Felicia finds lasting hope in jail
By Melissa Savary | Nigeria in West Africa
Representative image by Saad Chaudhry, via Unsplash.
Melissa Savary is an SIM mission worker serving in Jos, Nigeria, where she works with disadvantaged young women, sharing the love of Jesus. One of her ministries is visiting women in prison. That is how she met Felicia – and saw Jesus transform a life, as she tells here.
I met Felicia while visiting the prison Jos in spring 2019.
As I continued to make visits, Felicia and I started getting to know each other. I asked her why she was in prison.
She told me she had gone to visit friends. Those friends were not home when she arrived. So, she went to a nearby bar to get something to drink and wait for her friends to come home. While there, the police raided the bar and took everyone inside to jail.
When I met Felicia she had been there for a couple of months awaiting the hearing at which she could explain her situation to the judge. She did not get this hearing for another six months.
By then, she had been in prison for eight months simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It took another two months to actually get her out.
During those 10 months, I was able to share about God’s love and how He has a purpose and a reason for everything that happens to us. She turned her life over to Christ while in the prison. Hallelujah!
When she got out, she had nowhere to go. Her family wanted nothing to do with her, assuming she was guilty of what she had been arrested for – prostitution.
So, I brought her to Gidan Bege (which means ‘House of Hope’ in the Hausa language). We began discussions with her family and took her for visits so they could see she was not the same person she had been – that she was now a Christian. They eventually let her move back home with them and God has now fully restored those relationships. Hallelujah!
While all of that was going on, Felicia needed a way to support herself. She had some rusty tailoring skills, so I talked to a fellow worker about enrolling her in a tailoring programme. She was accepted into that programme, which lasted 18 months. Felicia did very well in her classes and completed the programme last summer, receiving a new sewing machine to start her business with.
Felicia has continued to hone her skills by apprenticing with a local tailor and is supplementing her income with a local government job.
She is active in her church and loves the Lord deeply. I am excited to see what God has in store for her!
•For Felicia to continue her walk with God and be a blessing to her community.
•Give thanks for Melissa’s service in Nigeria and her ministry to women like Felicia. Pray for her continued trust in God’s faithfulness.
•Pray for Nigeria’s marginalised and disadvantaged, that they may encounter Christians who can introduce them to Jesus.