Fellowship members pose for a picture after a meeting. Photo: Facebook/Heng Chun Christian Hospital

A group of Filipinas who, over the last 20 years have married men on Taiwan’s Hengchun Peninsula, have been gaining strength and support from peers and a hospital chaplain, helping them deal with being treated more like domestic workers than wives.

Chen Ming-chu who was a Filipino-Chinese specialist at Heng Chun Christian Hospital, together with the hospital’s chaplain’s office and a Finnish missionary Matika iner Leena Marjatta, founded the fellowship for newly arrived Filipina immigrant wives around 20 years ago. They did so after noting a rise in the number of Filipinas residing on the peninsula who frequently visited the hospital due to domestic violence and abuse, the China Times reported.

The pastor from the chaplain’s office, Lin Kun Yi, said the Filipinas were shouldering exorbitant financial responsibilities from their families in the Philippines and pressure from within their Taiwanese homes. Even worse was the social situation in which men thought they were “buying servants” rather than taking Filipina brides as their wives.

To ease the immigrants’ stresses, the hospital chaplain formed a fellowship for the vulnerable women where they would feel as welcome as if it were their second home, and also to provide spiritual and financial support in case of emergencies, added Lin.

Since all the Filipinas in the fellowship had jobs, mostly in hostels, they were not allowed to take leave to attend Sunday morning church services. To help out, the pastor arranged for a bible reading session on Wednesday nights, and a cell group meeting to take place on Saturday afternoons.

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