Alia Agnes joined Seed Effect as a member of Nyaret “Love” Loan Group in 2010. With 7 children to care for, she sold fish and other foodstuff in the market in Kajo Keji, South Sudan. But because she and her husband had recently separated, she couldn’t pay school fees and her children had to drop out of school. Despite her hard work, she struggled to put food on the table. Her past sufferings made her angry and bitter with God. She felt that God had forsaken her. And while she attended the group meetings and education seminars, she was initially uninterested in hearing the Gospel.
But as she continued to invest in her business, her life began to change. Alia remarried and had her 8th child and continued to run her business, adding a grinding mill. With the profits, she was able to put all of her children back in school and built a house for her family. She said, “Seed Effect has done great things in my life. I used to sleep down on the floor, but currently in my tukul, there are beds, mattresses and all bedding. Today I have a new home and my business is doing well all because of Seed Effect. On top of my kids I take care of, I can also care for my mum and that makes me proud”.
The Seed Effect staff continued to pray for Alia. As she attended the education seminars, she was encouraged by the discipleship she received. She began to understand and believe that there was hope through Jesus and she learned of his love and sacrifice for her and she chose to follow him. This prompted her to seek forgiveness and reconcile with her ex-husband and his new family.
Unfortunately her new husband passed away in 2011 but through the support of Seed Effect, Alia’s business continued to grow. She shared, “If I had not joined Seed Effect, I would no longer be here. I would have left these kids and they would be suffering now. It is Seed Effect who tied me in one place because it is like my husband, my mother, my relatives. That’s why I am persisting.”
And then war broke out in 2013 and slowly over the past 2 years, Alia and her neighbors have faced increasing challenges and insecurity. In April 2016, Alia transitioned from a loan client to a savings group member and served as chairperson of her group. But in July of 2016, armed robbers attacked her home at midnight ordering her to open the door but she refused. So they set her house on fire. Miraculously, she and her children escaped but all of her clothes, household items, and her hard-earned savings were burned inside the house.
With no home and no savings, Alia left South Sudan for the refugee camp in Northern Uganda, joining tens of thousands of South Sudanese fleeing the violence and insecurity. Upon a recent visit to the camps (November 2016), the Seed Effect staff reunited with Alia and told her that Seed Effect is coming to the camps to start savings groups. Joel Cox, Seed Effect Director of Operations said, “if we had to guess, she will be in one of our first groups as we endeavor to bring economic empowerment and the love of Christ to the South Sudanese, wherever they may be.”
Please join us in praying for Alia and her family alongside the hundreds of thousands of refugees. And please continue praying for our staff as we pave the way for the expansion of our program into Northern Uganda.