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Outpost Stories

Clifford and Annabelle Hung both bear scars that tell their stories: scars that remind them of the grace and kindness of God. For Annabelle, growing up in a non-Christian family in Taiwan meant growing up without hope, without a sense of purpose or belonging. For many years, she wondered – agonized – about the meaning of life and whether there was any reason to keep waking up to each new (but still hopeless) day. Clifford, meanwhile, was raised by a Christian mother who prayed unceasingly as her son professed to believe in Jesus but rebelled against following Him. As Annabelle contemplated ending her life, Clifford recklessly pursued a life of worldly “fun,” and sought his own vengeance for wrongs committed against him. Read their story to see how God transformed their self-inflicted scars into beautiful reminders of His love. 

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Clifford and Annabelle Hung: Beautiful Scars

Clifford: I had been baptized in high school, but there were two defining events in my life that changed my relationship with Christ and prepared me to walk with Him. God knew my personality; He knew that I am rational and justice oriented. It was easy for me to see God as a fair judge, but mercy was a harder concept. I struggled with wanting to be a judge myself, to seek my revenge, rather than trusting God. 

In college, I was out in the middle of the night, doing a prank. A gang with baseball bats knocked me off my motorcycle into a ditch. I lost consciousness, but eventually got up and back onto my motorcycle. They found me a second time. This time, I was unconscious for hours before I got help. 

Clifford was infuriated by the random attack that took him out of school for several weeks. When his friends discovered the identity of his attackers, Clifford was consumed by the thought of vengeance. As he began to plot his course, however, the Lord intervened and actively prevented him from following through. 

I chose not to pursue vengeance. But I was paranoid. I struggled to let go of vengeful thoughts. I had a commitment to God, but I was not listening to Him. My heart, my inner life, was still very hard. I was not fully submitted to God. 

Clifford graduated from university and served in the military for two years. During his time in the military, Clifford lived the way his subordinates lived: drinking, staying out all night at clubs. After Saturday nights spent partying, Clifford would awaken and attend church with his mom. 

I was using my mouth to worship the Lord and to curse people – living a double life. The Bible says it ought not to be this way. (James 3:9) I was preparing to study in the United States once I finished my military service, but before I left, the Lord needed to get my attention again. It was the middle of the night, and a friend and I left the club where we had been partying to go for a drive on my motorcycle. I let her drive, and, on our way to the mountains, we were hit by a pick-up and thrown into the middle of the road. I was able to get up. After a moment of fear, I realized that the girl was also alive. I carried her to the side of the road, and we took a taxi to the hospital. 

In the hospital, Clifford was overcome by guilt and shame. When blood tests were ordered, he knew that he would likely be punished for having alcohol and marijuana in his bloodstream. The consequences for using illegal drugs in Taiwan were severe, and Clifford knew he deserved whatever punishment was meted out. But, somehow, the tests came back negative. Clifford was allowed to leave the hospital, but shame clouded his thinking, and he imagined running away and never facing his parents again. A friend encouraged Clifford to call his mom before making any rash decisions. He did, and she welcomed him home. 

My mom told me that this was a turning point for me. The accident had taken place near a large funeral home. This seemed symbolic to me. I deserved death, but the Lord had rescued me. In the middle of my shame and fear, God loved me enough to save me – both physically and spiritually. My heart was changed, made new by the love of God. 

Clifford moved to Michigan shortly after. The scars from his accidents reminded him – tangibly – of God’s unending love. He found a campus ministry at university in Michigan, and grew in His knowledge and love of God. 

The Lord was softening my heart, shaping me into his vessel. Injustice still arouses my anger. I am still a work in progress. But I have learned to trust that God is perfect love, and that He will make all things right in His time. Now, injustice makes me uneasy, but I know that God is in control. My job is to tell others about His love.

While Clifford was testing the limits of God’s love and finding that His lovingkindness was beyond limits, Annabelle was growing up nearby with no knowledge of a Creator God who loved her intimately and personally. 

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"For I know the plans for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope".

Jeremiah 29:11

Annabelle: I grew up in a family that practiced Taoism. My father worked on a ship as a sailor, and my older brother was my protector. We changed schools frequently. I was always the new kid, and I often felt unwelcome. I remember when I was in the third grade, a girl told me that she had tried to kill herself. It was the first time I had heard about suicide, and it was a conversation that stayed with me.

 

In 5th grade, Annabelle was assigned to a class where the students were particularly mean and unwelcoming to her. Annabelle bravely stood up for herself against the bullies, telling them determinedly to leave her alone. There was no one to help Annabelle fend off the aggressors; no friendly classmates or teachers offered to stand beside her. 

I learned that I had to be brave for myself. But, one time, a child pulled my hair and told me hateful things, and I hurt him back. I was labeled a troublemaker. From then on, whenever I switched schools, I hoped for a fresh start. I hoped I would turn over a clean page when I started a new school, but it didn’t work that way. My shameful history stayed with me. 

Around the same time, Annabelle’s young aunt, who lived with her family, tried to take her own life. Annabelle discovered her aunt, and was able to alert her mother and rescue her aunt. But her own unhappiness collided with this frightening moment, and Annabelle began to wonder whether life was worth living. Why did humans even exist? Why did life matter? 

The ancestor worship we engaged in, and the temples we visited… none of it had any meaning. I did not understand the mystery of life. I thought it was okay to end your life if you were unhappy. During that time, I began to cut myself. My arm is scarred from self-injury. I started high school, and I hoped that finally I might actually be able to shake off my old history. But, I could not. I felt trapped. I wanted to be made new.  Every day was the same, and there seemed to be no answers to my questions. I didn’t know what I was doing on earth. 

Once, during university, Annabelle found herself in a terrifying situation where a stranger hypnotized her and led her to a rural area with a lonely shrine. Just as the man began to try to touch her, a classmate called her cell phone, and Annabelle woke up to her situation. When she tried to run, four other men surrounded her. A taxi miraculously appeared, and the driver (an angel?) drove Annabelle back to her university. Annabelle told her classmate about the bizarre encounter. The frightening moment only added to Annabelle’s angst.

Every day I went to sleep and wished I didn’t have to wake up in the morning. My classmate eventually travelled to New Zealand, where she became a Christian. When she returned, she shared the Gospel with me. She was a new Christian, and she didn’t know everything either, but she told me about Jesus. She told me to just talk to Him. So, I did. I just talked to Him, and I told Him everything. And, the next day, I was happy and hopeful when I woke up, because I wanted to see what would happen. I knew that Jesus had heard me. 

Knowing Jesus changed me. I went to church with my friend, and to Bible Study, and I was baptized 7 or 8 months later. But, I still didn’t understand the meaning of my earthly life. My mentor walked me through the Bible, but she didn’t focus on God as Creator. 

For the first couple of years, Annabelle still grappled with uncertainty about her identity and purpose. She was hopeful – no longer despairing, but still searching for answers. Finding a husband seemed like the next best step, perhaps the answer to her questions. After a year of intense discipleship with her mentor, Annabelle was introduced (by email) to a Taiwanese Christian who lived in the United States – a strong-hearted man named Clifford. The couple courted by correspondence for several months before meeting in person and deciding to marry. 

Our marriage was easy and happy. We had both been in the same place, of wanting to be surrendered to the Lord before joining together in marriage. But I still did not really have the answers to my questions. It wasn’t until later, when we visited the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, that I really discovered my purpose on earth. I understood, finally, that God is the Authority and the Creator. He has the power to control everything, and I am not random. He crafted me, He knit me together. He loves me. I am here today because God has not decreed that my time is done. For me, it changed everything to understand that God is a purposeful, intentional Creator who loves us and has a plan for us. The Gospel begins with Genesis.

Annabelle’s scars – formed in moments of deep anguish and loneliness – are a reminder that God loves her completely. That He intended to create her, just as she is, and that He has a beautiful purpose for her life. Both Annabelle and Clifford have visible reminders of the pain they endured before the love of Jesus brought healing, wholeness, and purpose to their hearts. And they now have hearts that beat to show God’s love to others. They love sharing the Gospel with their two sons, and with the hurting people they meet in Cody and beyond.

"We love because He first loved us."

1 John 4:19

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