Hope came looking for me
Zamu, a mother of six children, was a regular participant of one of our Discipleship Groups. She was a Muslim, but was intrigued by Jesus and wanted to find out more.
“…I liked what he [Jesus] stood for; what’s wrong with someone saying don’t steal, don’t kill? So I always attended the Every Life discipleship groups in my neighbourhood whenever I was able to. I formed a friendship with the Every Life team who would regularly visit me, little did I know they would be a source of God’s blessing in my life.”
Zamu had been struggling for some time, but then she lost her job, was thrown out of her house, had to take her children out of school, and was unable to feed them. The situation hit her hard, and she suffered from severe depression. Her relatives decided to take her to a traditional healer (quite likely a witch doctor).
Her mental health continued to deteriorate, and she began having terrifying hallucinations. In her community, there’s a lot of stigma associated with mental health condition – so she was increasingly excluded from community life. Her children were divided between relatives to care for them – except for her 16-year old daughter who became her carer.
Zamu, when talking about this time, says, “I could hear all kinds of terrifying voices and in dreams, I saw different animals chasing after me. I had no peace and I had lost hope that I would live.”
When the Every Life heard of her situation, we went to visit her and found that her physical health had also deteriorated. We were able to get her admitted to hospital, where she stayed for three weeks and was diagnosed with, and began receiving treatment for, psychosis and severe depression.
For most people, it’s best that we support them within their local community. However, sometimes a family – like Zamu’s – needs more intensive support. For this, Every Life’s Family Centre is an ideal place. Here we provide families with emergency housing and a safe space to experience restoration. This peaceful location, away from the hustle as bustle of city-slum life was just what Zamu and her family needed in order to begin the healing process. She was supported financially, emotionally and spiritually – this not only relieved the pressure on her, but gave her space to focus on building stronger relationships with her children. She spent quite a bit of time reading the Bible and learning about Jesus from our team.
The end of Zamu and her family’s stay at the Family Centre coincided with a children’s camp. During the camp, Zamu and her two eldest daughters chose to give their lives to Jesus and were baptised.
Now back home, Zamu is doing well. She still taking her medication and has managed to get her old job back – as a cook. She also has a small business making liquid soap and five of her children are back in school.
“Hope came looking for me, though at first I did not recognise it… When I reflect on the time I spent at the Every Life Family Centre I’m filled with gratitude. The only reason I am still alive is because of Jesus.”
Read more about our work in slum-communities in and around Kampala.