From the ashes, emerged God’s plan for her life–something greater than she could have even imagined.
Ashaki’s life has been filled with opportunity–she is a renaissance woman of sorts–a civil engineer, businesswoman, wife, and mother. Spirited, Ashaki lights up a room with her storytelling, laughter, and quick sense of humor. Her countenance does not give away the toll war has taken on her.
She has followed Christ, unreservedly. Straightforward and outgoing, Ashaki regularly evangelized and shared of Christ’s love and transformative power with the patrons at her restaurant, pointing them to the brand new copies of the Bible she had on the counter. One eagerly accepted Christ, and Ashaki continued discipling him for years.
Life was beautiful at her vast coastal property on fruitful land, in a region considered largely peaceful. Ashaki was not concerned for her safety; she even had a dream of angels protecting her home. On what was supposed to be a beautiful day of celebration, her fairy-tale life was torn to pieces. This holiday weekend, as others in the past, she had planned to spend celebrating with her close-knit family. Instead, they found themselves fleeing empty-handed as rebel forces invaded their village, destroying everything in their wake. Ashaki and her family took refuge in a large church with nearly a thousand other displaced families.
Yet, in this moment of suffering, Ashaki was not defeated–rather, she considers this the very night that her women’s ministry began. It was here that she began ministering to displaced families…those who had nothing left, and, as Ashaki well knew–everything to gain from a heavenly Savior. Even when she had moved into alternate lodging, Ashaki continued to return to the church shelter, feeding and praying with families, sharing the love of her Savior with them.
Nearly a month after they had fled, word came that it was finally safe enough to return to their village. First, she returned to her restaurant, then her farming land, a cottage on her property, and finally her home. Everything imaginable had been looted, destroyed, or burned…down to the very knobs on the doors. Her family had been left with nothing.
While mourning this loss and struggling to maintain her composure on a church trip, another woman who realized why she was crying became upset and told of her own great loss–her husband, sons had been killed, those who remained–her daughters-in-law and grandchildren, had been taken by rebel forces. To cry over material things was shameful, this woman admonished.
It was in this moment that Ashaki began to open her heart to God’s healing. In the midst of crying out to Jesus, He revealed that He had a plan, and that the loss she had endured was part of His plan. He showed her that she and her family would be a house for the Lord to dwell in. Ashaki now understood the dream she had years before.
While life these days looks much different for Ashaki and her family, she continues to be a vessel for the Lord’s work through her women’s ministry. In Ashaki, there is a certain joy despite her sufferings, a love of Christ in her that so easily softens the hearts of those she reaches out to with her own stories of loss…and of Christ’s redeeming love.
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God’.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4