She survived by begging. Begging for money, scrounging for food, hopeless and hungry. Pelagie had no dreams in life, except to survive.

Burundi is tiny, land-locked, with relatively few natural resources and chronic political tension. It has been called the hungriest nation in the world. Over half of the population live below the poverty line, resigned to a life of insufficiency. Pelagie was one of thousands.

Then, through a local church, Pelagie was invited to participate in a discipleship group. She was hesitant at first. Would she be judged? Would she be accepted? In the end she decided that she had nothing left to lose. And what she found, changed her life..

There, among others in a similar situation as herself - longing for something more without knowing exactly what that was - Pelagie found community and acceptance. She found a beautiful teaching about who God is, and about how his kingdom works. She found the lover of her soul, Jesus. And with Jesus, she found hope. .

With hope, came a different understanding about herself and what she could do. So when a small sum of money was given to each member of the discipleship group for micro-financing, instead of spending it on her immediate needs, Pelagie bought a big bag of charcoal. This charcoal she proceeded to divvy up into hundreds of small amounts and then sold at a profit. Pelagie began saving for the future, a future she never imagined having. She bought some chickens, then a goat, then began helping others and even gave some of her chickens away. She learned to think differently and began helping others, introducing them to Jesus. Those from whom she once begged now came to her for help and hope. .

Today, Pelagie also spends time at the local hospital - a dirty, desperate place full of sick, desperate people. She cares for bedridden strangers, and washes their soiled clothes. For some she will even spend the night, lying out on the cold, hard floor next to their bed. Her life has been transformed by the truth of Jesus. Pelagie has tasted of the goodness of the Lord, seen his impact in her own life and now she wants others to taste, and see, as she has done.

By Doug & Deanna Hiebert