Thursday, August 28, 2008

We need the orphan as much as the orphan needs us

Ok, I must admit, this was a very difficult assignment for me to write. I can usually whip through a writing assignment with ease and confidence. Like with any other assignment I prayed for the right words to say, that they would be worthy enough for God to hear, and eloquently said so others could be inspired. BUT, the right words never came. I actually wrote 4 different times about 4 totally different views and each time I was told “It really just doesn’t answer the question.” You must ask yourself “What need can an orphan fulfill that nothing or no one else can?” I thought to myself “Great, not only am I one of the newbie’s in a Orphan driven organization now I can’t write about an orphan!?” I spent long moments in prayer and meditation asking for the words to come. Then as He always does the Lord spoke to me. I’ve learned its best to listen, so I listened and I believe I am in the process of finding out why I need the orphan. I know they are my passion and I wait in anticipation to see what the Lord is going to do with me and how I will be able to help them. But how do I need them? I know that because the Lord has commanded it and in desiring to be like Jesus we must take up the cross follow in His footsteps and heed His commands. One of those commands is to “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4-NIV) In all of God’s commands there are blessings when obeyed. So many times we, in our one track selfish thinking, come to the conclusion that God’s commands are a burden when in reality they are meant to protect, direct, and bless us.
This Poem is my small and humble expression on why I feel, within my journey so far, “We need the orphan as much as the orphan needs us”.

Only then will you see the greatest gift I have given thee- to love and love those who need Me.

Respond to my calling to aid the ones I love and as you do they will love you too. Reach beyond what you know and the wisdom you shall find as you seek to serve with Me in mind.

Play, pray, be patient with them and you shall find, healing within and a heart divine.

How I will complete you as you help complete them. How you will find you need them. How you will learn you are a part of my plan.

Always know they need you as you need them- for you to show them that I am God, The Father, Protector, and Strength. For you, to see my great wonders, to seek, and to learn to be like Me.

Never lose sight. I have given you this gift because where they are weak, I have made you strong. When they scream out in silence I made you to be an exalting, shouting, voice. I made you for them…and in serving them you will have more of me.

-Jenna M. Howard

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Letter of Comfort

Do I have her eyes, her smile? Did she abandon me? Wasn’t I wanted? Does she have a family now with other children? Does she think about me? Does my birth father know I was even born? Where was I born? Could I have passed them on the street and not known? Was I just a accident to my birth parents? Did they even care? As the years come and go the questions pile up each time I think about how my existence started.

Name: unknown
Birth date: July 24, 1986



Description: Caucasian

WHY? Unknown. There are times during my life when I struggled with all these questions. There would be times when I felt I hated my birth parents for what they did because I didn’t even know why they did it. They didn’t even get a chance to get to know me or even try to take care of me.
Now, my longing is to just know who they are and their story. I want to see my Birth mother one day and I want to thank her. I want her to know I made it. That I have a mom and a dad who love me with every being of their body, have taught me Godly values, and the meaning of unconditional love. That they wiped my tears when I cried, loved me in spite of my flaws, have held my hand when I hurt the most, and I love them. I want them to know who I am because of what they did!

Name: Jenna Marie Howard
Birth Date: July 24th, 1986
Adoption Day: August 8th, 1986
Hospital: N/A
Pat Howard

Jim Howard

Dusty Howard & Li Lou

Julie Howard

I have light brown hair and green eyes. I am 5 ft 4in and a small build. I look like my mom and have the stubbornness and twinkling eyes like my dad. I love to love my family and love that they love me back.
Future: To aid in the rescuing of orphans worldwide!
Thank you mom and dad for giving me a life of love, kindness, discipline, and direction. I would not want another mom or dad and I thank God that he chose me and placed me in your arms!

Throughout my life my parents had always said when I was ready there were some things my birth mother had left for them to give me. My mom and dad made it clear that I never had to have these things if I chose not to. They have always answered the questions I have to the best of their ability. When I was ready I asked my mom about the things she had for me. She told me my birth mother had written me a letter along with a few other things. I asked for the letter. The words below are my birth mother’s words to me. I feel God gave me this gift to share. Parents of adopted children even question the “why’s” as they see their beautiful child grow. This letter didn’t answer all of my questions but then again maybe I wasn’t ready to hear the whole story. I will continue to search when I am ready but for now these words I want to share with the children and parents who will not have this opportunity. Be thankful and find comfort that you have your child, that their birth mother held on for nine months, and gave your beautiful son or daughter life so that they may live it with love and abundance in your arms. I hope these words bring you comfort as they did for me.

My Baby, My beautiful Baby,
Someday you will understand the beauty in this decision. I am a young girl who is just starting her own life. I brought you into this world knowing that I could not give you the love and material things that every child deserves.

My decision was out of love for you. You were so beautiful when I saw you. I can’t even imagine how beautiful you are now.

Me and your father were really in love with each other at one time. He isn’t a bad man. He was young just like me. We were not together when you were born but our hearts were.

When you were born I couldn’t really believe I created you and carried you for nine months. You moved around a lot and boy, did you have a case of the hiccups. You would wake me up in the mornings and help me sleep at night. Those 9months were very important to me.

Well, I have to tell you my mom, your grandmother, is a wonderful woman. She helped me with my decision a lot. If it weren’t for here I would have never made it.

I want you to remember something when you read this letter. You have mom number 1 and mom number 2, and I am mom number 2. Mom number 1 is your mom. She raised and gave you things you needed. You also have Dad number 1 and Dad number 2. Dad number 1 is your father. He’ll be there for you whenever you need him and even when you don’t. He’ll be there to chase off the boys when they start lining up at the door. And your mom, well, let her be a mom to you. She will love knowing that you need her. And your brother, well, let him take care of you. I have a brother and I wish I would have let him take care of me.

The bond you will have for your family will be strong, happy, and full of love. You are a fortunate little girl. Always be thankful for everything. God will watch over all of us and take care of us all.

You are always in my heart.

I love you,
Your Mother

Monday, August 25, 2008


I saw this on a website the other day and it truly gave me hope for China. As the spotlight has shifted to China, because of the 2008 Olympics, people have heard of the terrible things that are happening - the crime rate is up, camps were formed to keep the undesirable people off the streets, work is hard to find, more children are left homeless, the Olympics are fake etc. Yes, those things are happening but in the midst of all the chaos and terrible things occurring, love and hard work find a way to the hearts of the news. We must remember all of the terrible things we hear have always been there. The Olympics are not the cause or the starting point for these things. It has only been a means in which gives reason to this evil. Remember, as you watch that we MUST pray for this nation, and the nations all over the world. That we as Christians must be the light in this dark world when the evil forces are multiplying.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


This article really had me on my knees....
The bleak concrete walls topped with razor wire and the sentries in towers at the gates are a chilling reminder of a different era. On the nearby roads, heavily armed guards patrol relentlessly, checking both drivers and pedestrians, constantly alert. Meanwhile, less than 30 miles away, the world's attention is focused on the world-famous 'Bird's Nest' Olympic stadium and the other venues where a global audience of two billion is watching the Games and enjoying the spectacle of the 'new' China. The Beijing regime has deployed an army of 500,000 smiling volunteers to help foreigners find their way around the teeming capital city. Blades of grass have been individually combed. Signs have been erected in English. Spitting has been banned and taxi drivers have been told to wear ties. But there's none of that here in the suburb of Daxing, where the only 'venues' are the five camps into which thousands of China's 'undesirables' have been swept from the streets of Beijing and locked up. Here, down bumpy, unlit roads, is where old habits die hard for China's brutal totalitarian communist regime. These camps are being used to imprison - without trial or legal representation - people that the regime wants the world to believe do not exist amid the miracle of modern China. From street children, hawkers, the homeless and prostitutes, to the mentally ill, black migrants, drug dealers and gays caught in public bathhouses, the camps on the outskirts of the city started filling up with Beijing's 'undesirables' last year as part of the Chinese regime's determination to present what it sees as an acceptable face to the world.
It is all eerily reminiscent of the build-up to the 1936 Games in Berlin, when the government cleared similar 'undesirables' from the streets. Under Hitler's regime many of the Nazi concentration camps bore the slogan Arbeit macht frei (Work makes you free) at their gates. In China, the camps bear the slogan 'Re-education Through Labour'. (It's a peculiar irony that Beijing has been so determined to use the English language to welcome the world, that street signs even bear the chilling words.) The camps themselves are festooned with banners in Mandarin Chinese stating that 'you must be punished according to the laws of the Olympics', and reveal the extraordinary lengths to which the Chinese are prepared to go to in order to convince the world of the country's success.
Working up to 16 hours a day and held in cramped, unsanitary cells with only one toilet bucket for dozens of inmates, the existence of the jailed 'undesirables' is something China has done its best to hide. The policy of 'people clearances' began last year and those taken in were moved to the camps on the outskirts of Beijing, which were built in the 1960s for the purposes of 'cleansing' the minds of dissidents opposed to the state. By using torture, brainwashing techniques and the use of heavy labor, Chairman Mao was determined to convince opponents of the error of their ways. The camps have been used in more recent times to hold dissidents, lawyers and followers of religions banned by the government. But sweeps of the city ahead of the influx of foreign visitors have meant these dissidents have been joined by a new list of victims, who have until now been allowed to work freely in the capital.
Deploying thousands of undercover police, as well as uniformed groups of youths wearing red shirts and armbands, strenuous efforts have been made to ensure the city has been purged of all 'anti-social' elements. African immigrants to Beijing have been rounded up from popular tourist areas such as San li Tun, Beijing's equivalent of Soho. The patrols of the red- shirted groups are constant.
Even now, with the Games under way, some residents are not safe from arrest and incarceration. 'Tony', a Nigerian entrepreneur who has lived in China for the past three years, watched as dozens of his African friends were arrested last month. He hasn't seen them since.

'I started running when I saw what was happening,' he told me. 'I've heard they are in the camps. I'm just keeping my head down until you lot [foreigners] go and hoping it all returns to normal.'

With the few remaining black people and some gay men banned from entire areas, along with instructions from the authorities that they should not be served in bars or restaurants, witnesses say thousands of others have been bundled into unmarked vans and taken to the camps on the outskirts of the city. According to prison camp sources, who risk incarceration and torture for simply speaking about what happens inside the camps, the 'undesirables' are separated into male and female groups. They are then put to work in vast hangar-like sheds, where they are forced to make chopsticks and soft toys - the very goods that are being peddled on the streets of Beijing to tourists visiting the Olympics. Inmates are forced to work through the night. In some of the other camps - all located in the Tuan He district in the Daxing suburb of Beijing, less than an hour's drive from the Bird's Nest stadium - the ' undesirables' are forced to clean beans and other Chinese foods - which are then sold by the communist authorities to private businesses serving the influx of foreigners.
Punishment is brutal for those who try to resist. According to my camp informant, women who do not work hard enough are stripped naked for days on end - something regarded as particularly shaming in Chinese society. Another favored method of punishment is called the Tiger Bench - where 'undesirables' are forced to sit upright on a long bench with their hands tied behind their backs. Their thighs are also tied to the bench - and bricks placed under the feet to raise them off the floor. Human rights groups say some victims are forced to remain in this position for days on end, causing excruciating pain. Those who complain or refuse to eat in protest at their detention are force-fed - with guards holding their mouths open and tipping food down their victims' gullets, making them choke and vomit. There are more than 1,000 of these camps located around this country of more than 1.3 billion people. In 2005, the authorities opened one Re-education Through Labour Camp to United Nations investigators investigating claims that inmates were being killed and their organs 'harvested' and sold to wealthy Chinese desperate for transplants. Nothing untoward was found. The camp had even been painted ahead of the UN visit. Dissidents claimed later that victims are transferred from camp to camp whenever any brutality is discovered by outside bodies. The sweep of the city is good news for the prison camp guards, who are making extra money from the Olympics. Sources say they are getting as much overtime as they want a result of the thousands of 'undesirables' rounded up.
Phelim Kine, a spokesman for New York-based Human Rights Watch, said: 'The purge of migrants, sex workers and beggars during the Olympics is a reflection of the obsessive concern that nothing can remain on the streets that clashes with the government's carefully applied veneer of "stability" and "harmony". 'Beijing is unique for the unprecedented scale of the campaign to sterilize the city ahead of the Games of elements embarrassing to the Chinese government's status as a rising power.' The existence of the camps - and the admission by Chinese officials that people can be locked up without trial there for up to four years - will add to the growing sense that Beijing is trying to hoodwink the world; with the complicity of the International Olympic Committee.
After British journalists were roughed-up and detained in Tiananmen Square this week, and a relative of the U.S. volleyball coach was murdered by an unemployed Chinese man protesting about government policies, Olympic officials stressed they were 'very proud' about how Beijing 2008 is progressing. When China won the rights to the Olympics, IOC president Jacques Rogge boasted that hosting the Games would improve China's human rights record. Tellingly, Wei Wang, a Chinese official, yesterday denied that his country had made any such promises to improve human rights.

'After 30 years of reform, China has developed greatly. People enjoy more freedom. People are living a good life. Everyone is happy. That's a fact.' he said 'of course, there are exceptions. But they need to take the legal process and procedures to resolve any issues.'

Much the same could have been said in Germany in 1936 - and it would have had just as hollow a ring to it. As Susan Bachrach, a historian and expert on the Berlin Games, says: 'Hosting the Olympics presented the Nazi leadership with an extraordinary opportunity to project the illusion of a peaceful, tolerant Germany under the guise of the Games' spirit of international co-operation.' That effort was largely successful, and the regime scored a major propaganda victory. 'Beijing must hope that its propaganda effort will be every bit as effective.
The Chinese believe that at the end of the Games, most of the world would look back with fond memories, peruse the Olympic fact files, re-watch some of the biggest sporting feats in world history and re tour the fabulous landmark. They want us to believe that they have it all together and what was once said about the nation being corrupt will be a mere comment made by a bitter party. But for those who were deemed 'undesirable' and dumped into prison camps without trial–the African immigrants, beggars, prostitutes, gays, homeless, street children– the memories of the 2008 Olympics will be very different indeed.
By Andrew Malone

"Watch the spectacle, the individual feats of brilliance that perpetuate nationalism by ascribing individual merits and achievements to countries, but don’t lose sight of the forsaken and condemned." -unknown

Ok, now I must say this. This article may be exaggerated or not all truthful. I have not been to these camps myself but the fact still remains that China has gone to great lengths to make there country look like something it is not.BUT DOES IT STOP THERE?! I cannot imagine the pain and embarrassment these 'undesirable' have endured during the times of the Olympics but what if it is not over? Will the government release them now that the games are over? The Government now knows that because of the high standards and impression they made during the Olympics the tourist rate is bound to rise. They know this therefore, they also know they must keep up that spectacle. So where does that leave the many so called 'undesirable'? Is this another Nazi camp where the means to an end is THEIR end? Will they hesitate to kill an orphan child, a homeless man, a prostitute? Is it a means to an end for all the high statistics of child prostitution, slavery, fatherless and unknown people who “waste” their beloved city with their presence? My friends, now is the time to pray. They are "safe" as long as the Olympics are going on but I am afraid soon, the real terror will begin. Their memories, their beings, their souls are something that I do not want lost to history, that I do not want to ignore and cast aside. And neither should you.

I am reminded of the verse 2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. The Hope for this country is Gods mercy and the salvation He offers. Pray that the churches that follow the Lord are continuously having doors open for them to preach the Word.
Matthew 7:7-8
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
God is our only hope and eternal strength.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Attention All: Prayer Needed!

My Family and Friends,
I am homesick and downtrodden. The need is so great to rescue these children and I am overwhelmed by sadness. Pray for me that my strength my be strengthened and sound, my heart heart to push on, and my soul to weep and be healed.

I just had my adoption day and I have been moved to share some precious gifts, some insight into my past, that the Lord has blessed me with. And yet, for a reason I not yet know, I can not write. My heart is not ready to speak and my hands are held still. I must rely on God's timing and guidance in this matter.

Pray that I continue to hold on and push through this time of testing. I am working on some research at the moment for Paul's book and I have had such a hard time finding the answers I need. I am frustrated beyond compare. Satan is alive and well and working hard. PRAY PRAY PRAY...