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For the Love of Naomi

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Lorraine Wylie

At one time Mary Stevenson believed that, with enough love she could turn the man she married into the perfect husband. Just a few hours after their wedding, the young bride discovered that she had underestimated the power of addiction.

Despite his Christian upbringing, by the time he was seventeen, William Stevenson was already a hardened drinker and dedicated gambler. The early seventies brought bloodshed and violence for the people of Northern Ireland but for Billy, the troubled streets, were an exciting playground. His flirtation with Belfast's paramilitary organisations led to petty crime which made him a nuisance to the community and an embarrassment to his family.

From early childhood, Billy had heard the gospel. But it wasn't until he listened to his little boy's prayers that it finally penetrated his heart. From the moment he received Christ as Saviour, Billy Stevenson was a new man.

Saved just a few months previously, Mary finally got the husband she had always desired.

Billy and Mary's journey of faith began in the back streets of Belfast's Shankill Road but neither could have imagined where it would lead. In 1974, they exchanged their comfortable Glengormley semi for a rat infested house on the side of a Korean mountain. As billy preached the gospel in the villages surrounding South Korea's capital, Seoul, Mary opened their home to local women and children.

While his wife toured orphanages bringing food and clothes wrapped in words of love, Billy took God's Word to local army bases and prisons then boarding a boat, he shared the same message of hope with a colony of leprosy sufferers.

When Billy and Mary stumbled upon an abandoned baby girl, their service was to expand beyond the Korean mission. At less than an hour old, the little orphan touched the couple's heart and moved permanently into their life. Parenting the little girl has brought Mary and Billy an enormous amount of happiness. It has also introduced them to a world of indescribable pain.

Yet, above all, their Korean daughter has proved the reality of divine wisdom and unmeasurable grace.

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