Sanctity of Life

It has been roughly 11 years since I saw my first ultrasound, saw the little bean of a baby and watched the fluttering butterfly of a heart inside. And while it hurts a lot less these days, I still remember walking into the doctor’s office in great anticipation of seeing that little heart bigger and stronger and instead hearing that it had stopped. That was the first day my world stopped. Stood still. Wound around itself in a web of despair and darkness. If I had carried full term all of the children God placed in my womb, I’d have 6 children. God, in His amazing wisdom, gave me 2 bright and beautiful children to love here on Earth and a passel of kiddos waiting for me in Heaven. What a grand reunion it will be one day when I meet them all and when Joseph meets his twin.

I mention this because this week is the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and therefore is simultaneously the week of Sanctity of Life Sunday across our nation and the March for Life in Washington D.C. Because of my past, that phrase, “sanctity of life,” has special meaning for me. If a heart starts beating around 12 weeks of life and its cessation means there is no life, then how can an unborn child not be protected as a living being?

When I was a sophomore in high school, I joined the speech and debate team. As an original orator, I wrote a speech and week after week delivered it to an ever-tiring group of other high-schoolers who could recite each other’s speeches by the end of the season. My topic? Abortion vs. adoption. Why? Because I was adopted. And somewhere along the way, it dawned on me that my life could very well have been ended shortly after it began, before it ever really got going. That is kind of a daunting thing to face! Instead, I have spent my life singing silently the praises of the woman who had the courage to give me life in so many respects… living, breathing life and life in a family with loving, doting parents who could provide a steady, stable environment for me and boundless opportunities.

Recognizing the sanctity of life is equally important after birth. This past Christmas, Dawn Faith Leppan, who runs the 1000 Hills Community Helpers clinic and feeding center and school outside of Durban, South Africa, posted a picture of a beautiful little three week old baby who had been abandoned that day.

Christmas Baby at 1000 Hills

Christmas Baby at 1000 Hills

His mother left him with a friend, wrapped in dirty linens. The friend brought the baby to Dawn who through the help of donations to her clinic was able to provide for the little one. The story is not uncommon in Africa. Between the ravages of HIV/AIDS, war, famine, and abject poverty, it is estimated there are over 40 million abandoned children in Africa. Some live with their grandmothers while others are sent to orphanages or government child welfare organizations. Still others are left to fend for themselves on the streets of the larger cities or in villages too poor to help each other.

You may recall the story of Yohanna, (link) who lived with his grandmother. She was too poor to own a goat, too poor to provide food on a regular basis. When Ed and Wendy Bjurstrom met Yohanna, he was suffering from malaria and malnutrition and was being treated at the Tanzania Christian Clinic. Or you may recall the story of Patrick (link) who was rescued from an orphanage by the Mission Medic Air team in Zambia and who was sent to a Christian school. He had been abandoned by his mother. During a visit to 1000 Hills outside Durban, South Africa, Lee Kennedy watched the children play outside. Amidst the screams of joy, a little boy wandered off on his own, disoriented and unwell. Lee asked a nearby nurse what was happening. She explained that the boy was probably in the last stages of HIV and probably wouldn’t make it. This is the fragile balance that has gone grossly askew in Africa.

The stories of the children are the most heart-wrenching. Why is that? Is it because kids are just so cute? Is it because they are so little and helpless and innocent? Is it because their lives have just begun, lives that could hold so much promise if given the right opportunities? Yes. Yes. And yes. They remind us of the sanctity of life, of all life. The children pull on our hearts because we don’t want to see innocence ruined by harsh reality, because we feel so protective of the powerless and the helpless, because we see in children the hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Lily of the Valley Medical Clinic, one of the clinics Compassion Tea and CompassioNow supports, operates in conjunction with an orphanage. Several of the directors of Compassion Tea support children at this orphanage. Opened in 1994, the Children’s Village accepts children from government-run child welfare organizations. Most of these children have lost parents to HIV/AIDS and are quite ill themselves. At the village, they are housed in one of 23 3-bedroom homes. Each home has a house Mother and 6 children. The Mother cooks, cleans, helps with homework, and generally cares for the children the way a mother would. Through education, a community garden, computer classes, and day care for the small, Lily of the Valley seeks to improve life and provide opportunities these children would not otherwise be given. 

We can’t change this situation overnight. But we can do small things that will make big differences. Please join us in supporting the work of people like Dawn Leppan, Geoff and Nell at Mission Medic Air, Danny and Nancy at Tanzania Christian Clinic, and the Mothers at Lily of the Valley, the boots on the ground so to speak, those who are acutely aware of the sanctity and the fragility of life.