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A Future and a Hope

By Odette Nahimana

I was living as an outcast in my own community, with no worth. Because of a physical disability which crippled my hands and made walking difficult, I had to beg for food.  It was a miserable life, made even worse when the famine came. I was like the lame man in the Bible, lying helpless by the temple gate. 

In the story in Acts 3, that man was begging just like me. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked them for money. But instead, Peter took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was healed. 

Just like the man in that story, I needed someone to take my hand.

A group of Christians began to disciple me and others like me, and taught us how to pray. We met every Tuesday to pray and to talk about community development. I began to hope that I could live in this world like any other person. Not just survive, but thrive.

Charcoal was distributed to us to start a small business. Selling this valuable resource allowed me to provide food and shelter for myself, with enough left over to help others in need. Then we were given Irish potatoes to plant, and the harvests were so plentiful that we had enough to take home to plant in our own gardens. The only problem was that I had no land of my own. Miraculously, someone offered to let me use a portion of their garden for myself. I planted forty kilograms of potatoes. I harvested four hundred kilograms! 

I have changed fully. I walk and talk with more confidence and strength. I no longer beg. In fact, I am able to bless others with what God has given me. I am no longer the way I was. I can testify about Jesus to others, that he has transformed my life and is using me to transform the lives of others. Perhaps one day he will even deliver me from my disability. But right now I pray that people will see past my disability, into the future and the hope that God has for us all.

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