In the previous post we introduced you to Ana Santos, a dear friend. Here is more of her story in her own words.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1
I saw women and children weighed down under the heavy chains of lies, violence, devaluation, and abuse of power towards them. That image stays in my mind and heart all the time – an image that is a distortion of God’s intentions when He created woman from out of His heart. But in our day women and children are abused and exploited physically and sexually. They are prisoners desperate to be set free, waiting for a pathway of justice and mercy to be built so they can walk in freedom and find restoration.
How can we just ignore their plight?
As a baby Astou was sent to prison with her mother. Instead of receiving a doll for her fifth birthday, she was sent to a family who was suppose to care for her, but instead received her as slave. She was forced to learn how to cook, to make tea, and to become an object of sexual pleasure for old men. At that time, the shame, emotional pain, and defilement were so overwhelming Astou used to faint. Her tender heart, her hopes and dreams were smashed at an early age. The Koran was the only book she was allowed to read, and she was forced to memorize it. Her only hope at that time was to die.
At nine years old she was rescued. I had the privilege of being God’s vessel of mercy.
It has been 13 years since the day I brought her home. Over the years, God’s grace has restored her daily. This is Astou – my daughter! Among all the opportunities God has given her, Astou has decided that her place is ministering to the invisible ones with me. Her heart to serve comes out of a deep, incredible joy – a joy that will touch other girls that live in the grip of fear and oppression in the Muslim world.