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A remarkable story of what can be overcome when following God's will, April Holden own journey of illness and mission is inspiring and moving.
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Going to Africa would cost April everything. She went anyway.
From a young age, April Holden was diagnosed with chronic health problems that restricted what she could and could not do. Growing up in St. Helens, Merseyside, April was a frail child who knew pain and resistance her whole life. But, at just seven years old, she came to faith and was convinced that God had called her to leave her home behind and move to Africa. When in university, she was finally old enough to apply to work with street children in Africa, but was turned down.
That didn’t stop her.
After training to become a teacher, April applied again to leave the UK behind, and serve God in Africa. This time she got a step closer to her calling; she was sent to Egypt for training. Soon after, her chance came. She transferred to one of the most tumultuous, war-torn regions of North Africa. There she set up homes for boys scarred by war, fleeing violence, seeking safety. There she God do the impossible and offer a beacon of hope in an area of conflict and fear. She also saw her own life thrust into danger as political shifts had turned many of the population against anyone who looked like her, like the American forces that were now invading.
After escapes that were too close for comfort, April returned to the UK.
But her work wasn’t finished yet.
A remarkable story of one woman’s complete faith in God, They Called Us Love is a moving and powerful real-life story of mission and ministry.
They Called Us Love by Deborah Meroff was published by SPCK in October 2018 and is our 988th best seller. The ISBN for They Called Us Love is 9780281079063.
April Holden comes from St Helens, Merseyside. As a child she suffered from persistent ill health, and was both physically and emotionally fragile. Coming to faith at age 7, she became convinced that God was calling her to work with street children in Africa. While at university she applied to Africa Inland Mission, but they rejected her because of her chronic health problems. She then trained as a teacher, and during this period surrendered her will completely to the Lord.
In due course she was accepted by another mission, who sent her initially to Egypt for training. While there she had an opportunity to move to another part of North Africa, where the needs of the street boys were most acute: many had been traumatized by war, or were the offspring of sex workers, or had fled abuse. She opened a series of centres, despite ongoing infirmity caused by arthritis in her spine and frequent, severe muscle spasms.
When the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003 April's adoptive country reacted angrily, attacking anyone who looked American. One day, faced with an angry mob, April was protected in her car by four large men who held the crowd at bay while she escaped to a nearby compound: the following day she looked for them to thank them, but the manager of the compound assured her he had been alone. After harrowing experiences during the separation of the North and South parts of the country, she returned to Britain in 2013, emotionally and physically exhausted.
Her mission insisted she took a sabbatical but within the next year she was back in action, this time working with Operation Mobilisation from a base in Zambia, where she continues to train workers in surrounding countries. Her team has also begun to train professionals like police officers who are already working with vulnerable children. Her passion is to prepare missionaries to serve as facilitators alongside African churches and communities, mobilizing and equipping them to work with homeless children and youth in a godly, professional and sustainable manner.
She continues to work tirelessly to this end. April Holden has discovered a strength beyond her own.
|Author / Artist||Deborah Meroff|
|Publisher||SPCK (October 2018)|
|Number of Pages||160|
|Page last updated||20th March 2019|