Stephanie Fast talks about her traumatic childhood and describes how her faith in Jesus Christ has helped her find healing from past emotional and physical abuse. (Part 2 of 2)
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John Fuller: On our last "Focus on the Family" broadcast, we heard the beginning of an amazing story of survival.
Stephanie Fast: If you don't believe that God is alive and that God is a God of miracles, listen to this: here's a couple that didn't have any children. They had been married for 11 years and the Lord hadn't blessed them with a child. They came to Korea, the land of opportunity. They could have taken 10 home and the orphanage would have clapped for them, you know. My mother was watching from across the courtyard and my dad was standing in front of me. At the same moment God spoke to them and said, "That's the one for you."
End of Recap
John: You'll hear more from Stephanie Fast on today's edition of "Focus on the Family" with our president and author, Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, what a journey Stephanie has been on. I love her story, her testimony--
Jim: --what God has done with her life and she expresses it so beautifully. She was conceived out of wedlock shortly after the Korean War. Her mother was Korean. Her father was an American soldier, so she was a child of mixed culture in that way. And that mixed ancestry caused her to be hated in Korea because of her American father. And being a girl only made things worse, because at that time, women in Asia, girls in Asia, did not have the same status that they share today.
In fact, she grew up on the streets. She was a "throwaway." She had no home. She had no love. Can you imagine that? Think of that. Think of not being loved by anyone. She ate mice and locusts and whatever she could find out of the fields. Just put yourself in her place. She slept in caves, as she shared with us last time. She grew up with all these other street children who were orphans and they saw death, as she said, almost every day.
Stephanie told the first half of her story last time and I hope you were all moved to tears. I was. She had been found by a Swedish woman working with World Vision and had been brought into an orphanage where they cared for these kids. However, Stephanie just wasn't able to accept that love. It's very typical--
Jim: --even with foster kids in the U.S. system.
Jim: It's hard to be lovable when you don't feel loved. She could not believe that she had any worth as an individual and I know that feeling. And she thought she was a foreign devil. That's what people would call her. That was her nickname. So, that's where we ended our program last time and so, we're gonna pick up the rest of the story here with Stephanie, as she begins to experience love for the very first time.
John: This is, as you're saying, Jim, so incredibly powerful and we have details about the download and CD at www.focusonthefamily,.com/radio. And then later on, we'll tell you more about our adoption initiative.
Jim: John, before we hear Stephanie, let me frame it scripturally. We can't escape the Word of God. In James 1:27, he says to us, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world." With that, here's Stephanie Fast.
Stephanie: And the next day we waited with anticipation for this foreign couple to come. And let me tell you, in the World Vision orphanage, I had gone to church. I had heard the stories of the Bible and I had heard the story of David and Goliath. And when I saw that man walk through that gate, I thought Goliath had come back to life. (Laughter) I never saw anyone so big.
But I saw something and I watched that man more than I watched that lady, because, see, for some reason, I despised men more than women, because I had been abused by men more than women. So, I watched that man and I saw something come out of that man that I had never ever seen in any other man. You know when you see compassion--true compassion--you know it. I saw that man with these big, big, huge hands lift up each baby. And I knew that he loved every one of them as if they were his own. I saw something come out of him; I saw tears running down his face. And I knew that if they could, they would have taken the whole lot home with them.
He saw me by the corner of his eyes. Now let me tell you, I was almost 9-years-old, but I didn't even weigh 30 pounds. I was a tiny, scrawny little thing. I had worms in my body, lice in my hair, boils on my skin, scars on my body. I was not a pretty little thing. He saw me by the corner of his eyes and he came up to me and rattled away in English. And I looked up at him.
He took that huge hand of his and he laid it on my face. It seemed to cover my whole face and the half of my body kind of like, you know. (Laughter) I mean, I'm sure I'm exaggerating, but that's what it felt like. And it felt so good and inside I was saying, "Oh, keep it up. Don't let your hand go." But, you know, no one had shown that kind of affection for me and I didn't know how to respond. I was 9-years-old and didn't know how to respond to love. I yanked that hand off my face and I looked up at him and I'm sure my eyes came to where his knee was and I spit on him.
Why would a child that needs love so desperately bad turn around and spit on the one person that seemed to love her? Because I had no emotions inside. I was dead.
If you don't believe that God is alive and that God is a God of miracles, listen to this: here's a couple that didn't have any children. They had been married for 11 years and the Lord hadn't blessed them with a child. They came to Korea, the land of opportunity; they could have taken 10 home and the orphanage would have clapped for them, you know. My mother was watching from across the courtyard and my dad was standing in front of me. At the same moment God spoke to them and said, "That's the one for you."
I mean, what would you have done? I know what I would have done if God had told me that little brat that just spit on me was the one for me. (Laughter) I would have said, "God, You got up on the wrong side of bed today. (Laughter) I mean, You don't know what You're talking about."
You know, my husband and I, we put in our papers for adoption about a year or so ago. And you know, they have lists of, you know, what type of child you want, you know, Caucasian, you know, Indian, a little bit of Indian, you know, on and on. And mental attitudes, emotional problems? "No." You know, physical handicaps? "No," you know, just on and on. I mean, we were asking for this perfect angel that 100 million other people wanted. And afterwards, Darrel and I sort of giggled and I said to Darrel, "Darrel, if my parents had been handed that paper, they would have never adopted me." But they listened to God. They went home; they prayed about it. And I'm sure they even probably questioned God, too, but they came back the next day and took me home with them.
It was the beginning of an adventure that is still going on today. They were missionaries. They didn't have much money. They lived out in the country. They had no running water, no electricity, but I had never been in anything so beautiful in all my life. I had never seen pane-glass windows. I had never seen curtains on the windows.
They had little "furnitures" that you sat on and that you slept on. I mean, all my life, when I lived out on the streets, I slept with tens of children to keep warm. And in the orphanage, I slept with hundreds of children, because there was no room. And you just had a space about this big that was your spot, you know. All of a sudden, I had my own little room. I had my own bed. I didn't know what to do with the bed, but I had a bed.
And they took me to the market place and they bought me two little dresses. And I'll never forget it as long as I live. It was pink and white polka dotted and a blue and white polka dotted. And they cleaned me up. Mom said it took about four or five days to begin to see that I did have a color of skin besides black. And that I had … they had to get rid of the lice in my hair. And finally, the only way they could get rid of it was to shave me. And I walked around bald for a while. And I had boils on my head and on my body that needed to be healed. They had to get the worms out of my system. And those took a few months.
But then after a while, on the outside, I began to look normal. I began to grow hair; the scars on my body began to disappear and I went to school. And all of a sudden, I was an American. I came to the States and said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and the Constitution and stood before the judge. And the judge says, "Do you want to become an American?" and I said, "Oh yes."
And I began to develop on the outside, make friends and my parents thought everything was okay. And just to please them, I even said the salvation prayer at a very young age and I was baptized in the ocean at a very young age. And in my own way, I did love God. I wanted to serve Him. I wanted Him to be pleased with me, but see, there was a blockage there because I couldn't love myself. I couldn't see myself for who I really was, because I didn't understand what Calvary really was.
John: We're right in the middle of a very dramatic story from a dynamic speaker, Stephanie Fast. And we do have the entire recorded presentation on CD or as a download. And Stephanie has captured this story in a book now. It's called She Is Mine: A War Orphan's Incredible Journey of Survival. So, if you'd like to read in greater detail the account that you've been hearing about today, then please get a copy of that book from us.
In fact, when you contribute financially to our Global Orphan Care fund, which is designed to alleviate the suffering and come alongside and encourage adoption of orphans, then we'll send a copy of that book, She Is Mine to you as our way of saying thanks. The number to call is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459 or donate and get the instant download and that book at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Let's go ahead now and return to Stephanie Fast on today's "Focus on the Family."
End of Program Note
Stephanie: When I got into my teenage years, my parents began to realize that I did have some emotional problems--not that I was rebellious. I never did anything to hurt anyone, but they saw that when I came to a certain relationship with people, I had problems. I couldn't relate. And every time when I talked about myself, I talked about myself from a negative aspect, never from a positive aspect.
When I was about 15, I think it was the summer before my 15th birthday, I remember one night my dad came into my room. And he had been praying for me. You know, kids, you know when your parents are praying for you, right? And I knew that my dad was praying for me.
And he came into my room and he sat down on the edge of the bed and he said, "Stephanie, I love you and I'll never stop loving you." I adored my dad. But he said, "Stephanie, there comes a time when we, as parents, have to release our children to the Lord." He said, "Stephanie, you've said the prayer of salvation and you say that you're a Christian. And you've been pleasing to us," but he said, "Stephanie, there is something there that needs to be broken and only Jesus can break it." And I said, "Dad, you don't what you're talkin' about. I'm fine; I'll be fine."
But he began to realize that from the 14th to the 15th birthday, that I was beginning to retreat from people. See, from the time I was 9 to 14, I was trying so hard to prove myself to people and I was the bubbly one in a crowd, the one that always smiled, the one that always did everything right.
But all of a sudden, at the age of 14 or so, I began to retreat from people because I couldn't deal with what I was feeling anymore. And I know today, that if I had gone on that way, most likely I would have reached the suicidal state.
But Dad said, "Stephanie, you know the Bible." And he said, "I don't need to quote it or say any more Scriptures to you." But he said, "Stephanie, think about Jesus. He was born to a virgin. Who believes anyone is born to a virgin? But He was. He was born in a stinking stable. Stephanie, that's way worse than what you were born in. He went back to His hometown and his people turned their backs on Him and said, `Nothing good comes out of this town.' His own people rejected him."
He said, "Stephanie, even in ministry, the ones that thronged to Him didn't come to Him because they saw Him as the answer for the world, but they came to Him for what they could get out of Him. And even His disciples, that He poured His life into for three years and gave everything He had of, when it came to true sacrifice and when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane and He asked the three to pray with Him, they couldn't even stay awake to pray with Him.
"And when He hung on the cross to die, bearing my sin, bearing your sin, the ones that He gave His life for turned their backs on Him." He said, "Stephanie, you sit there holding things from your past because you think you have a right to. You have been hurt; you have been despised; you have been rejected; you have been abused, but," he said, (Choking up) "Stephanie, there stands a Man that knows everything. He didn't die on that cross because He was sympathetic for you. He didn't look down from heaven and He said, 'Oh, there's that poor little girl. I'm gonna go down and die on the cross for her just so I can show her how much I love her.'" You know why He died on that cross? So that He could identify with me.
You need to understand the difference between sympathy and identification. When we deal with people that are hurting, that person knows when you're sitting beside him because you're sympathetic towards him or they know because you're sitting beside them because you identify with them. Jesus hung on that cross because He wanted to identify with me. In 2 Corinthians, it says that, "He became sin." You know what that says to me? It says He became me. It's like He came into my body and He knew everything that I was feeling and going through, because He'd been there, too.
That night, for the first time, I began to realize that I was a sinner. I had blamed everyone and every situation for my sin. But I realized that according to the Word of God, it doesn't matter what others had done to me, that the final choice was me [sic] to choose--that I had to be the one to repent with my mouth, that I had to be the one to face Calvary and say, "Lord, I nail myself on that cross and when I am born again, I am a new creation."
And for the first time, I said that prayer. I said, "Lord Jesus, please forgive me for all these sins that I've been carrying and all those feelings that I've been carrying. I give 'em to you, Lord Jesus." Let me tell you something. I was almost 15-years-old and from the time that I can remember, from the time that I was in that building with those rats, I had never cried again. I never let anyone see a tear. The Lord broke my emotions that night and I began to cry and the Lord began to cleanse me and to heal me. From that moment to this day, it has been a continual healing of the Lord, you know, healing of memories, healing of the past, healing of the broken heart.
A lot of times, it's not an overnight experience. It's a gradual step that the Lord takes us through. Can I say something to you, to the ones of you that deal with people that are broken? Make sure that you don't rush God; make sure that you don't rush God, because God has a timing and a purpose for every situation. When we see someone that is possessed or we see someone that is bound, you know, we have that inkling that, "If I pray for him enough, God's gonna loose him." God is gonna loose him, but in His own time and in His own place. And for you, your job is to identify with that person and continually uphold them before the Lord. Your job isn't trying to prove what God is or who God is, because God can prove Himself.
There are still things that my husband has to deal with me about my past. There are still feelings of rejection that I go through from time to time. And I find when I share like I do this morning, continually there's [sic] attacks in my mind and on me physically, but I have learned to understand it now. I didn't for a long time. I have been bought with a price. You have been bought with a price. You have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. You have been crucified on the cross with Christ. You have been born again by the resurrection of Christ. You are a new creation. The old man is dead. The old past is dead. Those abuse [sic] that you received are dead. The feelings of inadequacy, of rejection, of whatever you have gone through, they're dead when you identify with Christ. That is the beginning of healing.
John: What passion and what an incredible story we've heard from Mrs. Stephanie Fast during these past couple of days on "Focus on the Family." And if you missed any of it, even just a few minutes of today or last time, then you missed a miraculous testimony. And we'll suggest that you stop by our website because you really need to listen in and be encouraged by what Stephanie Fast has shared.
Jim: John, I want to make sure we emphasize what Stephanie was saying there. You may not have been an orphan. You may have been. What God does for you in this life, that's what she's driving at and that you can have a new life in Christ, regardless of what your past has been. And that's the beauty of her testimony. No atheist or agnostic, non-believer can take that away from Stephanie Fast. She has lived it. She knows in her heart of hearts what God has done for her. You can debate in the culture all you want. If you're in that place where you don't know where you're at--
Jim: --you know, you're not sure if God is there for you, that you're not feeling Him, sensing Him, talking with Him, call us here at Focus on the Family. It's one of the things that we are privileged to do, is to make sure that you know you have a deep and true faith in Christ. We would like to introduce you to our Lord and Savior in that way. So, do that and don't wait. If God's tuggin' on your heart, make that call today and John will give the phone number here at the end.
You know, Stephanie's parents could have taken home any cute little brand-new baby from that orphanage, who wouldn't have had perhaps the deep emotional scars. They probably picked out the child in Stephanie that was the most deeply wounded.
Jim: Who knows? The point of it is, God had a plan and look how God unfolded that plan. It wasn't instantaneous, I'm sure. I'm sure Stephanie's adoptive parents had to work with her to ensure that she felt loved. There were probably some bad days, many bad days. But look at the gem that Stephanie became, that stone of precious value and that is what's so beautiful.
John: You know, Jim, I have talked to many adoptive parents and if you don't have that sense of calling, as that couple had that moment they saw Stephanie there in the courtyard at the orphanage, if you don't have that sense of calling, you might not really be able to fulfill what God is asking you to do, because there are many, many hard days for a lot of adoptive parents.
Jim: Well, it takes courage and John, you and Dena have lived it. You were in that orphanage in Russia and you selected a little boy.
Jim: How is this impacting you as you're listening?
John: Well, I'm thinking all the way through to Stephanie's story, that you've gotta have the long view in mind when you step into the waters of foster care or adoption. These kids, so many of them have so much difficulty and over the years, we've had a lot of challenges, but my goodness, just last night, I said, "Dena, can you imagine five years ago, three years ago what Zane, our adopted son, is doing today?" There are so many wonderful things God is doing in his life. It's not a journey that is easy, but we see him at work and we thank Him every day for the privilege of being parents to that boy.
Jim: Let me ask you this; do you think you're stronger because of that relationship, maybe spiritually? Let's put it there. Do you have greater patience?
John: I think I'm stronger only because I'm weaker, if that makes sense.
Jim: Oh, that makes perfect sense.
John: You know, the Scripture says, "in your weakness, My strength is made perfect." And I'm not suggesting that we're perfect or that I do parenting perfectly by any stretch of the imagination (Chuckling), but because I think I've learned to lean into God so much more. You said it. Only God can really heal these children.
John: I can't and it's--
John: --so, I find myself knockin' on God's door sayin', "Please, I'm not up to the task. I can't deal with this boy's challenges." But He always gives patience and grace as needed, sometimes after the fact, but yeah, I'm stronger only because I've learned to be weaker in His hand.
Jim: Well, the truth of it is, His plans are perfect and that's what counts. Right here at the end of the broadcast, can I ask you to consider being a part of His plan, by joining us and reaching out to orphans around the world. This isn't something we're talkin' about. Forty-seven times the Lord says, take care of the orphans. That's what we're talkin' about.
And as we said last time, we recently released The Drop Box in movie theaters around the country. This documentary shared the story of Pastor Lee, a South Korean pastor whose efforts to protect orphans is changing the lives of these children, much like Stephanie whom you just heard from today. Focus on the Family came alongside the young filmmakers of The Drop Box to create the Global Orphan Care fund. The monies raised for this fund will help Pastor Lee's ministry in Seoul, South Korea, as well as Focus's sown adoption and orphan care effort.
Our goal is to raise $1 million by this August and by doing so, make an impact on orphans worldwide. I spoke with a donor recently, John, who said, "I'm thankful that Focus has built the apparatus"--I loved when he said this--"the apparatus for my wife and I to do ministry through." And that's a perfect picture. We've built the apparatus and it's here and it's working and I'm just asking you, will you do your ministry through us and join us in touching these lives? In fact, if you call or go online to donate to the Global Orphan Care fund, we'd like to send you a copy of Stephanie Fast's book, She Is Mine as our way of saying thank you. And let me say on behalf of the children that your gift will help, thank you from them, as well.
John: I do hope you have an opportunity to do as Jim is suggesting, to see your ministry through us by giving to the Global Orphan Care fund. Do that when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459 or online at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.
Now Stephanie's book really reflects the plight of those orphans. It shares the story that you've heard these past couple of days and how God brought her to a forever family. And as Jim said, we'll send a copy of She Is Mine as our way of saying thank you for your generous financial gift to the Global Orphan Care fund.Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us. I'm John Fuller, inviting you back tomorrow for some trusted advice and encouragement for dads, as we once again, help you thrive in Christ.
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Stephanie FastView Bio
Stephanie Fast is a sought-after international public speaker, a passionate oprhan care advocate and an author. She encourages audiences with her compelling story of God's grace, love and healing in the wake of her horrific childhood experiences as an abused orphan during the Korean War. Stephanie has appeared on radio and TV programs, and in books, magazines and newspapers. She has served as a spokesperson for World Vision and is the subject of a documentary drama film produced by World Vision called Stephanie's Story.