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A stolen childhood


Martin, a cross-cultural worker in Peru, was on his way to do some work at church when he sensed the Holy Spirit tell him to go visit Janice* instead. Martin had not seen Janice in some time.

Martin walked to Janice's home and was surprised to find her holding a one-month-old baby. Janice had turned 14 years old the week before she gave birth to her first child.

“Her pregnancy was not of her choosing,” said Martin, “but the brave decision to keep her baby was.” Janice had been abused by two men who threatened Janice’s family if they chose to tell the police.

Martin visited with Janice and her mother, prayed with them, and invited Janice to church. She was thrilled to be able to return to church and came the next Sunday.

Church members took turns holding Janice’s baby while Janice was able to participate in worship and in youth group activities. “The experience restored some joy and lost childhood,” said Martin. “She felt loved and accepted.”

Janice attended church regularly for months. One Sunday, Martin was teaching about baptism and asked if anyone wanted to be baptized. Both Janice and her cousin prayed, asking Jesus to be their Lord and Savior! The girls wanted to be baptized along with other members of the congregation.

Martin held a baptism service several weeks later. Ten members of the congregation were baptized that day.

Janice’s biological father discovered what had happened to his daughter and took the story to the local media to demand justice for his daughter. There was a news story in the paper and on television detailing Janice’s abuse and including photos of her mother and stepfather.

Janice stopped attending church after the media coverage of her situation aired. As is common in Peru, the two men never had to appear in court.

“God was restoring Janice’s joy and innocence through her participation in church,” said Martin. “God is not finished writing her life story. Our God is the great healer of broken hearts and an expert at restoring lives. I continue to pray for her healing and restoration.”

Please pray for Janice as she heals from a series of painful events. Pray for her protection and the protection of vulnerable children all over the world. Pray that she would return to church and continue to grow in her relationship with Jesus as she seeks healing from the trauma she has experienced.

*Name changed