{Prayers for Taiwan} Bringing Life to a Culture of Death

A Culture of Death

Search for “Taiwan + abortion” on Google, and you will find titles like “Taiwan’s Astonishing Abortion Rate,” “Abortions Exceed Births,” and “Taiwan has up to 500,000 Abortions in 2010“–titles that depict a culture where choosing death is an astonishingly ordinary occurrence. Most of these online articles were published in the last six months; in fact, a year or more ago when I learned by word of mouth about Taiwan’s high abortion rate, I could find very little data online about it. This is because until last summer, the most recent statistics were from over a decade ago. But on July 17, professor and pediatrician Lue Hung-chi announced in a public forum that he estimates there are 300,000 to 500,000 abortions every year in Taiwan. One article comments that if his estimate is true, “it has to be one of the highest per-capita abortion rates in the world” (“Taiwan’s Astonishing Abortion Rate“). Lue’s announcement began a long overdue discussion in Taiwan about the low birth rate and high abortion rate of recent years; rightly, these issues are of growing concern and alarm among leaders of the country.

These little ones were given life.   (Photo credit: www.taiwanxien.org)
These little ones were given life. (Photo credit: http://www.taiwanxien.org)

There is no conclusive evidence about the exact number of abortions in Taiwan each year, but everyone agrees that it is a staggering number. In 2010, there were only 166,000 babies born on the island, and even the most conservative estimates of the abortion rate come in at around 250,000-300,000 per year. That is nearly two abortions for every live birth. Lue’s estimate pushes the ratio to as many as three abortions for every baby that is born on the island of Taiwan.

Let that sink in.

Many reasons are cited for this grotesque disregard for human life: poor health care for children (no pediatricians in 30 percent of Taiwan towns), lack of an adequate adoption system in the country, low economic growth rate, inadequate education for young women, gender preference (in a country where males carry on the family name and legacy), and a general acceptance of abortion since its legalization here in 1985 (“Taiwan’s Astonishing Abortion Rate“). There are just as many suggested answers to the problem; most of them point to education or government programs. While these things might help to fix the issue of abortion in Taiwan, I believe there is one ultimate answer, and that is Jesus Christ. Taiwan desperately needs to experience the love of Jesus in order to appreciate the sanctity of human life.

Bringing Life

I share this news with you not to shame anyone who has ever had an abortion and not to pronounce doom and despair on the island of Taiwan, but instead to bring awareness to the crisis in Taiwan and to share the hope of bringing life to this land. As I read and researched the issue of abortion in Taiwan (as a side note, I encourage you to do your own research and read more than just my summary above), I was again overwhelmed by the great importance of the ministry of Taiwan Xi En and the need for other ministries like it. I do not want this post to be simply a “plug” for Taiwan Xi En, but because that is the ministry that I work with firsthand, I will use it as an example of how God is bringing opportunities for life and redemption to a culture of death. Let me share about three situations I’ve experienced recently where I see God bringing life and His light to the island of Taiwan. Once again, these are tales of sacrifice and love.

“Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” ~ James 1:27 (MSG)

  • I talk a lot about Taiwan Xi En babies, but did you know that the other focus of the ministry is to unwed moms in crisis pregnancies? In Taiwan, there is a strong stigma associated with unwed motherhood, and the liberal abortion law allows women to quietly take care of their undesirable pregnancies. Taiwan Xi En is a refuge for mothers who need love and support, many of whom have been kicked out of their homes until their pregnancies are over. The young girls that come to live at the House of Hope (the name for the moms’ home at Taiwan Xi En) have already made a huge decision out of love for their unborn children. They have chosen life in a culture that encourages them to abort their children in order to “save face” for the family or allow an easier life for the mother. Many of the moms that come through Taiwan Xi En make the incredibly difficult and loving decision to give their babies up for adoption, but some make the equally challenging and compassionate choice to keep their babies. Recently, we have had several young moms staying at the House of Hope. Through the love and support of some of the Taiwan Xi En workers, these moms have been ushered into a relationship with Jesus and have started attending a local church. Just last week, two of these moms brought their babies for dedication in the church, making a public statement about their choice to raise these children knowing the God of the Bible. This is a true testimony to God working in the lives of the hurting and broken in Taiwan. Please pray that more women like these brave, young mothers will choose life for their babies and ultimately come to know Christ as well.
Baby dedication at church. (Photo credit: http://www.taiwanxien.org)
  • Every time adoptive families come to meet their children, there is an excitement and anticipation about the event. I have had the joyful privilege of being at several of these “gotcha days” and seeing parents and siblings unite with their new family member for the first time. Every time I witness this, I am reminded of the long months or even years of waiting that the family has endured, the way that God has provided so abundantly for the adoption to happen, and God’s ultimate plan to bring this family together. I am continually mesmerized when I witness joy light up the tired travelers’ faces in those first precious moments with their adopted one. Please pray with me that God will work in the country of Taiwan to create an adequate adoption system so that many more children will be saved. Pray also that God will continue to send his precious children to Christian orphanages like Taiwan Xi En and others on the island.
An adoptive family comes to Taiwan and meets their little girl. (Photo credit: http://ashleighhatcher.wordpress.com)
  • My final story of God’s grace comes from a new experience that I had recently. Not all of the Taiwan Xi En babies who are given up for adoption come from moms who have stayed at the House of Hope. Many of the babies are referred to Taiwan Xi En by local hospitals, so when the baby is ready to be discharged, someone from Taiwan Xi En will go to pick up the baby. I had never been to one of these pick-ups until recently, and it was quite a humbling and moving experience. As I watched the young mother leaning over her child to say goodbye, I knew she was making one of the hardest decisions of her life. My heart broke for her, and I was compelled to pray. I prayed, “Lord, thank you for giving this mom the courage to choose life for her child. Thank you for her willingness to give this child a better life by turning him over to someone else’s care. Protect her heart as she grieves for her lost one. Give her strength in the coming days, and surround her with your presence. May she know you through this experience. May she be encouraged in her spirit.” I continue to pray that prayer for this young woman; seeing her personally hand over her child brought a chilling reality to the idea of sacrifice. Please pray that more young women who find themselves pregnant will have the courage to carry their babies for nine months and then choose life again as they give them up for adoption. Pray that these women will come to know that Christ loved and sacrificed for them and that they also can be adopted into a new family through Christ’s blood.
This loving mother is preparing to say goodbye to her child as she gives him up for adoption. (Photo credit: http://ashleighhatcher.wordpress.com)

“The nations will put their hope in His name.” ~ Matt. 12:21 (HCSB)

The incredibly high number of abortions in Taiwan every year is a frightening fact, but by the grace of God, lives are being saved. Perhaps you now have a clearer vision of the desperate need of Taiwan but also of the hope that Christ’s love is bringing to this nation. Please commit to pray for God’s hand to move powerfully in Taiwan.

*Click to read other posts in my {Prayers for Taiwan} series.

10 thoughts on “{Prayers for Taiwan} Bringing Life to a Culture of Death

  1. Wow! I had no idea the abortion rate was so high! Very insightful post; thanks for sharing. PS- We need to Skype one of these days. :)

    1. Yes, it is sadly and surprisingly high, and that’s why I wanted to share about it. I also want people to know that God is working in the midst of the tragedy. Thanks for reading. And yes, let’s Skype soon.

  2. This is so powerful! We feel so blessed to be adopting through His Hands and are looking forward to meeting you all in the future. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Wow, that’s crazy and so sad. I know mainland China has a high abortion rate – I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think it’s nearly that high a percentage. It is just viewed as a means of birth control, though. It is really heartbreaking.

  4. This is exactly why we felt called to adopt from Taiwan. What a blessing you are, Christel, to bring this to everyone’s attention. We love you all!

  5. Wow! So unbelievable! I found you through Stuff Christians Like. I volunteer for an Adoption NonProft (offering free education for families interested in adopting), so this post was especially meaningful to me. I love your blog & can’t wait to read more.

    1. So the Stuff Christians Like thing actually worked, huh? :) It’s so cool to connect with people through venues like that. I haven’t had time to peruse that entire post, but I have it bookmarked to look back through. I will check out your blog; I think it’s great that we have a similar heart for adoption! Is your NonProfit in America or somewhere else?

  6. Thank you so much for posting this with hope in The Lord! It grieves my heart to hear of the facts but I know God loves Taiwan and is unfolding His redemptive plans for her. My husband and I will be moving to Taiwan this summer, working with a house of prayer in Shi-ling, Taipei. We’ll be ministering to many broken youths of Taipei. Glad to know that there are others laboring in Taiwan. Many blessings and much grace to you.

    1. Thank you, Sunny! It is so good to hear of your heart for Taiwan and to know that you are heading this way soon. I’ve been reading that many workers are leaving Taiwan to go to other fields that are less reached, but I know that there is still a great work to be done here. I’m blessed to know that you will be joining in the harvest work!

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