This is a story we received from our partners on the ground in the village of Nyamlel in Sudan. Through them, you are helping us provide for women like Asunta. Make sure you read it all the way through to see the photo of Asunta after her life was changed by God’s love…
There are thousands of tragic stories in war-torn Sudan of innocence lost, senseless deaths, and brutal deprivation . This is one of those stories that has ended in hope…
Another open-air truckload of former slaves and refugees had made their way to the village of Nyamlel in Sudan. Battered old women and young, once beautiful, girls climbed down from their perch high atop the bags of grain. The only way these women could buy passage out of the killing fields of the North was to sit on top of the 50 kg. bags of grain and sugar for many days, exposed to the desert sun.
A guard sat atop the bags with the women to ensure they did not rip into the bags for a few morsels of lifesaving nutrients. Many did not survive the journey. Their fight for freedom was rewarded with one final indignation: the guard rolled their bodies from the top of the truck to drop on the desert floor without even slowing the vehicle.
As the worn women climbed down from the truck, our partners on site followed them to a local compound where many hoped to find refuge. Hundreds of women were trying to live in a space designed for 10.
The local Chief was in the midst of the women. The Chief was asked what the community could do to help the returning women begin to make a new life in Nyamlel. Hebegan yelling about having too many women to care for.
Then a small figure stirred next to him. Her face was thickly scared from long, deep incisions. She was almost bald, and her eyes were like the eyes of a dead fish, no life, no expression – dead.
When asked her name, she said, “Asunta.” The Chief quickly asserted she was one of “them” that he had taken in, but he already had 11 wives and she was “like a noose around his neck.” Asunta’s eyes revealed nothing, but her head hung low in shame.
Our partners asked the Chief if she could return to New Life Ministry with them and share her story. Gladly, he agreed: “one less noose” for his neck.
Once safe, Asunta moved quietly throughout the day. She never spoke or interacted with any of the other women. Our partners asked Asunta if they could have tea and hear her story.
She told of the day her village was raided and her husband murdered – but not until he had been beaten and forced to witness her be brutally raped by many men. She was genitally mutilated and bitten so that if she escaped, no other man would want her because she was “marked.”
As tears streamed down the faces of those listening to the story, Asunta’s eyes were still blank. There was no “connect” with anyone – or her story.
As Asunta expressed her story of oppression and slavery, our partners asked, “Do you have a faith or belief?” Asunta simply said with those same dead eyes, “Christian. Muslim. What does it matter? There has never been a God for me.”
Asunta stayed on their compound and entered the Slave Repatriation Ministry that we help support through Mocha Club. Her children entered the school that we also help support. After a couple of weeks, her former “master” tracked her down. He came to the compound demanding that they give him his “property.” The children she bore while his sex-slave were his “property” too, he said.
Our partners met with the man and heard his demands. Asunta sat nearby listening to his assaults on her character for escaping. Finally she stood. Asunta cried out, “Don’t send me back there! Don’t make me go with him! Please just kill me here rather than send me back with him!”
The man was sent away. He made threats and promised to return. He caused much trouble; however, our team prayed, held their ground, assured Asunta that they would protect her and her children. In the end, the man returned to the North.
About a month later, Asunta showed up for the women’s Bible study. A mission team had come to lead a course filled with prayer, study, dance and play. Asunta was participating, drawing pictures and singing. And then life started to slowly seep back into her eyes! At first she started dancing. Then, as days passed, she began to smile – pure radiance.
Asunta has stayed in the ministry for two years now. In the Bible study this year, she declared, “All of us who are widows are the blessed ones, because Jesus is my husband and He is father to my children. Who could be better than that?”