The team sat glued - time had lost its importance! What had us captivated was a story, not any story but the story of a young lady who had persevered through a trial of immense proportion. We had invited M... to come and share with us as a team, six days after her release.
Claiming innocence yet sentenced to seven years. We saw this young mum and her baby enter the prison and begin the long journey. From dislocation, separation, humiliation and grief; so much lost yet, in the darkest of places the discovery of a new hope and abiding fellowship in Christ that became a strength to her, and her family.
We listened to the journey of learning how to be thankful in the face of crushing discouragement, gratitude in the face of loss, worship in the adversity of rejection. In spite of the roughness of the prison, God filled her with a gentle and quiet spirit that became a strength to so many of her fellow inmates. Her actions in faith were inspiring and real.
Listening, we also saw that the raw pain of the long struggle was real and there were many tears shed and shared in the re-telling. Being a new mother inside prison added to the challenges that she faced. This lady served five years and nine months before being acquitted of all charges and finally walked free. But freedom is only the beginning of a new struggle around the realities of now rebuilding life, livelihood and relationships.
What we celebrate is the secure foundation she found in faith and how that was activated in her day-to-day life. What M... celebrated was how the OF Team supported her with relationship, integrity, and consistency. Without M... being aware these are three of our core values that had been active in her ongoing support and growth.
Listening to M...'s story has provided the team with deeper insights and renewed joy in God's redemptive story. We share it with you as an encouragement of all that God is capable of doing in a young woman's life, who came to prison worshipping idols and left sharing the testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ.