April 12, 2012
The following is a guest post from Amanda Carpenter. Amanda volunteers with the CFA administrative team in Kenya, helping with empowerment and reporting.
As I was looking through my notes from a day of home visits in the slums of Kia-ndutu, I asked myself how to write a client’s story so that you as a reader are able to experience what has happened in their life. I’d like to share one particular story of redemption, grace, and repentance in a woman from Kia-ndutu whose life has been forever changed as a client in the CARE for AIDS program.
Lucy Wairimu is 47 years old, married, childless, HIV+ and is currently in the third month of the CFA program. At the age of 17, she ran away from home and moved to Mombasa, where desperation led her to eventually turn to prostitution. She said she didn’t want to feel anything, so over time she became a drug addict. Lucy lived in this vicious cycle for 17 years. She had no idea she was HIV+ until 2008 but wondered why she kept getting sick. Unable to afford to go to the doctor or get medicine, and with no understanding of HIV/AIDS or how it is transmitted, she kept living as before. In between her prostitution jobs she would wash clothes to earn extra income, and, searching for something to make herself feel better, she even tried being a Buddhist. Anytime she saw something that might make her feel accepted, she jumped in headfirst.
Eventually Lucy decided she could make a better living trafficking drugs from Mombasa to Tanzania. She would eat the drugs or hide them in her body to get them across the border. She did this for about a year before she got caught at the border one day and was sentenced to 3 years in prison. She had been in and out of prison 17 times by this point for various crimes, so she says it felt like her second home. Talking about her past, Lucy started crying and buried her head in her hands.
This shame led her to believe that she could never be accepted by a program in a church, but she was surprised to be welcomed at the CARE for AIDS center in Kia-ndutu with open arms. Lucy was raised to believe the truth and knows a lot of Scripture, but she had never accepted Christ as her personal Savior. Finding a place of comfort in the center, she asked lots of questions and told the counselors about her fear of going back to her former life. More than anything, she wants to be transformed.
Just a few weeks ago, the Regional Coordinator Francis and I met with Lucy. She told me something I will never forget: knowing what Jesus sacrificed on the cross for her, she was afraid that if she accepts Him, but then rebels, she will hurt or disappoint Jesus. We explained that this is what grace is all about. Even when we mess up, Jesus extends His grace to us over and over again. We talked for 2 hours with Lucy, and we asked her if she would like to become a child of God. She shook her head with tears rolling down her cheeks and said yes, today is the day. Francis led her through a prayer of salvation, and we all joined around her in prayer, even her mom. That day in that one-room home, we experienced true repentance, restoration, and forgiveness.
We are thankful that Lucy has 6 more months with CARE for AIDS. Pray that the Lord will use the program to encourage her and spur her on to her new life in Christ. She needs to be able to stand strong even when her husband discourages her by making her think she chose the wrong religion. In the midst of all the other components of the program, Lucy is learning her how to trust the Lord in everything.
Please join us in praising God for the eternal change that has taken place in Lucy’s life! Over the next six month, Lucy will continue to receive counseling, home-based care, empowerment seminars, and the tools that she needs to live an empowered life full of hope. We look forward to sharing with you more about her growth in the future!