Grace in the Margins

A Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA) worker and her team rely heavily on the empowerment of God’s Spirit, modeling Jesus’ love to imprisoned teenaged girls in Mali. Outreach includes Bible studies, medical assistance, and a literacy program.

I visited the prison one day last summer with Eliza, our nurse. A guard had called to say there had been a fight the previous week. One of the girls wasn’t healing well.

I was not prepared for what we were about to see. Maya,* one of the inmates, had thrown a pot of boiling lye on Batoma. More than half of Batoma’s body was severely burned, and she was wrapped from her neck to her knees in gauze.

I didn’t have a clue what to say or how to handle this horrific situation. I vacillated between feeling like sobbing and wanting to throw up. All I could think to do was to pray with Batoma.

A Broken Girl

Maya, left, recently graduated from the prison ministry's literacy program.

As we prepared to leave, one of the guards asked if I would visit Maya, who was in solitary confinement and had been asking for me.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see her. I didn’t know how to deal with what I’d just witnessed. What would I say to this person who’d committed such a horrible act? I called my husband, Shawn, and asked him to pray for me.

I was told that when the guards beat Maya for the assault, she didn’t weep or express remorse. I thought I would be afraid of her, yet when I arrived at her cell, all I saw was a broken teenager who looked like she’d lost all hope.

I sat down, wrapped my arms around her, and began to cry. “Remember, Maya, it’s not hopeless—Jesus forgives anything,” I whispered.

Loving Maya

It’s been a few months since that difficult day. Maya is now out of solitary and awaiting additional sentencing for the attack. Prison authorities are surprised that we still want to visit her.

We know that in loving Maya and praying for the healing of her broken spirit in Jesus’ name, we are testifying to the grace God has bestowed on us all through His Son.

Recently, Maya finished the last level of our adult literacy program and attended a graduation ceremony we hosted for her and another inmate. We praise the Lord! Her heart is softening—I just had a good talk with her last week about the incident with Batoma, and we prayed she would be able to let go of her anger.

Batoma also has needed to experience God’s love and grace. We’ve learned that she had threatened and frightened the other inmates. (Maya said she attacked her because she was afraid for her life.)

Our team gave Batoma some funds for her medical expenses and prayed with her for healing. Prison officials have since allowed her to return home so her family can provide for her ongoing care.

We continue to pray for Batoma’s complete healing and that the truth she heard from us will take root in her heart.

*Names changed

—By Becky McCabe, who, with her husband, Shawn, serves on a team in Mali composed of CAMA and Alliance international workers


Join the Alliance family in praying for our international workers in Japan and worldwide, who are providing access to the gospel in some of the most spiritually dark places on earth. Use the weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to assist you.


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