Hello from the streets! It has been a while. I’ve been out quite a few times since March when I last wrote, but the discipline of sitting down and documenting is something I often lack. So here I am again.
Last night turned out to be an evening of mixed emotions. While a majority of it was filled with celebration, laughter and fellowship; walking the streets of L.A. we were equally confronted with hopelessness, anxiety and fear as we looked into some of the eyes of the women we met.
Before leaving to go on outreach Laurie, Daryl, Jen U, Johnny and myself went to Sizzler together to celebrate a couple birthdays. It was a great time to catch up, relax and enjoy each other’s company. When we were finished we went back to Daryl and Laurie’s apartment to build some gift bags. We made several for the women
And then a few for the girls we meet who have children.
Jen C drop and we headed off to 7/11 where we saw our beloved “doorman,” a man that stands outside all evening opening the door for each customer that comes in and out. We were able to chat with him a little bit and grab a picture of him and Johnny. It is always a great start to the evening seeing his smiling face.
We got to the track around 10:30p and took a drive up and down to scope out the situation. There were a few girls that we saw pretty immediately so after one swipe through we pulled over and began walking.
There were several women we were able to give gift bags to. They were all very kind, but seemed eager to continue walking and move on down the street. We met F*, and two other women that were talking on the phone. The phone…typical.
We have only been coming to this track for a couple of months now. The track we were at before this one was the same way in the beginning. I almost feel as though there is a testing period where the girls try to feel out who exactly we are. Perhaps their pimps don’t like it if they talk to us and we know they keep a very close watch. But I can’t help but feel that our persistence will pay off. Just as in the last place – it was as if they eventually said “these people really aren’t going to go away, I should probably just hear what they have to say, be polite, say hello, and get some free stuff!” Continue praying for the softening of hearts so that we can engage in deeper conversation with these women.
I spotted M* from across the street. She was rather stunned when we approached her to talk. She seems very fearful and apprehensive that we would want to engage in conversation or give her a gift. Laurie asked her if we could pray about anything for her, she said that she was in the midst of moving and we could pray for that but not WITH her only once we left. So we prayed for her as we were walking away. I can still see her eyes. I pray God brings people into her life that can help her get the resources she needs. People she can trust so she does not have to be so fearful and anxious.
A couple beats down the street we saw K*, such sadness, desperation and hopelessness in her eyes. We gave her a bag that she was glad to receive. She said she was just sitting on the street corner because she was so TIRED. Laurie asked her if she was okay, with a nod of the head she mumbled “I’ll be fine” and as tears welled up in her eyes she shrugged her shoulders. Laurie asked if she could use prayer and she said no, but thanked us for the bag. I think of the whole evening K* is the one that still sticks with me. The look in her eyes cried out with such hopelessness, but I felt lost with how to help, console or empathize with her.
We were then able to run into M* who we have seen out on the track a few times. We were able to talk to her about how she was doing as well as another girl she is friends with that we have seen out several times. M* is so sweet with such a contagious personality and has such a call on her life. I pray God continues to work in and through her circumstances to bring her out and use her in powerful ways.
We then decided to make a stop at the shell station to hit the bathrooms, but it turned out to be where all the local cops were currently grabbing a Gatorade. Laurie grabbed several of our brochures and went over to introduce herself so they would know who we were and why we were out on their streets. Her and Officer Buckeye talked for 30-40 minutes about our ministry.
He took some extra brochures to hand out to the girls that they pull over and also gave us information about a couple other tracks that we did not know about.
All in all a great evening, great to be back out on the track, but hard to be reminded of the brokenness that at times we feel so helpless to ease.