The new work program- providing a way out
The work program that we have began as a part of our ministry has truly been a joy. We started this program as a means to help a group of women and young girls get off of the streets. We first met these girls when working on the documentary... a 16 year old girls introduced us to this group of girls saying, “I know some young girls in your area, you have to help them”. (This 16 year old was once a victims of exploitation as well).
These girls shared their stories on camera, through streams of tears. Each one of them expressed their desperation to escape from this life of fear and darkness.
Today I just got home from working with them for 3 hours. They worked so diligently. While they were working, Carlos and I pulled them aside one by one to have a “one-on-one”, (more like a 2-1, since Carlos and I were mentoring together) or a time to do discipleship. It was beautiful.
I was so moved by these women’s hearts. Our program is just now starting out, and we are helping them with food at this point (with hopes to do more once we get more established in the program). While I was meeting with one lady, she expressed her deep gratitude to me. I had just finished telling her that I knew that she had needs other than food, and I wanted to know if the food was helping. Her response almost brought tears to my eyes. With a sparkle in her eye, she explained how deeply she appreciated the help, that food was their most immediate (urgent) need and was lasting them the entire week. Without having to worry about food, the money that would have been spent on food can be used to pay bills and meet other needs. She continued expressing how much it helped her, and then added “the thing that means the most to me about this program is that I know that you care for us. I know that I have someone walking with me. I know that I’m not doing this alone. It’s such a fight to get out of this lifestyle that is so dark that it ties you to it, but knowing that I have someone fighting with me means everything. Just knowing that I can do it because I’m not alone.”
As we did the discipleships, my heart for these women grew and grew. So many people have certain ideas about prostitutes. But, those are the people that Jesus hung out with. I totally see why He did. Some of them are such beautiful people who are just in desperate need of a savior. They have had the most horrible lives, and many of them are being exploited. They live a life of otter fear. We were even able to experience a small part of that fear later Tuesday night.
Carlos and I were doing our usual street ministry but took a team along with us who is at the YWAM base for a few months. The night was just spiritually heavy, to say the least. The first stop started it all. We had just finished talking to some of our friends on the first corner and were loading up in the car to leave when a wild man came to the window. He was on crack and was basically crawling through Carlos’s window while talking to him. It was scary and weird. However, as I looked into his frightening eyes, my heart broke. I knew that behind those eyes was a completely broken heart and lost life. But not only what was happening in the physical world, our ‘Freedom Street’ team could sense more.
A few stops later, we encountered something terrifying. On the same block where some of the exploited women prostitutes stand, a man was murdered. He was stabbed right in front of their eyes. They were completely filled with fear. They were alone.
This situation was obviously something that was not from God. However, God still did bring good out of this. We were able to minister to tons of people on the block who had witness the even and were in desperate need of comforting. The Lord sent us there. This incident opened a HUGE door for us to talk to people from every walk of life, and to speak to people about God. We were able to pray with bystanders. We were able to help a brand new security guard who was in shock as well as a foreign exchange student to name a few. And of course, the women we work with in our ministry. I can’t imagine being forced to stand on that dangerous corner in fear all night long... in fear of the danger of the streets, in fear of the man who is controlling you.... in fear of being kidnapped by a “client”... in fear of the crazy homeless man of crack.
The one who is in us is greater than the one of this world. God has been doing beautiful and incredible things. More to come soon!
Thank you for your prayers!