By Ellie Zumbach
“I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor…”
-2 Corinthians 8:8-9
A missionary family with Holmes County ties is one less after Xingdong Hao was shot and killed in Kansas City, Missouri earlier this month.
If you go to gofundme.com and type in Hao Family Memorial, the verse above is one of the first things you will see. The key point of this verse is giving, give till nothing is left, for there is a greater reward waiting in heaven.
The Hao family has practiced the power of giving for many years. And now, as Laura Hao must face life without her partner and father to her children, the time is now for others to give to them.
On August 1, 2018, Xingdong Hao, sometimes called Stephen by friends, was shot while walking home from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri.
Hao and wife, Laura, were missionaries in China, believing it was their calling to spread the gospel in the country that has a government that sometimes discourages certain religions. Together, they had four young children together, ages 8, 6, 4, and 2.
The family was just visiting Kansas City on that fateful day.
Hao was alone when an area teenager high on PCP opened up fire on that street around 7 p.m. outside the International House of Prayer. Hao was killed. Two others were left wounded. The gunman is in custody awaiting trial.
“Scripture says God’s perfect love drives out fear,” Laura Hao explained. “I have hope for this country and violence is not what this country is. It’s much, much more.”
She also noted that she has forgiven the man who took her husband’s life, as that is God’s commandment. And while it won’t be easy, she will work hard. “I know God can bring good out of anything, no matter how terrible it is.”
Continuing God’s work by choosing forgiveness is another testament to the love of Christ that Hao is known for. Together with her late husband, Laura helped bring needed supplies to the elderly, widows and orphans who populated northwest China. Together they helped to construct bathrooms in a Tibet village. They also arranged doctor’s appointments for those in need.
However, inviting others to share in their home in China, was the couple’s favorite way to help others. Laura shared that he invited almost everyone to their home, so much so that some called it a bed and breakfast. You see Hao had a heart for those who had nothing as he grew up in a poor village and knew what it was like to go to bed hungry.
The Hao family has Holmes County connections. You see, Laura’s sister, Katie, is married to Brett Barkley. He is the Pastor at the Zion Reformed Church in Winesburg.
Travel, funeral, and many other expenses have already hit the young family. In response to the need, a Go Fund Me page has been set up. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/hao-family. To date, over $121,500 has been raised that will go directly to the family.
This story originally appeared in the August 22, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.