The Girl With the Loveliest Smile

July 19, 2019

TW: sexual assault

Meet Xola, the girl with the loveliest smile. Xola is a brand new student in our Life Orientation Program. She is at the very beginning of her journey and we are so excited to see God’s redemptive work in her life. 

“I was raped two times when I was fourteen. At that time, I was staying at Eastern Cape, living with my grandmother. … I found myself pregnant in 2011. When I planned to get rid of my pregnancy, I found out that I was diagnosed with HIV. Then, I came to live with my mother. Rather than staying home, I started drugs and dropped out of school at grade 9. This year, I will be turning 25 in August. I had my baby in 2012, on the 21st of February, and now he is seven years old. … At the end of the day, I know that I have a responsibility to my boy.

“At Hope Africa, they teach me many things—how to remind yourself who you are, no matter what other people say. … I shared my past with them and that is when I started to get healing. The next morning, I woke up and my body felt light as if a burden had been removed from my shoulders.

“Before, I was thinking that there was no Jesus. What is so funny is that each and every time I was in a problem, I would say, “Please, Jesus.” Somewhere in my heart, I knew Jesus [was there]. Through the Faith Discovery Program, I am very interested to get to know Him better. Since starting, I have seen many things change in me. I say this because Friday through Sunday can get to me. I can be busy partying. But since last week, I only drink on Saturday. One step at a time. You will not be able to change all at once, but one step at a time, like a child learning to walk.

“I have learned so much from them. I have been healed from the inside. I even forgave those people who raped me. … They have taught me many things here. They taught me not to let your past get ahold of your future. They told me not to let your past keep you away from your dreams.”


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The Girl With the Loveliest Smile