Paula and Natalia woke up just before midnight. For the next three hours they prayed as part of their commitment to Project Hannah's month of prayer and fasting. The wardens couldn't understand, and ordered them to stop because they thought they were involved in a hunger strike.
"We said we just want to draw near to God in prayer on behalf of the women throughout the world and for our families," says Natalia. "[The wardens] couldn't believe and thought we would give up, but we are firm."
Angolan prisons are overcrowded and lack sufficient financial support from the government. Many prisoners suffer from malnutrition and disease, and are dependant on friends and relatives to bring them food. Yet even in harsh conditions, women are turning to God through the ministry of Project Hannah prayer groups.
"My penalty wasn't supposed to be suspended," says Paula, "but I asked for God's grace. Two days after the fast, I was released! I thank God for this miracle."
Every year Project Hannah International sets aside 40 days for prayer and fasting. For Angolan Project Hannah groups, this time is important for their spiritual growth as well as for intercession. Volunteers commit to praying for a certain period of time each day. While each woman has her own personal requests, the groups also pray that God's will may be done in Angola, that the leaders of the country will come to know Christ, and for restoration based on justice.
The women also continue to mobilize and stir up people concerning the reality of women who are under attack from demonic forces, sin and the concerns of life. They believe that only by submission and faith in God will they resist the enemy, his work, his force and demonic powers that enslave many women and their families across the country.
Project Hannah women continue to visit prisons, hospitals and maternity wards to strengthen and encourage men and women. They have seen lives transformed, marriages restored, families reunited, and spiritual growth.
One prisoner says, "I believe that being here is being in a school. It is my spiritual deliverance and it has opened my vision for mission work."