This is the next chapter of Ruth’s story (see Part 1 here) – and how her story touched many others.
We left Ruth in a detention center, calling the only person she thought could help her: Alexa, the All Nations missionary who had shown her kindness.
Alexa agreed to help. She learned that Ruth had overstayed her work permit, so the main thing she needed was money to get home. Even if Ruth had been cleared from wrongdoing and served her sentence, she would not be released from prison if she didn’t have money for a ticket home.
Some friends of Alexa raised the funds to purchase a ticket for Ruth. In less than two months, she was freed to return to Ghana!
Unfortunately, Ruth’s troubles didn’t end there. Ruth’s family was convinced she had made a lot of money in the Middle East and just wasn’t sharing, so they refused to see her or help her. She ended up living on the streets for a few weeks until she found work. Within a few months, she was able to bring her children back to live with her again from the boarding school where they had been. She continues her work braiding peoples’ hair.
Ruth needed someone who would not only see her, but also take action. She found that person in Alexa.
Alexa kept in touch with Ruth during her transition home, and was saddened to hear how hard the transition back was for her. Alexa also began to learn what a common problem Ruth’s was for women from Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya in her Middle Eastern country. These women have no embassy in country, so if they leave their work environment or if something happens to their papers, they have no representation or government to help free them.
The Freedom Effort Grows
The team of volunteers focusing on this issue grew, and today there is much more support for these women. In 2023, this effort served 168 women in prison. They sent 49 women home.
In addition to the team giving financial, emotional, and spiritual support while they are in prison and providing funds to return home, Alexa has developed partnerships with organizations and churches who will help the women transition back home.
Alexa didn’t want to see other women have the same experience returning home as Ruth – and many would have. The women who go to the Middle East to work are leaving desperate situations, and without help upon returning would be on the streets or return to the Middle East.
There now are strong partnerships in Uganda, Kenya, and Ghana. Ethiopia is more challenging and politically unstable, creating a challenging cycle. Women leave and end up in prison in the Middle East because they have no options, but then there is no help for them when they return. About half of the women in the prison this year were from Ethiopia. Pray for connections for these women!
Alexa met Ruth because Alexa had recently sensed God’s freedom to pursue connections beyond her specific target group in the country, and she followed Jesus as He led her to engage Ruth and these many other women.
All Nations missionaries are trained in making disciples and igniting church planting movements, and will do that everywhere they go (there is now Bible study happening in the prison!). But more importantly, they prioritize listening to Jesus’ voice and following Him where He leads.
In East Africa, Jesus’ road led a missionary family to Samiah, a 16-year old South Sudanese refugee, with a widowed mother struggling to provide. Samiah began following Jesus through the Bible study that the missionaries began, and had her physical needs cared for. Jesus walked a road to the desperate, and All Nations missionaries followed.
In Europe, Jesus’ road led a missionary team to meet, listen, and pray for Muhammad. He fled Central Asia as a refugee with his toddler son and suffered the incomprehensible loss of his son during the boat journey to Turkey. Jesus walked a road to the suffering, and All Nations missionaries followed.
In West Africa, Jesus’ road led a single female missionary to a dry, remote, hostile land where she met a Muslim shepherd named Usman. To care for his family, he endures thirst, hunger, and danger to tend large flocks of sheep and goats in unforgiving weather. Jesus walked the road to dangerous places, and All Nations missionaries followed.
Invest in Sending People on Jesus’ Road
It is only through partnership that we can ensure that hidden, neglected people like Ruth – and Samiah, Muhammad, and Usman – will be seen in their physical and spiritual suffering, and introduced to Jesus. We invite you to give, so that stories like these, of Jesus encountering the hidden and neglected, will multiply in the coming year.
Give here: https://bit.ly/JesusOnTheRoad