Saturday, 23 April 2011

Street life

A few weeks ago, Becky organised prostitution outreach training for anyone at our church who was interested, through  Straatwerk (an organisation that enables local churches to reach out to the working women in their neighbourhoods). Two weeks later, Becky took those who had been recruited onto the busiest street in our area on a Friday night. With three women at the front who approached the working ladies, and three at the back, praying for them, they met, chatted and prayed with a number of women. Our local pastor was the designated body guard. The prayer beforehand was vital preparation and was obviously answered because they had instant success the first night. Usually it takes many weeks, if not months, of meeting and building up friendships with the ladies before they will trust and take a step towards a new life. However, that first night they met a lady – we'll call her 'Pat' – who said she wanted to get off the streets, and off the drugs. We met her a few days later, at her shack in the township and took her to a local charity, run by a church, which provides counselling and support from a social worker for those who want to give up drugs. After a brief word from the counsellor, we helped her enrol on the programme. We then paid for her to travel to her mother's house for the weekend to spend time with her children, and to get her off the streets, even if just for a few days.

The following week, we met another lady on the street in the same situation, we'll call her 'Cherrie'. She and her husband were both addicted to a number of drugs and she worked the street to fund their habit. We met her a few days later at her home in the township and she too is enrolling on a rehabilitation programme through the same church charity. However, the same day, Pat failed to turn up for her first rehab appointment, which we found very discouraging. We later visited her home and she said that she had been at the police station bailing out a relative. It is hard to know whether these stories are true or not, but we'd like to believe that she had a good reason for not being there. I feel she does genuinely want to give up drugs.

Although it may appear to have gone off to a great start, and we have had some great successes already, we are aware that this work will inevitably see many challenges and fall backs. We are just starting out and we're very motivated by our current successes. Please pray that we stay focused, even as we face challenges.

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