After getting married, there were many difficulties. Just as my mother-in-law had worried, eating wasn’t a simple task. Everyday I prayed to God for food, transportation fares, and living expenses. It wasn't easy to have these things provided for. Life was so difficult that it felt as if God was being stingy with me.
After getting married, my wife looked to God daily. The most difficult time for us was when guests would come over to our house. If it was just us, starving wasn't that difficult. Although our living condition was poor, once in awhile guests came by. They usually came long distances to listen to the gospel. Since they came from such far away places, it was very important for them to receive salvation before they left us. So the gospel wasn’t preached for only an hour or two, but it was preached for many hours to them. Since they stayed for so many hours, meal time was bound to come around. However, because we didn't have any food and were starving, our hearts ached continuously.
Once I was preaching the gospel in our room with the door open and from the outside my wife was gesturing to me. Since I was facing the door, the person I was preaching the gospel to could not see my wife. My wife was signaling me to hurry up and finish preaching the gospel in order to send that person home because there was no food. But I hadn't finished preaching the gospel, and I couldn't just send the person home in the middle, so I continued to preach the word. A moment later my wife returned and gestured to me to hurry up and send him home. I couldn't do it though, so I just continued to preach the gospel.
A bright smile within my wife's face
It became lunch time. My wife walked in with the meal on a table. A bright smile adorned her face when she carried the food in on the table. I don’t know where she got the food from, but we ate lunch. After lunch, I continued to preach the gospel. That person returned home having received salvation. After the person left, I asked my wife and she said that some brothers had brought us rice.
There were many other times guests came over when we were totally out of food, but we witnessed God feeding us. The guests who came to our house and ate our food was not a problem. In actuality, we knew that it was thanks to the guests that we were able to eat. When we first became hungry because there was no food, it was burdensome and difficult to have guests come over. However, the more we experienced God feed us, the more we thought, “Aren’t any guests coming over?” every time we were hungry and short of food.
I was very thankful for a wife who patiently waited through hardship
During the autumn of 1971, the year we got married, we returned from a summer children’s camp and were resting. Even at that time, we had no food at home, but my wife did not complain. The thing I am thankful to my wife for is that although our food ran out, although we were hungry and things were difficult, she didn’t once complain. My wife wasn’t a person of faith, but instead, a very carnal and worldly person. Nevertheless, she endured hardship as well as anybody else. I was very thankful for this. In truth, before marrying my wife, I had thought of marrying a couple of other sisters who were around me, but I was unable to. I frequently thought, “I live a difficult life. Would these sisters who were preciously raised be able to handle this kind of life?” But there was no doubt that God had prepared a wife for me. Even while pregnant she endured hardships. She patiently endured hunger while looking towards God. I was so thankful to my wife for this.
Why would living for the gospel be a problem?
I once addressed my wife: living in a place with no kitchen, having to go use someone else’s bathroom, and living in the second floor office were not problems for me. However, as a person who had just started a new family, I felt sorry to have my wife live in this way. That is why I once told my wife that I was sorry, but my wife looked at me and said, “We live for the gospel. So what if we live a life even more difficult than this? If we lived in a better house but did not preach the gospel, what would be good about that? I don’t see a problem in living like this.”
When I heard this, I realized how precious my wife was.
While preaching the gospel to the orphans
I took my wife here and there, and one time we visited an orphanage in Kimchun. The director of that orphanage was a pastor. We told him, “We are people who specialize in evangelizing to children. We would like to have a week long children’s retreat, teaching the Bible for free to the children of this orphanage.” He consented.
My wife and I taught with a joyful heart. My wife had a special talent for leading children’s hearts and saying things that touched them. My wife taught the kids songs, talked with them, and held them while I preached the word of God to them.
That is how we passed our first day of Bible study. When lunch came around, we graciously ate a lunch that was prepared by the orphanage’s director. In the afternoon we had Bible study again. Afterwards, we ate dinner and taught the Bible to the children until it was late.
The important thing was the fact that God was with us
After it was over, we walked home. Although there was no food at home, it was not a problem. The next day we skipped breakfast and went back to the orphanage to have another Bible study. Every time we preached the gospel, God fed us in many ways. My wife also came to realize that we do not just live life, but that God’s hand guides us. My wife and I were people who had no faith, but this is how we came to live more and more in faith.
We had no job or help. If we didn’t have God’s help, we wouldn’t have been able to live. Although we missed one or two meals, we didn’t starve enough to die. God consistently provided us with food so that when others saw us it didn’t seem as if we were starving. Of course things were difficult and we lived a poor life, but the important thing was that God was with us.
Heading forward only for the gospel with the wife God gave me
While living with my wife for the past 33 years, we witnessed God protecting us through difficult situations. We witnessed God opening doors for the gospel. Our thoughts and opinions differed, but before God we were able to have one heart. During all this, we shared one heart and could move forward solely for the gospel. Even when I think of it now, I am so thankful to God for giving me this wife.
There are still many marriages within our church. Rather than marrying a person through humanly methods who you’ve met and who you like, I know for sure that waiting patiently for a wife or a husband who God has selected is best. That is why I often lead brothers’ and sisters’ marriages in that manner.
Picture explanation: A cold winter, my wife has wrapped the baby in a blanket, and has stepped outside. I was thankful to my wife for smiling amidst hardship.