My name is Laura, and I am from South America but have lived in Vienna for the past 15 years. Before I accepted Jesus as my Savior, my life held some overwhelming difficulties. I have done many bad things. I must admit that I did not have a good example from my parents, but perhaps they didn’t have a good example either, and therefore did not know how to give me one.
I was very small when my parents divorced. I could hardly grasp the situation; I only had the feeling that no one loved me. I had always wished for a real family, and mine was fragmented at best. I wanted to run away. I grew up with my father and sisters. There were many problems, and my childhood was not particularly easy or pleasant. At that time, I began to talk to God because, in my heart, I had always believed in Him. On the inside, I was never really alone. He always protected me and never left me desolate. He was actually my only friend, although I did not understand much about Him. Nonetheless, I often felt very sad.
Many years later, I married a Muslim, but afterward I began to miss my solitude. The relationship was very tense. My daughter was born, and I was overjoyed; but the relationship with my husband continued to worsen. Despite the problems, I wanted to save my marriage. I truly wanted my daughter to have that which I was deprived of—a real family.
Then, in my confusion, I began to pray. I only wanted to be free— not just from the relationship, but also from the hatred, the fear, and the crushing tension. I spoke with my sister, who is a Christian (living in South America). She gave me the Hudsons’ phone number. Although I was able to speak with them briefly and visit their home, I was unable to visit the church because of the tension with my Muslim husband.
Several months after meeting the Hudsons, my life took an unexpected turn. My husband kidnapped my daughter and took her to Algeria. I was devastated. I didn’t want to live anymore. I was distraught, furious, and demanded in my grief, “God, why are you taking away the one good thing that you have given me?”
At that time, I didn’t understand that this kidnapping was the way that God had chosen to bring me to my desired freedom. During this turbulent time, I visited the church. There I learned that Jesus was my only hope—not only for the paralyzing circumstances I was facing, but also for my whole life and purpose. I thank Him, not only for the freedom and safety that He miraculously orchestrated in getting my daughter back, but also for the freedom from my hatred, anger and bitterness.
Jesus died for my sins, and because of that, I may have a real relationship with Him. In 2003, I confessed my sin to God and prayed for His forgiveness. He freed me and gave me new life. Now, although I still sometimes encounter difficult situations, I have peace and joy in my heart. Through the difficulties, I can grow more like Jesus. I am so thankful for His grace.