Manie Cheum, 19 years old

A fly was landing on Manie’s right forearm – that’s the one thing that caught my eyes.   The fly was caught by the camera – still.  I can feel the fly landing on my right forearm now.  Manie’s eyes are seeping out hopelessness in her every gaze dashing out from this photograph.  Her story I have come to know of consists of the following seven sentences:

Manie was raped.  Her mother insisted her to marry her perpetrator because she was no longer a virgin.  She refused to comply and ran away from home to find job in the city.  She then being sold to a brothel on top of her drug addiction.  Months later she being rescued by AFESIP.  Now she being reintergrated back to the society in January 2008.  – The End –

Father God, today is June 10, 2009, how is she doing on this very day?  With all the happenings unrolled at this end, our believing in you comes from the receiving of your grace.  I pray that Manie will come to believe in you too when she has a chance to receive care and nurture from your workers, that by such process that her faith journey will get started by personally encountering you, that how impossible she can get out of her present situation, “only by grace that we are saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God,”  – this will be a gift freely given to her.

I pray that Manie will be able to experience that she needs not to rely on herself to walk out of devils’ schemes and take her stand against devils’ plan, that her struggle is not against flesh and blood, not against her own drug addiction, nor her mother’s coercion of marrying her off to her rapist, nor any power of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil, but … she will be able to stand her ground, after she has done everything, to stand, stand firm then. 

I pray that her guilt and disgustedness that are boiling in her will subside and eclipse by your saving acts and unconditional love, that her life will bring you renoun, joy, praise, honour before all nations of the earth, that they hear of all good things You have done for her, people will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace you provided for her. 

Her mother may think that she is a disposable waste.  A mother may be better off to be rid of her own daughter and not be associated with such a shameful reminder of sin and shame. I pray that with the power of your restoration, Manie and her mother will be able to hear the sound of joy and gladness, the voice of the “real” bride and bridegroom waiting anxiously to be married under the shower of your abundant blessings, that your word and your truth be brought to them in your mysterious ways; and – how impossible it looks from our human limited perspectives – that ours shall never limit yours, in your redemptive act of all people in all nations. 

Both Paul and I are learning each day to follow your call and be in constant awe of your signs and wonders performed directly on us and around us, and I pray that the same or even more of what we have experienced to be overflowingly bestowed on Manie from today onwards. 

In Your name.  I pray.  Amen.


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