The daughter of deputy mayor of Japan and an aboriginal Taiwan young man got together because of their faith despite the huge gap between them in terms of their social status, history of ethnic grievances, language barriers, financial pressures, cultural shocks, etc. The woman became "daughter-in-law of Taiwan" and the man became a "hotel pastor."
Walk Away from Prestige; Determined to Be Mother Teresa
Yoko Maruyama was born in Tamansashi-ken, Japan. Her father is the vice mayor of Tamansashi-ken. She lived like a princess from birth and enjoyed a comfortable life-style. Her family name "Maruyama" was written even on the roof-top of the government mansion that she grew up in.
However, Yoko Maruyama, who was born into privilege and graduated from the University of Tamansashi, did not have the wish to become a political celebrity, but determined to be Mother Teresa and go to the slums and serve the community that was neglected.
Yoko Maruyama is deeply influenced by her mother who is a Christian. Her mother has always cared for the impoverished and also taught her children to do so. Yoko Maruyama has followed her parents' teaching to go to church since a young age. In a country that believes in Buddhism and Taoism, she saw the difference in Christian belief, which is the believers are honest and true on the outside as well as the inside. On top of that, church pastors embody the teachings of Jesus: the virtue of simplicity, humility and care for the weak. She was very touched and later equipped herself by entering the Ecclesia Theological Seminary in Japan.
Husband Goes to Red Light District at Night; Impacted Inter-Country Relationship
Yoko Maruyama met Yan, Jinlong, an Atayal youth, at the seminary. They studied together, and both have the heart to serve. An Atayal youth who was passionate and romantic, met a Japanese "princess" who was well-behaved. Love sparked between the two of them and formed a romantic inter-country love.
After graduation, Yoko Maruyama opened the Taipei Shen Ai Church with her husband Yan, Jinlong as a Japanese AOG missionary. However, Yan hangs out in the Red Light District.
Yoko Maruyama recounts that her husband walked into Linsen North Road at night. That place was called "seven strips." The entire street was full of Japanese-style hotels that are in the sex industry. Every night at 8:30pm, a large number of hotel prostitutes would come out for business. Pastor Yan Jinlong was there to observe and visit those ladies. There were two areas in the street and Pastor Yan could pray with the ladies in one of them.
What impact did her husband entering alternative serving bring to their marriage? Yoko Maruyama said, "At first I was just visiting the aboriginal people with my husband, but later, I realized a lot of the girls worked as prostitutes in the hotels. A few girls in our church were sold to Taipei from the countryside. Their parents sold them to a middle-agent. They then worked in the hotels. I was very sad after I learned about it. Afterwards, I followed my husband to look for them together and serve this group of marginalized girls who were looked down by the society."
From Hotel Lady to Minister
Pastor Yan Jinlong, who has served the hotel prostitutes for about 20 years, sees these ladies change from being disappointed endlessly to becoming a new creation because of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Yan mentioned that a well-known and popular prostitute, Ah Hua, who had lots of money, but was not happy at all. Pastor Yan invited her to church and led her to the truth step by step. At last, Ah Hua decided to stop being a hotel prostitute and even offered all of her time to the Lord. She studied theology and is now a devoted minister at church.
Another one is Ah Xiang. She drank too much alcohol every day because of her job and got liver cirrhosis. Although she was dying, she still binged on alcohol. She felt discouraged, lost hope and thought her death was certain. Pastor Yan visited her at the hospital and led her into prayer. Ah Xiang was discouraged and hopeless at first, however, she saw a glowing angel and Jesus holding her. In the end she accepted Christ in tears. From that day on, she has not touched any alcohol and her sickness is stable under God's healing. She is part of the prayer team at church today.
Pastor Yan said, "What this world brought them was endless wounds and disappointments, but we can become a new creation in Jesus Christ. The darkness in the past is a good testimony that talks about Jesus."
Inter-Country Marriage Creates "Daughter-In-Law of Taiwan" and "Hotel Pastor"
An inter-country marriage and the husband's ministry of the marginalized led them to a more mature path of marriage and evangelizing. With the support of his wife Yoko Maruyama, Yan Jinlong walks into the opposite of part of Taipei's glimmer, to shine God's true light into the darkness of the Red Light District and brings hope to aboriginal women who work in the sex industry. Yan Jinlong is called "Hotel Pastor". Yoko Maruyama gave up the glory on earth and offered herself to God. She humbly serves in Taiwan and is seen as the "daughter-in-law of Taiwan".
(Translated from Chinese.GospelHerald.com)