A Turning Point
About the Guest
While Christopher Yuan turned to his gay friends and, eventually, drugs for happiness, his mother, Angela, turned to God. Praying in earnest for her son's salvation, Angela tells how her heart and attitude began to change toward Christopher. Standing on God's promises, she and her husband prayed that God would do whatever it took to bring Christopher to Himself. Expelled from dental school and furious at his parents, Christopher tells how he became more involved with selling and using drugs, only to find himself in prison facing 10 years to life.
Christopher Yuan and Angela YuanChristopher Yuan and his mother, Angela Yuan, travel nationally and internationally to speak at churches, conferences, youth conventions, and colleges about God’s desire for prodigals of all types to return to him. Dr. Christopher Yuan teaches the Bible at Moody Bible Institute and his speaking ministry on faith and sexuality has reached five continents. He speaks in conferences (such as The Gospel Coalition, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, InterVarsity’s Urbana and the Moody P...more
While Christopher Yuan turned to his gay friends and, eventually, drugs for happiness, his mother, Angela, turned to God. She and her husband prayed that God would do whatever it took to bring Christopher to Himself.
A Turning Point
Bob: It was while he was a student in dental school that Christopher Yuan began to engage in homosexual activity. He started to act on his same-sex desires, and he started making easy money by dealing drugs.
Christopher: I thought I could have both. I wanted to have my day life, which was pursuing a doctorate in dentistry. I was a professional student. You know—had it all together—but then, in the evenings, I would be going out. I was bartender. I would be working at these gay clubs. Sin always has a way of finding you—you don’t have to go looking for it. I began selling drugs while in dental school, thinking that I could have both—the graduate student life and living in the gay community.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, December 29th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.
God had a great plan in store for Christopher Yuan, but Christopher couldn’t see it until things got really dark. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. I think one of the first Bible verses I learned, when I was a new Christian, was 2 Corinthians 5:17. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. All things have become new.” That applies, not just to an individual being in Christ, but, when a marriage is in Christ / when a family is in Christ, it becomes a new marriage or a new family; doesn’t it?
Dennis: It does. I’ll tell you, Bob—we get letters, all the time, from folks. I’ve got one hear I’ve got to read—you’ve just made me have to read this today. [Laughter]
It says: “Thank you so much for all you do and for the incredible, life-changing, God-centered speakers you host on the broadcast and the wisdom shared and given out each day. I’ve been a listener for years; and your ministry has, for sure, shaped and established our home in a wonderful, rich, Christ-centered way.”
It’s back to what you were talking about—when you help an individual, or a marriage, or a family build their lives around Jesus Christ, things begin to change.
Bob: We’re hearing a story this week, as we talk to a son and his mother, about a radical transformation that took place in his life, as the mom prayed for her son. Before we dive back into talking with them, Dennis, the next couple of days are pretty significant for us, here at FamilyLife. We want to encourage our listeners to join us and be part of what God is doing through this ministry.
Dennis: You know, over the past, well, almost 365 days—just a few days left here in the year—we have championed and equipped men to be men of God / to deny themselves and not be selfish husbands/selfish fathers.
We’ve championed and protected women—we did a series this fall about abuse and equipped women to know what to do in that situation. We challenged men to repent in that situation. We’ve protected children from abuse / from porn on screens. We’ve also equipped dads to interview their daughter’s date so that children are protected in that way too. We’ve championed the cause of the orphan—we’ve talked about adoption.
Bob, we’ve covered a lot of territory this year. If we’ve helped you, then I’d like to ask you: “Would you pray about helping FamilyLife Today stay on the air and keep this kind of broadcasting coming into your home?” We need your help, here at yearend. Nearly 40 percent of all of our donations come in in the month of December. We want to take full advantage of a match.
In fact, Bob—don’t we have some good news on our match? It’s been increased!
Bob: It has been. In the last few days, we’ve had some families, who have come alongside and said: “We heard about the matching-gift fund that you all had established. We’d like to boost that a little bit.” So, our matching-gift fund for this year now stands at $5 million. Every donation we receive between now and the end of the year is going to be matched, not just, dollar for dollar, but every dollar you give is matched with $2 from the matching-gift fund. So it’s pretty critical that we hear from folks, here, in the next couple of days before the end of the year.
Dennis: I want to correct you, Bob. It’s not pretty critical—it is critical. This broadcast is made possible by you. It is for you, and your marriage and your family—and for others—but this broadcast stays on the air because enough people step up and stand with us in proclaiming the blueprints of Scripture and the gospel of Jesus Christ to what I believe is the most needy group of marriages and families that has ever existed in our country.
Bob: You can make a yearend contribution by going to FamilyLifeToday.com. You can donate, online, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY and make your donation over the phone. Or you can mail your donation to us at FamilyLife Today. I’ll give you our mailing address before the program is over today. Again, keep in mind that your donations are going to be matched, two to one, when you make a donation before the end of this year. We hope to hear from you, and hope you’ll join us in the work that God is doing here through FamilyLife Today.
And we want to welcome our guests, who are here with us this week, back to our program. Christopher Yuan and his mother, Angela, are here joining us on FamilyLife Today. Christopher, Angela, welcome back.
Christopher: Thanks for having us back.
Angela: Thank you.
Dennis: Angela is a businesswoman who is an advocate for Chinese-American cultural causes. Christopher teaches at Moody Bible Institute—great institute. We love Moody Bible.
Dennis: And together, they have written a book called Out of a Far Country.
Earlier, we talked a little bit of your story—how you, as a boy, were exposed to pornography. Later on, as a 16-year-old, had a bit of an encounter with an older man—how you grew up in a home, really, where you didn’t know about God. Your parents didn’t go to church.
Then, you went away to dental school. While at dental school, decided to come out and admit that you wanted to practice the gay lifestyle. You came home, fully expecting to come out of the closet with your mom and dad, and you were confronted by your mom. At the end of that time, told you to get out of the family—to leave. In the process, in the coming months—fascinating story of how you, Angela—on a train trip—came to faith in Christ.
Dennis: You were going to take your life, but you came and expressed love. And that baffled you.
Christopher: It did.
Dennis: That completely baffled you.
Instead of you coming to faith in Christ, at that point, Christopher, you continued to turn your back upon God and upon, really, what He had for you. You pursued even a darker side. You admitted earlier that you got off into drugs.
Dennis: Tell us more about how you became a drug dealer.
Christopher: Well, initially, I had been in some relationships—in one that had lasted almost a year, which for me, at that time, was a long relationship—and that ended. So, I had some other friends that we had kind of—a similar situation—had some relationships that ended. So, we decided that we’re just going to go out, kind of drowned our sorrows in the clubs. We were out in the clubs. Then, one of my friends said: “Hey! Let’s try some ecstasy.” And it made me want more. But I knew that one hit of ecstasy, at that time, cost about $30. As a dental student, at that time—when I was taking out student loans—I did not have a lot of money.
So, I took some of the things that I’d learned from my upbringing. I thought, “Well, if I purchase ten, at a cheaper price, and sold them, I would be able to pay for my own.” And that was the beginning. Within the first month, I was selling over a hundred to friends, classmates, even a professor.
Dennis: Really? Had you been kicked out of school, at this point?
Christopher: At this point, no. This was the end of 1994. I was expelled from dental school just three months before I received my doctorate in ’96. So, that was kind of when things really ramped up—‘95/‘96—and I began travelling around the country a couple of times a month—to L.A., Miami, San Francisco, New York—and telling all my friends about it, when I would come back to school. While they were busy studying, I would be out partying. So, my classmates knew.
I don’t know if the administration knew the extent, but they just knew that my grades were showing that I hadn’t been so serious.
Bob: Well, if you’re travelling all across the country, at this point—you’re selling more than a hundred hits of ecstasy, at this point.
Christopher: Yes, at that point, I was selling quite a bit more than a hundred hits of ecstasy.
Bob: And making pretty good money.
Dennis: Yes, representing how much money?
Christopher: Oh goodness! I don’t know because I would just spend it right away. I would spend it on my friends. I would have my friends fly with me. I would spend it on, you know, new clothes. So—
Dennis: Thousands of dollars, in other words?
Christopher: Yes, probably.
Bob: Were you loving life?
Christopher: At that point, if you asked me, “Was I happy?” I would say, “Yes. I was happy.”
Bob: Ever any dark nights of the soul?
Christopher: Certainly; certainly. But I thought, “Well, everyone has dark days/dark nights.” And if I can have these great days, they would overshadow the dark nights. So, I would try to have less of those dark nights—that, then, involved doing more drugs.
Dennis: What continued to push you to even greater and greater extremes with drugs, in terms of selling them, because, ultimately, you got pretty deep into the drug culture?
Christopher: I did. Well, I think some it was just—it was so enticing. There’s power behind having something that other people want. Not only do you want people to like you, as a person—but if you had a commodity that people wanted, and they flocked to you—that gave me power. That gave me fame / that gave me control. And the more I did that, the more I felt like I was invincible.
Bob: Angela, did you have any idea that any of this was going on?
Bob: You’re back in Chicago. You’ve come to faith. Your husband has come to faith. You’re going to Bible Study Fellowship®. Did you have any idea that all of this was going on with your son?
Angela: Leon and I had no idea that Christopher was doing drugs or even selling drugs. We are so innocent in a way. You know, I had no idea, but we knew Christopher needed the most to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Bob: You did get a call from the dental school at one point. They told you, “We’re not going to be able to keep your son on as a student;” right?
Bob: Tell us about that.
Angela: Well, they didn’t call me. Actually, we already received an invitation for his graduation. We were planning to go to the graduation ceremony, but then, Christopher, actually, told us he was kicked out. He was hoping that Dad and Mom would fly to the school to threaten them with a lawsuit.
Bob: You were hoping your mom and dad would rescue you, right?
Christopher: I was hoping that they would fight to keep me in school. My father is a dentist. He knew the dean very well. I figured that this was my hope for them to, you know, say: “You can’t do this! We’ll threaten a lawsuit,” and they’ll just keep me in until the three months—until I graduate.
Bob: Did you think about doing that?
Angela: No. No, we already decided to have God do whatever it takes to bring this prodigal son to the Father. We thought that was it—I was hoping that was it to bring him to the Lord. I also very clearly—I pictured that God is going to do something, but we don’t want to be in the way, you know, to stop what God was going to do. So, we did fly to Louisville to meet with the dean, and Christopher was there.
He expected that we were going to threaten the school; but, to his surprise, I told the dean—I said--“It’s not important that Christopher become a dentist. What’s more important is that Christopher becomes a Christ-follower.”
Dennis: Yes. So, Christopher, here’s your mom and dad. You’re expecting them to rescue you. They didn’t. What did you think?
Christopher: I was angry. I really thought that my mom and dad were coming—they flew all the way down, and we were meeting with the dean. I thought: “Why else would they come other than to tell them, ‘You can’t do this! My son is going to graduate in three months, and you’re going to let him graduate.’” That’s really what I thought my parents were going to do.
When my mother told him that, “It’s not important that Christopher become a dentist, but what’s more important is that he becomes a Christ-follower,” and they said, “We’re going to support whatever decision you make,” I was furious!
That was not what my parents were supposed to say! They were supposed to be on my side.
Bob: And the decision of the school was to—
Bob: —to kick you out?
Christopher: And you should have seen the expression of the dean’s face because he was expecting battle.
Christopher: And I think he was expecting my parents to come in, and have an argument, and tell them why they needed—and actually, it was the complete opposite. They said, “We’re supporting you.” So, I was furious, and I just thought, “Okay, well, this is it.” That was my last hope of staying in school. So, I was expelled. That was finalized; and I decided to move to Atlanta, Georgia.
Bob: You had student loans to pay off, at this point—
Christopher: I did.
Bob: —and no dental career to fund those loans. So, you became more involved in selling drugs, at this point; right?
Christopher: Yes, I just kept doing what I knew how to do best, at that time.
It was easy money, and I had friends already in Atlanta. I knew the clubs there in Atlanta, and I already had some clients and some customers—people that were buying drugs from me. So, I moved there.
Actually, also, moved there—I had met someone. So, I thought this was going to be the beginning of a new relationship—new chapter in my life. Not only was I selling drugs, but I began actually to supply drugs to other dealers. So, I kind of went to the next level and was moving quite a bit more drugs than before.
Dennis: Christopher, you had to have watched enough TV to have known that the police and detectives do catch people—
Dennis: —who do drugs. Did you ever wonder if there were any undercover agents, or did you do this so selectively that you insulated yourself from ever being caught?
Christopher: Well, I would not say that I was a smart dealer.
I don’t think—I definitely think that’s an oxymoron—but the gay community—they’re so close and tight-knit that you just know everyone. Even if someone just moves from New York to Atlanta, I know a lot of people in New York—and say, “Oh, do you know this person or that person?” And when that person doesn’t, there are some flags that go up.
So, I believe I was fairly well-protected in the gay community. I sold--the people that I sold to—were not people on the street. They were bankers, lawyers, doctors, and people that were well-off. They had professional careers, and they came to me because I was not a high school dropout. I was someone who had also gone to graduate school; so, I seemed trustworthy.
Dennis: Well, in the midst of all of this, you got busted!
Christopher: Yes. I had no idea that I had a praying mother at home. [Emotion in voice] I had a mother and father who wouldn’t give up.
And my mom prayed—I found out later—that God would do whatever it takes. And for a mother, that’s a scary, bold prayer. And I would add, for a Chinese mother to pray that—that’s a bold prayer.
And she didn’t pray that I would stop my rebellion or that I would stop being gay; she just prayed that I would come to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, because she knew—above all else—that was what was most important. She would spend hours in the morning in her prayer closet. She fasted every Monday for me. She once felt God was calling just to fast.
Not to change me—but she just felt like she needed to intercede. Who else was going to intercede for her son? And even that, I don’t think, was out of need to—“I’m doing this so I can change my son,”—it was due to her obedience to Christ. It flowed out of her own personal revival, and she just began fasting. It turned into a 39-day fast.
Well, she had no idea what that would ever look like if God answered that prayer. And the answer came with a bang on my door. I opened up my front door, and I was expecting friends. I was expecting maybe people to come to pick up their drugs. So, I didn’t even look out my peep hole.
On my front door step were about a dozen federal drug enforcement agents, Atlanta police, and their German shepherd drug dogs. I had just received a fairly large shipment of drugs that I had just opened. It was right behind me on my kitchen counter top. They opened the door, saw it in plain sight, and came right in. They confiscated my money, my drugs; and I was charged with the street value equivalent of 9.1 tons of marijuana. With that amount, I was facing ten years to life. So, I tried calling home; and I didn’t want to make that phone call. I hadn’t called home in just months.
I was expecting an earful from Mom. I was expecting an earful from my dad. And as my mom picked up the phone and she got the message that this is from the Atlanta City Detention Center, the first word she said to me was, “Son, are you okay?”—no berating words, no, “What did you do? You deserve to be there!” She said, “Are you okay?” [Emotion in voice]
I think that was probably the first time that I had really noticed the change—to see the change—because I had fought that. I mean, she had, at that point, been a believer for several years. And yet, I didn’t want to see that change. As she said those words—that was unconditional love for me.
Dennis: We’re going to find out more about this story because it, obviously, doesn’t end in a detention center in the Atlanta jail; but God is a god who does pursue us. And Angela, I love the picture that you write in your book about you turning your shower, at home, into a prayer closet, where you prayed for your son. I think you are right. Sometimes, the only person on the planet who can have any impact, from a human perspective, is a parent who prays on behalf of a son or a daughter and goes to Almighty God to do what only He can do. I think that may be the clearest application of today’s broadcast.
I have no idea who we’re talking to; but undoubtedly, there are some moms and dads—and, perhaps, some sons and daughters—who may be in not a same situation—but they’re prodigals.
Dennis: It’s time to come home. It’s time to come back to the Father.
Bob: Yes, in fact, you may know somebody who’s in that situation. If you were to get them a copy of Christopher and Angela’s book, it could be a great encouragement to them. We’ve got the book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. The title is Out of a Far Country. If you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, you’ll see the book right there. You can order it from us online; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY; 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Or, again, order online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Now, we are at the point here where we are starting to count down the hours to the new year.
One of the reasons why we are paying careful attention to those hours is because we have only a few hours left to take advantage of the matching-gift opportunity that has been presented to us, here at FamilyLife—some friends of the ministry, who came along and said: “We will make a donation to FamilyLife that is double whatever anybody else gives during the month of December. We’ll match their gift with a double donation of our own.”
So, if you make a donation of $100 today to FamilyLife Today, these friends are going to add an additional $200 to your $100 donation; and FamilyLife Today will get $300 worth of benefit from your donation. But, in order to take advantage of this, we need to hear from you before yearend. So would you consider, right now, going to FamilyLifeToday.com and making as generous a donation as you can make in support of the ministry?—or call us, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY—make a donation over the phone.
Or if you’d like to mail your donation to us, just make sure it’s postmarked before the end of the year. Mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.
And we hope you can join us back tomorrow when we’re going to find out about how God began to thaw Christopher Yuan’s hard heart and turned his heart of stone into a heart of flesh. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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