Marriage Story

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The longer story will be published as a book by Regal in 2013.

I met Médine at campus ministry when I was doing my Ph.D. at Duke University.  When I shared Christ with some people and they told me, “Médine Moussounga told me the same thing,” I knew that she was a fired-up witness for Christ!

Médine was an exchange student from University of Paris 7, and we were among each other’s many friends during her eight months at Duke (Sept. 1989-May 1990).  But we kept in touch through letters over the years, and became closer friends.  We even briefly discussed marriage in 1993 or 1994, but because I was not sure that she was called to ministry, I dropped the idea.  In fact, in France she was on the leadership team of a church she helped plant, was doing open-air and door-to-door evangelism, and so on.  But because she defined “ministry” more narrowly, she had told me that she was not called to ministry, and I had assumed we could not be compatible (i.e., I thought that she could not put up with my commitments).

At the beginning of 1999, however, I received a devastating letter, in which she warned that troops were closing in on her town, and she didn’t know if she was going to live or die.  By the time I received her letter, her town had already been burned.  The International Red Cross estimated that about a quarter of the nation had become refugees.

I felt devastated and prayed frantically for her safety.  A few days later, I felt that the Lord was assuring me that He knew how much I cared for her, and that He knew that I had done what I thought was His will, and therefore He would do what was best for her and what was best for me.  I did not know what that meant, but knew that I could trust my Father.  A few days later, I felt like He was assuring me that she and I would minister together in Francophone Africa someday.  Because she had always promised to translate for me if I preached in her country, that is what I thought He meant; I was elated that I thought this meant that she would survive.

Meanwhile, her family had fled their town, pushing her disabled father in a wheelbarrow.  He had been paralyzed due to diabetes and high blood pressure, but as they reached the edge of the town, the mother realized that they had left behind his medicine, and started back to get it.  “No,” the father insisted.  “If I die, I die; but no one will die in my place.”  They remained refugees for the next eighteen months.  Much of the time Médine was walking ten miles a day through snake-infested swamps and fields of army ants (sometimes having to pick the ants off afterward), just to get food for her family.  At any given time, some member of the household was often close to death; lacking medicines (yet sometimes sleeping in the open), they were often terribly sick with malaria.  Even in the forest, however, sometimes people who knew nothing of Craig prophesied to Médine that someday she was going to marry a white man with a significant ministry. 

At the end of 18 months, the entire family had survived, and Médine and I were able to reestablish contact.  We also were able to clarify our miscommunication about "ministry," and married March 13, 2002.  The wedding was in the chapel of the Eastern Seminary, where I was teaching.  Since I’d spent on air travel most of the money I had originally saved for the wedding, we married in matching clothes a church in Cameroon had given us for our ministry there (me teaching, and Médine translating).  Since then, we have written some material for Africa, which Médine has translated into French for use in Francophone Africa.  Sometimes one understands God’s leading only in retrospect!  The entire testimony is naturally longer than this, and will make a nice book—when we can get some time!  J