Like many girls across the globe, Patma (age 11) and Saba (age 7), have endured more hardship than most of us will know in a lifetime. Their resilience, courage, and willingness to grab onto hope is a testament to the spirit God puts in each of us.
Patma’s father was an alcoholic and chronically unemployed. Her mother’s salary supported the family but her father resented it. He forcibly took her earnings and beat her. The situation worsened over time until one day, a fight turned deadly, and her father poured kerosene on her mother and lit her on fire. Patma could not find a way to stomp out the flames and watched helplessly as her mother burned alive.
After the incident Patma was sent to live with relatives in a neighboring village. Life did not get better, however. She was forced to drop out at school and kept as a household slave. Her relatives did not feed her and provide for her basic needs. She begged for food from neighbors.
The local court finally met to decide matters relating to Patma and her siblings welfare and her father’s conviction. The police interrogated her and pressed her to give a false statement. She feared more harm if she told the truth. Yet Patma stood with courage and spoke the truth, in spite of the consequences. After making her statement, she insisted they allow her to study someplace other than her village. The court placed Patma in an orphanage far from her home.
Saba’s father believed in her. He said she’d grow up to be a good and honest police officer. Unfortunately, he succumbed to AIDS. And fortunately, no one else in the family was infected. However, after the father died, the family lived in the worst of impoverished conditions. Her mother tried to meet Saba and her siblings’ physical needs, but they continued to be deprived of adequate nutrition and shelter. Saba’s mother was forced to send them away to the orphanage.
Two girls with extreme trauma histories are now in the same orphanage, and the same David C Cook J127 Club, the Shalom Club. And miraculously, both are thriving.
Initially Saba struggled with school since she had never attended. However, she remembers her father’s dream and confidence in her and always strives to do her best. The story of Jesus and Zacchaeus, within the J127 lesson “Friends Forever,” made an indelible impression on Saba. After this lesson she gave her heart to Jesus and now counts Him as her best friend. She knows she is very dear to Jesus, and that He loves her more than anyone else in her life. She eagerly pursues this friendship through studying her Bible and prayer.
Patma arrived at the orphanage fearful. She trusted no one. Slowly and persistently, the Lord pursued her and eventually she invited him into her heart. He was the first person she trusted. Patma loves being part of the Shalom Club. She hungers to learn more about Jesus. She willingly shares her thoughts and is an amazing role model for the younger children. Patma also leads prayer and worship times at the orphanage. She, too, hopes to become a police officer.
Please pray for these two girls, that they would continue to grow in faith, hope and love. Pray for their future as well, that God would use them mightily and help them realize their dreams.
Update: In 2018, David C Cook transferred oversight of the J127 clubs to an in-country partner which continues to shepherd and grow this program. By supporting David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum, you will be helping support this program as well.