When You Think Selling Yourself Is Your Only Option

child bride
At the young age of 13, Sandra became a child bride. After years of abuse, childbirths, abortions and rape, read about how she came to find life in Jesus. Stock photo by TEAM

The bleeding just wouldn’t stop.

Sandra was in the middle of her most recent in-home abortion. And this time, she could feel the life draining from her like the blood pooling up around her body.

How had it come to this? How had she ended up lying here, dying in her own home?

When she thought back to her childhood, Sandra knew the answer to those questions.

Sold by Her Own Family

Sandra was born in a town on the western border of Chad. Her mother died when she was an infant, so she was raised mostly by her aunt, Delphine*.

Life wasn’t bad. Sandra went to school, and even though her family didn’t believe in God, she often went to church with a neighbor.

But danger is always lurking for young girls in Chad. Girls are often kidnapped and forced into marriage.

Delphine agreed to an arranged marriage for Sandra when she was 13. Delphine said Sandra would be going to live with another man for a while. She could come back after the holidays if she didn’t like it.

But Sandra had overheard the discussion between her aunt and this man. She knew she’d been sold as a child bride.

Enslaved in an Almost-Deadly Marriage

Soon Sandra fell pregnant. She was only 14. The pregnancy was so hard on her small body that she couldn’t even stand up straight. Five months into the pregnancy, she lost the baby — and almost her life.

A year later, Sandra gave birth to a son. Just 12 months after that, a daughter.

When their daughter was about a year old, Sandra’s husband took another wife. Fights became frequent in their marriage.

One day, Sandra’s husband beat her so badly he nearly killed her.

Somehow, Sandra escaped her husband. She fled and found her way back to her family’s village. But when she got there, her relatives didn’t want her. Sandra was on her own.

She Thought She Only had One Option

Sandra had little education and no family support. So she made her way to the capital city, N’djamena.

Feeling she had no other option, Sandra turned to the oldest profession on the planet: prostitution. But N’djamena’s red-light district is a dangerous place. Gang rape and even murder are real risks.

Sandra was young — only 20 years old.

She fell pregnant several times during her prostitution days, but she had no husband to provide or even care for a child. So she chose to have abortions. One time, she bled so much she thought she was going to die.

Sandra’s faith and sense of self-esteem fell to an all-time low. She thought about suicide regularly.

She felt abandoned and hurt by God and openly turned her back on Him.

Rescued by the God She’d Rejected

Once, Sandra was walking back to her room when a group of men blocked her way with their truck. They forced her into the vehicle and drove out of town so they could have their way with her.

Realizing what was happening, Sandra began to cry to God, “Lord save me! Save me! Save me!”

The men began to fight amongst themselves when they arrived at their destination. Then the police arrived and the would-be rapists scattered.

Sandra had never felt more desperate, afraid and alone.

Then she met Albert*.

She Thought He was a Good Man

Unlike the cruel men Sandra usually met in the red-light district, Albert seemed to care for her. He even provided a home for her. They had a daughter together and were unofficially married.

Although Sandra was not Albert’s first wife and he had had children by other women, life finally seemed good again. Sandra even began occasionally attending church.

But then Albert landed a lucrative job. His eyes began to wander. He started taking other women and setting them up as concubines.

Desperate for answers and peace, Sandra began attending church more regularly.

She Found a Safe Place to Recover

That’s when a missionary named Naomi came into Sandra’s life. The two began to meet and study the Bible together.

Then in 2015, Naomi and other missionaries opened the Acacia Center. The center is meant to provide vulnerable women like Sandra a safe place to share their stories and be counseled through their traumas. It serves as a rehabilitation center and a place where Chadian women can learn practical life skills.

Naomi invited Sandra to participate in the programs offered there.

The workers at the program taught Sandra how to earn a wholesome income through making soaps, greeting cards and tote bags. They also helped her identify the lies that had harmed her in the past. She began to replace the lies with the Truths of God’s Word.

Thanks to You, She is Finally Regaining Self-Worth!

When Sandra watched The Jesus Film at the Acacia Center, she finally grasped how much the Lord loves her. Her heart and her life changed.

Now she says she feels like a tree being pruned, bit by bit until she discovers the image of God inside her.

Thanks to friends like you, Sandra is beginning to thrive. Younger women in the program now come to her for encouragement and advice. She counsels from her own life experiences and the traumas she’s faced.

Like the roots of the Acacia tree reach down deep for water in the ground, Sandra is learning to reach for the Living Water of Christ to help her flourish in the harsh world in which she lives.

*Names changed.


Do you have a heart for abused women like Sandra? The world is full of opportunities to show them Christ’s love! Talk with a missions coach to see how you can be a part of their rescue and recovery.

 

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About the author

Brianna Langley

Brianna is TEAM's Marketing Content Coordinator. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University, where she double-majored in journalism and international affairs. She grew up on the mission field in Romania, but now resides in East Tennessee with the rest of her family. Some of her favorite things to enjoy outside of the office include hiking, reading, writing and a good cup of coffee.

7 Comments

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  • I think this is a great job, you guys are been used by God to bring joy into really sad and dire situations.Every goodhearted person should want to identity with this,I’m really touched.

  • Hi , l am really touched with this story of Sandra and this story has a great lesson and meaningful to us hear in Africa and l am very much touched and l would like to learn more from Sandra , l am a national pastor of Victory Baptist Church here and we have children who need support and we need support and prayers and we would like to learn more from Sandras life. Thanks , Yours Pyton Nyandula.

  • I am really touched by Sandra s story the reason why I want to be a missionary so that main girls like this one be given hope and the love of God. I am available to serve the Lord in missionary work. God bless.

  • I am really touched by sandra story the reason why i am to be a missionary in india work muslims ministry. like this one be given hope and the love of God. I am availabale to serve the Lord in missionary.
    thanks for God Pastor Hannan

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