The blessings of forgiveness

The blessings of forgiveness | World Vision Blog

Esnart with her son Resheal holding one of their chickens from the World Vision Gift Catalog. (Photo: 2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

After being shunned by her community for being poor, Esnart’s life transformed through the simple gift of chickens.

Now that those who had shunned her need help, see how Esnart's family is taking the Bible’s lesson of forgiveness to heart!

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Forgiveness—the dictionary defines it as to grant absolution for an offense; to pardon. It sounds simple. But can you imagine feeling your community’s rejection year after year … and then being willing to forgive the people who’d rejected you?

That’s exactly what Esnart Sianchwale from Sinazongwe, Zambia had to do when her family faced one of the most difficult times in their lives. Her husband died in 1999, leaving her to care for her children and elderly mother. He’d been the family’s breadwinner, so his death meant disaster for the family.

Instead of the community rallying around her and offering support, they cast Esnart and her children aside.

Most people in southern Zambia belong to the Tonga tribe. Tongans measure worth by the number of animals owned. “In the past, when I lacked all these things, nobody could even walk to my home,” says Esnart. “They shunned me because I was poor.”

I heard from other families in the region that if a poor person attended community meetings and raised their hand to offer an opinion, they were told without hesitation to put down their hand. They had no say there. That’s what life was like for Esnart during her time of poverty.

Then Owen Sikuneta, World Vision’s community development officer in Sinazongwe, came to Esnart’s home with an offer. He’d witnessed her struggles, and he had good news.

The blessings of forgiveness | World Vision Blog
(Photo: 2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

 

Her family had been chosen to receive a precious gift of four chickens and a rooster through World Vision’s Gift Catalog. Esnart just needed to attend a class to learn how to build a proper pen in which to house them when they arrived.

“These chickens are going to be a stepping stone to move your family from one level to another,” he told her, knowing the power of animals in the local culture.

Life did change. The chickens reproduced rapidly, opening opportunities for Esnart and her kids. She sold some chickens and eggs to buy turkeys, seeds, and cattle. Cows helped her to plow more land so she could increase the size of her harvest. The improved seeds meant more resilient crops. Soon, she had plenty to feed her children, with leftovers to sell in the market.

The blessings of forgiveness | World Vision Blog
Esnart and Resheal return from their farm plot with a handful of cowpeas. (Photo: 2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

 

Esnart joined a World Vision savings group and expanded her earnings even more, and now she’s an entrepreneur, running a business selling fish from nearby Lake Kariba.

The blessings of forgiveness | World Vision Blog
Esnart (wearing red shirt and purple wrap) oversees a savings group meeting. (Photo: 2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

 

She’s an influential person in the community. No longer do people ignore her or her children.

In fact, many people in need come to her. There’s a drought sweeping across southern Africa, and it’s caused crops to fail. As a result, many people are going hungry.

Sometimes, people who had once shunned her now come to her asking for provision. Esnart chooses not to turn them away. “I don’t want to revenge them for what they did to me,” she says. She takes the Bible’s lesson of forgiveness to heart.

If someone asks for a chicken to feed their family, she gives it to them free of charge.

Her faith enables her to forgive. “I need to show them an example of how they need to live,” Esnart says. “God is using me, not just for my well being, but also for the well being of others.”

The blessings of forgiveness | World Vision Blog
Esnart's 18-year-old son, Bee. (Photo: 2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

 

Her example has taken root in her children. Her 18-year-old son, Bee, says, “One friend came and said he did not have a blanket. I did not deny him one because I realized problems need to be shared. So, I gave him a blanket. They say the hand that gives is blessed.”

I’d say Esnart’s hands are truly blessed through both her giving and her forgiveness.


Be a blessing to a family in need this Christmas! Give the gift of chickens through our Gift Catalog.

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