Panashe was only 17 when she got pregnant.
She was still in school in her village in Zimbabwe. She was afraid her parents would disown her, but to her surprise, they were supportive. Her son’s father refused to take any responsibility. He was Panashe’s first boyfriend.
Though she had the support of her parents, Panashe felt a crippling weight of shame and hopelessness. During her second trimester, she attempted to end her own life by taking an entire bottle of pain killers. Doctors were able to rescue the baby as they resuscitated Panashe. “When I regained consciousness, I found my baby breathing,” she remembers.
Once home, Panashe welcomed supportive visitors who came to check in, including her aunt, Grace. Grace, a Bible League-trained Project Philip Bible study leader, prayed with Panashe and introduced her to the Word of God. “The Word of God transformed my life, and I began to understand that Christ wanted me to find Him in my pain,” she says.
Panashe gave her life to the Lord. She and her son, Admire, were baptized together.
Now a nurse, Panashe supports herself and three-year-old Admire. She loves helping others and sharing the Gospel, especially with women and girls. “My desire is to see more lost women changing their lives, giving their lives back to Jesus Christ, and leading a new life,” she says. “I want them to know how much God loves us as women and how precious our bodies are. I believe if young women knew their value at a young age, they would make sound decisions and live a life pleasing to God.”
As her relationship with the Lord has grown stronger, Panashe has been able to forgive herself for her past choices. “Knowing the love of God has taught me to love myself again, just as Jesus loves me,” she says. “My past is forgiven in Him, and not only that, it is also forgotten.”
She has also grown even closer with her family. “As a mother, I now understand what parents go through when raising their children, their love for their children, and how they want them to succeed and have a long life. No parent wants to bury a child, especially when the child wants to take her own life,” she says. “For all the pain I caused my family, they have forgiven me, and we are closer now. They love my son. Through the endurance I found in Jesus, I persevered.”
Panashe’s dream is to spread the Good News of Jesus. “I want to share the Word of God with everyone lost out there. To show love to women who are in the situation I was in, to teach them it’s not too late to turn their lives around,” she says. “I believe that God has so much He wants to do in me and through me.”