Advent 2020


Martha’s joy 

As a photographer, I have had the privilege of visiting Tearfund projects all over the world. Each person I’ve met has a unique story, and though they are scattered across the globe, there is a common theme: hope. 

Martha’s story is one that has particularly stuck with me over the last couple of years. I met her in Nigeria, on my first ever trip with Tearfund.  

Three months prior to our meeting, Martha’s village was one of 15 which had come under attack. It was estimated 300 people died on that one night, with 10,000 people displaced from their homes and villages. She managed to hide with her six-month-old son, Benjamin, but she witnessed the murder of her husband and two other children. 

When I met Martha, she and Benjamin were living alongside 3,000 others in a makeshift camp – a former government building, where they would sleep shoulder-to-shoulder with others on the floor each night.  

Somehow, amidst these bleak circumstances, Martha carried an incredible sense of deep-rooted joy. She explained that the fountain of this joy was found within the hope she has in Jesus. Whenever she was feeling overwhelmed, she knew she could find peace through praying or singing in worship. 

It was beautiful to see Martha’s face fill with peace and joy as she sang songs of her hope in Jesus. 

This hope of a brighter future was evident throughout the camp. As Tearfund partners work to practically show the love of Jesus to those in need – bringing healing to those living with trauma, as well as providing supplies and practical help, this support has enabled Martha to have a sure hope that her son, Benjamin, will have a bright future. 

Martha’s joy has continued to inspire me since our meeting; reminding me of the hope I have in Jesus.

By Ruth Towell, a photographer and filmmaker with a passion for telling people’s stories through her camera.