Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Carlos and I got a phone call from a Izzy in the mid morning saying that he finally went to the doctor. We have been trying to convince him to let us take him for over a week. He finally went- and apparently went alone. He called us as soon as he walked out of the appointment.... he didn't want to tell us on the phone and asked if he could come over. We hung up the phone, and hoped that our worst fear was not a reality. We dreaded every minute as we waited for him to get to my apartment.
He sat with me on the couch. He couldn't speak.... Carlos finally asked him what the doctor said.... I felt like he delayed for half an hour before he finally burst into tears as he said that dreadful word, HIV.
I hugged him, and he fell into my arms like a terrified child. He sobbed. For hours he sobbed and sobbed. We all cried. That seemed like the only appropriate response.
Carlos prayed for him. I prayed for him. And then I asked him to pray. His prayer broke my heart into pieces. He uncandidly shared how terrified he was...how desperate he was for help... he begged God to help him understand because he had no idea what to think.
After he prayed, I began to help him process through his immediate emotions and reactions to the news- you can only imagine what those can be.
This boy became a transvestite prostitute at the age of 15 after years of living on the streets. He got on the streets through circumstances that seem unreal, foreign. His step-father was abusive and a raging alcohol/drug addict. He would beat him severely. One day when the boy was 5, the step father decided that he didn't want him in the house anymore- "he wasn't his child anyways". He kicked him out onto the streets. He was 5.....5 years old.... wow. He went to his only family members- an aunt and uncle. The situation was the same if not worse there- he was beaten, raped by men, starving..... a few years later he finally ran. He was alone, he was a child, he was desperate... he was on the streets.
The only person who finally helped him, who took care of him, who watched out for him was a transvestite. Like all children, Izzy was easily manipulated and tricked. He found himself on the streets.... and later as a transvestite prostitute...
Often times when people first see a transvestite, their immediate reaction is disgust. How horrible, what terrible people, that's so nasty; among other things. Thanks to Izzy, I now see a scared little child. I now see a life full of injustice. I now see the missed opportunity of someone to have made a difference. I see God crying hysterically over this victim.
I still remember when I first met Izzy. He was a dressed as a woman. But I immediately wanted to be his friend. I was blessed to work with God in taking Izzy off of the streets. I was able to witness the LORD moving in his life. God allowed us to walk with him in this incredible transformation.... in his search for his identity.... in his search for God. I will never forget the first time he came to a missionary event and cried his eyes out because it was the first time he had the opportunity to be in the presence of God- and it was overwhelming. God has spoken so much into this boys life in the past year. It's incredible. There is absolutely no way we could ever take credit for this.... it is undeniably God. It has grown my faith to watch God move in Izzy's life. God has spoken to him in such radical and undeniable ways. God has helped him leave the life of a transvestite and find TRUE freedom.... He still has a LONG way to go. But he has come so far. Izzy is SO confident of how God has been speaking to him. He was ready to do an intensive Christian training school that our ministry was going to pay for him to do this coming year.... he had dreams to work in missions and one day serve alongside us as we go to the streets. He wanted to bring hope to others and help them get off of the streets as well.
Now, you can imagine how hard the news of HIV was for all of us. You can imagine how the enemy used this to plant lies (so typical of him when we pass through traumatic situations). Lies: "obviously God had no plan for your life, because you're now going to lose it. everything you thought was real was fake. Why doesn't God help you now if he is real?" lies upon lies.
But this is where God is the hero again! He fought back on behalf of Izzy. God began to speak to people and give them words for this young man. Izzy clung to God.
Carlos and I were at lunch with him the day after the news. We had just left the hospital where we went with him to his appointment. Over lunch, Carlos was pouring into Izzy about God and God's heart; God's voice, His will, His nature, missions, dreams... the list goes on and on. Izzy stopped and said, "you know, I want to use this for God. I want to help other people. I still want God to use me. I still want to be in missions. I want to reach others".
He gets it. He gets what so many of us don't get for years. He has profound understand that God calls us ALL to take part in missions in some way, shape, or form. Not the "most holy people"- in fact God's power is made perfect in our weakness. I see that in Izzy. God is making His power perfect in this boy's weakness.... Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
At the house preparing all of the jewelry for the work program!
Some volunteers with our ministry who are working with the children of the women we minister to.
The women that we have been blessed to work with- they are all part of the work program which allows them to get off of the street- giving them the option of freedom from exploitation and to find freedom in Jesus.
Carlos leading worship with a small group of women who are in the work program.
One of the girls in our program just had her baby. We are so excited about what God has done in her heart and her life as she has walked through this difficult and complicated situation.