“I would have died of trauma. Or if not that, I would have divorced my husband and continued living in sins. My depression was deep… but then the Spirit of God touched me during the listening program.”
Joanna sat amongst her friends inside the brick-walled Togolese church. She clutched a Bible to her chest and reminisced.
“There was grievance, even hatred, against my husband. I was often nervous, feeling bitterness in my heart. I was pregnant and my husband was not supportive—he would insult me almost every day. I could not bear this terrible treatment, and I always answered back in kind. There was conflict every day between my husband and me. It was unbearable, and I was always depressed.
“I faced many difficulties in my marriage, but the most difficult time was when I lost my baby. The whole pregnancy was incredibly painful, and I was hoping for consolation in the child once he was born. But my baby boy died two hours after his birth. My husband said I was responsible! He tortured me for almost three months. He stopped eating food I prepared and often abused my other children for no reason. I started to feel that it was almost impossible to talk to him.”
Joanna looked to the side and wiped away the tears forming in her eyes. They were replaced with a small, warm smile. “But then, something wonderful happened: Our pastor brought an Audio Bible to our church and told us that we could come listen to it together every Tuesday. Everybody wondered what it would be like to listen to the Word of God in our heart language. Praise God, I began to attend.
“Needless to say, the listening program is positively impacting my life. This is because I decided to obey every single word I hear in God’s Word. I decided to put whatever God says into practice. Now I always ask God to control me by His Spirit. I bring all decisions into the light of the Word of God and ask, ‘What does God say concerning this or that issue?’ The Spirit of God is sharpening my conscience.
“ every Tuesday evening has repaired and restored my faith in Jesus. I am now able to face all the problems I have with my husband. I would have lost my faith after the death of my baby if I didn’t claim the Word of God upon my life, especially Mark 11:22-24, in which Jesus says, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’ I was looking at my situation as a mountain which would remain forever. I thought that whatever I did to try to change the situation was in vain. Things were getting worse and worse. But when I heard this passage for the first time, I made it mine. I started praying for it to come to pass in my family. I trust God’s words when He says that whatever I ask Him, He will do.
“People have told me that I’ve changed since I started attending the listening group. I am more patient and show love to people. I used to publicly quarrel with my husband; but now, even though my husband has not changed his behavior, I have resolved to pray for and live peaceably with him.”
Joanna lovingly held up the Bible, smiling and praising God for . “I cannot adequately describe how my life has changed since I started attending the listening meetings: no bitterness, no quarreling, no insults. I stopped committing many sins. I am always joyful, and I praise the name of God. I can weather all the storms that my husband sends against me. I’ve resolved to share what God has done for me with other people, and this Bible helps me to share the Word with others. I have a duty to love them as Christ loves people—I have to care for them as Christ does. This Bible helps me to dedicate myself to God, and my commitment will be a living testimony which will bring new souls to Him.”
Please pray for Joanna and her family—that God would give them peace that passes all understanding and guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus as they listen to His Word (Philippians 4:7). Pray that more and more people in Joanna’s community would hear and see her testimony of God’s transformative power in her life and seek the truth found only in Jesus.