It was a bitterly cold January night in Beijing. As Sheryl and I stepped out of the taxi and began the short walk to the apartment building, I could feel the sharp cut of the winter wind biting at any exposed skin.
Our Chinese friends, Shaun and Sara, had offered their apartment if we would lead a HomeBuilders Couples’ Bible study for them and several of their local friends. A Chinese characteristic of such meetings is that different couples show up at different times, often late. Although everyone knew the study was to begin at 7:00PM, a lot depended on where the couples worked, the always infuriating Beijing rush-hour traffic, and the commute to Shaun and Sara’s home.
Zhou Ming and his wife Bao Mei were the last to arrive at our first meeting. As Sheryl and I introduced ourselves, it was difficult not to notice their look of success, the way they dressed and carried themselves, the confident look of being in the top of wage earners in all of China. Zhou Ming is a cardiologist. What we could not see, and what Zhou Ming and Bao Mei came to the study not being open to share, was that there was a war going on in each of their hearts, a battle about whether they would divorce or not. For them, it must have seemed that divorce was better than staying married. In the major cities like Beijing, acting on these options is too often the case.
Although both are quite smart, we also knew that intelligence would only do so much to save their marriage. We completed the study knowing Zhou Ming and Bao Mei were making some progress. When we would meet them for a meal outside the study group, we would talk about applying what we were learning to their lives. What was God saying and were they willing to make the effort to apply the truth of what they were learning to their marriage? The study ended, and they were still together.
On one of my recent trips to China, I asked about this couple, and I heard an amazing story. Zhou Ming had resigned his position as a cardiologist, changing his name to Dr. Luke. He and his wife started a house church where he’s the pastor.
While on that same trip, our China team held a meeting of Chinese leaders, pastors, business people, and virtually anyone our team knew who was interested in building strong Chinese families. At one point in the meeting as others were sharing their experiences and thoughts of how to improve the ministry, Bao Mei began telling of their experience with HomeBuilders and using it in their church. She went on to share that the Bible study that we had done together those years ago had saved their marriage. Not having seen either of them since the study, this news was like a kiss from Jesus.