Joan’s Story

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Leaving her children wasn’t something she had ever planned to do. But when her husband left her to care for all of them alone, she found that she didn’t have the means to provide for them. So she split them up and left them to stay with different relatives and neighbors, and she went to find work in another place. And her daughter Joan was left to stay with a woman named Rose.

As the years went by, Joan grew a hardness in her heart because of being left by her parents, especially her mom. Slowly, Joan’s sadness turned into anger and she grew resentful about having to stay with Rose. She wasn’t performing well in school, and her confidence had diminished. 

When Joan started coming to The Amazima School in 2017, her countenance was usually downcast and fearful. She rarely met an adult’s gaze, and her feet dragged along the ground as she walked with her head hanging. But as the months passed with Joan being in a safe environment and being consistently shown love by her mentors and teachers, she began to make friends. She also began to really understand the love Jesus has for her specifically and started to understand the gospel and grace. The shy and reserved girl that came at the start of the school year began to laugh and joke around. She joined the basketball team and found joy in her ability to play well. Her grades even began to dramatically improve! 

But even though Joan began to feel safe and loved, there was still a deep wound in her heart; the wound caused by abandonment. As she learned about the forgiveness that Jesus gave freely to her, she started to wrestle with what it would mean to forgive people in her own life.

In her second year at The Amazima School, Joan decided to make a public declaration of her new faith in Jesus Christ and be baptized. Everyone was excited for Joan! It was easy to see her incredible external transformation because of the initial internal transformation that had happened in her heart.

As the day approached, her mentor Jackie thought about how important it would be for Joan’s mom to be there for her baptism. She decided that she would find her, and after a few weeks of visits with people and with the help of a social worker, she did just that. Jackie told her about Joan’s desire to get baptized, and invited her to come and be part of the celebration. Joan’s mom excitedly agreed. 

The day Joan got baptized was the first time she had seen her mom in a long time. It was full of hesitant but joyful hugs, and cheerful shouts as Joan went down in the water to be buried with Christ and raised to walk in the newness of life! 

As Joan prepared to go home for the holidays, her mom made arrangements to stay at a place nearby so that she could be with Joan while she was out of school. Everyone wondered if this would remain consistent, and it is a joy to share that Joan has not seen another holiday without staying with her mom. It took some time and some help from Jesus, but their relationship has mended slowly. When you visit their home now, you will find the two of them laughing together. We know that restored relationships like this would hardly be possible without first being restored to Christ. Praise God for this gift, the gift of restoration! 

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