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My story begins at home. This is the first place you are brought to after you’ve been born; it’s the place you always come back to. For me, home was everything. My home appeared to have an atmosphere of happiness and unity. But it was all a façade. My mother was very jealous of my father and that’s where the arguments began.
I remember the countless times she beat my brothers only to vent out the frustration she felt. Watching these episodes was heart breaking. I wanted to shy away from it all, to turn a blind eye and believe that everything was all right. But it wasn’t.
I closed up and refused to speak, fearing that I might be the next to be hit. Thus, the inferiority and complexes I felt grew until I had completely shut myself away from the world. I stayed alone with my thoughts, and turned into a young adult living in great fear and dependence of my parents for everything.
But something happened at 18. The shy girl fell in love. I thought that he was the one because it was a feeling I had never felt before. All I could see was the man of my dreams, but my mother saw something different. She didn’t accept our relationship. I wanted to date with her consent, but she refused.
So the shy girl broke out of her shell. I thought I was old enough; I could do what I wanted. I didn’t have to listen to my mother. I continued to date my boyfriend in secret, but I couldn’t hide it for long. When my mother found out she was furious, and drove me out of the house. Home—the place I thought I could always come back to.
I knew she was disappointed. I had been the calm and quiet daughter that had never given her any problems. It was as if I had stabbed her in the back. But she had never known who I truly was… until now.
I went to live with my boyfriend thinking that everything would be fine. But my dream turned into a nightmare. The sweet and loving partner became uncaring and hostile, even to the point of betraying me. I was shocked!
“How could he do that to me? I left everything to be with him?”
I was sore from the pain that held onto my heart. My pride was hurt. I wanted to go home, to hug the family I had turned my back on.
And I did. With my head down, I went back and surprisingly, they accepted me. I was ready to do things differently. But home wasn’t the only place I needed to make my way back to…
I stepped inside the UCKG HelpCentre ready to be a new Fernanda. This time would be different. This time, I wouldn’t take the words of the advisers so lightly. This time, I wouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that it wasn’t for me.
After going back home, there was no denying the change in my family. My mother was a completely different woman. She was happy, smiling and she and my father were in love. I could see it.
I wanted happiness too. Deep down, I felt an emptiness that made me wake up. I needed help and I couldn’t keep on living this way.
I started going to the meetings on Fridays and Sundays. I had roots that needed to be plucked out—shyness, emptiness and fear.
I remember making a decision one Sunday; I talked to God in a way I had never done before. I poured my heart out to Him and told Him everything I was feeling. I explained who I wanted to be, and with that sincere prayer, He gave it to me. I was so happy! He gave me the Holy Spirit. The void that I’d kept inside for so long was filled.
My mind changed in such a way that I was ready to achieve. I had been unemployed for a year, but now I couldn’t stand not working. I took part in a Campaign of Israel and put my faith to the test. I built up my vow and even before the day to present it had arrived, God honoured me with a great job in healthcare.
The exciting thing is that the HelpCentre never gave up on me. And I am proud of the person I have become. I don’t even know what it means to be shy anymore.
My mother is my best friend and today, I have goals, I am in university, I’m working and above all, I have peace. The UCKG was the place I could always come back to.