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'The day I started living'

Written by Tearfund | 24 Jul 2018

Sunrise, Kenya (Flikr: The Wandering Angel C.Comms)

Mary talks of an emptiness she felt in her life. As she describes it, she was ‘not living but merely existing’. This is the story of how she got her life back.       

She grew up in a small village in northern Kenya. She recalls that throughout her childhood, her mother and father were constantly fighting. Often, her mother would run away after the fights, leaving Mary and her siblings alone.         

Her education was frequently interrupted as her father kept moving away from home to graze animals, often for long periods of time.         

At the age of sixteen, her father forced Mary into an arranged marriage. ‘I cried for a long time,’ she remembers. ‘I was depressed and even thought of committing suicide.’       

In 2012, she was introduced by her priest, Rev Enkai, to a process known as Church and Community Transformation (CCT). It helps churches reach out into their communities and make a real difference. CCT empowers people to support themselves and their communities through opening small business ventures.         

Mary at work in the shop
Mary and her husband preparing food

L-R: Mary hard at work in the shop, with husband preparing food to sell.

‘The day I started living’         

Mr Enkai spoke on a passage from Genesis. Mary came to learn that she was made in God’s image and likeness. From feeling broken and rejected, she finally came to understand that she was loved and treasured by God – it was a revolutionary idea in her life.        

‘That’s the day I was born again,’ she remembers. ‘I decided to start living. I forgave my parents and sincerely experienced a healing of my soul.’       In another Bible study of Habakkuk, she was encouraged to write down the vision she had for her life – she begun realise that she could plan for the future; big plans.       

Gradually, Mary’s relationship with her husband improved. They began communicating and being open with each other. At one point, her husband sold a goat and gave Mary the proceeds. She used the money to begin a small business selling tomatoes, cabbages, kales and onions. Her business continued to grow, ‘by the grace of God, sacrifice and hard work.’ She added other basic items such as maize flour, salt, soap and matchboxes.

‘‘I decided to start living. I sincerely experienced a healing of my soul.’ ’

Paying forward the love       

Her new found skills and confidence are good news for her family, who are now able to eat regularly and have a far more secure future. That would be enough for many mothers. However, Mary wants to spread her gratitude wider than that.       

She has started up two women’s savings groups. As well as supporting each other financially, they meet fortnightly to study the Bible and pray for their families, community and nation.        

And, along with her family, Mary now, looks after three orphaned children, providing them with food and supporting them to go to school.      

Mary spends time each week working with the sick. She regularly visits an unmarried HIV positive woman who has been ostracised by the rest of the community. Mary encourages the woman to visit the hospital and supports her and her children with food.      

‘My passion is to do ministry like Christ did, with compassion and love,’ she declares. Because of the work of CCT, Mary’s life has been transformed. Without it, her story may have turned out very differently. In her own words: ‘It opened my eyes and the blue sky is the limit’.     

Please pray:

  • Please pray for the continued growth of Mary’s business and thank God for the impact that her service is having on the community.      
  • Please pray for women who are in a similar situation to Mary.     
  • Finally, please pray for the Church Community Mobilisation Process across the world. Pray that more and more people and communities will be positively touched by this work.      

Written by

Written by  Tearfund

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