Pro-Life Internships

Do you want to do something to end abortion and protect life in East Asia? These are some of the issues you’ll learn about during your internship with Asia for Life:

–The role of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in executing family planning policies throughout East Asia
–the widespread separation of families in China and Southeast Asia
–other social and legal factors that push people towards abortion
–coercive sterilisation and abortion policies
–the ways Christians can defend life

The internship lasts 3 to 9 months, and is unpaid. Fundraising is strongly encouraged, and you will receive personalised coaching and advice during your fundraising process. (It’s important that you not have to worry about financial issues during your internship!)

Depending on an intern’s skill set and availability, living in Hong Kong may not be necessary.

Requirements:
–Decent writing skills
–Great attitude
–Two or more personal references
–Familiarity with the wider pro-life movement (vis-à-vis education, social service, legislation, etc)
–Uphold the Asia for Life Pro-Life Declaration

All applicants will be considered, but preference will be given to those who know Chinese (any dialect), who live in Hong Kong, and/or who have done volunteer work with pro-life organisations.

The goal of Asia for Life is to build a culture of life in East Asia, especially through:

Prayer: Mobilise prayer efforts within local church communities and across denominations.
Education: Create educational initiatives in schools, churches, and through social media, to build understanding of the dignity of life, and awareness of the life and death moral issues that we are facing.
Resources: Channel resources to locally-run pro-life ministries who are saving lives in various regions of East Asia.

Depending on the current needs of Asia for Life, interns will be asked to facilitate or manage projects related to these over-arching goals. This will include editing and optimising online mailings, social media channels, and website content. It may also include fundraising initiatives for pro-life pregnancy resource centres, and collaborating with other pro-life organisations for the Hong Kong March for Life and other pro-life events.

Questions? Email Joe or fill out the contact form.

 

Mother’s Day Note, 2019

Mother’s Day Note, 2019

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

I recently saw a movie where a pregnant woman finds a super-villain, follows him on a high-speed car chase, and then defeats him and his minions.

And she did it all while she was in labor!

But even regardless of what the movies say, moms are definitely superheroes.

In this image, the mother panda is holding her baby, and there is light shining on them, even in the midst of darkness.

I see a lot of darkness. But I also get to see some of the brightest light, especially among heroic Christian ministries working in East Asia.

There are so many things to celebrate on Mother’s Day. But please remember and keep in your prayers the millions of mothers who are separated from their children because of harmful economic policies (throughout much of rural China and Southeast Asia), and because of ethnic and religious discrimination (especially in Xinjiang).

Of course, more than any other issue, my heart is burdened today for the countless millions of mothers in Asia whose children were stolen from them by abortion. Uncountable millions of women cannot celebrate Mother’s Day today, because of unjust laws and social norms.

But today it is our hope that every mother experiences abundant blessings from God, firm support from her family, and joyful affirmation from society.

“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (Proverbs 31:31)

Joe Woodard
Asia for Life

Would I help a doctor to do an abortion?

This story is a bit personal, but I hope that it’s useful to other people for considering and discussing what it means to compromise on the issue of abortion.
–Joe Woodard, Asia for Life

I woke up one morning, and I knew I’d had a strange dream. But I couldn’t remember what it was about.

Later that morning, I was studying Chinese. Specifically, I was creating mnemonics to help me remember Chinese characters. When I came to the word “cooperate” (協), I tried to think of an example of cooperating, to help memorise this character.

Suddenly, I remembered my dream, where I had cooperated with something very terrible.

My Dream

In my dream, I was in a medical clinic. I was talking with a Christian doctor, a man, who owned the clinic. Then I went into another room in the clinic. Another man came in to do abortions (I didn’t know if he was a doctor or not). My job was to help this doctor to do abortions.

After each woman came into the room, I assisted this man as he used various instruments to cut up the fetuses, and to remove the remains. Even while I was in the middle of doing it, I had some doubts about whether I should be doing this. But I felt that I needed to be responsible, and just continue doing my job.

After we did several abortions, we were finished. I looked at the pile of aborted baby parts, and thought about whether I should continue this work.

On the one hand, I was thinking there might be opportunities to help women choose life, by working within the system. These are the sort of thoughts going through my mind:

Perhaps I could persuade the doctors to offer women other choices. And we could even offer resources–clothes, food, help with bills–and that would help them choose life!

But, of course…if a woman wanted an abortion, I would still need to help do the abortion.

Ultimately, it was too overwhelming and terrible to think about anymore. I finally looked away from the bloody pile of fetuses, and decided I couldn’t do this anymore.

This dream did not help me to memorise the Chinese character 協. But it did give me an image of how easy it is to cooperate with evil.

“Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
This 1930 photo shows Gandhi leading the famous Salt March, a famous symbol of peaceful non-cooperation with an unjust law.

“How Can Anyone Do That?”

It’s easy to judge people who do abortions: “How can those doctors kill children? What kind of person would do that for money?”

But let’s put this in a larger context. This morning, many people woke up and went to work, and part of their work was doing abortions. For them, it’s not theoretical or abstract. It’s simply their job.

Perhaps they don’t like that part of their work. And it’s probably not what they wanted to do when they were studying medicine. They might feel extremely uncomfortable or morally conflicted about it. But right now, they might not have a lot of other options. And besides, it’s only one part of what they do at work.

But for some abortion workers, the abortion procedure is more than just a job. It’s a mission. Some of them are convinced that doing abortions is actually helping women and making the world better. And maybe they’re honest and sincere about that. And so, I don’t judge the intentions of the doctors and medical staff who do abortions. But I do pray for them, because they’re terribly wrong.

READ: Praying For People Who Do Abortions

It’s possible that they’ve deceived themselves. But it’s also possible that others have deceived them. In either case, they cannot see the violence in ending the lives of these tiny, innocent human beings.

Would I cooperate with doing abortions?

Most of the time, we can’t stop people from doing abortions. But pro-life people have a moral obligation to not cooperate with abortion, just as we would not cooperate with other serious evils. Practically, this means that Christians who own medical offices should not allow abortion as part of their business. And Christian medical staff should not help to do abortions.

There are very few places in the world where Christians would think twice about doing business with child molesters or child traffickers. Yet tragically, in many countries, there are Christians who are willing to sign a business contract with people who abort children for a living–even when they’re not legally required to do so.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer refused to cooperate with the anti-Jewish policies of Nazi Germany, even while serving as a pastor in a state-registered church. He gave the world a very intricate example of how to do practical good in the very worst of situations.

A Practical Example From China

Here is a more concrete and nuanced real-life situation.

There is a Chinese pro-life leader who runs a private social service centre, where women come to get information about pregnancy. He knows that most of these moms will get abortions. And he knows that he cannot stop them. But he and his staff offer them help and encouragement, and do what they can to persuade them to choose life.

Some of the women choose life, and the pro-life centre helps them in every way they need. But for the moms who choose abortion, the pro-life staff tell them clearly that they are welcome to come back for help after their abortion.

This centre does not cooperate with abortion. They don’t help the women to book abortions. They don’t help women to find abortion doctors.

The most awkward part, though, is when they are asked for directions. They are in a large medical complex–but the abortion clinic is literally down the hall from them! What should they say when someone asks where the abortion office is? Isn’t it easier just to tell them, since they’ll find out from someone else anyway? This would also help them to get along better with the other offices in the medical complex.

One of China’s many women’s clinics that promise “glamorous” and “pain-free” abortions.

But this pro-life centre has made the decision not to give directions or assistance of any kind–even when it’s awkward. I imagine this is especially difficult in their specific situation in China. But if they directly and willingly cooperate with the abortion process, they feel that the innocent blood will be on their hands too.

Would you help someone–either a doctor or a patient–with an abortion? If not, why not? If so, why?

READ: How Can We Stop Cooperating With Abortion?

Endnote: The pro-life movement holds that intentional, direct abortion is always wrong.

But in rare cases, treatment for a pregnant woman’s health might result–unintentionally and unavoidably–in the death of the fetus. These procedures are classified separately from abortion, because the purpose of abortion is to kill the fetus.

Doctors can’t always save both the mother and the child. But a doctor never needs to do an abortion to save a woman’s life.

FEMINISTS FOR LIFE: What About The Life Of The Mother?

Praying For People Who Do Abortions

Praying For People Who Do Abortions

Understanding Who We’re Praying For

I want to ask you to pray with me–to cry out–for the men and women who are doing abortions as part of their job in the city of Hong Kong and elsewhere in China.

I once had a dream, where I was in an abortion clinic, and I had to help the doctor with abortions. During that dream, I think I had the same kinds of experiences as anybody who does abortions. It was a mix of positive and negative thoughts, feelings, and justifications regarding my involvement with abortion.

But by the end of the dream, what I experienced doing this job was not pleasant!

And in real life, I believe that this job is not only unpleasant–it is also unnecessary!

The training, skills, and gifts of medical professionals ought to be used to save lives, and to create health solutions that are life-affirming, not life-destroying.

There are hundreds of people in Hong Kong who directly participate in the abortion process in some way. And there are literally millions of people throughout China who help with abortions as part of their job. This includes doctors, nurses, administrative staff, and the many people who advertise for abortion. It also includes the medical waste personnel, and the developers and distributors of abortion equipment and medication. And it also includes the millions of people working or volunteering with the CFPA–the Mainland China affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Sadly, the  idea of “conscientious objection” that many in the West take for granted is not an option for medical professionals in China. Currently, there are very few pro-life OBGYNs.

Prayer Points For People Who Do Abortions In Hong Kong And Mainland China

1. Pray for the social workers at the FPAHK branches, and the staff of the CPFA, who are counselling pregnant women. Pray that they will have a change of heart. Pray that they will find ways to counsel each woman towards choosing life, rather than trying to persuade her to abort.

2. Medical staff are often trained to encourage abortion for any and every possible reason. When there might be a very small chance of a health complication during pregnancy, the first response is to encourage abortion. This is medically unreasonable and morally inhumane, and also results in the abortion of many perfectly healthy babies. And this pro-abortion mentality also keeps Chinese doctors from addressing underlying medical problems. But nurses, doctors, and radiologists have tremendous influence over parents’ decisions. So we really must pray for them!

3. Pray for many medical professionals to have a conversion of heart, to be confronted with the terrible reality of abortion, and to find a way out.

5 Notes About Praying At Hong Kong’s Biggest Abortion Clinic

5 Notes About Praying At Hong Kong’s Biggest Abortion Clinic

This is not a list of rules or “how-to” advice for praying at an abortion clinic. So far in Hong Kong, it has not been feasible to do sidewalk counselling ministry or to hand out pro-life materials. So, what I’m doing there is really, simply, prayer. I sit or stand outside the building, and read the Bible, and pray for an end to abortion.

Below, I wrote down some of my experiences while praying outside the abortion centre in Wanchai each week during the past month. Some of the stories are meaningful. And some, honestly, are kind of weird.

By the way, as far as I know, I have still never had any conversations with clinic workers or patients. And there are too many people going in and out of this 30-storey building (which is mostly filled with government offices) to know who is there for an abortion. But this FPAHK abortion centre in Wanchai is responsible for at least 3,000 abortions every year. It’s a kind of “ground zero” for abortion in Hong Kong, which is why it’s been at the centre of pro-life prayer efforts in Hong Kong. Overall, my times there are sobering, but also very motivating for pro-life work–for working to build a culture of life.

I took this photo of one person praying in front of the Family Planning Association main office in Wanchai, during the 40 Days for Life campaign in 2017. Some random guys are smoking near the entrance. Everybody else is walking by on the sidewalk.


MARCH 27: Shortly before I arrived at the abortion centre to pray, I read news that a friend from university was on his deathbed. David Szostak was married, had 4 kids, and exhausted every medical possibility for his health condition. In the end, he needed to be taken off life support.

I didn’t know David very well. But he was very joyful and faithful, and he spent much of his short life working in pro-life ministry. I’ve cried in front of an abortion clinic for a lot of different reasons. But this was something different.


A friend had offered to pass on notes of prayer and encouragement while David Szostak was on his deathbed. I wrote this note while I was in front of the abortion centre.


APRIL 3: While praying in Wanchai, I couldn’t help but think of Ching Ming Festival (April 4), when people go to cemeteries to clean family graves and burn incense. The ashes in the air always make me sick.

Afterwards, I saw a very weak old man in a wheelchair, with old grey scabs on his head (strangely, the scabs looked like ashes). He needed help being pushed in his wheelchair, and I helped him into a government building lift in Wanchai. Two hours later, I saw him again, and he probably didn’t even recognise me, since his head was bent down so far. He needed help to go home. He was mentally ill and didn’t want to talk much. But he let me push him back to his home. His home was a large mattress and a few bags inside of a subway (an underground walkway). It’s right beside the Happy Valley Racecourse, across the road from the Hong Kong Cemeteries and Crematoria Office. Dozens of poor and mentally disabled people live right there, in that little network of subways. I know there are many NGOs and Christian groups that try to help these people, but they want to live there. It’s so sad.

Dozens of street sleepers are living underground, right between the Happy Valley Racecourse and the Hong Kong Cemetery.


APRIL 10: There was a window-washing gondola near the top of the Southorn Centre office building. So, the street level entrance for the Family Planning Association was zoned off with yellow caution tape. And that meant that I needed to stand a bit away from the building, on the sidewalk. The yellow tape was supposed to keep pedestrians from standing near the building, because of the possibility of something falling off the gondola and hitting them. But there was a section that was not taped off, so that people could continue walking in and out of the FPAHK office. This is the main office, where people can get health exams, contraceptives, etc. It’s also where people can get the morning after pill, as well as book abortion appointments.

The gondola overhead was an obvious safety concern, so nobody was allowed near this part of the building–except for the people who were going in and out for their reproductive health appointments. It was so weird that their safety didn’t seem as important.

Gondolas outside of the Southorn Centre. The FPAHK main office entrance is directly below the gondola on the left.


APRIL 17: I prayed and read the Bible. Honestly, I was very distracted for most of my time there, but I finished praying, and left. Three hours later, I got a WhatsApp message, about a couple I’d met recently. They had just experienced a miscarriage. After so much joy, now there was so much pain.

And I thought of all the women who chose abortion–or who were told that they had no other choice. And I thought of all the people that would be willing to do anything–even to adopt if necessary–if it would make a difference for someone who is planning to get an abortion.

Read and Sign: PRO-LIFE DECLARATION

APRIL 24: Nothing really unusual happened this morning. But a bird landed right beside me, and walked around busily less than a metre away from me. I’ve been to this spot so many times, but I don’t remember that happening before.

I thought he was looking for food, because pedestrians had thrown leftovers in some bushes there. But he was actually looking for nesting material. After about 2 minutes of searching, the pigeon found a very long, strong twig, and carefully flew off. He was doing his best to build a space for his babies, because that’s what pigeons do.

(Stock photo from depositphotos.com)
“Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they?” (Matthew 6:26, The Passion Translation)


Recently, some people asked me if I would be leading the March for Life again this year. They hadn’t gotten the update that I wouldn’t be able to lead any big pro-life event this year.

Honestly, even a simple weekly prayer time is not easy. But I decided to continue going weekly, for a short period of two months. My goal in this season is to remember the basics of what pro-life ministry is about, and the lives that are at stake.

China’s Invisible Women, Conclusion: The Hope of Single Mothers

China’s Invisible Women, Conclusion: The Hope of Single Mothers

This English translation was originally published on the China Partnership Blog on March 29, 2019, and is replicated here with permission. We thank Hannah, Brent, and the China Partnership translation team for their work. Background research information in the introduction.

Conclusion: The Hope of Single Mothers

“Single mothers in China hope for the same thing, that government policies would no longer fine them and that they may easily register their children for a hukou. If, in addition to this, they also received affirmation and support from society, then that would be even better. As single mother Gezi said, ‘Just raising a child is hard enough. But single mothers do not have the means to protect themselves or to live independently, much less to fight for themselves.’

…As for support from society, there are almost no organizations that help single mothers, due to the fact that their reproductive decisions are illegal according to China’s family planning regulations. The only organization I found online that offers help to single mothers is unregistered and does not have a physical office. It is a Buddhist organization made up of volunteers from different Buddhist temples. The organization is struggling to stay in operation due to lack of funds. The help it can offer to single mothers is very limited.

Single mother Mengmeng still hopes for the best. ‘I think that however different each single mother’s story is, there is one thing we all share in common—namely, as a disadvantaged group, we all need the affirmation and support of society.’

May the day come when mothers who give birth out of wedlock are no longer punished by laws and policies; may people be more understanding of single mothers and respect their decision to give birth; and may we see more governmental organizations and NGOs offering financial and emotional support to impoverished single mothers and children.

Prayer Points (China Partnership):

  • Pray that Christ would be the hope of single mothers in China. Ask God to provide the earthly benefits of hukous and social acceptance to the children of single mothers, but pray that both mothers and children will know of their eternal hope in heaven and the promise of the Holy Spirit for those in Christ.
  • May God’s people be a light to society by demonstrating what is good, true, noble, and life-giving through their treatment of single mothers against what is false, self-righteous, and cruel. 
  • Pray that the church becomes the first in action caring for China’s single mothers. May the glory God’s name deserves in such work not go to Buddhist organizations or secular NGOs, but may it be done in Christ’s name.

READ: China’s Invisible Women, An Intro: The Unbelievable Dilemmas Single Moms Face

China’s Invisible Women, Challenge #2: Societal Discrimination Against Single Moms

China’s Invisible Women, Challenge #2: Societal Discrimination Against Single Moms

This English translation was originally published on the China Partnership Blog on March 29, 2019, and is replicated here with permission. We thank Hannah, Brent, and the China Partnership translation team for their work. Background research information in the introduction.

Challenge #2: Societal Discrimination Against Single Moms

A single Buddhist mother said: ‘If I had aborted my child, I would be having a good life. But I decided to keep the child and to become a single mother. Single mothers are particularly vulnerable to societal discrimination. Many people think we are promiscuous.’ The fact that many think single mothers are ‘promiscuous’ shows the moral discrimination single mothers face in society.  

There are a couple reasons why single mothers are morally condemned in Chinese society. On the one hand, they defy traditional sexual and reproductive ethics. On the other hand, their decision to give birth breaks from the traditional family structure of one husband and one wife. The partners of some single mothers are married. These single mothers will very likely be called humiliating names like ‘ernai’ (concubine) or ‘xiaosan’ (mistress) by society.[2]

Single mothers have reproductive freedom. It is unreasonable to place this moral burden on their shoulders. The partners of those being called ‘ernai’ and ‘xiaosan’ have violated marriage law, and yet society does not humiliate them with similar names. This reveals the gender inequality inherent in society’s moral condemnation. Moreover, the definition of ernai is quite ambiguous. Not all single mothers whose partners are married are ernai.  

For instance, Meigui’s partner is married. But Meigui doesn’t consider herself a xiaosan or an ernai because she has more financial resources than the father of her child. Moreover, she has basically taken on the responsibility of raising the child all by herself. Even so, Meigui has suffered many years of insults by the wife of her partner. ‘We both feel miserable in this relationship, and the law doesn’t protect us. To some degree, I am a victim too. But what am I supposed to do? I’m not sure.’ Those who use the term ernai stigmatize single mothers by embracing traditional societal morals.

Moral pressure pushes many single mothers to hide their identity. For example, consider Meigui.  Even though she does not see herself as a xiaosan, she still keeps her marital status a secret from her family members. ‘My hometown is somewhere else. I have lived in Guangzhou for twenty years. When I gave birth, he (her partner) went to my hometown with me and told my mother we were married. To this day, my family knows nothing about him being married to a different woman.’

Those whose partners are single also choose to hide their identity, fearing shame and a lack of understanding from society. Migrant worker Kafei, whose partner left her because his family disapproved of their relationship, chose to give birth and gave her child to her parents back home to raise for her. She continues to work in the city to support her family. Kafei said that people would ‘look down’ on her if she told them. She said she didn’t want others to know because ‘it isn’t a good thing.’ ‘Even someone who has experienced exactly the same thing won’t show me empathy.’ Therefore, she hides her identity as a single mother at work.”

[2] Translator’s note: Ernai usually refers to a young mistress of men with wealth and high social status who primarily seek material and monetary rewards from the relationship. Xiaosan is used for women who commit adultery with men of normal social status. The term connotes wrecking others’ marriages and families.

Prayer Points (China Partnership):

  • Pray for repentance and mercy for the fathers who have abandoned their children. Ask the Spirit to begin a work of reconciliation in their hearts.
  • Pray for women who continue in ungodly relationships to repent and find the strength in Christ to live according God’s design for life. Pray that their identities would be renewed in Christ, empowering them to live as daughters of Christ with the benefits of being his heirs.
  • Pray against a culture that encourages abortion as a way to absolve responsibility. Pray that men and women will come to fear God and recognize the sanctity of life.
  • Pray for the church to have a robust, public voice concerning marriage, the family, and sexual intimacy. As China’s family structures continue to deteriorate, pray that what the church has to say about God’s design of men, women, and the family is heard as good news and hope.

READ: China’s Invisible Women, Conclusion: The Hope of Single Mothers

China’s Invisible Women, Challenge #1: Registering Children With No Legal Identity

China’s Invisible Women, Challenge #1: Registering Children With No Legal Identity

This English translation was originally published on the China Partnership Blog on March 29, 2019, and is replicated here with permission. We thank Hannah, Brent, and the China Partnership translation team for their work. Background research information in the introduction.

Challenge #1: Registering Children for Hukous

“Single mothers face an urgent but thorny problem—how to register their children for hukous.[1]

Xiaojun, unwilling to meet in person or talk on the phone, sent me a personal account of her story. She wrote, ‘My child was not granted a birth certificate and still does not have a hukou. The family planning department created a case and fined me 80,000 RMB. They fined him (Xiaojun’s partner) over 100,000 RMB. Together the fines total over 200,000 RMB. They said even if I pay off my fine, our child cannot register for a hukou until both of our fines are paid. He will never pay the fine, so there doesn’t appear to be any hope that our child will get a hukou. She is almost three and about to enter preschool. Without a hukou, education will become a huge issue for her in the future.’

…[Chinese law] is saying that the only people who can legally give birth are married couples. By giving birth out of wedlock, single women violate this article, and their births are considered ‘illegal births.’

The family planning regulations in every province punish births out of wedlock, although the amount fined and the way in which couples are fined differ… In some provinces, single mothers face a more severe punishment if they have children with married men… Some provinces, however, do not distinguish between having a child out of wedlock with a married person and having a child out of wedlock with a single person…

To many unmarried mothers, the exorbitant social compensation fee is daunting. But if they do not pay off the fine, their children will not be able to register for a hukou. And if they do not register for a hukou, they cannot obtain citizenship. Consequently, they will be ineligible to receive social benefits like public education, healthcare, and social security. It will even be difficult for them to purchase train and air tickets for traveling.

These mothers rack their brains trying to get hukous for their children. Some obtain hukous by means of relationships with people back in their hometowns in the villages. The fines are less in the villages, but registering there means these children cannot attend public schools where they are currently living. Others register their child on another family’s hukou. And still others are quietly waiting for the census, hoping that during the census their children can obtain a hukou without spending any money. Among the single mothers I contacted, less than one third have successfully registered their child…”

[1] Translator’s note: The hukou system is an individual and household registration system in mainland China. It is similar to social security in the US. The process of registering for a hukou is strictly regulated. A hukou serves as a form of identification and also grants access to social benefits, including but not limited to public education, healthcare, employment, and housing compensation.

Prayer Points (China Partnership):

  • Where corruption is seen as the norm and integrity does not often amount to political gains, pray for the increase of wise, God-fearing officials who notice social injustices and labor to improve current laws for the common good.
  • Ask God to protect and provide for the children of unmarried parents, every one of whose lives he treasures.
  • Ask God to financially bless churches caring for single mothers so that they may provide diaconal assistance regarding the financial burdens single mothers face in China.

China’s Invisible Women, Challenge #2: Societal Discrimination Against Single Moms

China’s Invisible Women, An Intro: The Unbelievable Dilemmas Single Moms Face

China’s Invisible Women, An Intro: The Unbelievable Dilemmas Single Moms Face

This English translation was originally published on the China Partnership Blog on March 29, 2019, and is replicated here with permission. We thank Hannah, Brent, and the China Partnership translation team for their work.

Intro

Over the past month, China Partnership has been focusing on the stories and needs of women in honor of Women’s History Month.

The following excerpts were originally published in The Paper. In his article, Gao Biye, a post-doctoral scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Sociology, explains the difficulty that China’s current social policies pose for women who choose to give birth and raise their children as single mothers. Here, we are given a glimpse into the plight of this “invisible group” of moral outcasts, despised by society and penalized by the law.  

As we pray for women in the Chinese church this week, we invite you to take a moment to also pray for these single mothers and their children. Read through the following article excerpts and then pause to pray according to the provided points and according to the Spirit’s leading.

Ultimately, pray that the Chinese church would not be outdone in kindness, but rather that it would be a channel of Christ’s love for the lost and true hope for the sinner.

Excerpts from Chinese Sociologist Gao Biye

“For the most part, China does not yet have demographic data regarding single mothers. There are many reasons for this. First, this group is considered ‘illegal’ in Chinese society for violating the state’s family planning policy. Therefore, they are not officially recognized. Second, some tend to hide their identity as unmarried mothers. Moreover, these identities are subject to change. After meeting compatible partners, they may tie the knot and become married women. In order to shed light on the circumstances these mothers are dealing with, I conducted in-depth field research among them from 2014 to 2015…

Most single mothers refused my invitation. One commented, ‘Each time we talk about this, we have to walk through the pain, anger, and hurt again. We have come a long way to finally reach some peace.’ The words of this single mother demonstrate why this group chooses to remain silent. As for those who did the interview with me, many broke down in tears during our phone calls. As a result of their choice to give birth, they have suffered legal punishment, moral shame, and financial hardship. Each time they narrate their experiences, they are reminded of the heartbreak.

The single mothers I contacted live in different cities in China. I do not know their real names or what they look like. Many even refused to tell me their birthplace and current residence. But through their words, I could sense their kindness, their struggle, and their bravery. Through deep conversations with these single mothers, I discovered how government policies, financial stress, and social discrimination have made their lives extremely difficult.”

Prayer Points (China Partnership):

  • Secular wisdom does not know the path of grace. It is either blind to human sinfulness or it despises the sinner. Ask God to raise up his church to care for single mothers in Christ-honoring ways, ministering to them in grace and truth.
  • Praise God for stories of courage – stories of single mothers choosing the hard way of giving birth. May they come to know the saving power of Christ and learn to walk in newness of life.
  • Ask God to give single mothers more courage to speak out about their stories so that the church may become more aware of their needs.

READ: China’s Invisible Women, Challenge #1: Registering Children With No Legal Identity

“Jesus, help me!” A dad’s adoption testimony

“Jesus, help me!” A dad’s adoption testimony

I was introduced to a man (I’ll call him “John”) who was passing through Hong Kong. After some small talk, he mentioned that his daughter had been adopted from Hong Kong over 20 years ago. So I asked him to share the story.

He flew in from America to complete all the paperwork for the adoption. His wife wasn’t able to be there to pick up their daughter. Unfortunately, John had to finish the process by himself. No small task! But finally, everything was finished, and he was ready to bring his daughter home.

But his daughter wasn’t ready. Every time he tried to hold her, she cried uncontrollably. After a few days of this, it got to the point where every time she saw him, she started crying uncontrollably.

Time was running out before his return flight to America. He didn’t know what to do. He kept trying, kept praying, and kept doing everything he knew to make her trust him.

John was getting desperate. Finally, while he was holding her and she was screaming at him, he cried out: “Jesus, help me!”

His daughter stopped crying. They bonded. And John took his daughter home to America, to meet her new mother and family.

After John finished the story, he mentioned that his daughter had grown up with a disability–she was missing an arm. And during the adoption process, he was told that she was “severely retarded”. But she wasn’t.

John said, “She just finished nursing school last month. She was the valedictorian.”

 

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