A life transformed

A life transformed:

Lídia’s story

Your support for BMS World Mission transforms lives every day. We wanted to share Lídia’s story with you, so you can see how important your giving really is.

Lídia wanted to help people. She dreamt of becoming a lawyer, to help the men and women she saw suffering around in her in Mozambique. But as she grew up her worldview changed. She saw deprivation and experienced her own struggles, raised by a single mum in a house that flooded every time it rained. She saw lawyers as liars. While the rich got richer, she seemed to have no opportunities and little hope. She gave up on her dream.

And on 4 May 2017, life as she knew it changed forever. That was the day Lídia’s mother was killed in a car accident. It could have meant the end of any hope for Lídia and her three sisters. Initially, it looked like it was. But for Lídia’s perseverance, it might have been.

Lídia lost all sense of direction in her life. Her mother was dead. The collision had been the fault of the other driver but Lídia’s family didn’t know that they could get compensation. They didn’t understand the law that was there to protect them from situations just like this.

A woman in front of a white wall.
Lídia dreamt of being a lawyer from a young age.

Stories like Lídia’s have been heard hundreds of times by the BMS-supported Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers (AMAC). This is not just a case of lack of education: the law is written in Portuguese, a language that half of the population don’t even speak.

Which is why AMAC’s work to provide legal education, advice and representation is so vital. And why, thanks to your support, BMS stands alongside AMAC with funding, expertise and justice mission workers. “While injustice continues to rob people of the opportunity for dignity, hope and a future, we must continue to take the imperative of Proverbs 31: 8-9 seriously,” says Steve Sanderson, Deputy Director for Mission. Speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves is an imperative that AMAC take seriously too. So when Lídia met Fernando, a member of AMAC at church, she soon realised that she had found someone who could really help her.

A man sits at a table outside
AMAC holds events at churches to provide legal education to local people who need it most.

Lídia explained her situation to Fernando, and he told her about AMAC. About how they work to help people like her get the access to justice they need. He told her that if she went to AMAC, they would be able to advise her. With AMAC’s help, Lídia’s family won the case against the driver and were given 180,000 meticais (£2,300) in compensation. They put the money towards a house, one that didn’t flood when it rained. Where their family could start rebuilding their lives.

AMAC showed Lídia that her opinion of lawyers was wrong. The lawyers she met at AMAC were people of compassion, people who wanted to serve those who needed them most. And Lídia knew that this was where God had been leading her. When she heard of a vacancy for an Admin Assistant at AMAC, she applied and got the job. And working for an organisation dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless was enough to reawaken the dream she’d had as a girl. Lídia is now in her second year of studying Law with Criminal Investigation at university. Ever since she was young, she had wanted to help people. By working with AMAC, she’s been given a chance to do just that.

Have you been inspired to support BMS' justice ministry?

If you want to help more people like Lídia, sign up to be a BMS Justice Partner today, and support our mission workers fighting injustice across the world.

A woman sits behind a desk.
Your support for BMS has given Lídia the opportunity to help people just like her.

Lídia knows that AMAC is so much more than just its amazing and inspiring staff and lawyers. AMAC is also you. Your support through BMS provides funding, legal experience and capacity building to AMAC. Your prayers for, and giving to, our justice ministries around the world make stories like Lídia’s possible. You and your Mozambican brothers and sisters gave Lídia a lawyer when her family needed one. Gave her an opportunity to serve. Thank you for your support. Thank you for a life transformed.

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Cyclone Idai update

Thank you for your continued prayers for the city of Beira after it was struck by Cyclone Idai. We have been touch with our personnel and partners in the area and can confirm that Lídia is safe.

Find more updates on the continued relief efforts here.

Words by Laura Durrant.

Annet couldn’t get a visa to enter Britain – please help her

Our mission worker couldn’t get a visa to enter Britain – please help her today

Annet Ttendo Miller should be in the UK right now, telling people about the brilliant work God is doing in Mozambique through BMS World Mission. She’s not here because her visa application was turned down, which is why we need you and your entire church to pray for her.

It was meant to be so special. BMS lawyer Annet would finally meet her father-in-law, and he would get to hold his granddaughter for the first time. All that Annet needed was a visa to enter Britain.

She didn’t want to move here, or stay a long time, she just wanted to come with her British husband – BMS worker Damien – and their daughter, Patience. She wanted to visit in-laws, her friends and colleagues at BMS, and to tell people about God’s work in Mozambique. And then she’d go back home and continue fighting for the oppressed; for women who have been abused, for the vulnerable without a voice.

A man in a multicoloured shirt stands next to a woman in a blouse, holding a baby
Annet and Damien Miller were all set to visit Britain with their daughter, Patience, when they were told Annet’s visa application had been turned down.

But the Millers’ visit hasn’t happened as Annet’s visa application was turned down. A new application will be submitted, so today we’re asking you to pray for Annet, Damien, and Patience, because we believe in a God that listens.

• Pray that God will make a way for the Millers to visit the UK. Pray that Annet and Patience will get to meet Damien’s father, and that churches will hear about the vital legal work being done in Mozambique.

• Pray that Annet and Damien would have a strong sense of God’s presence during this stressful time. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to be with them at work and at home.

• Pray thanks for what God is doing through Annet and Damien at the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers (AMAC). Please pray for more people to hear about the association, and that they ask for help.

The time when Annet was pregnant and told to leave Britain

Annet moved from her native Uganda to Mozambique in 2012 to lead the launch of the BMS-supported legal ministry, AMAC. She married Damien in 2015 and they had hoped for Patience to have been born in Britain.

When they arrived in June 2016 for a visit, Annet was pregnant and had a five-year visitor visa to the UK. She was allowed into the country, but only after being detained for hours, and having had her visa cancelled because it was suspected she would misuse NHS funds.

Allowed to stay in UK for just a few weeks, Annet and Damien had to fly to Uganda, seeking the care every expectant mother deserves. Patience Michelle Miller arrived early in Kampala, premature, but healthy, a blessing from God during a difficult time.

A woman with a grey jacket and black top stands in a garden smiling and with her hands crossed
Annet Ttendo Miller is working to help the oppressed in Mozambique. Please join us in praying for her today.

Hear more about the life-transforming work Annet and Damien are involved in

You may have already watched the video above. What we were all anticipating was for more stories about AMAC’s work to be shared by Annet and Damien in the UK.

“It is a huge disappointment for them, and us, that their visit has been postponed,” says BMS Regional Leader Mark Greenwood.
“They are doing priceless work in Mozambique. Our prayer is that you will hear them tell you all about it in the UK, in your church.”

God called Annet and Damien to Mozambique because he has a heart for justice. They stand alongside person after person who is alone and needs support. Now it’s our turn to support them with prayer.

Please share this article with your friends. We want the Millers to feel lifted up in prayer from churches across the world, not just for their visa and family situation, but for God to use their lives for his kingdom.

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Justice in Africa: God’s heart for the poor

Justice in Africa:

God's heart for the poor

Mob justice. Corruption. Exorbitant court fees. These are just some of the problems that people in Mozambique and Uganda face when trying to access justice. But thanks to you, BMS World Mission is doing something about it.

Christian lawyers in Africa are standing up for the poor and marginalised. They’re helping people like Sarah in Uganda, a widow who fell into legal trouble after her husband died. Whether it’s through legal representation, mediation or legal education, BMS-supported lawyers are helping the oppressed find justice.

Watch the video above to find out how your support is helping Christian lawyers in Mozambique and Uganda stand up for those who need it.

Support our legal work. Give today.
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Meet the inspiring Mozambican Christians you’re supporting

This is BMS:

Meet the inspiring Mozambican Christians you're supporting

The work of BMS World Mission has many different faces. This is what we look like in Beira, Mozambique.

Jeremias, Felizarda and Gervasio are transforming lives. They’re bringing justice to abused women, teaching teenage girls their rights, and working with a deaf community to educate them on laws they’ve never been able to hear.

And they’re doing it because you give to and pray for BMS.

We’d love you to meet the local Christians you’ve been supporting in Beira. Get to know them by watching this video:

Please share this video with your church to introduce them to some of the inspiring people they support when they give to BMS.

Jeremias, Felizarda and Gervasio are so thankful for your support. It’s enabling them to use their skills, training and passion to share God’s heart for justice with some of the most vulnerable people in their city and beyond.

And we are so pleased to be able to support them. They are three of the 194 dedicated local workers we partner with in Mozambique and around the world. Amazing Christians using their gifts for God’s mission in their home countries, supported by you.

Click Here if you’re praying for Jeremias, Felizarda and Gervasio
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Felizarda teaches school children, communities and churches about their rights. You support her work.
Felizarda teaches school children, communities and churches about their rights. You support her work.

“I want to thank all of you who are supporting me with this work with [the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers] here,” says Felizarda. “You are blessing us to bless other people.

“So thank you for everything you have done and will do in the future.”

Please pray for Felizarda, Jeremias and Gervasio, asking God to strengthen and equip them as they continue working to bring justice to people in Mozambique. Pray too for the rest of the team at the Association of Mozambican Christian Lawyers, which includes Annet Ttendo Miller, Damien Miller, Jane Edwards and Kathy Russell.

Become a 24:7 Justice Partner

Our God is a God of justice.

You can play an important role in our justice work in Mozambique when you sign up to become a 24:7 Justice Partner. Support Jeremias, Felizarda, Gervasio and the rest of our legal team by committing to regular prayer and giving today.

Click here to partner with our justice ministries.

The BMS team working for justice in Beira, Mozambique.
The BMS team working for justice in Beira, Mozambique.

Justice: I wept when my rapist’s family came for my son

Justice:

I wept when my rapist's family came for my son

What doesn’t kill you can make you stronger and define your life. This is the story of what led Annet Ttendo Miller into becoming one of the key pioneers of BMS’ justice work in Uganda and Mozambique.

Annet Ttendo Miller never thought she would turn 14. Being raped at a young age left her uncertain if she would live or die. Now, working with BMS World Mission in Mozambique, she helps others get the justice she was denied.

“You could have an abortion and go back to school,” my devoutly Catholic mother said. When I was in secondary school, a stranger had raped me. No one knew, until my mother realised I was pregnant. Even today, I’m still surprised she gave me a choice. In my Ugandan culture, our parents tell us what to do. There are no equal levels where you would sit and discuss these things.

I asked for a night to think and decide. If my father found out, I’d be married off and my education would be over. He would not believe that I’d been raped. Then he would throw out my mother, thinking she had arranged the pregnancy to lower my bride price.

I could not sleep that night. I knew it didn’t matter if I kept the baby or not, there was no way I would survive this.

“Let me die honourably,” I told my mother the next morning. If I died while she helped me to have an abortion, she would be blamed and carry a stigma for the rest of her life. But, if I died giving birth, no one would blame her. So, we made a plan.

I knew it didn’t matter if I kept the baby or not, there was no way I would survive this.

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My mother and I confronted the family of my attacker. Of course, he denied responsibility. My mother threatened to take him to court. “You’ve destroyed my daughter’s education,” she said, angry and bitter, “you’ve destroyed her life.” Eventually, they made an agreement and talked out the details in front of me. They decided that I would carry the pregnancy to term and after the child was born and weaned, my attacker’s family would support it and take care of my education.

Then, my mother found a friend in the next village who would hide me. “If God helps us and you live through the birth, then maybe you could go back to school,” she said. I was 13 years old and so small. I never, ever thought I would survive.

My mother packed my things and took me to this village. That’s where I had the baby.

I raised him for a year and a half while I went to school. I woke up early, fed him, changed his nappy, went to school from eight o’clock until noon and then I did the housework and my homework. This was my life until they came for him. But I’d grown so attached to my son. When they took him, I cried my heart out. I pleaded with them to care for him like he was their own.

When he turned four, my son was enrolled at my mother’s primary school, also part of the arrangement. She let him call me “aunt” to protect me. “Bond with him or he will never know his maternal side,” she told me. When he turned 14, I told him the truth, the entire story. I told him that his name is Ebo and regardless of the circumstances, he is my son and I love him. We are friends now and despite everything, I thank God for my son.

Annet raised her son for 18 months before giving him up to her attacker's family

Watch Annet sharing about her experience in a video originally recorded for our Dignity initiative to counter gender based violence.

It was really for vengeance that I studied law.

To me, seeing my attacker get away with rape didn’t feel like justice. I told myself that if I studied, I’d become a lawyer. I actually wanted to be a judge, so I could get retribution against any sex offenders who came before me. I would be able to sentence them, even give harsh punishments, like death.

Another reason I wanted to study law was because I kept asking God to please lift up my head and make me somebody. I’d been shunned by the village for being an unwed mother. Even while I studied, people would tell me, “You can’t go around saying ‘oh this happened to me’. No one can give you a platform to tell your story.” So, I always kept my head down.

My prayers were answered. I did become a lawyer but I realised that God wanted me to use what I’d learned to help people, not punish them.

Today, I am still humbled to know that God heard this prayer.
I’ve only been telling my story for the past three years. Before, I was ashamed of what happened. Now, it feels like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

A woman wearing a black cloak with a white shirt smiles for a photo
Annet Ttendo Miller is working to help the oppressed in Mozambique. Please join us in praying for her today.

God lift my head, make me somebody

God told me to work here

I almost didn’t stay with the Ugandan Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF). I’d been given a two-year position with the EU that offered five times the salary, a car, a television and a house. I had a week to decide and I thought I might as well try UCLF.

The office was very small. I kept asking myself, “Is this where I want to work?” On my first day, a lady walked in and I started filling in her form. I asked, “Who referred you here?”

“The Holy Spirit,” she said. After I’d written the words, I realised what they were. “Hold on, tell me the truth, who sent you here?” She looked at me and said, “I was told the person I’m supposed to see is going to leave.” That made me pause. I listened to what she had to say. During the meeting, we talked more and prayed together. “You have studied law,” she said, “but God wants you to understand biblical justice, that’s what he’s teaching you. He wants you to go to different nations.”

The next day, after a colleague met with her they told me, “Annet, she is mad!” And that’s when I realised what God was telling me. I stopped looking for other positions. I’d found his calling for my life and UCLF is where he wanted me to be.

Annet is a Ugandan lawyer and BMS mission worker who began her work with the Ugandan Christian Lawyers’ Fraternity in 2006. In 2012, she moved to Mozambique to lead the launch of a BMS-supported legal ministry there (Association of Christian Mozambican Lawyers). She is helping women with similar experiences to her and others who urgently need to know their rights and someone to enable them to stand up for them.

Annet Ttendo was talking to Vickey Casey