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Is God guiding the man who has personally rescued some 40,000 baby girls from being killed? A possible angelic appearance may have some thinking yes.
Dr. Jim Garrow, a 2009 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of Pink Pagoda, a formerly secret organization saving girls from certain death under China’s one-child policy, relates an experience even before he started his teaching career that led him to China.
Garrow, who is Scottish by birth but was raised in Michigan and Canada, relates a strange incident when he was a teenager of 17.
“It makes me a little nervous to say that I am a person with some special spiritual presence,” Garrow writes in his brand-new book, “The Pink Pagoda.”
“My roots are most assuredly Christian, and I firmly believe that God inspires and guides my life. I also have to acknowledge that there have been too many events in my life where people – complete strangers, even – have told me that I have a powerful spiritual presence, and that I have been ‘chosen’ to do very important work.”
He says his teenage curiosity led him to attend “a spiritual gathering of sorts” in Windsor, Ontario, just across the border from Detroit, where the audience was both Canadian and American.
“The overall feel of the event was yoga-inspired, and people were sitting on their mats, deep in either contemplation or formal meditation. Some were chanting; some just sat quietly. I wasn’t there for the contemplative atmosphere. I was there because a friend of mine had said it would be ‘freaky’ and full of girls. Those were the only two reasons I needed to say yes.”
Upon Jim and his friend’s arrival at the gymnasium for the spiritual “happening,” Garrow says they sat down, observing other people around them, “when a woman who seemed to be directing everything suddenly stopped talking and began to look around the room. I started looking around, too, thinking there must be something special about to occur.”
The woman halted the event, saying, “I’m afraid we can’t proceed until we ask a very powerful presence to leave.”
Garrow thought to himself, “Wow, that sounded cool, and like everyone else, I started looking for whatever might be that ‘powerful.’ All I could think was that someone was definitely up the creek.”
“You, the young man in green; you need to leave,” the woman declared.
Garrow explains, “Now every head in the room was on the lookout for the guy in green, including my head. The search stopped right at my green shirt.”
“You have to leave, now,” the woman ordered once again.
“What, me? Why do I have to leave?” Garrow responded, noting he wasn’t being rude or angry. He simply just didn’t understand why.
The woman finally uttered: “You must leave, and take that giant angel with you.”
“Giant angel?” thought a perplexed Garrow. “All I could think about was Harvey the giant pooka, Elwood’s big, rabbit-eared, imaginary friend in the film ‘Harvey.’ I just thought it was funny, and freaky. I sat there for a minute or so, and my friend made it clear that he wasn’t going to leave just because I had offended some spirit.”
But the situation didn’t end there.
“I stood up to go,” Garrow continued, “and I swear that the room suddenly reminded me of one of those scary movies where everybody’s eyes seem to glow in an otherwise dark room. The room probably held a few hundred people, but mostly I noticed their eyes from several different vantage points in the room. They didn’t just seem to glow; it was more like I saw or felt hatred in their gazes. This was not the kind of freaky I expected or wanted any part of.”
He says he was barely at the threshold of the exit door when a man stopped him in his tracks, asking the teen, “Who are you?”
“I’m Jim Garrow,” he answered, adding it was clear the man didn’t believe him.
“No, no, no. I mean, who are you really?” the man asked a second time.
Garrow says, “We both stood there for what felt like at least three or four minutes, him checking me out, and me just wanting to check out of this place as fast as I could. After that, he simply went back inside the gymnasium and closed the door behind him. I stood there in disbelief, and then just walked away.”
Garrow says he also received encouragement in his youth from a “spiritual giant” named Axel Molema, a Belgian-born architect turned yoga instructor.
“He said that I had a significant destiny to fulfill, and that I would be guided. I can’t say that I truly understood or could even accept his words to the degree he must have meant them. Only when I got to China did I see the true flowering of his pronouncement. It wasn’t that I hadn’t had experiences in Canada and the United States that pointed in that direction, but it was China and its people and my schools and Pink Pagoda that gave me the clarity to understand – and accept – what people had been saying to or about me all those years. I know as deeply as I know that I’m a true Christian that I am guided and protected by a very powerful and benevolent presence. I also know that it took going to China for me to realize how profound that presence is.”
The fatal threat for baby girls in China stems from the national law imposing a maximum of one child per family, combined with the culture’s preference for sons, because they carry on the family name and care for their aging parents.
Garrow eventually became the fantastically successful chief of the Bethune Institute’s popular schools in China, and he began his 40,000 baby rescues in 2000 by personally intervening to save the niece of one of his co-workers.
Garrow leaves no doubt he feels his mission is guided from a higher realm.
“I will continue as God’s instrument, he says. “I will do whatever He asks, whatever is required.”
And as far as being specially chosen by God, Garrow says, “I just follow what seems to be His Word. What I don’t have is a big, giant angel standing next to me. Or maybe I just can’t see him.”