As I was visiting homes in the Stung Mean Chey garbage dump, I had the privilege of meeting a young mom and her new little daughter. There is a Cambodian tradition, or so I am told, that if a very special visitor comes to see a newborn baby, they are given the privilege of choosing a name for the baby. I was given that honour and after a little discussion we decided on the name, Hannah, as this family are Christians. The family name is Ros (pronounced rose) and they found it quiet delightful that it sounded like “Hosannah”. Of course I am a little cynical, and since the second part of the tradition is that the person naming the baby also has to give it a gift, I suspect this child may well have several names. But that is not my point.

My point is this. During my five hour bus ride home from Singapore I was reading a great book called I Heard a Voice written by Vinita Shaw, the CEO of TWR-India and in the book there was a quote from Mother Teresa that ran “If a child is not safe in a mother’s womb, where on earth will s/he be safe?”

So much of what I have seen in the past year, makes me wonder if there has ever been a time in which a child has been so unsafe in their mother’s womb. With mothers either choosing or being forced into abortion at alarming rates, abortion being used as routine birth control or to protect the income of those who prosper from the sex trade, unborn babies permanently damaged by the use of drugs and alcohol, pregnant women too hungry or ill for their bodies to protect their babies, babies contracting HIV/AIDS or developing fetal alcohol syndrome, and angry fathers deliberately abusing their pregnant wives, are there any safe wombs anymore?

I believe there is no deeper pain than for a mother to see her baby suffer or die and that no mother is immune from that pain no matter how deeply it is buried. Even when that is a decision that is, on the surface, one that is fully sanctioned by the laws of the land and surgically carried out, and may even appear to make sense when the baby has apparently very little prospect for a happy, healthy life, the mother still faces a lifetime of pain, guilt and regret.

It is a privilege to have a small part in Project Hannah which seeks to reach out to young women and mothers who are living without hope, feeling unloved and alone, to let them know they are precious in the sight of God. I will have more news of my deepening involvement with this program in the days to come. But for now I would ask for your prayers for the women of this region, and the particular challenges that they face in ensuring the safety of the precious life they carry.