Testimony of Savitri Soogrim

I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Trinidad and Tobago which is one of the most southerly islands in the Caribbean. The family I grew up in is large and I am third among eight children. My neighborhood consisted mainly of people of East Indian descent like me; Hinduism being the main religion. As a child my parents practiced the Hindu religion but were not strictly devoted Hindus; just observing the religion out of traditionalism. When I was eight years old my father became a born again Christian and has kept the faith even to now. My mother had become a born again Christian as well prior to him; however his conversion came about due to the healing of my younger sister who had battled asthma as a baby. She was delivered from the sickness and to this day at the age of thirty never had an attack again.

I migrated to the United States about six years ago. Being a single Christian woman living in New York has not always been easy. Growing up in a Christian home for most of my life was a wonderful experience and gave me a strong sense of stability all during my childhood and adolescent life. After graduating from high school most of my life was devoted to serving in the church. I started teaching Sunday school in a full gospel church at the age of sixteen and eventually became the coordinator and a board member of the same church; the only one that I was a member for approximately twenty five years of my life.

Most people would think that having grown up in a strict Christian home for most of one's life would automatically mean smooth sailing in a different country because of the earlier strong foundation. I am sorry to say though that I fell from God's grace and allowed myself to get caught up for a while in doing the very things that I knew was wrong from very early in my life. Even though I had so much knowledge of the word of God I still ended up making mistakes and a lot of wrong decisions. Due to loneliness I sought love from the men I dated. I would try really hard to have a good relationship with the guys I dated but most of the relationships ended because the men did not want commitment. Eventually most of then would just leave me and I would end up being hurt; and then being hurt time after time I began to be very scared of having to face another hurt again. I was someone who always maintained an emotional balance in my life and for the first time in my life I cried for years from being hurt. Being emotionally unstable was new to me and I had no family to turn to for help since most of my family and relatives still live in the Caribbean. I still had some Christian friends though who looked out for me and were praying.

I tried very hard to live a life pleasing to God like the Bible taught in the first few years of living in New York but eventually found me in a wrong relationship about two years ago. Even though I stopped going to church regular and had turned away from God there was a part of me that always was aware of God. I knew I was living a displeasing life in God's sight but because of the difficult situation I was in I sometimes felt that I was in a trap with no way out and I did not have a choice to do the right thing. Eventually I justified my immoral living with the view that if God wanted me to live for him then he should not have allowed me to be in a helpless trap. I think that there was a part of me that felt at times that God was unfair to me; that he had me in a dead end where there was no way out. Due to worries and depression I became very unhappy and miserable and would go to bed crying almost every night. Many times I would cry from a broken and desperate heart and ask myself why am I hurting so much when most of my life I had been kind to people. I would even ask God why I was going through this deep hurt when I tried my best not to hurt anyone. For those who are struggling with making the right choices please know that even though I felt so pressured and hopeless in my situation to make the right choices the fact is you always have a choice. No situation or reason in the world however rational it may seem is an excuse to make the wrong decision.

About nine months ago I began to really reach out to God for help; to get me out of the mess I was in. I started to find myself in church regularly but I still battled the same problem I was in. Seven months ago; in August of last year I had one of the most terrible experiences of my life. The building in which I was living caught afire and I had to leave for about two weeks until repairs were done to my apartment. During my stay at one of my friend's house one night I went to bed and got up early in the morning due to hearing noises in the house. My friend was in one room next to mine and I was alone in the other bedroom. No one else was in the house at the time. Around 4:00 a.m. in the morning I found myself face to face with a burglar. I did not know at the time of my encounter with him but he had already gone through my overnight tote bag and my wallet and taken all my money. Unfortunately for me at the time I was walking around with a lot of cash and some valuable articles because of the fire at my apartment. The burglar had a bandana covering most of his face and came up to me with a knife in his hand. I was not raped but I was sexually assaulted. I did not fight him because I did not know if he had a gun with him and he led me to believe that there were other people with him in the house. While I was being assaulted I just prayed from my heart to the Lord Jesus; I asked his mercies and to help me. I thank God that he heard me because a little while after the intruder got up from me and told me that I was lucky and shortly after he left.

You would tend to think the story ends there; but after all that I had endured by being attacked by a burglar/rapist I ended up going to the hospital for tests and then being questioned by the special crimes department of the police force. I sat there for hours without any underclothes on (it was taken as evidence in the hospital); without any money; no phone because it was stolen as well and not even allowed to make a phone call to any of my family here or friends. God has always given me the strength and grace to remain calm in adverse situations and I must say he kept me calm during this time. The cops interrogated me and accused me of lying even though I was the victim. I felt like I was acting out a scene from the movies where the innocent person is accused of being guilty and treated like the criminal instead of the victim. During all this time of interrogation I just cried out to the Lord and prayed; I even told God "please tell me this is a bad dream and I will just get up from it".

It has been about seven months since that incident and I must say that God has given me the strength to move on. To this day by His strength I have never requested counsel from any counselors that the state was willing to provide; I have not suffered any depression as well from this incident. God has brought me to the place in my life where I realize that He alone can satisfy every longing in my heart. I do not search for love anymore because God is love and He loves me with an everlasting love.

God has also given me the strength and grace to forgive my attacker. Even though I have never met him face to face after the incident I have forgiven him. I prayed that if he changed then it would not have mattered if he was caught; however I wanted to know that if he was still doing crimes then he deserved to be behind bars so that he would not be able to hurt anyone. Earlier this year in January because of DNA evidence from his blood left at the home I was staying in the intruder was apprehended and is now in jail. I thank God that he hears and answers prayer. I thank God so much because He is a God of second and third and fourth chances. Even though I messed up in my life in the past He has forgiven me by his love and grace and made me into a completely new person.

If you are like I was and searching for love in all the wrong places just look to the Bible and to the word of God. The greatest demonstration of love anyone has ever done is God when he gave his only begotten Son Jesus to die on the cross so that you and I can be saved from an eternity in hell. Ask Jesus into your heart and he will come in and fill you with his love. Remember God is Love.