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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Ordinary Heroes: Hold Onto Hope

by Marilynn Chadwick Have you ever faced a trial so painful you couldn’t endure the weight of it? A trial so dark that the enemy taunts you with lies whispered in the dark: God is not listening to your prayers. Why else would He seem so silent? When all seems hopeless, I find encouragement from believers who have passed through the furnace and come forth with faith shining. Their stories inspire me to hold onto my hope. I want to share one such story with you. I met Ange during one of my first missions trips to Rwanda. Most everyone I met was a genocide survivor with a hard story to tell. But it was Ange’s journey of agony-turned-into-hope that gripped my soul. Ange was in high school when genocide broke out in Rwanda in 1994. She and fiancé, Emanuel, fled on foot to the neighboring Congo. They married and had baby Edna. The brutal war spilled over into the Congo. Soldiers attacked their refugee camp and Emanuel and Ange, with eighteen-month-old Edna on her back, ran terrified into the forest. They became separated as they fled for their lives. A few days later while Ange was gathering firewood, soldiers kidnapped little Edna. Ange ran frantically through the forest searching for the soldiers. She discovered the baby had become sick and died. Ange’s heart and her hope were shattered. She hid in the forest for weeks with no clean water, food, fire, or shelter. As she describes it, “It was like we were dead, but still living.” Ange made her way to Kenya with the help of a relief organization, still searching for her husband Emanuel. She cried out, “Oh God, you know my beloved first born was taken away. And you know how I could be happy if I could find my beloved husband! Please Lord, I hope you have not forgotten me.” Ange continued to seek God’s purpose for her own life while she waited for her dream to be fulfilled. Sensing a call to ministry, she began attending Bible college in Kenya. God gave Ange hope, encouraging her with these words: We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5 NIV). Ange continues her story, “One day, I received the amazing news that my husband was alive! It was like a dream! I stayed up all night praising and thanking God!” After eight long years, Ange and Emanuel were finally reunited on November 14, 2004. God soon blessed them with a baby boy they called Cherubim. When I first met Ange and heard her story in 2008, she had just given birth to twins Joshua and Geoffrey. Ange loves to encourage others to hold onto their faith when times look darkest. I hope you will be strengthened by her story and this prayer from her heart to yours: “May God bless you and help you to be patient in every situation you may pass through. Glory be to the Lord JESUS. Amen!”

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