Celebration of Hope and Joy
Christmas is a celebration of hope and joy as we remember the birth of Jesus, the ultimate gift God has given us out of His infinite love for us. It is with gratitude that I look back on how God continues to show His love for us. One inspiring experience I've had in mission is witnessing how God has manifested His love through one girl's life.
We called her Min
Min's mother is a young Indonesian woman who was brought to Taiwan by her mother when she was a child. When she grew up, she was forced by her mother to work in bars until she was caught by the police. As she was undocumented, she was held at a detention center for months.
At that time she was already pregnant with Min. After six months, she was transferred to one of the shelters for women and children where I worked as a full time volunteer. She was to reside there until she gave birth. Before Min was born, her mother had already decided that she would give her up for adoption. She had no means to take care of Min, and she hoped that her baby won't have to experience the hard life she's had. Soon after giving birth, she left the shelter, leaving Min behind.
It was then that I began to spend more time with Min, helping the other women in the shelter in caring for her. I gradually became very close to Min, and the longer I got to know her, the more I felt a deeper kind of connection with her.
Ever since her mother decided to give Min up for adoption, I felt compelled to do all I could to help with her adoption. With the help of our staff, we were able to match her with a couple in Ireland who expressed their desire to adopt her soon after she was born.
The process proved quite problematic and difficult. It even came to a point when we almost gave up since we had exhausted all efforts without success. I was praying for God to help us overcome the obstacles which made the adoption almost impossible. Finally, after more than a year, things eventually worked out and we were able to get the final approval for the adoption. We all rejoiced together with Min's adoptive parents receiving such great news. I was left with a sense of peace, knowing that Min would soon meet her parents, and finally have a home where she would be loved and well cared for.
It was a bittersweet experience for me saying goodbye to Min when she left with her adoptive parents. It was difficult because I had come to love her deeply and like many of our children who left the shelter, I had to accept that I wouldn't see her again. Nevertheless, my happiness for Min and her new parents overshadowed the sadness of cutting our ties. I knew that Min was going to have a better life and future with loving parents.
Our Unexpected Reunion
Since then, her mother occasionally kept in touch, sending pictures of Min growing up. I was grateful to her mother as I didn't expect her to continue our connection. This is why I was overjoyed when I had the fortunate chance to be reunited with them six years later when I went to Ireland in 2016 to visit fellow missionaries.
Min's parents came to visit me in Dalgan. Min, although shy at first, became immediately at ease. We had a wonderful time together as I listened to her parents and Min herself telling me wonderful stories since we last met. I was deeply touched when I found out that they've kept photos of Min and me together when she was in Taiwan. They've been sharing these with her to keep her memories alive and remember her childhood in Taiwan.
It was amazing to see Min having grown up to become a sweet, smart girl who can speak Gaelic and Mandarin and who loves to play made-up games of cards! They also met the Columbans during dinner together and had a wonderful time getting to know more WWW.COLUMBAN.ORG December 2018 17 about one another. When it was time to say our goodbyes, it was a moment filled with gratitude and happiness for me. Min will always have a special place in my heart.
It was humbling to be given the chance to witness the unfolding of Min's journey from the moment she was born, and to see how she has flourished and brought much love and joy to her parents. Such an experience of seeing Min again was truly a blessing and I'm deeply grateful to God, not only for bringing Min into my life, but most importantly, for bringing her and her parents together.
May we continue to experience God's love in our encounters with others. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him." (Rom 15:13)
Columban Lay Missionary Jhoanna Resari lives and works in Hong Kong.