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Give us our daily bread: Giving thanks

by Robert Sigauke, fellow servant in the Lord, Johannesburg
29 Jul 2020 at 11:30hrs | Views
Today I woke up thinking of a certain event that touched my heart a few years ago. This is a true story, and I believe the person concerned would find no qualms in me sharing the story. This is a story of salvation, of redemption, a story of thanksgiving.

Gogo was arrested for committing a certain crime, then charged and jailed. She went into prison as an early middle aged woman, full of life, and hope. Despite, this was the beginning of a long story of despair, hopelessness and bitterness.

She saw how at first, with plastic bags full of fresh supplies, friends and relatives flocked to the prison to visit her in empathy. Gogo was not living a life of crime before her imprisonment, it so happened in one of those unfortunate moments where one's emotions and actions go against the grains of the law. Due to the gravity, her stay behind bars was going to be long, there was no parole. As the weeks and months turned into years, the number of people coming to visit Gogo kept decreasing. Few people might have experienced firsthand, but sure most of us have heard how most prisons in Zimbabwe are at the top of infamy in terms of deteriorated human conditions. Yes economic hardships played a huge role in the number of her visitors decreasing, but for someone confined in a jail cell, the mind is quick to be colonised by thoughts of rejection.

More years passed and even the closest family members no longer visited Gogo. A few showed face once in few years, but some completely forgot all about her. Some of her grandchildren were born and grew up into early adulthood without even seeing her face.
Hope faded through the years, her anguish in seeming rejection, Gogo resigned to the fact that this would be all there is to about her life story on this earth. Old age, collapsed living conditions in prison, stress and depression causing poor health, rejection - She accepted this will all end with a pauper's burial by the Prisons Department. Well wishers from different church, women and donor organisations would come sometimes and bring supplies. This was something big to look forward to for most inmates. She remembers how one November afternoon, a church organisation came and prayed with her and others to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, they said. Gogo's hope was all done and dusted.

Fast forward to February the next year, Johannesburg, the master of ceremony for that day's Sunday service announced the end of the sermon. He asked one of the pastors to come forward and close with a prayer. A small and frail looking old woman jumped from her seat and raced to the podium as fast as she could. She begged the MC to allow her to say a few words before the closing prayer. Not sure what to do, the MC looked at the pastors who, nodded to him to give the old woman a chance to speak.  As the congregation were now holding handbags and rounding up children in closure, they stopped to listen in curiosity.

"People of God, I am sorry for taking your time. I have very few words, but it is important that I say them. I arrived late because I am coming by bus from Zimbabwe and soon after this service, I am getting the evening bus to go back to Zimbabwe. I was in prison since my early adulthood. I stayed there for many years until this old age. Some of my grandchildren were born whilst I was inside; they are now married and have their own children. Some women from this church came to the prison 2 months ago on an outreach program. They listened to our stories, and offered us support, sympathy and even helped some of us to accept the Jesus Christ we always heard about. A few weeks after they left, the President announced an amnesty. I was one of the beneficiaries and I was consequently released few weeks back. I asked one of my grandchildren to come with me to Johannesburg and look for this church. It is my first time in this city and I came all this way to say thank you for the prayers when you came to see us in prison. Jesus indeed set me free. I am not here to say I did not commit a crime, I did it out of rage and life hardships. But I am here to say thank you for helping me to meet Jesus. I have found the Light, the Truth and the Way."
Brothers and Sisters, may we all find the Light, the Truth and the Way in Jesus Christ.

Robert Sigauke is a fellow servant in the Lord. He writes from Johannesburg. Email robert.carl@rocketmail.com

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Source - Robert Sigauke, fellow servant in the Lord, Johannesburg

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