Marli's Story(adapted from When Hope Wins)
I was born in Brazil, into a missionary home with three biological brothers and 64 orphaned boys. At five years old, I received a scholarship to an elite all-girls’ boarding school as an answer to my mother's prayer for protection.
At 19, I became engaged to a handsome, intelligent Danish missionary 10 years older than me. Eight days before the wedding my fiance called off the wedding, and ran away from me and ministry with my maid of honour! My life and dreams were shattered. I could barely breathe. I knew only one place to go. As an act of will, not my emotions, I heard myself saying, "Lord, I do not understand, but I have given my life to you. Your will, not mine be done." Fleeing into Jesus' arms, I waited until healing began, immersing myself in serving those whose problems were immeasurably greater than mine. I stayed there until healing came and I was able to walk on my own again.
Not long after, I met Edmund, a German seminary student who became my closest friend and husband. We served with TWR to establish the radio ministry in Brazil for 14 years, moved to Canada for two years to learn English, and then settled in New Jersey where Edmund became the TWR International Director for Asia Pacific. For 10 years he led the ministry there while I stayed home raising our children. After our children were married, I joined Edmund in Asia.
A few days after arriving in Guam, Edmund was as busy as ever, but the 'Martha' in me had nothing to do. One day in a shopping centre, a couple walked in followed by a blast of hot air from outside. The heat and humidity were suffocating, but the woman was dressed in black from head to toe with only a little net peephole for her eyes. Her husband was wearing a cool comfortable t-shirt. I have never been able to forget that disturbing sight.
That's when I sensed God asking me, “Did you see that black veil? It is not only over her head, it is over her mind, her heart, her family, her spirit - her whole life.” This woman lives in darkness. Then I felt Him say, “What is the closest thing available to you? What do you have in your hand?” A microphone... A radio... Trans World Radio. I knew the power of radio. Its waves can go where missionaries can't. The strategy for Project Hannah was given to me in that mall. I am an eyewitness to His power-working miracles in the lives of women as a direct result of our prayer and culturally-relevant radio programs.
Project Hannah's signature program, Women of Hope, is now broadcast in over 60 languages around the world. I travel around the world to establish Project Hannah ministries in new countries. My role is to mentor, encourage, and train our teams and manage administrative issues of this large ministry. My primary objective is to cast and implement the vision that God gave me in a way that people will catch and carry it in their country, totally contextualizing it to their reality.