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Mothers, God hears your cry

Being a full time mother is not an easy job, especially in Taiwan where couples often live with their in-laws.

Young mothers not only need to care for their children, husband, and elderly in-laws but also need to fulfil the role of a good “xifu” (daughter-in-law), which includes worshipping the ancestors. Women in Taiwan play a very complicated role in the family. When they marry into a family and live with their in-laws, they are still often considered outsiders, especially before they have children. The situation does not change much until they become mothers-in-law themselves.

A xifu has the responsibility of worshipping her husband’s ancestor. Although young mothers may not agree with all the ancestor worship rituals, she is the one who is expected to learn from her mother in-law how to do ancestor worship and other kinds of worship duties so she can carry on the responsibility when her mother-in-law has passed away. Year after year, she does as she is told, even though she does not have the same family name as the ancestors she worships.

Generation after generation, the “po-xi” (mother-in-law/daughter-in-law) relationship is usually the most difficult to maintain in the family. Many mothers long for someone to hear about their struggles, or give them a few words of appreciation. But husbands usually can’t understand their wife or are caught in the middle between their mother and wife, not knowing what to do.

Lynn is a mother of two young children. She has been staying at home caring for her children since they were born. She lives with her mother-in-law and they do not get along very well. Every time we meet, Lynn has something to complain about her mother-in-law. She wishes her husband would try to understand her life and give her some encouragement. “Every time I try to tell him my feelings, he thinks I am making a fuss and tells me not to bother him,” Lynn said. Another young mother understood what she was saying because her husband behaves the same way. “I wish he could just listen and try to understand”

“Our heavenly Father understands, He always wants to listen to you and help you,” I told them and offered to pray with them.

Although Taiwanese women are responsible for the ancestor worship in the family, they are the ones with soft hearts and tend to be more open to the gospel. They long to be heard and this could be a turning point in their lives when they hear and know that God wants to listen and does care about them.

There are so many issues in Taiwanese families and we know that God can offer them help and hope in their marriage and family. We pray that through hearing the gospel, the mothers can know that they are valuable in the Father’s eyes and that God hears their cry.

Annie Laurinkari – Zhongpu

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