The terrible news all but knocked the air out of our lungs. After a long journey, we had just landed in East Africa, connected with our partners in ministry there, and were immediately sent reeling.
We travel the world because as a ministry, we don’t do hit-and-run evangelism—telling people about the Gospel and then simply moving on. We believe in the ministry of being there; long-term investment in people’s lives. They become family, especially the children.
One of my greatest joys is connecting with those amazing kids. Our team has the privilege of sharing their stories and following up on their progress. Without a doubt, we become invested and very attached.
This trip, we were excited to visit Hand of Hope’s East Africa malnutrition clinic. This permanent clinic, operated in partnership with Crisis Aid International, is relatively new, but we have had the honor of serving in this part of the world for many years, and God has been good to allow us to be instrumental in saving many lives.
Here the land is green and lush, yet people all around are malnourished and starving. It is known as “green drought”—the land looks fruitful but there is little nutrition to be had. And it is the children who are hardest hit.
At the clinic, children on the brink of starvation receive medical care and the nutrition their bodies crave along with what their souls need most. These precious children and their distraught parents experience hope and the love of Christ like never before.
One sweet eight-year-old girl named Marshet came to us near death, her body languishing, arms the circumference of an adult finger, and hair falling out. But after just a few months of care, she was healthy and thriving. So, as we arrived, we were anxious to see her and follow up on her progress.
Instead we were shocked to learn that one week ago Marshet had disappeared.
Her mother was devastated, and all of our hearts were broken. Little Marshet could not be found.
We were told that she and her mother were traveling to the clinic for care when a man on a motorcycle approached them about a roadblock ahead. He said that he would have to take Marshet safely through and meet her mother on the other side. He never showed up, and her mother had not seen her since.
The emotions came flooding—fear, anger, hopelessness. The likelihood of finding a child who’s been missing for days, especially in a developing nation, is not good. And the peril for a girl is heartbreaking to consider.
Had God saved this little girl from starvation only to have this happen? Was she lost, abducted, or worst of all fallen victim to human traffickers? We work so diligently in our Project GRL outreaches to love and rescue precious girls like Marshet. Have we now lost her?
We knew we could not dwell in those thoughts, so we used our greatest weapon and took to social media to ask people to pray. And pray they did! Thousands of our friends responded and shared the story so that others could pray.
We also combined efforts with others to work to bring Marshet home including government officials, our ministry partner Crisis Aid International, and radio stations to get the word out.
Our team visited Marshet’s mother, who was beside herself with grief. As each day went by, we continued to work and refused to give up hope, doing what God’s Word says to do—trust God and do good (Psalm 37:3). We continued helping other families and falling in love with more wonderful children, but Marshet was always on our minds.
The time came to leave, and we had yet to receive good news. We had no choice but to move on to the next stop on our itinerary, grateful for the fact that many people would be here working on Marshet’s behalf. We boarded the plane with the reality lurking in the back of our minds that she had been missing for two weeks now.
Our flight had barely touched down when we received the glorious call for which we and thousands of others had been praying.
Marshet was found!
It was nothing short of miraculous, and we were simply giddy. She was okay and would soon be reunited with her mother. We quickly shared the good news. Thank you, Jesus!
We will likely never know exactly what happened, but this we do know:
- Today Marshet is back where she belongs, in the arms of her mother, safe and sound.
- There is great power when people pray and work together for good.
- God performed the miraculous and you were part of it.
I also firmly believe that this sweet little girl in a remote African village has a great purpose ahead. She has been rescued by the hand of God not once, but twice. She has been plucked out of obscurity and has a worldwide family who has prayed for her and continues to care for her. She will know that God loves her greatly, and I can’t wait to see what He does in and through her life. Project GRL personified.
If you are concerned that your contribution is insignificant, or if you think you are small, invisible or unreachable—think again. Miracles happen, and the miracle of God’s love is a reality for you.
And this miracle of Marshet’s return is your miracle as well. You are guiding, restoring and loving girls like her and so many others, each and every day.
Project GRL is an outreach of Joyce Meyer Ministries’ missions arm, Hand of Hope, providing women and girls worldwide with rescue and restoration from human trafficking, education, clean water, and the truth that they are God’s precious daughters.