We first met this young guy on a street corner, selling his body. He was thin, dressed as a woman, and desperate for love. He was one of the guys that was hiding behind make-up, wanting to be someone he is not. Hopeless.
His dream is to one day save enough money to buy a little metal shipping container and make his house our of it. Making just $12 a day for working 12-16 hours cleaning a soccer stadium- he is forced to sell himself on the corner to make ends meet- what he makes on the streets is what he uses to buy food.
He told us how he had spent Christmas alone in the tiny ‘room’ that he rents which is just big enough for a bed and a few feet of standing room. He spent New Years alone on a corner- he figured it was better than sitting alone. One of the young girls from the bible study asked him why he didn’t go visit family. It broke our hearts to hear him say that, “I haven’t seen them for years- I have no idea where they are- they could have moved countries and I wouldn’t know.”
We aren’t sure of his entire story- but it is evident that it is filled with abandonment, trying to survive, rape, abuse, and fear.
I will never forget the sight of watching him cross the street after we took him out to dinner one night after church. He walked across the road to the bus stop. It was freezing that night and he was just wearing a t-shirt. He was on his way to sell his body to try to make enough money to pay for one night in a hotel. If he didn’t make enough money that night, it would be sleeping on the streets in the cold. My heart broke as I saw him cross the street.
“Joe” is a regular now at our ministry gatherings. He comes to English class weekly, and even attends church with us. He shows up early, calls to confirm, and makes every effort possible to be with us.
It’s people like him that keep us going. It’s people like him that touch our heart. To hear him at weekly bible study, as he shares what he believes the bible passage means, is enough to warm any heart. The Lord is slowly chipping away his shell that protects his shattered little heart.
And we are honored to have him as a friend.