Encouragement from “Out of a Far Country” by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan

Out of a Far Country is a transparent and honest autobiography of a gay man’s journey to Christ as well as his mother’s. It is raw beyond words. They don’t try to hide or downplay the realities of a life lived without Christ, but the beautiful love of a mother shines through throughout the book.

Maybe it’s just because of the current political and social climate we are living in, but more than anything this book gave me hope. Now to be clear, we are ALL lost sheep in need of a Savior. That’s one of the reasons why I designed the I Am the One statement sock. But what jumped out for me most in this book is that Christopher Yuan was a particularly very, very lost sheep and we have a very, very, VERY awesome God.

The book starts off with him “coming out” to his parents. At this point, no one in the family was walking with Christ, and it was quite apparent. Christopher’s father seemed indifferent and disengaged from the family when the news was dropped and his mother became hopeless and literally suicidal. Miraculously, Angela, Christopher’s mother, shortly after that conversation was given a booklet about the love of Christ which extends to everyone. It even talked about how God loved homosexuals; and so she thought to herself “that if God can love my son, then I could still love him as well” (pg. 18). And what’s more, she found out through this little booklet that God even loved her. She belonged not to her husband or to her children or to her parents. But she belonged to Him and was loved by Him. How incredible is that? So suicidal thoughts were squelched and she began her journey with Christ.

However, Christopher’s journey to Christ was not nearly that simple. After he spoke with his parents, he continued to date various men, trying to find a fulfilling relationship, but ultimately feeling empty and alone after each one ended. His parents tried getting Christopher help, but the only thing it did was get him angry over the assumption that he could change and that he had a choice in the matter. “This is who I am. I’m as gay as I am Chinese. God created me this way” (pg. 37).

Once the dating life wasn’t giving him what he wanted and needed, he fell into drugs, initially Ecstasy. He also began a monetarily lucrative life as a drug dealer. Partying on the weekends, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, buying expensive clothes and cars; it all seemed to be going incredibly well. But during this same time period, he was incidentally enrolled as a dental student. He was about to be kicked out of his school since he wasn’t attending class and doing poorly in his studies, nevertheless, he was hoping his family would be able to pull some strings and get him through. His father was a well respected and well-known dentist, and he could have thrown his weight around and probably gotten his son through to his graduation. They had a meeting with the dean of the school towards the end of his last school year, and Angela decided to step in and say, “Actually, it’s not important that Christopher becomes a dentist. What’s important is that Christopher becomes a Christ-follower” (pg. 75). Talk about tough love. She later said, “…sometimes letting a child face the consequences of his own actions is the only way to show true love.” So he didn’t graduate but secretly continued dealing drugs.

There’s much more to the story, but eventually he landed in jail and while in prison, found out he was HIV positive. That was a devastating diagnosis, but not surprising considering the lifestyle he was in. Throughout this entire time, Angela continued to pray and pray and pray. She was willing to let the LORD do whatever it took to bring her son to Himself, no matter the consequences.

Obviously, Christopher was at rock bottom by this point. But the LORD met him there and was willing to give him hope and a future (Jer. 29:11). Beyond all understanding or expectation, Christopher not only began to follow Jesus but after coming to Christ, he realized he wanted to share the truth of the gospel with others by becoming a pastor. When he first started studying the bible, it also became clear to him that, in his own words: “the more I learned that loving God was not how I felt or what I thought… ‘This is love for God: to obey His commands’ (1 John 5:3)” (pg. 163). And that brought him to see the idols in his life, including drugs, parties, and sex. He realized that he needed to give up these idols that controlled him and turn to Jesus and live a life that honored Him. In addition, Christopher said: “I realized that my identity shouldn’t be defined by my sexuality… But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone…. I knew that I shouldn’t focus on homosexuality or even heterosexuality, but on the one thing that God calls everyone to: holy sexuality… I must obey and be faithful to God” (pg. 187).

Goose. Bumps. Just amazing. Now I have gone to the trouble of describing Christopher’s journey in some detail because I want to go back to my original point at the beginning of this post. His journey gives me hope. All is not lost, my friends! We may all be facing some serious obstacles. It may seem as if everyone is against us and that there is no way we can turn this ship around. But we need to stand in the gap and hold the line, just as Angela did for her son. She fasted, prayed, and prayed some more. Just like the persistent widow, she would NOT give up. Her son was too precious. The lost people around us are too precious as well. This lost country is too valuable. We can NOT give up. I love what Christopher says towards the end of this book: “God’s faithfulness is proved not by the elimination of hardships but by carrying us through them” (pg. 188).

Dear saints, stand firm. Hold the line. Don’t stop praying. Christopher’s story shows us that no matter how lost we may be, Jesus is there to find us when we are willing to repent of our sins and humbly follow Him. We still have hope. Praise Jesus for this man’s testimony. And praise Jesus for this man’s incredible, persistent, and loving mother.

Such a prodigious read – I highly recommend it!

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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