In my role with Wellspring, I have the honour of regularly hearing stories that move me – but there are some stories that resonate particularly deeply. Today, one of our team members here in Rwanda shared an incredible story that demonstrated how love across generations can bring deep transformation, and even redemption. As I consider how an elderly woman and two young girls can bring hope to each other’s lives, I am in awe of how God can weave stories together for His redemptive purposes.
Agathe is a dear elderly widow in one of Wellspring’s communities, who has seen much in her life, but who owns very little. As an older widowed woman in rural Africa, her fortune is limited, and she survives on trying to sell whatever she can find. Many would consider Agathe one of the “poorest of the poor,” and yet the truth is that while she may be materially poor, she is in fact rich at a much deeper level – she is rich in her ability to love.
In spite of her beautiful character, though, Agathe was unable to see this beauty in herself. Burdened by life and survival and a world that focuses on material wealth, she no longer believed that she had anything to offer the world, or that she had any value. She would feel helpless when she couldn’t provide money or resources to help others, and increasingly felt that she had no worth to anyone.
One day in February, a wonderful Wellspring Teacher Trainer named Jeanne visited Agathe’s village, and began sharing with her community through a process called Asset Based Community Development. As Jeanne shared, she spoke of “gifts of the heart,” and explained that everyone has a gift worth giving; a gift that can play a part in transforming their community. As Agathe listened intently, she began to feel the truth soaking into her own weary and devalued soul, and for the first time in many years she realized that she did indeed hold a gift of great value – the gift of deep love! As this sense of worthiness began to flood in, her pride and strength arose anew, and she realized that she still had something of great value left to give, even in these later years of her life.
Following the training session, Agathe found herself recalling that she had seen two girls in uniform riding on moto taxis away from school to a house in the middle of a school day. Although she had no phone and was unsure of what to do, she knew that she had love, and she had courage – so she chose to take action. Agathe knocked on the door of the house that the girls had been taken to, and requested to speak to the “Mama” of the house. As she shared her concerns with the Mama about the young men who entered this house with the school girls, the woman showed similar concern and called the police. The police came quickly and rescued the girls, who they discovered were being brought to the home for prostitution. The two girls were taken to safety, and have been returned to school, where they now have the hope of a very different future ahead of them.
As Agathe shared this story, her eyes were bright with love and pride. She shared that although she may be old and poor, she recognizes that she has something of great worth to give. Through embracing the gift of love that she has been given, and displaying her love in a practical way, two girls who were being manipulated and abused have now experienced the gift of redemptive and rescuing love. And in offering this gift, Agathe has felt a new sense of value and worth in herself. In this beautiful tapestry of life, one old widow’s gift to two young girls has brought hope for the future and joy for the present.
Help Transform School Communities
Wellspring Program Director – Rwanda
“In this beautiful tapestry of life, one old widow’s gift to two young girls has brought hope for the future and joy for the present.”