Chairwoman Anna Huang
The Joy of Giving
When I talk about why I took on this job to care for orphans, it always brings up my own personal story. When I was in second grade of elementary school, my mother passed away in the winter after battling cancer for many years. In my distant childhood memories, for many years, my mother was almost always in her sickbed. Only one dim lamp lit the dark bedroom at night, and her soft moans of pain filled the silence. These brought a sense of hopelessness to my young mind.
Due to our lack of financial resources to treat my mother’s illness, my father borrowed a lot of money from family and friends. However, as the medical expenses mounted, my father became increasingly unable to repay the debts, and gradually, family and friends starting losing touch. After my mother’s passing, we did not have a stable home base due to my father’s constant traveling for work. My father had to entrust me to the care of other family members. At first, I alternated between my aunt’s house which was close to my old home and the home of my older, married sister. Later, as the days went on, I had to go back home and live with my father, with whom I developed a very close bond. However, being extremely busy with work, my father seldom had time to take care of me or provide for my basic meals. Often due to his working late into the night, I would not have a good meal during the day and often went hungry.
Trying to come up with a temporary solution, my father told me that if he weren’t home by nightfall, that I should fill up an empty can with rice and take it to the neighbors, asking them to let me join them for dinner and stay until my father picked me up around midnight. In my memories, my father would often wake me from my slumber in the neighbors’ bed, and then I would half-sleepwalk back home with my father.
I remember in the winter of fourth grade, with my older brothers’ hard-earned personal savings and the selling of our old house property and small farmland, my father was finally able to pay off the debts from my mother’s medical expenses. Afterwards, my family moved from our hometown in Changhwa to Taipei.
The blessed helping hand
These somber circumstances in my childhood made me feel bad about myself and inadequate until I met Ms. Chien in the first year of my junior high. She taught English at an orphanage, and upon learning my background, she invited me to her home once a week and voluntarily reviewed my schoolwork with me. She also gave me an allowance of NT$10 and took me to church. That was the first time I heard about Jesus, and the first time in my lonely childhood that I felt such kind love from a stranger.
Growing up in poverty, my brothers and I aspired to make good money as adults, significantly improve our living conditions, and “return to our hometown in silken robes” as the Chinese saying goes. Thus, I took on my first job as a newspaper girl and subsequently became a store clerk, salesperson, snack vendor, and street vendor by night. Along with my two eldest brothers, we worked hard to earn money.
Around that time, one of my brothers decided to pursue a business in selling medical equipment and I happily joined him in this endeavor. I was in charge of developing the hospital market of our expanding client base, delivery, and payment collection. My brother did research, product improvements, and found factories for outsourcing manufacture. With our joint efforts, we successfully entered the export market. Years later, our dream became reality as my brothers and I amassed some fortune and escaped the bonds of poverty that bound us for most of our lives.
Soon after, one of my brothers bought a large (9,900 sq. meters) piece of land in Yang Ming Shan, planning to build his future home with a swimming pool. Then right around that time, after years of overwork, he was diagnosed with cancer. Less than two years later in the fall season, soon before the completion of his dream house, he breathed his last.
During his final days, when we brought him back home from the hospital, even the youngest of his four children could put things in perspective. At ten, through tears he cried, “Dad, why were you so foolish to work yourself to death for money?” That year, I cried out all my tears. This sudden loss made me personally experience the meaning of the words in the Bible, Matthew 16:26, “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?”
Life’s Turning Point
After losing a beloved brother, the days ahead were hard and miserable. During Christmas of 1981, my friends brought me to the Nanking East Road Church. With the grace of God, I came to have faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. Afterwards, through the church’s Bible studies, I met Mrs. Hsu, whom at the time was the president of the former Taipei Orphan Welfare Association. During Christmas, Mrs. Hsu would often lead other mothers from our church to bring presents to orphanages in Taipei. Parties and other events were organized each year in honor of orphanage teachers and scholarships were presented to orphaned children. Throughout the years, I enjoyed volunteering alongside Mrs. Hsu, helping her run errands and delivering presents.
Mrs. Hsu turned 80 in 1988, and her biggest wish was to pass on her job at the orphan welfare association to a suitable, younger successor, to continue the work in supporting orphans and spreading the love of God. With the help of close friends at the church, I redefined the focus of my life pursuits – “Besides making money, there ought to be other endeavors on earth that are even more worth pursuing.” I thought back to more than 40 years ago on the loving care Ms. Chien so generously gave me. Her love and support helped me build my confidence and gave me new values, transforming me from a withdrawn, pessimistic child to someone with courage to face unexpected changes in life.
After praying to God and under His loving guidance, I took on the opportunity to succeed in this position, with hopes to draw people in kindness and mobilize social resources to collectively and effectively provide care for orphaned children.
Dear friends, there are many children around us who need our help. I sincerely invite you to join our efforts to comfort these children scarred by the traumatizing loss of one of both parents. if you know any orphans who need assistance, please feel free to contact us. So, together, we can help them restore happiness in their personal development journey.