God plucks girls out of hands of human traffickers

Gracious Kufandirori

God rescues. This is the story of Shalom, an eleven year old girl who was recently taken on the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe.  “Taken” is not a fabricated Hollywood movie starring Liam Neeson.  Girls are really being taken, every day. They are being heavily drugged, packed in mini busses hidden under piles of clothing and popcorn and transported to port cities to be packed in containers on waiting ships. Then they disappear.

A close friend of mine, Gracious Kufandirori received the news last month that her daughter, Shalom had gone missing from the streets of Harare. Thrown into a state of panic, she waited for news that the girl would be found quickly. The first report she received was disturbing: the body of a young girl had been found near her home and needed to be identified. Many anxious hours later she learned it was not Shalom. Two days after her daughter disappeared, and with no further news, she boarded a bus from Gqeberha (PE) to Harare. Shortly after entering Zimbabwe, she received an sms at 2 in the morning.

Let’s take it back a couple of days. Gracious is surrounded by Christians who believe that God answers prayers. People were praying. Our life group prayed with her for Shalom’s safe return the night before she left, and we kept praying. Even though our hearts feared, we kept praying that God would keep Shalom safe wherever she was and rescue her. Gracious told me that she even received a word from someone before she left that her daughter would be found within two days. A bold word.

The message that she received at 2am on that bus on a rural road in Zimbabwe said that 22 girls had been found in a mini bus, about to cross the border into Mozambique. Out of the 22 girls retrieved from the vehicle, seven were sadly dead.  Gracious immediately diverted her travels and headed to a hospital in Mutare in the east of Zimbabwe to see if Shalom was among them.

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In the hours prior to this message reaching Gracious, Shalom had woken up from a drugged sleep.  The mini bus, commandeered by two men and one woman, had stopped just short of the border to buy water to top up the girls with the heavy drugs that would keep them asleep for the border crossing. But Shalom woke up.  Shalom cried out for help, lying on piles of bodies, some alive and some dead, under layers of clothing and popcorn, Shalom shouted out to be rescued.  And her voice was heard. Border patrol officers were close enough at that very moment and heard her screams. The two men fled and the woman was arrested.  Fifteen girls were rescued, seven girls lost their lives, the youngest being only four years old.

Our prayers for Shalom were answered, her life was spared.  God restored her to her family and rescued her from the hands of the wicked. We praise God for this testimony. We also mourn for the lives lost, a reminder that evil is real in this world. We know the end of the story though. Evil will not prevail. I remind you today to pray for Christians and Christian organisations all over the world who are actively at work against the wickedness of child trafficking, don’t forget them.

This Easter, together with Gracious, we are celebrating an answered prayer.  We serve a God who hears us and comes to our rescue.

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