As the eldest of four siblings, Mariam began caring for her aging parents when she was just a teenager. And after becoming a Christian at a young age, she led her entire family to Christ. Now in her early 30s, Mariam owns a boutique in Shashamene, where she sells clothes to support her parents and younger siblings.
In 2020, her boutique and many other Christian businesses were destroyed in ethnically and religiously motivated violence that erupted in parts of southern Ethiopia. But despite losing her livelihood, Mariam remained firm in her faith. “Even though I lost all my possessions, I became stronger in my faith,” she said. “I do not know how that happened. What people did, drew me closer to God. My prayer life became stronger.”
With VOM’s support, Mariam has rebuilt her business. “It was the support I got that allowed me to start this business again,” she said. And the restoration of what she had lost has given her an opportunity to share the Gospel with her community. “When they saw Mariam restarting her business, they asked her, ‘Who helped you like this?’” a Front-Line Worker said. “She answers, ‘God is my supporter.’ This gave Mariam an opportunity to witness to people about the love, kindness and help of God.”