Arlington: New year, new marriage, new life

Shoppers in Shanghai prepare for the Lunar New Year celebration (Wikipedia Image)

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One year ago, Christian students knocked on a female student’s dorm room door where she was studying in China. She listened as they told her for the first time about the loving God who wanted a relationship with her and how God sent his Son, Jesus, to make that possible.

Last semester, that young woman and her boyfriend began a master’s program at UT Arlington. Upon arriving, they found themselves surrounded by Christians—American and Chinese. For the young man, it marked the first time he heard anything positive about God and why he should follow Christ. In fact, it was the first time he heard the name of Jesus.

The couple attended English classes and International Friendship Night dinners at our Baptist Student Ministry at UTA. They hung out with many Christians who naturally, albeit intentionally, shared the gospel with them.

Then, in December they began attending a weekly service with Chinese Christians. After attending three meetings, the young woman knew she wanted to follow Christ. She prayed to ask Jesus into her life as Lord and Savior, and her boyfriend followed suit.

Married in Las Vegas

Days later, the couple took an epic road trip starting in Texas and traveling up the West Coast. They made a quick stop in Las Vegas to get married, with some of their classmates standing at their side, all sporting black Beatles jackets and sunglasses.

I had the privilege of meeting with them recently on Chinese New Year and hearing about all of this. “New Year, new marriage, new life,” the new husband told me.

Excited to follow Christ

“I’m so excited to follow Christ,” his bride said. “I’m praying for my family in China. I want God to save my dad and my mom and my little brother. There is so little knowledge about who God is in China. When I tell them about him, I know they will believe in Jesus too.”

At the end of our meeting, we spent some time in prayer. Hearing the couple pray for the first time in English is something I will never forget. Their prayers were so pure and genuine.

Although their story is atypical, you can see the threads intertwining. God began to pursue a young woman’s heart a year ago in China. Through her, God pursued her boyfriend’s heart, also. Now, they are beginning a new life together as a married couple, and an even greater new life as believers in Christ.

Last night at English class, as we played “Soularium” cards, each student choose a card that represented their personality to the class. The new bride picked up the image of two hands gently holding a baby bird.

To church for the first time

“Yesterday I went to church for the first time,” she said. “I feel like I am this little bird. Everything about being a Christian is new to me, but I feel that God is holding me and protecting me.”

Beautiful. God is changing her life—showing her more of his character, and through that, she is unashamedly sharing God with others.

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