By Elisha Hammond
Coming from a place of anger and loneliness, Delisile Malinga thought she had little reason to return to her childhood faith in God after she was imprisoned for child abuse.
Delisile became a Christian at a young age and was lead to Christ by her father, who also took her to church. But the lack of a mother figure, problems at work, and constant competition with her sibling made life difficult.
"I always had anger for my brother," Delisile admits. "Even now we don't get along because of the relationship with our father."
The conflict also began to affect her spiritual relationship, driving her away from God and His promises of love.
"I had hatred towards God as well because of my background," Delisile remembers.
"As I came across hardships I thought of going to witch doctors but my father encouraged me not to do that.
"He always told me God is a life saver and Jesus loves me, whatever happens. He will never leave me nor forsake me."
With support from her father, Delisile persisted in her faith but continued to doubt whether God loved her, until one event proved that He did.
One afternoon, Delisile came from work to discover one of her children had not done her housework and angrily beat her on the back.
A neighbour who witnessed this beating notified the authorities; Delisile was arrested and her children were taken away.
She was convicted for child abuse and sentenced to four years in prison. But her story does not end there.
Three months into her sentence, Delisile became very sick and was rushed to hospital.
It was here that some strangers reminded her of the good news about Jesus' love for her despite what she had done.
"'It is not the end of the world', one lady said to me," Delisile recalls. "I met a pastor who encouraged me as well."
An amazing change of heart came about from these encounters.
"I made a decision to turn back to God. I started turning away from the things I had done wrong. Then I prayed to Him about all of my problems and God answered me through all of them. I saw I was nothing without God."
Now Delisile is living her life for Christ. Her anger and bitterness has been replaced by God's love and her faith has grown.
"God changed my lifestyle. I started to choose better friends and He gave me a patient heart towards people."
She adds; "Life's not over until He says so," recognising that God is in control and is watching over her life.
"I didn't know I would be here in prison because God wants to show me He is God," she explains as an example.
"If I was on the outside I would never go back to Him and I wouldn't see Him as God in my life with my thinking."
Delisile realised that God has used prison to change her and as a result is now passionate about sharing her faith with others.
"God said if I confess my sins He is faithful and just to forgive (See 1 John 1:9). That encouraged and helped me to understand his intentions for my life."
She concludes by saying this: "Trust in Him even if things are hard. Don't forget each time to start your day with God. God will answer you because He loves you. And God will never leave you nor forsake you."•