A STORY OF TRANSFORMATION
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THIS STORY CONTAINS AUDIO
Everyone was telling me to abort my baby. You know, here in my community, Mwapona, people say crazy things. They are always telling you what you should do. They are always telling people who they are and they are not. They said having a baby will take away my freedom, that I would become a slave to the child and I would become like an old woman; dirty and poor and hopeless.
But you know what I said?
No. Let me face this.
My name is Anita Mutimwa
and I am a fighter.
For most of her life, things at home were unstable for Anita.
Her family lived in poverty. Her relationship with her step-father
was unpredictable and hostile, and he would often send her
away from the house. She would live with family members or friends
until she was welcomed back into the home by her mother.
I desired more for my life.
I started to get to know some of
(the) Poetice staff and they began
to tell me about Jesus. They asked
me challenging questions about
the word of God. They began to tell
me the truth. They would encourage
me to guard my heart, focus on God
and trust Him with my life.
Anita was offered school sponsorship by Poetice
starting when she was in grade 6. However, with such
turmoil at home, Anita struggled in the classroom.
She began to waver under the pressure from her peers
to get married and escape the oppressive weight of poverty.
Like many young women in her community who are trapped
in the grip of poverty, Anita felt the pressure to get out from
under her parent’s roof and relieve them of the responsibility
to care for her. Before completing her education,
Anita became pregnant.
Though I knew better,
the compound life got me.
When she became pregnant things got even harder.
Her son’s father left her.
Her family, friends, and neighbors did not support her.
They insulted her and turned away from her.
But she remembered.
She remembered the words of her Savior and her Friend.
Against what everyone told her, she kept the baby.
She knew Jesus had been with her before,
and he would be with her now.
I am learning what life is.
I have passed through many difficult things in my life.
All it has (done) only made me strong.
I have been learning to lean into God.
He has done so much in my life.
I just have to work hard and trust Him with the rest.
He will open doors, He will give me a way.
I’m also learning that if I have something
or something happens to me,
I need to know how to handle it.
Whether it’s good or bad.
God has been teaching me that I
should not follow the way of the world.
I do not want to live the way people
do in my community. My community needs
to be changed and I want to change
it also. And if I follow Jesus, and
walk with Him, He will show me
the way of life.
I used to hear Jesus tell me that this is my story, but it’s okay.
Someday, I will tell of this life and it will be my past,
it will be my testimony. I would read the scriptures about
Jesus’ life. Jesus passed through so much – He suffered
so much. So for me, I might suffer, but I will be okay.
I want to encourage others
who are facing hard things.
I would tell them my testimony.
I trusted God and He has provided for me.
Everything will be well when you are with God.
Just trust in God.
Anita has a hunger for justice. As she learned more about our ministry, she began to come to everything. We mean everything. Church, community visits, bible studies. She began to volunteer with our kids’ ministry. She had a fire in her belly to get close and see what we were doing in this community. After attending our church the first few times, she pleaded with our staff, “you HAVE to come and share this with my family and my neighbors. This is life-changing.”
After serving with us for several weeks,
we hired Anita to help in our kitchen
during the busy season with overnight
guests, interns, and teams.
As a young mother, this helps
to lessen the financial burden
of taking care of her family,
but it also pulls her in close.
We get to see her EVERY DAY.
We get to build a deep, real
relationship with her. We get to
hear how her son is doing, what
business her mother is doing, and
how we can pray for her family.
We get to share our lives, our
testimonies, our dreams and our
hope in Christ every day.
Anita is a fighter. While hardships, difficulties, and challenges
continue to come her way, she is being transformed every day.
She is increasing in her faith. She is growing in her identity and
understanding of being a new creation in Christ Jesus.
Anita doesn’t keep things to herself. She shares it.
She is feisty and pushes people to join her.
Soon after Anita began coming consistently to our church, her mom started joining her. Then her siblings and her neighbors. A few weeks after our church started meeting on Sunday mornings, the room was full of Poetice staff and Anita’s friends and family.
It didn’t stop there. One Sunday morning, her step-father walked through our church doors. The same man who had kicked her out of the house was joining her in church. Their relationship is being reconciled and her step-father LOVES church. He comes every Sunday.
Transformation doesn’t happen overnight.
Anita’s life didn’t turn around the moment she met us.
Seeds had to be planted. Relationships were built over
the last 4 years which began to build a foundation
in this woman to rise up and be a change maker
for the Kingdom of God.
Anita is 19 years old and is a wonderful mother
to a beautiful baby boy. She believes her son is
her gift from her good and merciful Father, Jesus.
She lives in the heart of Mwapona Compound in
Choma, Zambia with her son, mother, step-father,
and three siblings. Anita sees the great brokenness
and injustice in her community and is driven with
passion to see God transform this place. Anita is a
fighter and she is joining the ministry of her Father
to fight for justice in her community.