Moaz was among the first to greet and help us on our arrival in Malaysia. As a Canadian who had been working in Malaysia for five years, he knew his way around, and was able to help us with bus routes and customs, organizing a tour of the nation’s administrative centre, Putra Jaya, and giving us tips on restaurants and sites worth visiting. A devout Muslim, he was nonetheless tolerant of other faiths, and appreciated what other religions contributed to culture.

As a witness to his broadmindedness, we soon discovered he was dating a Buddhist girl from Malaka with a Chinese Malay heritage. Over the course of the past year and a half their relationship has become more serious, and yesterday, in a solemnization ceremony in Singapore, they pledged their vows to each other. In the sometimes confusing traditions of the East, they are now formally married, but the actually wedding ceremony will not be for another year and a half!

Marriage is not an easy proposition over here. It may be what God has ordained, but in the East God has a seemingly insurmountable number of obstacles to overcome in order to bring about His will. Some traditions require that women be pledged to a man before they reach puberty, others require that the parents or even the grandparent choose the spouse. Some traditions forbid interfaith marriages, and others require conversion before marriage. In all these obstacle God’s loving provision for a life partner to love and encourage each other can be so obscured and twisted as to make what ought to be a most blessed adventure be a tragedy of life altertering proportions.

Through this maze of man-made obstacles, Moaz and Karen found each other and pledged their love and support to each other in marriage. Our prayer is that the God who smiled down upon them yesterday, will light their path throughout their lives and give them real joy in each other, and in the Lord.