27 July 2023

Escaping the clutches of poverty

 “My mother passed on when I was young, leaving me in the care of my grandmother, who took very good care of me.

I later moved to Johannesburg to further my studies, but I had a boyfriend and I fell pregnant. That was when my life became difficult because my family had a rule that if you got pregnant, you could not return home. I had to stay with my boyfriend, and we found ourselves living in a rundown flat near a hospital, with a foul odour and swarms of mosquitoes. I could not even open the windows due to the risk of mosquitoes harming me while I was pregnant.

We often went without food and fell behind on rent payments. Eventually, my brother-in-law came to our aid and suggested we move to Orange Farm, where we could live rent-free in a shack. The idea of not having to pay rent was a relief, but the shack was located near a dumping site, which became a nightmare. Rats came from the site, and our door could not fully close, allowing them to enter. I resorted to using a cloth to block the opening, but it was a difficult and unsettling situation.

During that time, a relative encouraged me to return home, but I knew I could not bear the questions and shame that awaited me there. I felt like a burden and believed I had brought disgrace upon my family. Though I did not sink into depression, I was on the verge of it. My boyfriend’s excessive drinking and smoking only added to my emotional strain.

One day, as I passed by the Universal Church, an assistant approached me and invited me to attend. Intrigued, I accepted the invitation and shared the details with my boyfriend, hoping that it could help us with our problems. He agreed, and we attended the church service the following Sunday. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I had hope that all our problems could be solved, even though we had nothing at the time.

The Campaign of Israel was introduced and despite our limited finances, we participated because we were inspired by the testimonies of others. Things started to improve but I realised I still I needed to seek the Holy Spirit. I recognised that my behaviour did not align with my faith because I was very emotional. From then on, I sought the Holy Spirit earnestly. I would wake up at night to pray.

Our lives have been transformed in an unimaginable way. I am now happily married. I found a job, and my husband started his own company. We were finally able to buy a car and build a house for our family. I am no longer emotional and my husband does not drink or smoke. The Holy Spirit guides us in everything we do,” said Shandukani.