To call this group the Bindura ‘ladies’ is a little unfair, after all, there were two men. It’s just that the background stories from most of the women are so powerfully lodged in our hearts it’s difficult to stop them from floating to the foreground …
Stories of child brides forced into marriages with older men, leading to relationships littered with abuse and neglect of both wife and children. Although most of these women are ‘married’ – in reality they are widows of a customary lifestyle. They do not have live in husbands. Instead, several of them watch from a distance as their spouses enter a ‘Small House’ each evening … the term given for where Africa’s mistresses are housed in return for sexual favours.
Hungry and ragged children linger in the doorway of a dilapidated shack as they watch their father return ‘home’ each evening across the way – where he stays most of the time with another woman and the progeny of their love nest. Meantime their mother (his wife), hovers over a little paraffin stove preparing the meagre meal she has managed to scrape together. Stuffing her pain and anger, she pulls her eyes away from the sight of him to concentrate on the task at hand. A sad, but all too familiar picture in Africa.
Here are excerpts from some of the stories of different women:
“I was married at fifteen. My husband was continually unfaithful and we divorced. I married again, but my second husband has been jailed for raping his daughter, so I am now living with my parents.”
“I did not go to school for long because I had to look after my siblings. Later, I was forced into a child marriage with an older man. He now has a small house. I stay alone with our three children.”
“Pray for me, my heart is broken. My husband is not faithful, he is not satisfied with me. I am so confused, I don’t know what to do – but being here at FfF has helped very much.”
“I was married and gave my husband three daughters but he wanted a son. He took a small house, and the woman there has now given him a baby boy. Please pray for me, my heart aches with pain, he lives next door while I am trying to bring up our daughters alone.”
“Please pray for me, I have bitterness in my heart – my husband continuously cheats, it’s hard to forgive.”
“When my husband left us and went away with his girl friend it broke me. I started asking myself a lot of questions. What’s wrong with me? Now, being a single mother is the most difficult thing on earth, especially knowing that my husband is with someone else. He left us when his children needed him most. God help me to forgive.”
Many of the group were involved with a very strong sect. They loved God and wanted to follow Him, but were completely deceived. Upon starting the course, each was given their own bible. Many, if not most, had never been allowed to read a bible for themselves before. They were utterly amazed to discover how the Word read very differently to what they had been taught. Please pray that the wonderful two edged sword of God’s Living Word continues slicing through the lies and deception to reveal his truth and set them free.
Several came to accept Jesus and be baptized, but they now face powerful opposition back home. They left Clouds End carrying the Light of the World in their hearts, as well as the practical knowledge of what they had been taught about farming, families and finance. Many were bursting to share this knowledge and the precious life-giving treasure of the gospel with others, but it will require much prayer cover.
Please lift them before the Lord, they so need your prayers …
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