Thursday, May 22, 2008

Only the Strong Survive?

She was married at just 18 to a guy she had seen from a distance but never met. She was impressed that this was a strong man with a lot of respect in the community. He started beating her the first week they were married. She could take it, she was strong. She stood up to him and fought back. She worked hard to make their home a respectable place and she worked hard to maintain their respectable image in the community but the fights only increased and as Gondor melted down in a terrible civil war her marriage melted down with it. One day he beat her up until he thought she was dead. He stripped her and drove her out of town where he dumped her on the side of the road. The message was clear: She was garbage. She got up and walked back into town. She was shamed beyond repair. But she was strong, she could take it. She would survive. She moved back into her parents house and then after a year found a man to marry. The man she chose worked for the local police. The local police did not- and do not- have a good reputation but she thought he would take care of her. He too was not a good man. He beat her. She found out later that he was feared in the neighborhood as an evil, brutal man. But she could handle it, she was strong. Her life became more and more a nightmare as the civil war became more brutal and her husband became more violent. One day, she decided that she was not strong enough. She could not bear this kind of life anymore, but what choice did she have?

She ran into a friend of hers and she told her about a book that someone had given her. Did she know that her brother was talking to some foreigners who had some strange ideas? She took the book and went to study it in the group her brother was meeting with. The book said she would never be strong enough to succeed in this life. Only God could help her and he has sent Jesus to save her. After a few months she gave her life to Jesus because she was not strong enough to live life on her own.

Her husband was dismayed but he respected her brother so he said nothing. But she never stopped speaking about the love she had for Jesus. With the war going badly and the blood on his hands building up he too gave his life to Jesus six months later. This is truly the beginning of the story for Eomer and his wife. It was a long road to learn the ways of the new Kingdom they had become a part of. At first they thought this was a way to prosper, to get money. But after coming to us they slowly learned that the Kingdom of God has much more to offer than money. Meeting twice a week with a couple of the doctors we have on our team he grew and changed. Eomer joined a small house church and he and his wife began to grow together. After couple of years he began to pastor that little church, and after a couple more years he and his wife have become sought out speakers on how former Muslims can have a God-honoring marriage. They work as a team ministering to their friends and family through hospitality and going out to the villages together to share the good news that Jesus loves the weak, the outcasts, the poor, and the rejected.

It is my privilege to proclaim this Gospel. As I get ready to go home for five months I know that someone is going to say, 'You guys must really like it over there, huh?' I hate that question. I do not like it here. Minas Tirith has got to be one of my least favorite cities. But what would you be willing to put up with to know a couple like Eomer and his wife? What are you willing to do to see the Kingdom of God come and change lives one at a time until whole communities are transformed? I will gladly give my life and the life of my family to see the Kingdom of God spread to the ends of the earth. That doesn't make me heroic. That makes me His child. Taste and see.


GuyMuse said...

That last paragraph says so well what so many of us on the field would like to express. It is hard living where we do. But we aren't here for our own comfort or self-fulfillment. We are servants of the Most High. He has placed us here for a purpose. Our joy is seeing people's lives transformed by the Gospel. I have seen it over and over. The only way to impact a life is to get out there and impact a life. It has nothing to do with being a hero. It has everything to do with being a Christian.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Wow. And this is the transforming power of Jesus Christ. It's also the reason I support you all.

The 5 Adventurers said...

Thanks for sharing about this couple and for doing what you do.

Alyce Faulkner said...

Thank you for again sharing about the transforming power of our Lord.
Also, email me and let me know where you will be in the US.

Strider said...

Good comments Guy, thanks.
The rest of you are always welcome here in Middle Earth.
Alyce, I will write soon.
I leave for my daughter's graduation from Boarding School on Monday and then will arrive in Little Rock on June 6th.

Bryan Riley said...

I love this story. Thank you for sharing.

I have gone to some "nice" places, but not because I wanted to; instead, God told me to go. And it is hard when people ask me if it was nice or if I enjoyed my vacation. Or, they will say, wow, I've always wanted to go there. And I always want to say, "Great, come along! You can quit your job today and come! Leave your home and come!" Sometimes I do say it.

Jody said...

Thanks for letting us know the questions y'all hate. Every little tidbit helps. If you find yourself near the DFW area, let me know, we'd love to offer some hospitality. Safe journeys.

Alan Cross said...