Patience and her three children after receiving a food parcel from ZOE
Patience and her children receiving a food parcel. (Photo: Tearfund/ZOE)

Back in 2016, we met Patience. After the loss of her husband, life had become tough. Erratic rainfall was making it hard to grow crops. Providing enough food for her family had become a real challenge. And with her relatives living far away, Patience was relying on friends for support. But they were facing similar challenges. With less money coming in, and unable to feed them, Patience was forced to take her children out of school.

Then a visit from a local church changed everything. The church had received training from ZOE and helped Patience create a plan for the future. They provided Patience with three goats. When we last heard from Patience, that gift had helped her grow crops, provide food and increase her income. With the support of a local volunteer it also became possible for her children to return to school.

That was three years ago. Since then, some amazing things have happened for Patience. 

Within that first year Patience’s herd of goats quadrupled, to 12. By selling three of the goats Patience raised enough money to register her son for his school exams. Which has opened up new opportunities. His exam results were so good that he gained admission to one of the best boarding schools in the district. Patience hopes to pay his school fees with regular income from her goats.

This is not the only change for her family though. After selling five more goats, Patience bought the materials needed to build a new house. The new home provides better shelter in bad weather.

Patience and her three children standing in front of their new brick house
Patience and her children in front of their new home. (Photo: Tearfund/ZOE)

With the rainy season fast approaching, Patience has made friends with her neighbours. People who can help her prepare for planting. People who can share farming equipment with her, and help plough the fields.

Since introducing the goats to the land and finding her new support network, Patience’s crops have continued to thrive. Before, it had been tough to harvest more than 90 kgs of maize. Then just one year in, her harvest increased to 540kgs.

Patience says: ‘I would like to thank the church and ZOE for the support they have given to me. When my husband died, my life drastically changed for the worst. It pained me to see my children not attending school and begging for food. But today, I have regained my motherly figure before them. I have hopes to see my children continue and finish their education.’

Patience now feels she has a new role to play - supporting other families. So she has become part of the ZOE volunteer team in her area. A role in which she can ensure people never feel forgotten, find friendship, and develop hope. Support which will help others flourish.

I would like to thank the church and ZOE for the support they have given to me...I have hopes to see my children continue and finish their education.


Have you enjoyed reading Patience’s story? Why not use the PowerPoint in your church service and hand out the prayer cards for people to take home!

Download the PowerPoint Download the prayer cards

Would you like to hear more stories from ZOE? Why not take a look at Connected Church - Tearfund’s way of linking churches in the UK with our overseas partners.