When Susan Ithungu from Uganda became a Christian, she had to hide her faith. Her father, who was a Muslim witchdoctor, was a dangerous and difficult man.
One day, after Susan’s father continually refused medical treatment for her seriously ill mother, Susan’s mother fled – leaving Susan and her young brother in their father’s care.
Eventually, he discovered Susan’s secret: that she had converted from Islam to Christianity.
Susan’s father locked her up in an airless, filthy room without food and water. She survived merely because her younger brother dug a hole in the ground and gave her food and water when their father was not around.
It was three months later, in October 2010, when neighbours finally discovered her and alerted the authorities. “When they opened the door [of the room], I felt peace and I knew that God had sent me help,” Susan says.
She was critically malnourished and severely injured when she was admitted into a rural Ugandan hospital. What followed was an excruciatingly painful road to recovery.
Susan was moved from the rural hospital to Kampala, and from there to Nairobi, Kenya. Doctors kept discovering more effects of her shocking abandonment – dental problems, bone fractures, inability to walk, poor muscle-development and emotional scarring.
It soon dawned on everyone that if this remarkable teenager was to show any significant recovery, it would take a miracle from God, the close support of friends and a generous portion of patience.
Amazingly, after many operations and medical procedures, Susan showed a remarkable recovery from many of her health issues. She returned to Uganda at the end of 2012, where she went back to mainstream school with the aid of one crutch, but still awaits further corrective surgery.
Open Doors worker, Heidi*, recently visited Susan while she was spending the weekend at the house of Evangelist Paul*, Susan’s pastor. Heidi told us: “It was dusk as we entered the compound. A young girl walking with crutches approached us with a beautiful smile on her face. Shyly, Susan, now 16, stretched out her hand to greet me and then walked over to Evangelist Paul to hug him, calling him ‘Father’. Paul greeted her like his own daughter and I could see genuine love there.
“Susan remains ever-ambitious,” shares Heidi. “She says she still wants to become a doctor because she wants to help other people. Spiritually, she is as switched-on as ever.”
Whilst we were there, Susan told us, “I forgive my father because he did not know what he was doing. I have also forgiven my mother for deserting us.”
*Names changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors
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imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.