16 Nov Love in Hard Times
20-year-old Tuvduu is happy to be alive today, though that wasn’t always the case. Rewind half a decade, and you’d see a teenager in crisis repeatedly trying to end her life. Says Tuvduu, “But God saved me each time.”
Tuvduu, who grew up in Hatgal, Mongolia, has had a rough family life, as the daughter of two parents addicted to alcohol. Tuvduu describes her childhood as “Lots of arguments, physical abuse. I was always fearful and worried and alone.” The abuse got so bad that she even tried to commit suicide several times.
Then, in April of 2012, Tuvduu heard about a church in her hometown, started by Chris and Stephanie Ballinger in partnership with Grace Church. It was there that Tuvduu first heard about Jesus and went home and read the Bible. She came across one particular passage and knew what she had to do: “When I read Romans 10:9-10, I accepted Christ as my savior!” says Tuvduu.
Her circumstances at home didn’t change much immediately after that. If anything, it got worse. “My family members follow Buddhism and Shamanism. My dad also does fortune telling,” Tuvduu says, “When I first started going to church, my parents became very angry and would yell at me. Despite these things, Jesus still made a way for me to go to church.”
Tuvduu leaned on the Ballingers and her neighbors who attended their church for support. “When Mom and Dad were drunk at home, I could always stay at their houses,” she says.
Though it was hard to love her parents in that time, she found the strength in God. “Through the love of Christ, I was able to learn how to love them,” says Tuvduu.
As she continued to love her parents, she began to notice a change. She says, “Their attitude towards my going to church soon changed after they saw firsthand how God was working in my life and changing me.” And though she may not be glad for all the difficult things she has been through, she is grateful to have found peace and joy to get her through.
“I finally learned real joy from knowing Christ,” says Tuvduu, “When I look back at everything that I’ve gone through, even all of the really hard parts, I’m thankful that God is in control.”