Looking into her light brown eyes, you see a woman of peace, strength, and hope. You would never guess the physical and emotional suffering she has faced, as the soft glow of her face and kind smile tell you a different story. Agnes is 56 six years old and has four children. She grew up in Gulu and was married at the age of 16 years. It was a rough 40 years of marriage to her alcoholic husband— they spent most of it arguing. Agnes became a widow when her husband passed from HIV, which she contracted in their marriage. However, in the last three years, God has been moving in her heart. God has been restoring her with hope and dependability on nothing but Christ alone.
Agnes’ spiritual journey began in Catholicism. Unfortunately, just ten years ago, she became disabled and could not continue going to church. Then, about three years ago, Agnes became highly ill from her HIV and thought she would die. During this time, she heard the message being preached that when you die and you’re not born again, you’re facing eternity without God in hell. That message resonated with her, and the desire was in her heart to find a pastor and receive salvation—she understood that there was life after death. Agnes could not walk the 400 meters to the church, so she crawled that whole distance to be saved. After receiving the Lord, she returned home feeling like she had a new life. All the evil thoughts were gone, and she had hope again. Agnes praises God because He had physically healed her from being so sick.
In her earlier years, Agnes was significantly affected by the war that occurred in Northern Uganda. She had a brother that was a strong pillar for her. He was there to stand up for her, care for her, and feed her. One tragic day, The LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) killed him as he was collecting food. His sudden death derailed Agnes. Not only did the war take away her brother, but it took away something even closer to her heart, her daughter. Agnes’s second-born daughter was taken by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) to Sudan, and her daughter would grow up not knowing her. Eventually, after the war, her daughter was brought back to Uganda, and with hope in her heart, Agnes went to seek her out. However, Agnes was denied the right to see her. When she finally had a chance to meet her, her daughter denied her because of all the time that had passed and she didn’t recognize her. Agnes was deeply torn and was struggling with all the injustice she had experience through the process, but she did not give up and instead, turned to God and prayed. Years later, her daughter walked back into her life. Her daughter had finally realized that she recognized Agnes’s home before being taken into the village by the LRA. Agnes praises God that her daughter has returned after all the years lost.
Currently, God is teaching Agnes humility through the discipleship she is receiving through Terebinth. In the past, Agnes as not been one to keep quiet. She would want to pay back those who had come against her and those who had stolen from her. She was driven with revenge as she would find herself going to her neighbor’s house with the intention of quarreling. However, God has taught her to bring all things before Him with a quiet and peaceful spirit. As she has been going through the book of Philippians, Agnes is learning to put all things in God’s hands, depending on Him alone for all things. When there is no food and even when people steal from her and do wrong, she wants to live a humble life so others can see Christ through her.
Terebinth Ministries has given her the opportunity to have fellowship. Someone from the church comes to her for prayer and the Word of God. Not only that, but she is able to be in community with other widows in the program. The ministry has also been crucial to Agnes because of her disability to walk; she can’t sell like most of our widows, so she is grateful for the food packages she receives as she eats it little by little.
We celebrate Agnes and all the various trials that she has walked through. God has been there faithfully, walking with her through every trial. God has refined her into a woman of peace, hope, and faith. Agnes spends her evenings singing God’s praises, knowing that by Him and through Him, she can have eternal life. She knows that Christ will return as her Savior.