Some would call it a match made in heaven.
Tracy Fei and Zhang Li, both converts to the Church, met in the Chinese branch in Auckland, almost two years ago.
The couple fell in love but their journey towards a temple marriage has been anything but easy.
“When I went back to China in November last year for three months, I let my parents know I wanted to marry Zhang Li in the temple,” Tracy said.
“My dad told me, ‘if you get married, you are no longer my daughter’.”
Tracy said her family repeatedly told her not to get married and that the Church was “not real”.
“Of course, I felt really sad,” she said.
“Because I know what I believe is true, but my family are also important to me.
“It was a huge conflict… mostly because my family just didn’t understand. They couldn’t understand temple marriage. Every day I was in this fight.”
Five years ago, Tracey moved to New Zealand from Beijing, China at the age of 16.
She is currently in her first year studying primary education at Auckland University.
“Back home, people told me there was no God,” she said.
“So, when I first met the missionaries on the street, I was scared because I didn’t know anything about religion. I wanted to run away from them.”
Miraculously, Tracy kept bumping into the missionaries wherever she went.
“I’ve heard people talk about a ‘father’ before. I thought, no one can understand me, maybe I could talk to this ‘father’. At the time, I didn’t know about Heavenly Father, but I wanted to try and talk to Him.”
Tracey embraced the gospel and was baptised in November 2015.
Zhang Li came to New Zealand for a working holiday in 2016 and met the missionaries on his first day. He currently works in the Information Technology field.
“I didn’t know there was a God, but I had watched sci-fi movies and I wondered if something created us.
“I thought, ‘if there is a creator, why would he leave me alone?’”
Zhang Li was baptised a year after Tracy, in November 2016.
“Knowing who God is makes me feel confident. I’m not worried because I know I’m doing the right thing and everything will work out. I know I’m not alone,” he said.
Zhang Li proposed to Tracy outside the temple in Hamilton, earlier this April.
Tracy believes it is important for members to have temple marriage as their goal.
“You are bound for eternity when you are married in the temple, and that is something I’ve always wanted since I heard about it,” she said.
“It’s all part of the work of God. You can’t believe in prayer and then not believe in the temple. You need to believe in the whole plan.”
Through persistent prayer and reading the scriptures, the couple experienced their biggest miracle yet.
The Book of Mormon was banned in Tracy’s home in China, so when she was there, she had to “hide the scriptures from my family because they thought scriptures were useless and a waste of time”.
The Book of Mormon saved me, she said.
“I couldn’t believe how much they helped me during the three months. I prayed every night the Lord will soften hearts and I saw my family slowly start to change.”
When Tracy was about to fly back to New Zealand, her parents sat her down and gave her their blessing.
“It was a miracle,” she said.
“Alma 34 talks about using God’s word as an experiment, but you have to act. It’s all about faith. If you don’t try to believe it, it won’t work. I know the Church is true. I know we have everything in the gospel that can and will bless every aspect of our life.”
The couple will be sealed in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple on 13 July 2018.