Some Vietnamese ladies were brought to Malaysia through a “marriage broker agency” which can be very unscrupulous, because they target poor families in Vietnam and offer parents a sum of money to purchase their daughters to becomes wives of foreign men. Because they live in poverty, this becomes a way of escape in hopes of having a better life in Malaysia.
When the ladies arrived in Malaysia, they realized things would be much worse for them because they had been lied to. After being brought to a location in Malaysia, they were paraded in front of men who would choose which lady they wanted to buy to be their wife. Once they were married, the husband or husband’s family would take their passport so they couldn’t leave or go back home. These women are now stuck in horrible living conditions with threatening and abusive husbands.
10 years ago, while I was working as a missionary in Malaysia, I had the honor of meeting these ladies and was given an opportunity to help some of them while also sharing the gospel. About 15 ladies accepted Christ, so I started going to their village each week for bible study and worship. As I got to know more Vietnamese wives and heard their hopeless, painful stories, I realized they were actually living in slavery. Some of them would beg me to help them escape, but I couldn’t help them without a passport. One girl’s husband became so angry that he threatened to kill me. Then, he went to the church where we met and informed the pastor that he was going to burn the church down if the pastor didn’t hand me over to him. As I continued to teach the ladies the word of God during those 3 years, my heart was always heavy and I found myself weeping for the ladies. When I left Malaysia, I was very concerned and continued to pray for their safety and deliverance.
After 6 years, I returned to Malaysia and learned that one of the ladies had committed suicide, two ran away from their husbands with no job, and 3 other ladies were able to return home because their husbands had died. In the midst of this, I was so happy to hear that God had not abandoned them because two of them had been faithfully crying out to God and he answered their prayers. I also learned that one of the husbands of the two ladies had become a born-again believer and radically changed by Jesus. He had been the head leader of a violent gang and a drug dealer. The other ladies’ husband had kept her from attending church and bible study during my previous visit and had been forced to work a lot. I would still go to her house after bible study and minister to her individually. I never really thought she was learning or paying attention to what I was talking about during our visits, but to my surprise, she appeared to be on fire for the Lord with so much joy and hope. I also found out she had been memorizing bible verses and listening to the word of God through internet and she was on fire for the Lord.
These ladies were a seed I never thought would grow, because I assumed they had only accepted Christ because of their need for help and support. Also, they didn’t seem very interested in the word of God and when I left Malaysia, no one took over my work due to language barriers. In spite of my opinions, God has shown me that even though I wasn’t there physically to continue the work, he was there for them and never abandoned them. He is their father and it is his work and ministry. When I stepped out of the way, he worked in his own way to meet their needs. Please continue to pray for the ladies and pray that God will stop the corrupted business.
By: Mei Powers