by Jayna Richardson
When Will and Suzy Brown, Americans living and working with FamilyLife in China, returned to the US to visit ailing parents in 2020, they were prevented from going back to China due to Covid restrictions. They wondered how they would continue ministering to Chinese couples from afar. The following fall, they participated in a Marriage Mentoring Training with FamilyLife Canada (who had already translated the mentoring material into simplified Mandarin), and they realized God was already a step ahead of them.
The Browns, along with FamilyLife Canada facilitators Robert and Fay Li, organized a four-hour Zoom training and invited key couples in China who had expressed interest in helping marriages. One hundred and twenty-five participants registered for the event and learned how to use a marriage mentoring guide to help strengthen marriages across China.
The Browns took a poll at the end of the event and asked how many couples were willing to take what they had learned to begin mentoring other couples. One hundred percent of the attendees responded “Yes!” Many commented that they would like to undergo more intensive training. Following the Zoom event, over one hundred additional couples expressed interest in a future training.
A second Marriage Mentoring Training took place June 19. The Browns have been encouraged that even though they can’t minister in person, God is still opening doors for them to make a difference in Chinese families.
One young couple the Browns have had the privilege of mentoring are Michael and Sophia. Will and Suzy met them years ago and took them through premarital counseling, officiated at their wedding, and encouraged them in their early days of marriage and parenting. Now, thanks to ongoing mentoring and training, Michael and Sophia are ready to pass on what they’ve learned to others.
“We are so grateful for the mentoring [Suzy] and Will are providing for us,” they said. “We are starting a small group at our church and will be using the Art of Marriage® materials.”
That’s what it’s all about—couples receiving help and passing it on to others.
“Because of our willingness to be transparent and vulnerable with them, they are able to receive coaching and encouragement for their own marriage,” said Suzy. “This is where it gets exciting; they are so pumped up and ready to begin their own mentoring journey with other couples. We look forward to the day that we hear from scores of other couples how Michael and Sophia have helped change their marriage into a godly legacy.”
Hundreds of other Chinese couples like Michael and Sophia are doing the same—and their message of help and hope for families is a beautiful chain reaction, changing China and the world one home at a time.