Threads of Redemption

A course in sewing and discipleship helps one troubled Tanzanian girl mend damaged relationships.

From Message magazine issue "Transformed: Lives Changed Across the Globe"

Malaika arrived as the most troubled student at Sifa Collective.  

With relationships battered by years of trauma and broken trust, her family members had registered her for the program. “We hate her,” they declared to the staff. “See what you can do with her.” 

The feeling was mutual. Once enrolled in the microenterprise program, Malaika continued in the same pattern of conflict, anger, and shame that had characterized her behavior in her family and community. 

The national staff and missionaries worked patiently with Malaika throughout the year-long course. Founded to disciple and empower vulnerable young Tanzanian women, the program teaches sewing and entrepreneurial skills, along with women’s health, life skills, and biblical training. Each lady who graduates from the program leaves with her own treadle sewing machine, allowing her to start a local business and provide for her family, even in villages without access to electricity. 

“They hear the gospel every single day,” shared Sifa Collective founder and ABWE missionary Stephanie Boon. 

As Malaika heard the good news and witnessed the love of Christ through the Tanzanian staff each day, God began softening her heart. In the last month of the 2023 program, she approached the Tanzanian manager, announcing, “I’m ready to repent. I want to confess to you and to God everything that I’ve done.” 

Burdened by the weight of her wrongdoing, however, she continued: “But I don’t expect God or anyone else to grant me forgiveness.” 

The manager assured her that God delights in granting forgiveness, and Malaika placed her faith in Christ. Immediately, she resolved to seek her family’s forgiveness. She set up a meeting with them to pursue reconciliation. 

“Her coming to know Jesus before she leaves and goes off on her own is really exciting, especially for someone who had their life filled with so much conflict and hatred and shame,” said Stephanie. “The gift of repentance and brokenness is such a beautiful picture of Christ’s work through the gospel.”

Editor’s Note: Malaika’s name has been changed for privacy.