Li’s roommate, 23-year-old Anna An, also bucks the trend by wanting to have more children in the future. How many exactly? “There’s no upward limit,” she replied with a laugh. “I think four would be nice.”
An grew up as an only child, moving from city to city as her mother went through two divorces and three marriages. She remembers being very rebellious and harboring a hatred toward her mother for causing so much instability. In college she started pondering the meaning of her existence, reading books on philosophy and psychology. One day her professor, a Jehovah’s Witness, invited her to a Bible study, and she was intrigued—the Bible seemed interesting and the people were kind.
But after two years, she felt something was missing from the message of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Because the group viewed Jesus as only a man, she felt “salvation by grace” was meaningless, and she eventually left the group.
Emptiness gnawed at her, so she chased adventure and excitement. She scaled snow-covered mountains, toured Hainan island, and rode a motorcycle 1,200 miles from Lhasa in Tibet to Qinghai in Sichuan. All the while, she feared the empty feeling that she knew would encompass her once she returned to her silent apartment. “I felt like I needed to accomplish these things to sustain me,” An said. “Without it, I didn’t know why I existed.”
A co-worker invited An to Early Rain last July, and she agreed to come. That Sunday, the pastor shared at the pulpit about how he too had left Jehovah’s Witnesses and discovered the real Jesus. Intrigued, An kept going to church and began to see how the sin inside her ran so deep that she couldn’t save herself. She needed Jesus.
After professing Christ, An watched as the chasm between her lifestyle and that of her peers grew. As former classmates chased satisfaction by sleeping around (at times with married men), having abortions, and cheating on their significant others, An spent her time attending Bible studies, visiting the sick, and joining the church’s pro-life ministry. She wanted to learn more about the Bible’s teaching on the sanctity of life and help friends facing unplanned pregnancies.
Before professing Christ, all of An’s friends predicted that with her hedonistic and hopelessly romantic personality, she would likely continue to marry and divorce as she found better men—not unlike her mother. “Now I find that frightening,” An said. “Thankfully, that’s no longer me.”