I stood there, gazing at the city across the bay. Somewhere in that concrete jungle was the prison where I spent fifteen years before I was granted clemency and released on parole. It felt good to be standing there in the open, the sun hitting my face and listening to the lapping water. It felt good not being behind bars.
When I turned sixteen, I never thought I’d wind up in prison. My life changed when I killed Mick, the man who forced me to prostitute myself. I was a victim of sex trafficking but I was treated like a criminal and sentenced to life, a sentence which the governor now considers to be too harsh. Thanks to the celebrities who came to my defense, I’m standing here now.
I didn’t want to kill Mick but I feared for my life. He would have killed me that night if I hadn’t defended myself. I don’t hate him. It wouldn’t do me any good. I want to focus on rebuilding my life. While in prison, I earned my Associate’s Degree. I know that opportunity came from God. I thought my life was over but, it’s not.
This story was inspired by the true story of Cyntoia Brown who was arrested and charged with homicide of Johnny Allen who offered to have paid sex with her. She was accused of murder and robbery and sentenced to life.
This was written for Sunday Photo Fiction hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit Here. To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.
Cai stared at the moon as it hung low over the horizon. Sleep eluded her. Her husband, Huan was in Myanmar investigating the Rohingya massacre. Five days had passed since she last heard from him. She constantly checked her emails and cell for messages but nothing was forthcoming.
A knock on the door jolted her. Heart racing, she answered it. It was Kang, Huan’s brother. “Have you heard from Huan? Is he all right?”
“He’s in jail.”
“Yes. For seven years.”
“I must do something.”
“Ask the Myanmar government for mercy.”
Hours later, she was on Television.
This post was inspired by the true story of two Myanmar journalists who were sentenced to seven years in prison for investigating violence against Rohingyas. Their wives were on television asking for mercy.
This was written for the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. For more details, visit Here. To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.
This story is similar to the woman with the issue of blood. She had suffered for twelve years and the doctors couldn’t help her although she had spent her money on them. Finally, she had sought out the only One who could. In faith, she touched the hem of His garment and was healed. Madira was suffering from an unknown sickness. The doctors could not ease her pain so she turned to witch doctors whose prescribed methods failed to work. After six years elapsed, they gave up and for years, Madira continued to suffer.
Then, one day in the midst of her pain, Madira remembered the gift her brother had given her sixteen years ago. It was a Bible. It was the last resort. She and her family had tried everything possible to end her suffering, but so far, nothing had worked.
She pulled her son aside and asked him to bring the Bible and read it to her. As he read to her from it, something miraculous happened. The pain left Madira’s body and she was able to sleep through the night. It was possible now for her to move without the struggle and discomfort. The words filled her with a peace she had never experienced before and brought healing to her tired body. This stirred within her a desire to know who Jesus was.
One day they met Seth, a Gospel for Asia supporter serving their area with whom they explained their problems to. He told them about Jesus’ love and how He was the great Healer and Restorer. He promised them that if they believe in the name of Jesus Christ, Madira would be healed. However, after years of discouragement and treatments that didn’t work, they were not hopeful. Seth encouraged them not to worry because God does the impossible for all who believe in His name.
The family decided that since there was no hope anywhere else they would go to church and learn about God’s love. There they met pastors and believers who prayed regularly for Madira. Within a few weeks, God healed her completely. He had answered their prayers.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers – 1 Peter 3:12a
Through the fervent prayers of His people, God healed Madira. This all came about when Madira remembered the Bible which contained the living, breathing Word of God. She discovered its great value and in its pages, the God who wanted to reveal His love to her. It was able to do what the doctors and the witch doctors were unable to do–bring relief and peace from her pain.
God’s Word is powerful and it still impacts the lives of those who are in possession of it. Help Gospel for Asia to put the Word of God in the hands of more families in Asia so that like Madira and her family, their lives can be impacted too.
As parents and stewards of God, it is our duty to provide for, care for and protect our children. We are to impart wisdom and knowledge to them that will keep them safe and grounded in a world where they will encounter hardships, trials, temptations and challenges. We are to teach, guide, counsel, encourage and support them.
Most mothers try to be positive examples for their children, teaching them right from wrong and to how to develop healthy habits. They teach them how to be kind, loving and considerate toward others. They help their teenagers with their studies and transition into young adulthood. In fact, they do their best to raise their children to be upstanding citizens of society. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Sahdev’s mother, Vahini who spent her time drinking with her son.
Alcoholism became Sahdev’s vice. It consumed him to the point where he spent all of his earnings on alcohol and it his habit grew with such force that his mother was disturbed by it. She began to wonder if a wife would temper his addiction so she set about looking for someone for him to marry. She kept his drinking a secret while she arranged marriage between Sahdev and a young woman named Tanu, however, the bride soon discovered the family’s dark secret. From the beginning of their marriage, she was victim of verbal abuse and brutal, drunken beatings.
Vahini’s hope that marriage would soften her son was squashed but, sadly, she didn’t support Tanu’s efforts to change Sahdev. This was the opportunity to do what was right for her daughter-in-law and the grandchild that was on the way but Vahini sided with her son. This only made his alcoholism grow worse, resulting in liver damage. While Tanu braced herself for raising her child with a drunken father, her mother-in-law tried to find proper treatment for him but two months after his son was born, Sahdev died.
Instead of taking responsibility for her part in her son’s death, Vahini blamed Tanu. Tanu, now a widow with a child, received no comfort or support from her mother-in-law. When Vahini ordered Tanu to leave the house and she refused, she was beaten. Then, faced with raising a 2 month old child and no other options, the young mother returned to her parents’ home in the slums. This was the last place she wanted to be but her parents comforted her and encouraged her to stay.
Things were tough for Tanu. She found it hard to find a job to support her son and her family’s social caste limited her to jobs with long hours and low pay. Thankfully, she wasn’t under any pressure. Her father was a real trooper, very supportive. He provided for her and his grandson by working as a daily wage laborer. When the time came to put Aakar in school, the cost of his education was too much for the family. And Tanu hadn’t found a good job. She and her parents struggled to make do with what little they had. Aakar was enrolled in a free city school but the costs for his supplies were tremendous. And there was the nagging thought that if anything were to happen to Tanu’s father, the family would have nothing at all.
Unless something was done, six year old Aakar would be forced to drop out of school. Help came when Tanu talked to her neighbors about their children’s education. She learned that they were receiving help from Bridge of Hope, a Gospel for Asia sponsored program. The program supported, educated, tutored, provided meals and medical care for children from needy families like hers. Not wasting any time, Tanu enrolled Aakar at the centre.
Their lives changed when the staff not only provided for Aakar’s needs but showed compassion and kindness to him and hope sparked in Tanu. She saw that there was a very great possibility that her son’s life would turn out very differently from his father’s.
“I can see that my child is improving in his studies and learning good habits through the Bridge of Hope center, ” Tanu said. “I only wish that my child will grow up to be a good companion and never ever become addicted to alcohol or any kind of bad habits.”
Aakar is off to a really good start. At Bridge of Hope, God is working through the staff members to give him a better future–one of hope. Surrounded by people who love the Lord, Aakar stands a better chance of growing up to be a good man who loves the Lord and others. He has a heavenly Father who loves him. He never knew his own father whose life was a tragic one because of an evil influence. Unlike his father, Aakar has a mother who wants what is best for him.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope – Jeremiah 29:11
Thank God for stepping in when things were looking dismal for Aakar and his family. Through Bridge of Hope, God has transformed their lives. Tanu didn’t know it at the time but the best thing she did was moving back home with her parents. It was while she was living there, that she experienced the love and mercy of God through a program which offered her son more than an education. It offered him a chance to have a quality life. Had she stayed at the home she once shared with her husband, life for her and Aakar would have been unbearable at the hands of her mother-in-law. God brought them out of that toxic environment and into a place where their lives have changed for the better.
Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You – Psalm 33:22
Tanu’s story has a happy ending but there are other mothers who are struggling to raise their children. Faced with extreme poverty, their lives are filled with hopelessness. And many children in Asia never experience what it’s like to have a normal childhood. Instead, they are faced with situations and decisions that we can’t even imagine or have ever had to deal with. Please pray that God will intervene in their lives as He did in Tanu’s. And you can help to Aakar and children like him by sponsoring a child. If you are interested in doing so, click here. Help to transform a family’s life.
Christ [redeemed] me, and He will [redeem] you also!
These words rang out loud in the marketplaces. Myo Zaw made the impassioned plea to the crowd. He was like Wisdom crying out in the marketplaces and pleading with the people to come her. Myo’s message was one that the people needed to hear. He was on fire for Christ and he couldn’t hold it in. It wasn’t always like this.
Before Myo Zaw encountered Christ he was the village drunk who got into fights with people and beat his wife and children. The people who knew him thought he had gone insane, however, it was not madness that drove Myo to proclaim the message of redemption but the love of God which consumed him like a fire, refusing to be quelled. He traveled throughout his region, sharing the Word of God, telling people, “how a sinner like me was found by God.”
“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” – Luke 18:27
Within three years, he had visited 100 communities, encouraged by his wife’s letters. In them, she wrote, “If your life can change by Christ, there is no one who cannot be changed by Christ. So wherever you are going and sharing the Word of God, we are here to pray for you. I believe people will be changed by the love of Christ.” And she was right about the people. 350 heard the message about Christ’s love, saw how it manifested in Myo’s life and they were changed.
Myo believed that his mission was the share the love of Christ which had transformed his life and that it was God’s will for him to go to a missionary in an area where people were unfamiliar with the Lamb of God. He and his wife prayed about it and ten years later God sent them to the southern region of their country as Gospel for Asia supported missionaries.
At first when the people in the community learned that Myo and his family were Christians, they wanted nothing to do with them. They forced the family out of the community. They threw stones at their home, threatening to penalize anyone who spoke to the Christians and the children faced discrimination because of their faith. Myo and his family were seen as enemies but in the midst of it all, they saw God’s grace working in their lives, getting them through these trials. They trusted Christ during their hardships and through the ministering of the Holy Spirit, they learned how to love the people in their new community.
They reached out to the people by showing them movies that they liked to watch, teaching the children songs and caring for them. When the parents saw the love of the couple for the community, they were amazed and they began to talk to them at the market. This gave Myo and his wife the opportunity to share Christ’s love with them. They cared for the sick and took people to the hospital as needed. When flood waters destroyed homes and livelihoods, the couple and other GFA supported workers helped to provide relief.
Myo visited people and encouraged them by offering words of hope and life in Christ. Through his actions, he proved that he was a redeemed man. The love of Christ had transformed him from a drunk and abusive husband and father to a missionary of God. The same love that had Christ had shown him he wanted to show to others. Like the apostle Paul, he was filled with a zeal for the Lord who “who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Myo realized that greatest weapon is love. It can transform hearts and lives. It can destroy the strongholds which beset people who have no knowledge of Christ and kept them in spiritual darkness. Once the love of Christ is revealed it lives are changed–despair gives way to hope and darkness to light.
Like Myo, ask God to use you to share the love of Christ with others. Be a light in the world. Shine for Jesus and let those around you or wherever God sends you know that no matter what state they are in, “He will redeem you also!”