Last Saturday night on the streets, we experienced something huge at literally every stop. Each person was begging for us to start our church again, which is temporarily on hold until we can find a new building to rent. We heard from the guys we work with about the crazy abuse that is happening by the men who are exploiting them. We had incredible conversations at every stop.
The one that caught my attention the most was also the most surprising. As you know, we have been working with transvestites since this ministry began. Carlos now has a ministry with the guys who are trying to get out of this lifestyle and find who "they really are". However, Saturday night I got out of the van to go and talk to one guy (who is a transvestite) who I have seen before, but not weekly like we see most of the other people. This particular guy, I will call Kevin, has come to our church before.
He began our conversation on Saturday expressing how desperately he missed our church. Because of the circumstances in his life, he has never believed in God. But he told us that at our church, he had to believe in God because when he walked into the room he could "feel God in there".
Kevin has always been one of the guys who has quickly defended his lifestyle even though we have never asked about it. He is always taking the initiative to tell us that "this is just the way I am" and has been very expressive about his lifestyle as a transvestite. This was all obviously just a cover-up for his true feelings, which we discovered on Saturday night.
He broke down in tears. I don't even remember how we got into this conversation as we stood talking on the street corner. I just know that very quickly, the conversation got very deep and very intense. He began to say how much he hated his life how it was... I wasn't sure if he was talking about the life of a prostitute or being a transvestite. He said both. He then added, "do you think that anyone REALLY wants to be a transvestite. I know we pretend like we do, but do you think that in the very depths of someone they want to be a transvestite." He had never shared any of these thoughts of feelings with anyone before. NEVER. And that night, he cried and poured out his heart to us for an hour. As he cried in my arms, I could feel his heart breaking. He shared about his past, his life of abuse, the poverty he grew up in, the abusive and later absent father, the rape and fear. He wants out. He wants a new life. And this desire for repentance and change can only be brought by God. He had never believed in God, but like he said over and over again; he now does believe in God because he "can actually feel him".
As a ministry, we want to always meet people exactly where they are. We want to radically love them exactly where they are and how they are. We believe that the kindness of God will lead them to repentance. What the world is desperate for is to be loved, and God has that love to offer.