The following report was written by Sister Xia, an All Girls Allowed field worker in China.
A 20-year-old girl named Lanlan joined our Baby Shower Program two months ago. After losing her father at age 15, Lanlan moved to live with her grandma who is a follower of Christ. Although Lanlan went to church occasionally, Christianity did not have as strong an influence on her life as the pleasure-seeking friends whom she met elsewhere in the city. She indulged in a sensuous lifestyle and soon found herself pregnant. Just as most teenage mothers in China would do in such situations, she chose to abort her baby.
Lanlan’s story did not end there. This past summer, she was raped by a man at a social gathering and as a result became pregnant again. Yet this time, she was less certain about seeking an abortion.
“As I prayed to God in panic and desperation, I heard a voice telling me to keep my baby,” Lanlan recalled. “But I was still scared. What would my family or pastor say if they knew about this?”
When Lanlan finally gathered the courage to reveal the news to the leaders of her church, not one person showed her mercy or support.
“They all blamed me for what I had suffered,” she said. “Their condemnation made me reconsider whether allowing my baby to live is really the right choice. I didn’t know what to do. ”
In the midst of this dilemma, God gave me the opportunity to meet Lanlan through a mutual acquaintance. When I expressed my willingness to support her financially and spiritually through the Baby Shower Program, she made the decision not to terminate her pregnancy. Last month, she moved to my town and started attending my church. As her story spread in our congregation, more and more people came alongside her with encouragement and sympathy. Lanlan is now staying at the home of a sister in Christ, and two other church members have agreed to cover a portion of her living expenses. Embraced by a loving community and empowered by the Word of God, Lanlan has experienced a transformation like no other I have seen. This is what she told me the other day:
“I used to think that premarital sex and abortion are a normal part of life. After getting to know our holy God, I realized how deeply broken I actually am. Yet, the brothers and sisters in this church welcomed me with an unconditional love that dissolved the sinful desires of my heart. For some reason, the things that I so eagerly pursued in the past are no longer attractive to me. I have left the days of meaningless feasting and partying behind, and I don’t ever want to turn back.
“As a rape victim, all I need is to feel understood and accepted. God listened to my cries and brought me to this church where I can be comforted. If I had not moved here, not only would I still be living in fear, I might also be pressured to abort my baby. Today, there are still many challenges ahead of me, but at least the Lord has given me the strength and faith to face them.”
Whenever Lanlan shares such thoughts with me, she is exposing Satan’s lies and allowing God’s truth to pour into her heart. I can imagine how hurtful it must feel for a young woman like Lanlan to be criticized and isolated even after suffering sexual violence. I want to be someone who is able to share her joy and pain, just as the Bible tells us: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) To serve Lanlan is to learn how to remain silent and listen. As I listen, I am creating space for our gracious and compassionate God to heal the wounds in her heart.
It is my hope that this story would bring reassurance to all the women around the world who have been through similar hardships as Lanlan. Meanwhile, I encourage everyone who is reading this article to support Lanlan through prayer and/or donations. Recently, the husband of the sister who opened her home to Lanlan is hospitalized after a heart attack. Lanlan feels that it is best not to add burden to the couple at this difficult time, so she plans to move into an empty house in the neighborhood owned by another member of her church. Even though she is allowed to live there for free, she doesn’t have the money to pay for the heat that would help her get through the cold winter. As her due date draws near, she is also in need of financial assistance for her prenatal care and delivery costs.
Because of Lanlan’s special needs, we are launching a campaign to raise funds for her. Before 2015 ends, would you consider making a donation to cover some of Lanlan’s living and medical expenses? One-hundred percent of your donation will go to Lanlan. All U.S. office overhead costs are generously underwritten by The Jenzabar Foundation. Thank you for supporting All Girls Allowed’s mission to “simply love her in Jesus’ name”!
All Girls Allowed (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org) was founded by Chai Ling in 2010 with a mission to display the love of Jesus by restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China and revealing the injustice of the One-Child Policy. “In Jesus’ Name, Simply Love Her.”