Friday, January 23, 2009

Remember the Silent

Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.

With the "sanctity of human life week", approaching, I've been doing some reflecting on what it means to be pro-life.

For me, at least.

I've been involved in pro-life and anti abortion endeavors in Mongolia for the past 9 years or so. In the beginning, my main job was to inform the Christians here that abortion is wrong. Mongolia is different from America in that there is no pro-life/pro-choice influences or political influences to convince people that abortion is good/bad. Most people just go along with it because of the high poverty rates and lack of good prenatal medical care.

Once I began educating people, I was amazed to see the doors of opportunity swing wide open. No one, it seemed was against me or the anti-abortion message. We've seen churches, high schools, universities and hospitals open up and receive, wide-eyed, the truth that there is life before birth. Hundreds of babies have been saved as thousands have been reached through seminars, lectures, and the media. And the numbers are increasing. I've lost count of the people who have come up to me and said that they chose to have their baby because of a lecture they once heard, or because they read Hetee's poem in a hospital waiting room.

In Mongolia, the abortion rate is at least twice as high as the birth rate, or so I'm told. I think it is much higher. Finding solid numbers regarding abortion rates are always tricky because not many women like to talk about that sort of thing. Hospitals don't always register the right numbers because it's a great way for the abortionists to get rich off the books. Either way, abortion in Mongolia is rampant. It is usually sought out by the mothers but in some cases performed without her consent then is followed by unwarranted birth control as a means of "helping" her to have a better life. I'm counseling one such mother now. She was 7 months when her doctor gave her something to kill her 7 month-old baby. She's pregnant again, with twins, and terrified of going near a hospital. I'm still seething about that one.

Anyway, like I said before, I've encountered very little opposition from the Mongolian people in general. I have, however, had a few remarks from Americans that I never quite understood. Remarks like, "Can't we do more to help the women?" and "You need to offer the women alternatives to abortion" etc, etc.

Now, much of what I do and have done in the past is to financially or physically help the women or young families faced with an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. We help with food, vitamins and supplements, counseling, birth classes and anything else we can.

I think that sometimes we choose to make things a lot more complicated than they have to be. I remember a few years ago, someone told me that I wasn't doing enough, that I needed to "offer those poor women more alternatives". That it wasn't enough just to tell them that abortion was wrong.

Right away I became discouraged. I looked at my lack of ability to provide for their needs. I looked at my feeble human hands, my inadequacies, my lack of money and resources and quickly became depressed. It was my husband who led me back to the Scriptures and reminded me to just open my mouth and speak up for the unborn. I didn't have to carry anyone's load. I didn't owe them anything for keeping their baby. God would take care of them and reward them for their obedience. And since then I've seen this to be true over and over again.

I realize that to some these statements may sound flippant, even callous. Please understand that I do have a special place in my heart for the girls and women faced with an abortion decision. I still help these women in the many ways mentioned above. But it felt good to know that when the resources ran out, as they still often do, it doesn't have to stop me from proclaiming the truth. I don't need a back up plan. What it all comes down to is me opening my mouth and speaking out for those who are not able to defend themselves.

So, if you're a pro-lifer and you're feeling overwhelmed by the task of convincing people that abortion is wrong, just remember to keep it simple. Pray for them. Then speak to them. Show them pictures of fetal development, evidence of life in the womb. Then let them choose. If you can do more, like help a mother who lives in poverty then by all means, please do. But whatever you do, don't be silent. Speak out, and focus on saving one life at a time. God predestined that life. He can take care of the rest.

My thoughts are a jumbled mess right now and I am feeling and thinking so much more than what I am able to put into this post at the moment. A friend and fellow pro-lifer has written a great piece on her blog. Please check out Daja's thoughts on the subject and don't forget to pray for the women in your life who have gone through an abortion in the past or who are being faced with a difficult decision today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Note to Self: When It's -30 Degrees Out, Wear A Hat, Fool

Today I had one of those days where everything felt like a dream. Not in the good sense of the word, but all day I just felt like I was in a daze. I think all those late nights staying up reading, typing and translating added up and decided to gang up on me. And I was out of coffee.

I kind of mulled around the house, putting the finishing touches on my lesson (I'm tutoring 6 kids this week) and waiting for the clock to strike 1:30. My Dad came over and brought some fruit for the kids and had a cup of tea. I caught a ride to school for class that started at 2.

As we were driving along, I realized something important. A few things actually. Like, I had on two different gloves. And I was wearing the wrong shoes (boots with heels and no grip). And there was something missing...oh, yeah. My hat. And my cell phone. Too late, I thought. I considered asking dad to turn around and go back to get my things, but if you have 3 small kids like me, one thing you NEVER do is walk back into the house to get something once you've kissed and hugged everyone and said your goodbyes. So, I didn't say anything and on we went to the other side of town.

I got to school, yawned through my lesson and made my way back to catch a taxi. I got out at a place that sells fresh yogurt and milk, about 3 (long) blocks from the house. I bought a liter of each and decide to walk home.

Now, someone please wake me up 'cause this is where the dreamy, hazy feeling turned into a nightmare. The fingers of my left hand got so cold I thought they'd fall off. You see, in my haste I grabbed one of Hetee's gloves in the place of mine (he was in a hurry when he left earlier this morning and apparently forgot his gloves, too) and it was bigger more loose and therefore not as warm and snug as my right hand. I was carrying the yogurt, milk, diapers and detergent in one hand and my briefcase in the other so I couldn't stuff them in my pockets. I shoulda got a taxi. Then we wouldn't even be having this monologue.

As I was hurrying along, praying to God to please let me keep my fingers, the wind picked up and made me really miss my hat. I could see the house in the distance but I couldn't hurry because I was walking on packed snow and ice with my heeled boots. It was pretty dangerous with the zero traction and what not.

But I made it home, thawed my fingers out and made sure I didn't have any purple spots on them. My nail beds are still hurting but it's no big deal. I'm glad Hetee wasn't there to see me. He fusses at me when I don't dress warm enough. After all these years he still has to remind me that, in Mongolia, "you must dress for survival". He checks my layers, tucks my scarf and straightens my hat like I'm one of the kids. He's the oldest in his family and I'm the youngest in mine so it works swimmingly. Except when he's not there. Then stuff like today happens.

Anyway, I'm off to get a full night's sleep. I don't want a deja vu tomorrow. You know, just learning from my mistakes so I'm not doomed to repeat history and all that.