A Life of Hardship Points to God

June 23, 2016 • Democratic Republic of the Congo
Banyati Sokpae is a farmer and band member in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She cares for three children.

Since my birth, I have experienced tremendous difficulties. I never met my mother; she died when I was a baby. My stepmother was left to care for me, but she found it difficult to provide basic care. My father didn’t care about me because I was a girl and wouldn’t even give me money for school.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Banyati

When I was a bit older, I was taken to my cousin’s family, who helped me start school. Her husband provided my school fees. He died when I was in fourth grade, and life became difficult. I had to drop out of school.

While I was attending Sunday school, our teacher told us that when a child is an orphan, he has to be equipped with two qualities: obedience and patience. I put that lesson into practice. It has helped me a lot. God has never forsaken me. I was baptized in 1975, and different Bible teachings I received brought strength in my life. I joined a band in our church, where I started playing trombone for the glory of God.

War Leads to Misery

My big brother got married and was blessed with three children. But then the war came to our area and made us sink into more misery. A militia man cut me repeatedly with a sharp machete without ever hurting my body. Doesn’t this tell you something? A machete that does not hurt despite multiple cuts on someone’s body is the work of God. Eventually, one of his mates told him to stop and told me to leave. In my hand, I was holding a Bible and my trombone.

In 2002, we fled to the bush. It took three years before we felt safe enough to come out of hiding, but by that time, my brother had died. His widow and I were left to care for his three children.

When we returned home, we found that all of our possessions had been looted. We built a small hut, but two years later, it, along with our furniture and clothing, was burnt by rebels. This made it difficult for me to attend church because I had no clothes to wear outside of the home.

A year later, two good people gave me two pieces of material to use for clothing, which helped a lot. In 2014, I was given another gift of two more bolts of fabric, and that material continues to clothe me today.

I rebuilt a house near one of my family members, and I live there with my brother’s widow and his three orphans. One of them goes to school, but the others remain at home because we don’t have the financial means to send them to school. We live by the grace of God, but we come short of a secure and permanent source of provision.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

A training session on the theology of gender and gender-based violence in Gety, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The hardship all of us have faced made me decide that I’m not going to get married. I have asked God to spare me from the lusts of this world, and He has answered my prayer and provided me stability.

A Father Who Won’t Abandon

All my life, I have experienced psychological violence. I’m thankful for Samaritan’s Purse for coming to our area and teaching me about various types of abuse. I understand now that you can abuse someone with words, and everyone in the class was taught about harmful gender practices.

It reminded me of how my father refused to send me to school because I was a girl. I could hardly hide my tears during the training. I’m convinced this training has brought a lot to my life. God will work wonders to heal and comfort me. I will do my best to share with others about gender-based violence.

I pray that Samaritan’s Purse will continue this program. It’s God’s response in my life. God never abandons His people. He is always our protector, and I will never abandon His ways.

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