In Kenya, my mission trip team connected with a support group of twelve women who were living with HIV/AIDS.
When we arrived, I was drawn to one of the youngest women in the room, a twenty-year-old mother of four boys. As I played with her youngest son, an adorable ten-month-old, I soon learned she was a former prostitute. I nearly cried as I listened to her story. I was outraged at the injustice she had experienced.
Suddenly Holy Spirit told me, “She needs to forgive the people who have hurt her.” I was a bit shocked. Even though I knew He was right, that was a difficult thing to hear. How could I possibly ask her to forgive the very people who had mistreated her? However, I also knew loving her meant sharing what I had heard God say.
I found Christopher, our Kenyan pastor, and asked him to interpret for us. I explained to the woman the importance of forgiveness and told her how beautiful and loved she was. She said she was ready to forgive not just the men who had abused her but also her mother, who had abandoned her when she contracted HIV.
The woman wept as she shared with us, and we prayed with her and led her into a time of forgiveness. She started to smile through tears of sadness and joy, knowing forgiveness was exactly the thing her heart needed in order to heal.
I saw her the following day and she told me in broken English she had slept well through the night. She said, “I do not feel burdened anymore.”