The last time I had seen NaBo was on her wedding day in Chiang Mai, Thailand more than 10 years ago. At that time, I was none too pleased that she had decided to marry a man she didn’t know well, who lived in Malaysia. I did everything to try to convince her to reconsider her decision. But in her culture, unmarried women have little value. Her husband-to-be had a job and owned his own home. She had no parents and no real ties to Thailand, having come over from Burma 12 years before.
Orphaned and desperately ill with malaria and all manner of intestinal parasites, when I saw NaBo in those very first days after opening the New Life Center in 1987, I thought she was twice her age. She desperately needed us and the medical care and education we were able to give her. She graduated and became one of our valuable staff members.
NaBo had developed a deep love for Jesus, and had prayed fervently about her decision to marry. Who was I to question what she felt that God was leading her to do? She wanted me to walk her down the aisle, as the “mother of the bride”. And she wanted me to speak and bless her marriage. Feeling the way I did, what could I say?
God was faithful to give me the words. To me, the wedding became not only the joining together of NaBo and her husband, but the Commissioning of a missionary to Malaysia! I was able to bless NaBo’s union—and commission her to be God’s shining light of love to those in her new community and country!
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go to Malaysia for the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering—and was able to have a wonderful reunion with NaBo. YES, she IS a Shining Light of God’s Love in her community! Right after she arrived in her new country, she found a wonderful church, which warmly embraced her. She started inviting her neighbors to join her in worship and Bible studies—and some have accepted Jesus and been baptized! Truly, hearing NaBo’s testimony of faith and witness was the highlight of my Malaysian journey!
While in Kuala Lumpur, I also presented a well-received paper on “Human Trafficking and Prostitution: Is There Hope?” If you’d like a copy of the paper, just ask me for it!
Through NaBo, I was reminded how much we need each other: she needed us at the New Life Center during those critical years of her life; I needed her inspirational and encouraging words in Kuala Lumpur. Very much. And I also need your prayers and financial support. Thank you for your participation in Christ’s ministry through me!