Two years ago, at twenty years of age, Divine was a mother to a healthy one-year baby. Loved by her husband, she was living the life of her dreams. However, her world collapsed when her baby died of an unknown cause, and her husband almost chased her out for becoming a born-again Christian.
Divine became an orphan at a very young age. With no one to take care of her, she went to the city and got a job as a houseworker. Her employers were of Muslim background, and one of the conditions of working for them was to be of the same faith. With no religious experience, she agreed to convert to Islam. Yearning for comfort and acceptance, she became a devoted Muslim.
Divine prayed five times a day, wore the Hijab, and went to the mosque every Friday. Despite all she did, she never felt happy or had peace in her life. Trying to fill the empty void she felt, she decided to get married despite being only eighteen. “Growing up without a family, I felt like having a family of my own would make me happy,” said Divine. She moved back to her village and got married to a Muslim.
Everything seemed to be going well for her with a supportive husband and a baby. Even though she had a sadness that always lingered, she assumed that that was her personality: “I was a very melancholic person. I tried everything that can make one happy, but I was never happy.”
I tried everything that can make one happy, but I was never happy.”
She recalls the day she lost her baby. “I woke up earlier in the morning. I was about to feed my baby as I usually did. She wasn’t breathing, I rushed her to a nearby clinic, and they declared her dead. She was okay the whole night. They could not find the cause of her death. The (loss) distressed me a lot, and I had no one to grieve with me. My husband, who was away for work in a neighbouring country, could not travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.”
A week later, Divine started hearing voices. At first, she thought it was the grief of losing her child and being under a lot of stress. But these voices became louder. She couldn’t sleep at night, and during the day, she would zone out or lose consciousness. She went through that ordeal alone. No one from her Muslim community went to visit her. But her neighbour who had once talked to her about Jesus was always there for her.
Divine had heard of these kinds of attacks and been told the only solution was asking for prayer. At first, she was reluctant since she was a Muslim. But eventually she decided to call on a prayer team from the local church. They prayed for her and immediately she was delivered.
A few days later, after attending a Christian outreach organized by GLO partner United Christians for Change and Development (UCCD), Divine dedicated her life to Christ. “That moment felt surreal. I had never known peace and tranquillity in my life. I had never experienced anything like it before!” Divine recalls.
Ezekiel, Divine’s husband, returned to the country a few weeks after she became a Christian. At first, he was furious and threatened divorce because Divine decided to convert to Christianity. For weeks he would lock her in their bedroom and deprive her of food or drinks, insisting she denounce her faith. Even going through such horrible treatment, Divine recalls the peace she had at that moment. After Ezekiel witnessed Divine’s transformation, he decided to let her practice her faith.
Divine recently gave birth. She is grateful for the opportunity of becoming a mother again.
A Kirundi proverb says, “Izina niryo muntu”, meaning, “You are what you are named”. Her second name means “God’s flower”. Indeed, she is, despite thorns and prickles, Divine has bloomed.