You know how sometimes you just have too many good, important tasks, and can’t complete them all on time? As wives and moms, I am sure you know just what I mean. Well, that has been my life the past couple months. My most challenging task was to rebuild our intermin.org website. Thankfully, it is done! There’s a great story behind this rebuild, one that reaches all the way back to my childhood. I want to share it with you to show you that God never forgets the desires he plants in our hearts, even if they come to fulfillment in a different way than we could have ever imagined.
The first tiny glimpse of this great story happened when I was twelve years old- 49 years ago! I read Pearl S. Buck’s book, The Good Earth, and it so moved me that I wanted to do something to help the Chinese people. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I became a believer.
Then, when I was 15, I had the chance to go as an exchange student to Colombia, South America. That didn’t get me any closer to China or to learning to speak Chinese! Years passed and I met and married Mike. He had no interest in working overseas (snakes, bugs and bad toilets, he always says). We pioneered and served in the US for eleven years.
Near the end of that time we became increasingly aware that we wanted and needed a change. We looked for opportunities to serve in some way in Asia, but every door we tried was shut tight. We were invited to go to Nigeria and serve there. So we had our introduction to overseas work in Benin City, Nigeria. After two years, we knew that Nigeria was not going to be our permanent overseas posting. With clear direction and confirmation we were sent to Malaysia.
Malaysia is a multi-cultural nation with Chinese making up about 35-40% of the population, but about 90% of the people we serve. It was only after about 18 years serving here that I realized that I had been helping the Chinese people for all those years. Ah, so that’s how the longing from my youth was to be fulfilled!
But there was to be more! In 2007, we had the opportunity to go into China to teach a group of ex-pats living there on marriage and family issues. While there, a brother offered to have our Intermin web site translated into Mandarin. We were pleased, but not overly excited. Twice before we thought we had the translation underway, only to have the teams dissolve. In April our friend sent the files for the entire site, translated into Simplified and Traditional Mandarin. Yes!
Through Intermin Mike and I are reaching China. I didn’t have to learn Mandarin. I didn’t have to directly touch the Chinese to help them. Forty-nine years ago there was no internet, and even ten years ago I could not even dream of this opportunity. It’s only been seven years since I built my first web site for Peter’s Wife.
I didn’t share how my Colombia connection fits into this wonderful story. I learned Spanish, but have had very few opportunities to use it since my teens. A few months ago, a Peter’s Wife subscriber offered to translate some of the articles on marriage into Spanish. Her translation arrived at just about the same time as the Mandarin.
Many writers, both secular and spiritual, use a tapestry to describe the weaving of so many different threads to make the fabric of our lives. This is certainly what has been going on this year. Threads I thought were forgotten have turned out to be some of the brightest splashes of color. The Weaver just kept them hidden until the right moment.
You probably have some longing that has not yet been fulfilled. Take heart. Your work is not finished. Our Father knows how to lead us step by step to the completion of all he has planned for us.
Building a site that includes languages so diverse as English and Mandarin is no easy task. Finding the programs that would allow both languages to be used together took several weeks. Turning all the individual files from four languages into web-ready text took innumerable hours. So why do so much work? Our web site is now available in the three most commonly spoken languages in the world, and that is worth any amount of work.
It is amazing to us to think that two simple people from unspectacular backgrounds could reach so many people- people we will never meet in this life. All of you are reaching people neither we nor most others in the world will ever meet. Your lives and the work you do is part of an eternal design. Oh, the mystery and glory of being even a tiny part of this great plan! Keeping that in mind, let’s remember the words of our brother Paul: “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.” Galatians 6:9
Please take a minute to see my labor of love at: Intermin.org. If you can use any of the materials in any of the languages, please let me know.