Calm in the Chaos

by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer
John and Christina

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Christina and her husband John came to Hope Pregnancy Center, Edmond a year ago in search of friendship and financial support and found healing for their hearts as well. Former IMB missionaries to East Asia, they were forced to leave the location to which they had been assigned for safety reasons.

“The city where we were was in the top 10 most difficult cities for IMB missionaries to be,” Christina explains. “It was a very sensitive situation, a dark spiritual environment. A lot of spiritual persecution was happening, so we had to drop everything and walk out of our ministry, our lives and the church we started. We arrived in the United States in July 2019 and applied for religious asylum. We had a two-year-old at that time, and I was thirty weeks pregnant.”

Christina and her husband moved in with friends they had met years earlier in college. Once again “home” with the Smith family years later, Christina and John relied on them for support and direction. “Andrea is a volunteer at the Hope Pregnancy Center boutique. She encouraged us to start taking classes at Hope just to meet more people and get things off our mind,” Christina recalls. “It also helped because we couldn’t work with our legal status at that time, and we needed things for the baby. We went to Hope and ended up loving the relationships we were able to build with volunteers and other couples while there.”

“I look back now and see how the Lord used that time to guard our hearts and prepare us to welcome our new daughter,” Christina continues. “If we hadn’t had been given that time to rest, refocus, pray together and be prayed for, I don’t think we would have been ready at all. We were extremely stressed and not on good terms in our relationship after all we’d been through. It’s hard to explain how dark that season was. The Lord knew we needed outside help to get us on the same page, something in between us that was bigger than either of us to focus on, and we got that at Hope.”

John, Christina and family

Through participation in the classes, Bible studies and mentorship opportunities provided by Hope, Christina and John were able to secure everything they needed for their new baby, Ariel, who will turn one very soon. Although they are still waiting to hear whether or not they will be granted religious asylum in the United States, they have been given permission to work and moved into their own rent house. While their situation is improving, the couple is still under a tremendous amount of stress.

Through tears, Christina shares the very real heartache she and her husband are experiencing over being separated from their families in East Asia. “We don’t get to have a lot of contact with them. We didn’t really even get to tell them why we were leaving. We told them we were coming to the United States to have the baby. We had to protect them. Now our baby is almost one, and we still can’t really tell them much of what’s going on with us or why we haven’t come back. We just feel kind of stuck. We don’t know where or when the Lord will lead us to serve next, and we are willing to do whatever He wants, but it’s hard waiting. It’s a lot to process.”

Christina and John continue to rely on the Smith family and the relationships they built at Hope Pregnancy Center for emotional and spiritual support, and the couple is extremely grateful for the generosity of Hope donors that made many of these relationships possible.

“I would feel very sad if I had not been given this experience or gotten to know these people,” Christina says. “I know the Lord took care of my heart and spirit through their love and support. You know, hearing the name of Jesus and experiencing the love of Jesus are two very different things. At Hope, people are loved and cared for, and many of the babies born to parents who come to Hope are going to have a spiritual heritage they may not have gotten otherwise. It brings joy to my heart. I think every parent wants to give their baby the best, but they don’t always know how. Hope shows them how. Hope makes it possible.”

*Names and photos have been changed for security purposes.