Akello Grace was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army when she was six years old. She spent the next sixteen years as a child soldier and sex slave. She was rescued by the UDPF (the Ugandan Army) in 2005, and spent three years in rehabilitation. But the experience left her with HIV and permanent physical problems from firing heavy artillery. After her time in rehabilitation, she married and had four children, who also contracted HIV. Then, in 2014, her husband died.
Grace’s situation was desperate. To survive, she had to find a way to get ARVs for herself and her children every month. She dug in other people’s gardens to glean food. They had no bed, not even a mat, to sleep on; they all shared one bedsheet at night. They had no latrine. Their meager house leaked badly in the rain. They could not afford soap, so the family was filthy—from their bodies to their clothes to their dishes and home.
Although the church members in Grace’s community didn’t know her whole story, they did see her terrible living conditions. So, after studying TCT Module 1 through a program of Food for the Hungry, they quickly identified Grace and her children as the neediest family in their village.
Along with their own members, the church mobilized others in the community as well. Together, they gathered local materials—poles, grasses, seeds, food stuffs, pangas (machetes), and hand hoes. When all these people showed up to help her, Grace was sceptical that they would really finish renovating her house.
But, working together, the church and community quickly repaired Grace’s house, dug a pit latrine, built a bath shelter, and planted beans. Grace could hardly believe the help that was given so freely to her. She opened up to the church members about the many struggles of her life, and expressed great thanks to God and His people for helping her.