December, 2014—Twenty-year-old Sarah* from India finally has a reason to smile, but tears of pain still flow freely when she shares the story of her past life.
Married at the age of 12, Sarah gave birth to her first child as a mere teenager. What followed can only be described as a version of hell on earth.
Her husband was physically and sexually abusive, spending all of their income on alcohol and leaving little-to-no money for food for their family. When their third child arrived, her husband threatened to kill their newborn because he wanted a boy—not another girl. The abuse she and her daughters endured drove Sarah to the edge. She says she contemplated committing suicide and even taking the lives of her children too.
But God intervened.
The same night Sarah was considering death as an escape route from their horrible situation, she met a social worker who offered her another way out. Sarah was referred to a Samaritan’s Purse Canada partner organization instead.
That night, Sarah prayed to a God she didn’t know, and who has since become her reason to smile.
Sarah took her daughters and fled to our partner organization—a live-in shelter for abused women and children. Despite her husband’s threats to abduct their children if she didn’t return home with them, and even to sell Sarah for 50,000 INR (approximately $920 CDN), she stood her ground. And what initially was simply safe ground for Sarah has become sacred ground—the place where she and her children are not only secure, but have been introduced to Jesus Christ.
“I can see the difference in praying to Jesus,” she says, smiling while talking about her time so far at the shelter, and her growing faith. “I want to enjoy my children and see them get a good education. I want to forget my husband and think about the future.”
Sarah says she feels peace living there and is grateful for the food she and her family can eat every day. Thanks to Canadian donors like you, our partner organization is able to sustainably grow much of its own food to provide nutritious meals for the traumatized women and their children.
Sarah also works in the shelter’s production center making jewelry and handicrafts that are sold worldwide. Not only does Sarah earn a respectable wage, but any extra helps fund our partner’s work. She participates in regular counseling and adult education that is also offered for free. And every day she is getting to know Christ better by reading the Bible and praying.
Your support helps women like Sarah overcome life’s hardships and encounter the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6b, NIV).
*Name has been changed to protect privacy
The hardships women in the developing world face often leave them without hope. Through your generous gifts, Samaritan's Purse is working to restore the hope of women through programs aimed at increasing literacy, providing maternal health care, teaching livelihood skills, and stopping trafficking and prostitution.