Several years ago, a young mom told KP Yohannan about her prenatal appointment. Her doctor had finished the ultrasound and turned toward her. “You have a good baby,” he had said with a smile, and she felt relief. “You have a good baby,” he had repeated. She nodded gratefully, knowing there is so much that can go wrong as an unborn baby is formed.
Months later, she gave birth to a son—and she realized what the doctor had been trying to tell her. He wasn’t speaking to the health of organs or the presence of limbs or the absence of malformation: He was trying to communicate that her child was a boy. In her country it is illegal for a doctor to indicate the gender of an unborn child. To do so jeopardizes the most vulnerable, and “it’s a girl” often becomes a death sentence followed by abortion.
On the happy day when that “good baby” was born, family and friends gathered in the hospital to celebrate the young life. This child was born into a family of grace, surrounded by uncles and aunties ready to nurture and love, men and women who happened to be GFA-supported workers.
Across the hallway, a young mom sat alone in silence, a baby girl in her arms. Her family had left in scorn, threatening that if she kept this girl, she would be on her own. The woman held her daughter close. She had her newborn and nothing else, no food, no help, no provision, no care for her infant girl.
Nudged by compassion, the Christ-followers celebrating next door stepped into her room and became part of her story. They gathered at her bedside with a little impromptu shower, bringing blankets, clothes, diapers and laughter, expressing the Father’s love and joy over a precious girl child, a gift from God. They told her, “If you are standing up for your daughter, we will stand up for you, and be here for you.” For she, too, was cause for celebration.
Patheos blog post October 11, 2019 by KP Yohannan, Gospel for Asia (GFA) Founder & Director. Today, GFA comes alongside national workers and supports them through prayer and assistance as they bring hope to the neediest in South Asia. GFA is engaged in projects such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies.
Afghanistan, Chad, South Sudan, Myanmar, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Sudan and Columbia are countries in which armed forces – be it in a national capacity or in de facto rebel militia - regularly and mercilessly exploit hundreds of thousands of children. A quick internet search for images of child soldiers turns up thousands of pictures of hardened children with vacant stares holding machine guns; something alarming but not unexpected, in the thousands of photographs that appear, not a single child smiles. These are children because of their chronological ages - ranging from as young as five years old to seventeen - not because of how they behave, what they do, how they think. With their childhoods quickly ripped away, these individuals are often given guns and ordered to kill or to die; ruthless violence becomes endemic to their lives.