In the spring of 1974, a newborn baby girl was found at a meat market in a small town in Taiwan. The baby’s crying attracted many people to gather around her. The crowd found that she was born with no arms, uneven legs, and a deformed body. They took her to the police. Some charities checked her out but did not offer help, while hospitals wanted to make her into a specimen for medical study as she dies soon, thinking that she wouldn’t live long. Pastor Yang, the founder of “Six Turtles Orphanage” adopted her and named her Grace because he believed that “since God doesn’t give her arms, she never has to bother doing housework in the future.” (Note)
No Pain No Gain
Former President of Taiwan, Mr. Chiang Ching-kuo, embraces Yang Grace
When Grace became a little older, she often asked her foster mother, Mrs. Yang, “When will God make my arms grow?” Mrs. Yang held her into her arms and prayed with her, telling Grace, “Having arms is not the issue. What matters is that you have us, mom, dad, brothers, and sisters, here in Christ who loves you dearly. If you ever have any needs, you can always ask your Heavenly Father who will surely help you.”
At age 3, Grace had a chance meeting with the Taiwan president at that time- Ching-kuo Chiang during his visit at the orphanage. Grace told President Chiang that she didn’t have any arms. The president encouraged Grace that she still has her feet that can do many things. This legendary moment was captured by a photo which was used on a postage stamp.
Because of the president’s encouragement, Grace started to learn to do skillful things with her feet. Her foster mother taught her how to use her feet to conduct many handy activities including cooking, bathing, writing, playing piano, making dumplings, and even doing makeup for herself. Her foster parents also taught her about the love of God and the bible. Grace did her best to learn and practiced everything: falling on the ground many times by practicing walking with her uneven legs; accidentally scrapping her skin to bleed by using a tool to pull her pants up by herself; strengthening her toes by relentlessly playing the piano; losing the ability to stand straight by over-bending her back to use her left foot.
At age 13, she underwent spine surgery and corrective procedure which gave her a good back but a bad depression. Excruciating pain came from drilling nails on her shaved head and knee and stretching her head up from her belly. Staying alone in the hospital for more than a month, Grace felt miserable and abandoned. Though her foster parents wanted to visit her badly, it was impossible for them to go due to one hundred orphans under their care. She painfully thought of her biological parents and wished that they would show up and visit her. (Note)
In the Grace of God
After Grace returned home from the hospital, she was diagnosed with depression and helped by a Christian psychiatrist. During her treatment, this psychiatrist showed her how she had met Pastor Yang and Mrs. Yang and her loving brothers and sisters at the orphanage home and even had the opportunity to learn all the skills such as painting and playing piano, just because she was left behind in the meat market. Her heart was melted by the grace of God and her depression disappeared! God has given her skillful feet to do many unthinkable things. Grace performed extremely well in school and graduated with honors. At 18 years old, she began to learn Chinese painting from the famous Chinese artists Master Dai-chien Chang and Ruei-tsung Wang, with her left foot. Later, she became so successful in her painting that she conducted many painting exhibitions, making a good profit for her to donate to her orphanage. She was also active in sharing the gospel to others by telling her life stories in schools, charities, prisons, and temples. In 2007, Grace even earned the honor of “Ten Outstanding Youth” in Taiwan.
Yang Grace stands in front of the bronze statue she made for Pastor Yang and Mrs. Yang
Years later, Grace met her husband, Chen, who was a car mechanic. Chen’s parents were moved by Grace’s loving character, kindness, joy, and independence though they were against them in the beginning. After marriage, Grace continued her career in painting while establishing her own family. God gave them a son and a daughter. As Grace traveled for her exhibitions and gospel outreach events, her husband became her driver while taking care of the family and her. Out of her gratitude to God, she said, “Without the love of God, this marriage would not happen and it is impossible for me to come so far. All my previous dating relationships didn’t turn out successfully due to the opposition of their parents. It makes sense for them to worry about taking care of a disabled person like me for life. Today, my husband and I work together at home in harmony. We share our family responsibilities. He cooks since he’s good at cooking while I can keep the house clean.”
Yang Grace’s family stood on the suspension bridge where Pastor Yang and Mrs. Yang held her and walked into the six-turtle orphanage
Grace also explained, “I teach my children to accept me as a different mother. We put ourselves at ease when others look at us differently. When it comes to teaching my kids painting, I only provide them with the concepts and methods. I like to encourage them to be creative and have fun.” After becoming a mother, Grace truly understands the love of a mother. She knows that her own mother must be in great pain when leaving her at birth. One time after a speech, Grace was led to a room where she met an ordinary family and found that they are her biological family. Grace’s mother told Grace in tears that she fainted during labor and woke up without her baby. Her father was so poor that he could not afford to raise a disabled child like her. In pain and guilt, he left Grace in the market, hoping that someone would pick her up. Before leaving, he watched from a corner to make sure that Grace was in good care. The couple even secretly visited Grace at the orphanage afterward. Reconnecting with her parents made her feel very fulfilled and grateful. Grace always says, “God did not give me my arms, yet He blessed me lots of good things: the most loving parents in the world, a pair of capable legs, many patient teachers, and a joyful heart to embrace the world.” (Note)
Grace’s life has been greatly fulfilled. Is your life fulfilled too?