Imani grew up in a loving home in East Africa. She had dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor, and her parents supported her ambitions. But her life came to a screeching halt when her parents unexpectedly passed away. Imani was only a teenager.
Devastated and orphaned, Imani went to live with her aunt and uncle in a rural town, hoping that she would still be able to attend school. But girls in rural parts of her home country are often prevented from pursuing an education, and Imani’s aunt, Syandene, kept her at home to work. Her aunt also secretly forced her to practice witchcraft and threatened to kill Imani if she told her uncle. This went on for months, and Imani thought there was no escaping this life she felt trapped in.
One day, Syandene sent Imani out to fetch water from a nearby well. When she arrived, there were two other women also fetching water. Their names were Ruth and Amidah, and they were Christians. The women began talking to Imani and asking her about her life. Imani was lost and hurting and was comforted by the kindness of these two women. Ruth and Amidah then began to tell Imani about Jesus, how He is well acquainted with grief and loved the world so much that He died for sins. Tears welled up in Imani’s eyes as she thought about the loss of her parents and the witchcraft she had practiced. She was drawn to this redemptive love. When the women asked Imani if she wanted Jesus in her life, she answered, “Yes!” Imani fell down sobbing as Ruth and Amidah prayed over her.
Meanwhile, Syandene anxiously waited for Imani to come home. She eventually set out to look for Imani and found her talking to Ruth and Amidah, two known Christians. Syandene was furious and yelled at Imani. She disowned her niece right then and there and refused to let her come home. Syandene stormed off and left Imani at the well. Imani was already orphaned, and now her aunt kicked her out of the house. What was she going to do now?
Ruth and Amidah were not about to let their new sister in Christ become homeless. They took her in and gave her a place to live. Imani was welcomed into a new family, a family of Christ followers who loved her and helped her deepen her faith. Imani was also able to enroll in school and pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. With Jesus, Imani found peace and community, and she is looking ahead to a brighter future.
Names have been changed for security purposes.
Receive the Latest Updates from the Field
To get stories, news, and more, sign up to receive ministry updates from East-West.