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Out of the Pit

Out of the Pit

SENEGAL — The idea seemed promising when Oumar first heard it: Travel to a nearby country, work a well-paying job, send money back to his family, and go home whenever he wanted. He trusted the person who recommended the job, so he didn’t ask many questions before he agreed to the opportunity.

But the opportunity wasn’t what it seemed.

What meager pay Oumar made, he never saw. His “employers” took all his money so he had none to send home. And they threatened to kill him if he stopped working or tried to leave. He had fallen victim to a human trafficking scheme.

One night Oumar got access to a phone and called his friend, Crossworld worker Carter.

He did his best to explain the reality of his new job without raising attention from the guards supervising the phone call.

“You have to get out of that situation, Oumar,” Carter said when he realized Oumar had been trafficked. “Whatever it takes, you must get back to Senegal.”

Carter hung up the phone and gathered his family to pray for Oumar. He knew it would take a miracle, and, thankfully, that’s what God did.

Just a few days later, Oumar escaped his captors through the help of a sympathetic guard! He made it to the airport and Carter’s family helped him buy a ticket to back to Senegal.

Oumar arrived at Carter’s house and reunited with his sister, Hawa, who was staying with Carter’s family for three months. Oumar was weak from having eaten nothing but bread and rice for weeks, and he needed to rest before he returned to their family’s village.

While Oumar recovered, he participated with Carter’s family in their regular rhythms of reading the Bible together and attending church. Oumar grew up knowing about God but never had a personal relationship with Jesus. Through Carter’s family and others, he experienced the love of Christ and witnessed what it looks like to faithfully follow Jesus. The power of God’s Word and the influence of God’s people gave Oumar a burning passion to know God for himself.

“What if your family had not come to Senegal?” Oumar asked Carter.

Carter’s family is one of many kindnesses God has shown to Oumar. God rescued him from slavery, brought him safely home, and showered him with unconditional love from family, friends, and even strangers. Oumar now regularly attends an evangelical church and meets with Carter to study the Bible. In the face of deliberate evil, God is working all things for good.

The people in this story are real, but some names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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