Anna came to my office in tears. Her eyes were swollen from crying for several hours. She walked two hours to our office, desperate to find help. She explained to me that she had arrived in Uganda six months before after the soldiers came to her village one evening. They killed her husband and raped her for several days in front of her two children, and they then burned down her family’s home. As a result of being raped, Anna contracted HIV.
Now Anna near me and explained that she came to Uganda in search of peace. Unfortunately, she continued to experience hardship and suffering in Uganda, because she did not have the vocational or language skills to get a job.
Anna had lived through in one year what no one should experience in a lifetime. Her needs were overwhelming and complex. As I listened, I prayed for Anna and for God’s provision of wisdom of what to do next. I felt led to give Anna and her family an emergency food bag, and I invited her to apply for our new vocational training program. I explained to her that although we could not give her money to help with rent and food, the training would provide her with the skills needed to support herself and her family.
I felt led to give Anna a Bible, and I shared that God is with her and loves her. I told her that we care about her and she is welcome here at our center. Tears came to her eyes, and a big smile spread across her face. She explained that she did not have a Bible anymore since their family’s Bible had been destroyed in the fire, and then Anna said, “ THANK YOU!! Thank you. The food is good, but it will only feed me for days. This Bible is the word of God that will feed me for life. Thank you.”
Anna returned to my office one week later to turn in her application for the new training program. She was proud and excited. This time she had a big smile on her face. She said “ my kids wanted me to tell you, “God bless you. God has now come back into our home. We read the Bible every day, pray and sing together.” Anna then shared with me a beautiful worship song in her language. Tears came to my eyes as I reflected on the profound work that God was already doing in Anna’s life to restore hope and create in her something new.
Anna has enrolled in the cooking and sewing vocational training program. She is now a part of a community of women who pray with her and encourage and support her. I am thankful to minister with and among women like Anna, who have often hope due to overwhelming circumstances and the abuse they have endured, but who now have restored hope in the God who created them, loves them and is with them.
Missy Ward Angalla serves in Uganda as a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel. She is the refugee women’s advocacy coordinator with Refuge and Hope International. This post first appeared on her blog, Missy in Uganda.