When Pastor Talon first stepped foot in a distant village nearly 15 years ago, he hauled film equipment on his head. He and the other members of his GFA film ministry team had trekked across a river and into a remote, mountainous region to share Jesus with people who had not yet heard of His love.
As frigid winds sliced through the cracks and holes of Mael and Ulla’s stone-and-wood cottage, the sound of their daughters’ voices alerted the GFA pastor and his wife. The girls couldn’t sleep because they were cold.
The Rwandan sun shone outside the open door of Idalene’s home as she watched her little grandson and her three youngest children. They eagerly devoured the beans, veggies and rice she’d finally managed to scrape together, after a day and a night of nothing.
Radu knew he must return home. His wife, Sadia, was severely ill. Perhaps it brought back memories of another time when the threat of death loomed over a loved one while he was far away, spurring him to rush home. That trip had ended in tragedy. Would this one the same outcome? If it did, it would be yet another entry in a long timeline of hardship for Radu.
Once again, Gunda pleaded with her son to let her live with him, but once again, he turned her down. Once again, the widow saw a lonely life of toil ahead, a life with little support from others. It seemed that sorrow, disappointment and rejection stretched before her. Would she always be alone, struggling to survive?
Petrina didn’t know which was worse, the constant itching that covered her body or the pain in her stomach. Both plagued her as she struggled to complete her everyday tasks. When her stomach pains became severe, she was forced to immediately leave her work and lay down.
Donatus had many children and a wife to provide for, so he did his best to lead them. An old man, he had been faithful to his traditional religion all his life. His wife and eldest son, Jedrek, were also very devout. One of his other sons, Byurak, chose to follow Christ, became a national missionary and spoke often with his father about his faith, but Donatus stood firm.
Before Pastor Pesach stood Sima, a young man with swollen eyes. Sima’s mother, who attended Pesach’s church, wanted Pesach to pray for him. It probably wasn’t the first time someone would ask Pesach to pray for their family member, and it wouldn’t be the last. Regardless, Pesach couldn’t have known that praying for this one man would be one more link in a chain reaction, a chain reaction that had started many years earlier when Pesach was a young man himself.
Once again, Saadet measured out her single ration of rice. Once again, she placed it in an isolated vessel. Once again, she cooked alone. In perpetual mourning and separation, Saadet was one widow among 258 million worldwide, and she was helpless and alone. Would her plight ever change? Or was she destined to live out the rest of her days trapped in loneliness and want?
Nantai’s mother looked on, her heart heavy, as her son lay comatose in the hospital. He had suffered from severe dizzy spells for some time, but now his life hung in the balance, as did his soul. His parents had come to know Jesus when Nantai was a child and had taken Nantai to church regularly, but as a teenager, he had stopped going to church, preferring to hang out with his friends. He had ignored their advice and lived recklessly. What would become of him now?