Breaking the Chains

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Nearly two years ago, in a fit of rage, Korotimi pushed her husband’s second wife into a stream while they were collecting water, holding her under until she drowned. Korotimi was immediately imprisoned.

During her first year of incarceration here in Bobo-Dioulasso, the mother of five had not a single visitor—no friend, no relative, no family member, none of her children—no one. During her second year, our group of Alliance women received approval to begin a Bible study in the prison. Korotimi finally had visitors.

No Hope

The first time I saw Korotimi, she was crouched in a corner, talking to herself, dressed in dirty clothes, her hair disheveled. During follow-up visits, our team did everything we could to draw her out. Yet, even when we brought her clean clothes, she refused to wear them. Although Korotimi never hit me, when I was near her she would clench her fist.

Our team held on to this truth: Jesus came to set the prisoners free, to bring light to those living in darkness—He loved this woman who was so lost.

Slowly, the Spirit of Christ began to work in Korotimi. She began to sit closer to the group during our study, her foot tapping when we sang with the women. Once, when we asked her if she had any prayer requests, we were surprised when she answered, “My children.”

But when Korotimi learned last year that her husband had died, darkness and depression overwhelmed her. She told our team that she had lost all hope of returning to her children and had no place to go since her extended family’s difficulties would now be blamed on her. Her situation was so desperate she tried to kill herself.


After Korotimi shared her story, we poured ourselves out in prayer for her and shared strong words of encouragement. When the session was over, she was able to leave with a smile.

photo of Korotimi and others
The author (right) with some of the prison ministry team members

It was a huge breakthrough when Korotimi attended church Sunday morning, September 23, 2013. After a brief lesson on the apostle Paul’s prison break, I asked if anyone wanted to be saved—like the jailer in the story. Korotimi, who was sitting next to me, nudged me and quietly said she would. She then repeated after me a prayer to accept Christ as her Savior.

Almost from the moment she said that prayer, a visible change came over Korotimi. She began to bathe and wear the clothes we had brought her. She greeted us when we visited the prison. She also started helping with cooking and began a small crocheting project. It was a happy day for me when I heard her laugh for the first time!

We believe all of the work that went into beginning the Bible study in this prison could just have been because this one lost woman mattered to God.

Korotimi may never be released from her physical prison, but it was the Lord’s plan to save her from a prison of bitterness. Please pray that the Christian community will embrace her and that she will continue to grow in her faith.

―This article was adapted from Alliance missionary Esther Schaeffer’s postings on the MyCMA Web site. Esther, and her husband, Andrew, serve with an Alliance team in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso’s second largest city.


  • “Because of the prayers and commitment of friends like you, Korotimi has been freed from Satan’s hold,” the author adds. “To God be the glory!”
  • Join the Alliance family in praying for our international workers in West Africa and worldwide, who are taking the good news to some of the most spiritually dark places on earth. Use the Alliance Prayer Requests to assist you.


  • Give to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) and support Alliance workers, like the Schaeffers, who are creating access to the gospel for those living in darkness.
  • Give now

Learn More

Read about the various outreaches to marginalized women in the October 15 issue of Alliance Life magazine.


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