UGANDA: STILL STANDING
You wouldn't recognize the healthy, smiling young woman in the photo from the undernourished 13-year-old girl who was tortured for her faith more than five years ago.
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When Susan became a Christian in 2009, her father began beating her. He then locked her in a room for six months. Her brother secretly slipped roasted bananas under the door so she could survive.
Susan was rescued when neighbors became concerned and called the police. After her rescue, she was skeletal, weak and unable to walk or talk. The long-term lack of calcium while locked in the room affected her bones and disrupted her growth and function in her legs. After multiple surgeries, she can now walk with the assistance of crutches.
With the support of VOM, Susan is attending a boarding school where she will get a good education and help for her special needs.
"I love school and I work very hard," Susan said. "I find difficulty sometimes, but I have learned to struggle through."
A VOM worker regularly visits Susan at school, and on his most recent trip said she was happy for the visit and "still full of smiles." Although Susan sometimes still feels pain in her knees, she pushes on and continues to smile and to try to walk on her own.
"I believe that one day I will be able to walk," Susan said. "I sometimes try walking with one crutch and if I keep trying, I will eventually walk."
In spite of what she went through and how she struggles physically every day, Susan hopes that one day she will make a difference for Christ in the world, and she wants to be able to witness to those who persecuted her.