Though her story is full of injustice and suffering it is impossible to spend even a moment with thirteen year old Anita* and not be overcome by the joy, hope and love of Jesus that flow through her.
As a toddler, Anita’s father left her and her family for another women. Shortly thereafter, her mother and brother were killed in an accident and Anita was forced to live with her father and stepmother. When she was seven, her father died and Anita was left in the hands of her stepmother. She was no longer allowed to go to school. She was forced to sleep on a mat on the floor when the other children in the family slept in beds. She was given porridge to eat when everyone else was eating rice and beans. As she tells her story, she says, “I was thankful. Even though I didn’t have a bed and didn’t always have food, at least I had a place to live.”
Anita’s stepmom physically abused her. The details are unimaginable. One day, Anita was wrongfully accused of stealing. She was beaten almost to the point of death. Anita was able to go to the police who then went to her stepmother and said if she paid them, they would take Anita away. Her stepmother agreed, and so Anita was brought to one of the M facilities. ”I must always follow Jesus…. when it is easy and even when it is hard” Anita says in her sweet, soft voice.
Thankfully, her story doesn’t end there. When I think of Anita I can’t help but recall the story of Joseph and how what others meant for evil, God meant for good. When we visited the facility last week, our team met Anita. We talked, played and laughed with her. We hugged her tightly and reminded her that God has not forgotten about her. Please pray with us for sweet Anita; there are big things on the line for her in the coming days.
Though it has been full of heartbreak, we believe her story will be one of beautiful redemption….
*name changed for security reasons