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Archive for September 10th, 2006

When I met Jason, my worst fear was becoming someone’s wife.

Especially if that someone happened to be a pastor, or worse, a missionary.

I couldn’t stand the thought of missing the action, keeping silent while someone else shared the Gospel, cooking dinner while he was off teaching a Bible study, trapped in “Church and Home Outreach,” as our denomination likes to call it. I desperately wanted to be the one out in the streets of the Sudan, proclaiming Christ with a gun to my head, which did not commend itself well to matrimony.

I went to college with all the preacher boys, whose choices seemed so much broader than mine. I competed with them ruthlessly in class, trying to prove to myself that God could do the same things with me that He could do with them. But I was petrified that He wouldn’t, especially if I were a wife.

So that night, the first night of the semester exchange in Hong Kong, when I met Jason, the big, Texan ministry major, I wasn’t interested.

He befriended me as the weeks passed, despite my best efforts. He showed up at my door every day at lunch, even when I politely asked him to stop it. He refused to let me explore the city alone, and followed me everywhere, at all hours. He taught me guitar. He partnered with me in missions, on campus and on the mainland. He sat outside, praying, while my Chinese roommate gave her life to Christ.

I began to trust that he had no intentions of shutting me up in a box.

An American couple took interest in us. Roger was a religion and history professor, and Sue taught language classes on campus for free. They were in their late thirties, vibrant, and very intentional and passionate in leading their Chinese students gently to Christ.

I don’t remember how we met them. I only remember that first time, in Sue and Roger’s tiny apartment, getting ready to welcome a horde of students to an Easter party, where we would share Christ. I remember Sue taking me to the kitchen, assigning me vegetables to cut and tea to brew. I remember not being the least bit frightened that I would be trapped in the kitchen all night, doing “women’s work,” missing all the excitement, because I trusted that she was just as anxious to go to work as I was. I trusted that the time we spent there was important. Sue showed me that the vegetables and the tea were part of the evangelism. That the welcoming and the serving and the honoring made way for the Gospel. You do your work in the kitchen; you set your table well; and then you point to Christ.

That night, and many nights following, I saw God use Sue in the same way I wanted Him to use me: proclaiming the good news to the lost. He did it through her marriage and her home, and not in spite of it. I had nothing to fear.

That, more than anything, enabled me to trust God enough to marry.

Now, eight years later, God is using some of those preacher-boy classes on church planting movements and missiology. But the most useful lessons are the ones God taught in that narrow kitchen, laying out food, welcoming guests. God lets me be the wife and the mom, so that I can share the Gospel with those who haven’t heard, like Roger and Sue are probably doing tonight, welcoming people to Christ with real-world hospitality. And that has proven such a joy.

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