There were no child services to take care of Margret and her brother when they lost their parents. Two of the hundreds of thousands of orphans in Tanzania, they grew up along the shores of Lake Victoria. Margret managed to survive by cleaning houses while her brother worked down at the harbor loading ships. Life was one hard struggle to survive.
At some point, perhaps when she was a teenager, Margret met a woman who invited her to move to Dar es Salaam, a growing city of five million people and a major commercial hub in Tanzania. The woman told Margret she’d be able to find a good job in the city, thus she wouldn’t have to struggle. It was the gateway to a new and better life; the offer was just too good to pass by.
But once Margret arrived in Dar es Salaam, she realized this golden opportunity had turned into a dark nightmare. She’d been lured into sex work. Margret’s “friend” immediately put her to work in one of Dar es Salaam’s brothels. Even though prostitution is technically illegal countrywide, you don’t have to wander many streets to find a woman who’ll take less than $5 for her services. While having no family to advocate for and protect her and desperate for money, Margret continued her dangerous work as a prostitute for years.
Life was one hard struggle to survive.
Some time after she moved to Dar es Salaam, a different man came by the brothel. Instead of hiring Margret and her friends, he passed out Light Bearer’s Bible study guides. Margret mostly threw them in the trash. But the man, an evangelist named Peter Daudi, kept coming back and bringing more Bible studies. Margret kept throwing them away.
Then one day, Peter brought a friend with him to the brothel, Meiring Pretorious, Light Bearer’s on-the-ground literature reporter. He came into Margret’s room, chatted with her for a few minutes, and then asked if he could pray with her. She said yes. After the prayer, he left her with another set of Bible study guides.
This was a pivotal moment for Margret. Up until this point, the men who entered her room only wanted something from her. Meiring wanted to do something for her. Impressed by this selfless gesture, she pulled out the Bible study guides after he left and began to read.
After she began studying the Bible, Margret noticed that, quite mysteriously, she started losing clients. Men simply didn’t show up at her room. She took the extra time to study and as she read, she became convicted that she should find a different line of work. She started praying that God would help her in her search for a new job. Her financial situation became more strained and she knew she had to find a solution fast if she wanted to avoid going back to prostitution. After much prayer, she opened a street food cart and was met with great success.
After she finished going through the Light Bearer’s Bible studies, Margret began attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church, where she eventually was baptized. She now has two children and serves as her church’s clerk.
“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
Personal connections, a simple conversation, even if for just a brief moment, have the potential to radically change lives. This is what happened to Margret. When Meiring took the time to show her she was a human being, seen and loved, it ignited something in her. Perhaps there was something in the study guides that could help her find the life she thought wasn’t possible for her.
Truth also has the power to change our lives. A great thinker once pointed out, “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” This is also what happened to Margret. The truth she then discovered was a seed that grew into massive life transformation that freed her from life as a prostitute. Put truth and connection together and you have an unstoppable force for the gospel.
As anyone who’s done evangelistic work knows, communicating the truth effectively often takes time though. This is one of the reasons why, at Light Bearers, we’re passionate about printing gospel literature. Someone may not be receptive the first, second, third, fourth, or twentieth time they have an opportunity to hear the gospel. It can take time for the Spirit to soften our hearts. But when you print tracts by the millions, you are making it possible for someone to have opportunity after opportunity to hear and understand the gospel, even when a human being may not be physically present.
With every container of literature that Light Bearers ships, there are teams of people who are waiting to share the truth of who God is with the Margets of the world—people who believe they’re defined by their shame and stay in self-destructive cycles because they don’t see any way out, people who float through life because they don’t know that God has a glorious purpose for them. There are lay members passing out Bible study guides in brothels, pastors using them in evangelistic meetings, and Bible workers giving in-home Bible studies and gifting new church members with their very first Bibles.
If you’d like to help provide multiple opportunities for people like Margret to hear the gospel, consider partnering with us by becoming a regular donor.
Allie is a 2012 ARISE graduate and on-staff writer and communications assistant for Light Bearers. She is fascinated by the intersection of faith and the creative process and enjoys poetry. When she’s not watching a good movie with her friends, she enjoys narrating life with mediocre accents.