Immigrant Faith Stories: Season 2, Episode 1
Born to an Indian mother and a Costa Rican father, Sioni grew up in Costa Rica where she was sold by her own mother thrice. The first time she was trafficked she was only nine years old. Sioni endured unspeakable physical abuse by her father who was a violent alcoholic.
Her mother, who also treated her cruelly, got her married (or sold her) to an American man when she was only 16 years old. Three years later, when she left Costa Rica for America, Sioni assumed she was leaving behind a life of abuse and pain. However, Sioni’s husband too, physically assaulted not only her but also her son, which made Sioni leave him and survive on her own in a foreign country with two young children.
I love how Sioni’s face glows when she talks about God. Her joy is infectious, a witness to the fact that our God truly does turn our mourning into joy.
Sioni and I faced several technical challenges while filming the interview and we firmly believe the enemy tried to hinder us from publishing this episode since her story is an amazing testimony of God’s saving power and lavish love.
My takeaways from this episode:
- We are never too damaged or broken for God to restore us.
- God has a beautiful plan for our lives.
- We might go through long and intense periods of suffering, or endure injustice, but that does not mean God has abandoned us or does not care about us.
- God is always working behind the scenes to accomplish His purposes for us.
- God has the power to transform our lives and use our story for His glory.
- God’s forgiveness motivates us to forgive others, even those who have mistreated us.
Watch the interview to learn how Sioni’s life was transformed. The most remarkable part of the story is how Sioni extended grace and forgiveness to her perpetrators, especially her mother, even taking care of her when she fell ill.
Today, Sioni is married to Richard, a loving and God-fearing man. Together they lead the prison ministry in their church. They have two wonderful children and four grandchildren.
A relentless advocate for survivors of human trafficking and abuse, Sioni works with various organizations including Project Rescue and A Time Beyond Survival International Ministry. She is also an author of two books, Three Times Sold: A Story of Faith, Survival and Forgiveness and Rebuilding What Was Destroyed: How A Mother’s Bold Faith Changed Everything.