The Roaring Battle Cry and the Still Small Voice.

This past week has been one of extreme highs and devastating lows.

Monday and Tuesday seemed relatively normal, or at least our version of normal. Kids at school, doing amazingly well in their end of year exams, me running Hope’s Closet and Mart working on a long term vision, doing all the running around and basically keeping life running smoothly.

Then along came Wednesday. Precious’ discharge day. The day that the next step of her recovery began. Candice, Tracy and I met at the AIDS center early to help her pack up and start the transition.

Our ladies don’t do well with change and we could feel resistance from Precious right away, but she complied and after the long drive to the Mission she settled in and is taking the bull by the horns, as only Precious could 😁. She has a very long journey ahead but we have a feeling that she is going to push through.

Before leaving the AIDS center Candice and I made a desperate plea on behalf of Nosipho. We urgently needed a bed at the unit for her and we knew that there is always a waiting list for a bed.

We prayed, we called our prayer partners to pray and we took a chance. Favor fell! The Sister in charge decided that we could trade Precious for Nosipho! So on Wednesday Precious left, they changed the bed linen ready for Nosipho to take her place.

I love how He loves His daughters.

Thursday consisted of Candice and I running around making contact with NGOs that might be able to help us in the work that we do. One thing that we soon realized was that there is zero support or answers for the women to whom we are called.

Frustration is something our whole team is learning to surrender at the feet of Jesus.

Frustration/anger is a double edged sword.

On one hand it pushes us forward, ignites a fire in our bones. Causes a battle cry to rise from our innermost being. It brings determination and resolution to keep fighting and pushing for an answer.

On the other hand it can cause resentment, anxiety and despair, all things damaging.

We have to be so protective of our hearts, minds and spirits. We have to practice self care and take time to process. To remind ourselves that we do not have to carry the load. Sometimes we (I) forget.

Thursday evening was one of light and dark. Nosipho came to us not knowing that her life was about to change. She sunk onto the bench and rested her head on Candice’s shoulder. I knelt on the ground in front of her and took her hands in mine.

” How many nights have you been sleeping outside?” I ask.

“I’ve been outside for five days. I’m so tired and sore. I just want to sleep.”

” What would you say if I told you that last night was the last time you will ever sleep rough again?”

At which point she breaks down sobbing, falls into my arms and whispers “thank you ” over and over.

As the rest of our girls come to us Nosipho shares with them how her life is about to change. My heart broke as I watched their reactions. First joy that their friend is getting the help that she so desperately needs, and then extreme sadness that they were not going with her.

Over the past few weeks there has been a shift in the ministry. A shift in who Father is bringing to us. We used to have a large number of sex workers who were somewhat “high class”. Girls who were still in ” good condition “. But recently those girls have been replaced with the most desperate, the most broken, the most addicted, the most vulnerable. Every week they come , starving and in pain. Their desperation hits at the very core.

T.K dying from AIDS and malnutrition. Mbali still a child, victim of sex trafficking. Yvonne fighting for survival for herself and her 2 year old son. Beaten by a client. Kelly “spiking” heroin in order to forget. Zama victim of abuse since childhood, selling her body because she has no other option.

And Nosipho, our darling. Now safe and on the road to recovery. She was weeks away from death. Now embracing her new future. As we watched them all turn to her and hug her goodbye I broke.

Overwhelming despair, pain, sorrow and brokenness took over my entire being.

Nosipho climbed into Candice’s car ready for the drive to the Respite unit. And I climbed into Karen’s car and lost all control. A deep agonizing mourning wail. A cry that I have never cried before. Trying to control it for the sake of my team mates was impossible, thankfully they get it, and they get me. As I arrived home I bypassed Martin and the shower and went straight to my bed, pressed my face into my pillow and screamed. I couldn’t stop. I screamed and screamed. The anger, frustration and grief flooding out. A battle cry from the depths.

For a few days I fought the anger and despair. I couldn’t align the pain and the promises of a Father who loves His daughters. I couldn’t feel Him, His love felt distant, unreachable. I spent time alone, self caring, seeking, re-energizing. For three days all I felt was grief, despair and pain.

And then came the dawn. A still small voice, “I am here and I am with them.”

I am left wondering if the darkness and despair that I felt was just a glimpse into how our girls feel daily, or maybe it was how the Father feels over the pain of His beloved.

Either way the dawn came. It was a sweet relief. I am forever changed.

Psalm 30:11 You did it: You changed wild lament into whirling dance. You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wild flowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about You. God, my God. I can’t thank you enough.

I’m not much of a whirling dancer but I sure am thankful for His still small voice.

To support our family in the work that we do please go to PayPal account

this account helps with our day to day living costs

Or to

this account helps with our rent and car payments which come to £600 per month.

We appreciate all of your love, prayers and generous support. We can’t do this without you.

The Downs Family x


Writers block or heart block? 

I’ve sat down to write approximately 9 times over the past few weeks and each time I draw a blank. It’s frustrating. I know that I NEED to write. I know how to write. And yet the words, all words, are locked away, and I’ve not had the energy or inclination to try and rescue them from the dark recesses of my being. 

They have been hammering on the door crying to be let out. And yet I just turn away. Why? 

As I sit here I feel guilty for ignoring them, as if I’ve some how neglected a vital part of my life. Why have I been blocking them out? Can I put my finger on a reason? 

As I start to write, as the words begin to trickle through Father shows me the root. 

One thing has taken a hold and held my words captive. Held my security and confidence to ransom. One thing that I have allowed to bring doubt and questioning. I gave permission without realizing. 

A few months ago I sat sobbing while someone questioned my very calling. While they expressed just how little “success” I had seen over the years of ministering and loving the most broken. While they told me what I was and was not. And ultimately made me feel foolish and emotionally incompetent for crying and breaking over the calling that I am so passionate about. 

The negativity of that encounter took root and started to grow. It wrapped itself around my soul and started to break me down. And soon I found myself wallowing in self doubt and two mindedness. Not realizing that I was holding unforgiveness like a prized possession. 

Questioning everything…

What if their words were true? 

They’re not… but what if they were? 

What if I’m not good enough to lead this amazing team that is now all around me? What if I AM too emotional? Too irrational? What if their words were true? 

But they are NOT! 

I realize as I sit here that I need to release the pain and the person. That I need to walk forward in forgiveness and breathe out the hurt. 

I have been frustrated at the high amount of women coming to us every week, frustrated that we can not do more right now. I’ve questioned “what’s the point” “are we even making a difference?” I mean what can a small team of women really do? Are our voices valid? 

All of these questions coming due to one conversation that shattered my belief in myself and the calling. And then there’s His voice… YOU ARE CHOSEN. 

We are chosen. Each member of Hope’s Anchor has been hand picked by a Father who knows His daughters so very well. A Father who has created us emotional, tough, fierce, gentle, logical, scatterbrained, organized, loving, funny, unconditional, unwavering, stubborn and brave.  We are HIS team, chosen before time began, for such a time as this. 

Some came willingly, some literally “Jacobed” the calling until He loved them into submission. We are His and He is ours, He is the reason for our calling. His love defines us and His love is all that saves us. 

His love propels us into the darkest places. 

His love heals. 

His love is why they come. 

His love wins EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

And so maybe I am too emotional, too impulsive, too much at times, but you know what? I’m emotional, impulsive and too much because of Him! 

Over the past three months we have helped three women get out of the sex trade and off the streets. Yes there are 100’s more who are still there, broken and scared, but now there are 3 less. Because of His love. 

And this is what we chose to rejoice in.

 He chose each of us to display His love to the broken and the vulnerable. And through His love healing flows, not just for them but also for me. 

To support our family in the calling you can visit our PayPal account

Or you can donate at our Just Giving account, where we get the tax back from UK donors.

We appreciate everyone who is so faithful and so generous in their giving. We love you. 

please help Pinky

Our darling Pinky is almost ready to start her new life. But there is one thing standing in the way of a better future and that is the funding. 

As we stand we have zero funding for Pinky’s rehabilitation now that she has detoxed. 
We have until the 27th of this month before she is turned back onto the streets to try and fend for herself. 

We have the opportunity to keep her safe and secure, an opportunity to really heal and restart her life, but we need the funding. 
Can you help? If so please go to Pinky’s GoFund Me page and donate. 

Your donation could save her life.

prayer request

Firstly sorry for my children’s glowy eyes 😂😂😂 its literally the only photo I have of all of us where we are all smiling 🙈

Secondly please will you lift us up in prayer. We do not have rent for this coming month and its due next week 😳🙈 We KNOW that God is in control, and He comes through every month, but this month its really down to the wire. 
This missionary/living by faith life is really stretching us this month. 

Please pray for provision for us, please pray for peace and strength. I’m feeling my health issues kicking in due to the stress and I’m not happy about that 😤 

#missionarylife #livingbyfaith

Hope’s Anchor.

A couple of months ago we had a difficult transition to make. It was one of complete faith and a step of obedience. And since making the transition God has been blowing us away with His love, provision and conformation.

10 years ago I (Vashti) started to minister to the sex workers in the city. It was a passion and calling that I knew had been placed in my life and I started walking in that calling, alone. For 9 years. It was a long lonely journey and in 2014 I spent some time with a life coach friend of mine. I shared my dream for the ministry with her and she helped me to unpack it and lay it out. She helped me to lay out the dream and start asking God how to move forward.

He gave me a name for the work that I was doing, that name was “Hope’s Anchor”. Based on Hebrews 6. Without hope we are lost. Directionless. Hope anchors us. And He is our hope.

I knew that this was what He was saying to me. But then last year we hooked up with One Future Foundation, and we thought that this was it. I put my dream and vision on the shelf and decided to team with OFF and do the ministry under their covering.

This decision bought a lot of positives. I was able to step out and really focus on the ministry as I had two friends who were committed to working with me.

As time went on and as I used Facebook as a publicity platform for the work, we gained more team members. Soon a strong, committed team of women grew around me and God really started to move.

A couple of months ago we felt that He wanted to do something big with the work that we were doing. There was a tugging on the hearts of our team and we all believed that it was time to start our own NGO and make Hope’s Anchor official.
So we took the step of faith, out from under OFF and started Hope’s Anchor.

Since we took the plunge we have seen INSANE favor! Incredible connections with people who not only have a heart for our city, but really really love the broken. Generous donations have been given and so many meetings with so many potential sponsors and supporters.

We have seen girls have the opportunity to walk away from the sex trade, get the help that they so desperately need and are now restarting their lives. We are meeting incredible women weekly who are in need of His love and we are honored to be able to be a conduit for that.

We know who has called us and to whom we have been called, and what a great honor that is.

So please will you continue to lift us up? Please lift up our incredible team. Please pray for the precious women to whom we have been called.

Unconditional Love. Extravagant Grace. Hope for the Soul.

If you would like to help support our family as we support these vulnerable women please go to where you can give a one off gift or make monthly payments. We are so grateful to all our supporters, any amount is a blessing to us to help meet our monthly bills, however small you may think it is, its huge to us 🙂 Thank you x


So often our hearts are shattered by the pain that our girls suffer. 

Today I’m spending time fixing my heart after devastating news that we received last night. 
Our dear Sne passed away on the 23rd of August. Alone. Scared. In pain. 
I’ve known Sne for a long long time and I have watched her body, mind and spirit break down over those years. 

The fear of the journey that this virus was going to take her on was too much for her to bare, so she lived in denial. Refusing help. Refusing hospitalization until the very end. 

Sleeping on the streets at the end due to lack of money for the shelter rent. Dying a little more each day. 

And now her body lies in the morgue with no one to claim her, no one to bury her with dignity. Destined for a pauper’s grave. 

I feel sick. I feel helpless. Its too late for Sne. 
But its not too late for others. 

Its not too late for Precious, Yvonne, Pinky or Yolande. 

We WILL fight for these girls and for their futures. 
What if we had had a building then? What if we could have provided food and shelter for Sne? What if she could have received counseling and medical assistance? What if……? 
I can’t let my heart go there. I just can’t. 

This is why we so desperately need a building for Hope’s Anchor. A place of safety and restoration. A place of sanctuary and freedom. For the future Sne’s. 
I refuse to let another girl fall through the gaps of society. 

Not on my watch. 

#Durban #hopesanchor #homelessnothopeless #weseeyou #knownbytheirlove #aids 


As I climb into bed tonight I am broken. I feel like I am forever changed by what we experienced on the streets this evening. 

So many girls waiting for us. Waiting for the love that they knew that we were bringing. 

So many girls new to the business, two their first night selling their bodies to survive. 

One to pay for her school fees, one saving for her hormone therapy as she transitions her body from male to female. 
Both desperate and alone. 

One trying to take financial pressure off of her parents, one rejected by her parents. Our regular girls so concerned about the new girls welfare, promising to watch out for them. To show them the ropes. 

All of them desperate for love. 
I am broken. The whole team tonight battling with the pain that our precious girls are dealing with. 
All of us wanting to scoop them up and care for them in the way that they so desperately need and want. 

As I lie here I lift them all by name before the throne. He loves them, just as they are. 
#knownbytheirlove #Durban #homelessnothopeless #tospeaktheirtruth