Wretched and hopeless
"My mother was involved in a car accident shortly after I was born. She spent six years in hospital while I was raised by my aunts. She came home wheelchair-bound and unable to talk. My aunts only helped for three years before they left me with my mother.
I took care of my mother from the age of nine. Every morning, before I left for school, I made sure she had something to eat before she took her medication. The house we lived in had no electricity and we battled to buy food. On the days when I could not save slices of bread from the school's feeding scheme, I took food from dustbins or asked our neighbours. Leaving her alone when I went to school was always painful for me.
When I was 13 years old, a male relative offered to help me take care of my mother, but he later started abusing me sexually. He asked me to take his mail to his house because he used our home address for his letters. He then locked me in his room and abused me sexually.
This happened several times in that year. I never told my mother because I didn't want to upset her. The abuse left me bitter and angry because he took advantage of my helpless situation. At the age of 14, I attempted suicide by drinking paraffin because I could not take the pain any more. I spent two days in hospital and I worried about my wheelchair-bound mother who was home alone.
The abuse left me broken. I felt unclean and not worthy of living. That same year I was invited to the Universal Church by an assistant I confided in about my situation. She sometimes came to pray for my mother and anoint her with oil.
I later attended the services with my mother every day. I poured my heart out to God and told Him how I felt about the abuse and my mother's condition. At a Wednesday service, I learned that forgiveness was the key to my healing and I chose to forgive my relative because I did not want his cruel actions to have a hold over my life. Eight months later my mother received her miracle and she was able to walk on her own and regained her speech. Hearing her voice for the first time in my life felt like I had just entered a whole new world that was filled with love, peace and joy.
In 2015, I met Lawrence and we dated for over a year before we had our wedding ceremony at the church. The joy I find in the presence of God can never be replaced by anything in life," said Asanda.