, yet they treated us so well!

We love Malaysia and the people. We are thankful we have been able to make Malaysia our Second Home. Malaysians have opened their homes and hearts to us. We could not have chosen any better place to live and serve even if we could have made the choice. We don’t feel like we are doing anything so special or unusual. We just do what we would do anywhere. Yet this place and this people have been planted in our hearts and we feel so privileged!

That dark day now stands out with a brilliant silver glow.

Please follow and like us:

A Widow’s Story

Irene is a lovely, friendly, thoughtful woman. She is always willing to lend a hand and is a faithful intercessor for those who ask for prayer. We’ve talked occasionally over the last few years, but I never knew her story until recently.

When Irene and her husband married, they were church attenders, but had no real faith. From early in their marriage her husband was abusive, but she had been raised that when you chose to marry, you stayed married- ‘you made your bed, you sleep in it.’ He was an alcoholic and she was beaten, but Irene never considered leaving her husband.

She and her husband continued to attend church on Sundays. A friend invited her to attend another church with her, so she went with her friend on Sunday evenings. This friend not only took her to church, but shared books with her. Over time she began to seek a personal relationship with Jesus. One day, all by herself, she prayed and gave her life to Jesus and asked Him to be her Savior.

Irene went to some special meetings by a woman evangelist. This woman talked about her own marriage to an unbelieving husband. She said she treated him as though he were a believer. She quoted Romans 5:5 and the phrase, ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit’ stuck in Irene’s heart.

She began to see that if God poured His love into her heart, she should do the same to her husband. She made the decision to love him and she told him that she loved him and began to try to show her love through her actions.

Ephesians 5:33 in the Amplified Bible told her how to love her husband. It says, “…and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband—that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.”

And Ephesians 4:31 and 32, in the Amplified Bible showed her what changes God wanted for her. “Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will or baseness of any kind). And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another  [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.”

That was a tall order for her, but she made the decision to live this way with her husband. Instead of praying for God to change her husband, she was praying that God would help her become the kind of person she was supposed to be.

As these changes happened in Irene, her husband noticed the difference and began to treat her better too.

She continued to go to church with her friend and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. One time after that her husband raised his hand to hit her and she merely looked directly at him and said, “Don’t you dare.” He lowered his hand and never again hit her.

She prayed for her husband to be saved and bought him a Bible with his name inscribed on it. It was many years later that he watched a TV show and told her when she came home that he had ‘prayed the prayer.’ She went and got the Bible she had been saving for him.

His life also changed after salvation, but he never was able to overcome his alcoholism.  But he died a believer in Jesus.

Knowing Irene now, I never would have dreamed that she had been abused or that it took the grace and work of God in her life to turn her from such bitterness and anger. She humbly shared her story, not to be patted on the back for being a good wife in a bad marriage. But she shared her story so that other women in similarly bad marriages could know what God can do in them and through them in their families.

Please follow and like us: