China (MNN) — There are an estimated half a million orphans in China according to the government. Melodie Zhang of Children's Hope International believes there are likely even more than that. A portion of these children have been abandoned because their families cannot take care of them when they need expensive medical care.
Eighty percent of China's population makes a living by farming. The average yearly income for a farmer is equivalent to US $300. With that income, it would take more than four years to pay for heart surgery if one child in a family needed it.
Children's Hope International is helping children from poor families in China so that they will not be abandoned. "We do fundraising to raise funds to help the children in desperate, desperate need to get surgery," said Zhang.
Children's Hope International helps between 500 and 700 children each year by providing surgery. More than half of the surgeries are heart surgeries that are the most expensive and cannot be put on hold. They also do cleft lip and palette, and ambiguous genitalia surgery. They also respond to occasional emergency medical situations.
It costs equivalent to one million U.S. dollars each year to provide the surgeries. "There are so many more children; 800,000 to 1,200,000 with birth defects every year. So there's this vast need there," said Zhang.
Sharing the Gospel is done in subtle ways, says Zhang, since it is not possible to do so blatantly. She said, "What we can do is to give them the best care and show them love. And while doing it, we can talk to the family members, and later on just by helping and building a relationship and share that later." In the past, they have shared the Gospel over dinner with 2-3 doctors with whom they've worked with for several years.