Support.

Due to job loss and change of financial situations we lost a number of our main family supporters this month. Their love and generosity have been an incredible blessing to us and our family.
As a family we live by faith, I guess we are classed as a missionary family as we are here in full-time ministry. Although Mart is working on getting us financially independent we are not yet there, and we survive here running @hopes_anchor_durban by the love, care and generosity of friends and family. As things stand right now we will not financially make it through next month unless we gain more financial support.
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We know that we are called to do this work, to be here speaking and fighting for those who have had their fight and voice hijacked. We will continue to fight for Durban’s most vulnerable women and girls for as long as Love has us here. He knows and in that we find our peace. If you would like the opportunity to support our family in the work that we are doing please pop to our

  • http://www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch
  • PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com
  • send me a PM and I will give you our banking details
  • if you are a UK tax payer and would like to set up a monthly payment then please email my mum at lindsey.toms57@gmail.com and she will send you a form for our Stewardship account                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            EVERY SINGLE PENNY makes a difference in our lives. Your generosity keeps us moving forward in the ministry.

If you didnt see my post on FB you may like to take a look at the following link and see the plight of the homeless in Durban and the conditions that the majority of our ladies live in.

https://m-net.dstv.com/show/carte-blanche/videos/carte-blanche-durban-s-homeless-shelters/video
#missionarylife #livinginafrica #livingbyfaith

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The hard stuff.

The past couple of weeks have been very hard. Our hearts have been shattered by the pain of our girls. There is a devastation that we will never truly be able to understand. We have approximately 15 ladies who are sleeping rough every night and they are all in really bad shape.

Last week Zinhle came to us in awful pain. Her body is fighting AIDS, TB, severe scabies, and goodness knows what else. Her feet were maggot ridden and rotting. She could barely walk and the hospital had given her antibiotics and paracetamol. As if that’s going to help at this point!!

This week we had been given a few bandages and antiseptic cream, so I tried to clean Zandile’s feet as best I could, bandaged them up and put on clean new socks. She was going to go back to the hospital on Friday to try and get more help. We really hope that she did.

Then there was Tanya she had blown out 12 veins in her hands and arms and blown 3 in her groin. I sat with her and cleaned each one and dressed them. As I did so her tears streamed down her face. Her face and her words made me ache. “why am I such a failure?” Tanya has been working the streets for years. She goes through phases of being OK, getting healthy and then comes crashing down and every time she crashes its worse than the time before. It’s so painful to watch.
I cleaned her up and told her that she is loved, that she is precious and that she is seen. She knows that she needs help, but she isn’t ready. And that is more painful than anything else.

Some days it feels that we aren’t doing enough, but for Z and T what little we did for them on Thursday night was more than they had been given so far.

Turned away from the government hospital because of their addictions, because of their job, because of their status, they came to us desperate for help, desperate for love. We gave what we had, and although it doesn’t feel like enough to me, it really made a difference to them.

And amongst the devastation we get amazing news. Our new NGO papers are finally in our hands!!! This is a game changer. Now we can start putting in our proposals for a vehicle and for our property. Things are about to explode and we are beyond excited.

If you would like to help us in the work that we are doing here please pop over to our PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com

Or visit http://www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch

if you are a uk tax payer we can claim back the tax on your gifts

We appreciate every bit of support.

With love from the Downs Family. Xx

Aliyah

When I sit to write the events of last night I chuckle to myself. Candice and I always end up doing the tough stuff, the stuff that puts our lives on danger, the stuff that really needs to be done but very few have the nerve to do😂
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Last night we went looking for Aliyah, we prayed that we would be able to find her as sometimes tracking down the street sleeping girls is hard work. Within 5 minutes we spotted her begging in a take away. She was not happy to see us, she knew that it meant that the bed was ready and she would have to make a massive step away from the streets and all that she knows. Away from her boyfriend Braino, and away from the drugs. This was going to be her one chance to save her life and get the medical help that she needs.
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This decision really was a matter of life and death. If she didn’t come with us then she would have died on the streets within the next couple of weeks. I stood back and could literally see the spiritual battle that was raging around this girl. It was savage. It was frustrating and I got incredibly angry. The darkness was holding this child so tightly, fear sitting like a vulture on her shoulders, addiction wrapping itself around her legs preventing her from getting into the car and escaping to freedom.
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She refused to come with us, so we got back into the car and drove off. Leaving her begging for money for her next hit. I was seething. I knew that the only person who could get her to come with us was Braino, so I prayed that we would find him and that he could talk some sense into her. And just like that there he was on the corner of 2 of the most dangerous streets in Durban. As we pull up the car is surrounded by drug dealers wanting to sell us whatever we needed.
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Both Cands and I have known dealers for years, we know how they operate and how to deal with them. As I put down my window and call Braino over I firmly let the dealers know my intentions, “sorry Ma.” “OK Ma, no worries.” hands up in surrender realizing that they had made a mistake. I take one look at Braino (I’ve known him for 7 years) and tell him “your girlfriend needs to come with us or she will die”. He knows it’s true.

We took one of the girls in the car with us to help us to convince Aliyah to get into the car and come to Braino, he couldn’t come with us as the dealers in that street will kill him if he shows his face there 🤦🏻
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We find Aliyah and Mbali manages to get her into the car. We get her to Braino and all hell breaks loose🤦🏻🙄 again we are surrounded by dealers thinking we are customers, I put them in their place, and Braino tries to explain to Aliyah that she has to come with us. Then every homeless drug addict in the vicinity starts shouting at her telling her she’s crazy if she doesn’t take this opportunity. How lucky she is to have us. How they wish that they could go. Aliyah is unbudging, she’s not coming with us.
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Then along comes Basil. Aaahhhhh BASIL!!! Basil is Aliyah’s dealer. Tall, dark and very very handsome, well dressed and smelling like leather and meadows😍 I hear @candiceede catch here breath! Lol. I just think to myself “oh boy this isn’t going to go well” I had just told off approximately 10 dealers like they were naughty school boys, and now along comes this guy who’s clearly in charge, we might be in a spot of trouble now. 🤦🏻 Leaning himself against the side of the car he asks Aliyah what’s going on. After he hears the story he’s clearly going to do whatever it takes to get her into the car and away from this place. He calming talks to her and offers whatever she needs, she said nothing will make her get into the car. They all disappear around the corner for a few minutes, when they come back Basil wants to know if it’s OK to let her have a hit before she gets into the car. So yeah I send her to go get high before we take her 🙄🤦🏻😂 whatever it takes.
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After her fix she comes willingly and says her goodbyes to everyone.
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At the respite unit we realize that she’s way sicker than any of us knew. She weighed in at 28kg, and was covered in sores and full of thrush and a number of other issues. Now her healing begins. Please be praying. She is currently detoxing and it’s going to be rough. Please pray that she stays there and doesn’t run away. Please pray for healing.
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We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your love and support. If you would like to help our family financially please go to our Just Giving page which is supported by our UK Church, Kings Road Church, Berkhamsted. Thank you

http://www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch

I picked up my pen.

This week I finally sat down and started to write my book. By hand, with a pen and paper. For the past 2 years I’ve been running our ministry and life via my phone and it’s been a bit of a nightmare.

Trying to write my blog has not been enjoyable because I spend most of my time correcting and deleting because it’s so small and hard to type on.

To write a book on my phone is impossible. When we were robbed they took our laptops and we have not been able to replace them. It’s just so expensive here to find a decent laptop. So we just haven’t been able to get new ones.

Now that I have started to take my writing seriously we really need to replace what we lost, so I have started a crowd funding page to help us raise enough money.

If you are able to help us please visit our link below and donate. We appreciate every single penny. More than ever. ♥️

https://www.gofundme.com/we-need-a-laptop&rcid=r01-152891285933-86a1b731910a4b01&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m

Thank you for the support and love. Much love from the Downs family. Xxx

Family.

I try and do a family update as often as possible, so here’s the latest…

The past couple of months have been so very busy, trying to fit it all into one post is not going to happen so here are just a few highlights and lowlights from the past few weeks.

Summer is supposed to be drawing to a close here in South Africa, but the temp is still up in the 30’s. This past school term both of our big boys were on the school swim squad and in their interschool gala they came away with a heap of medals each. Its was a super fun, but very hot day and every bit if me wanted to be in the pool with them 😀.

Their school reports yet again blew us away and we couldn’t be prouder of them both. Even with Jesse’s learning difficulties he managed to pull in some pretty impressive grades. He’s a star! Joe is as steady as usual and came 9th in his whole grade for last term. He got 100% on his exam last week and is constantly receiving his Academic excellence badge. What a legend.

And then there is Hudson… Sweetest child in the world. Full of joy and love, super smart and very funny.

Last month I’ve been really battling with my health and ended up fighting and awful bout of bronchitis. Not having medical aid or financial freedom to go to the doctors is very hard, especially when dealing with chronic illness. This past month my body really hit a wall and I ended up on bed rest for nearly a week.

Being who I am meant that bed rest was incredibly difficult for me and I still managed to arrange a wedding for a homeless couple and keep up with ministry. In the end a doctor friend of mine came to my house, put me on a drip and knocked me out for 24 hours… Call it “forced bed rest”!! It worked and a couple of days later I was good to go again!

During my days of sickness Mart held everything together. Dealing with the boys, cooking, making sure I had space to rest. He is currently working on his own project (we will talk More about that when its up and running). His heart is still very much with education for the rural/high vulnerability communities and his current project will help to fund that passion. Its exciting to see him so passionate and focused.

As a family we just want to say thank you to everyone who supports us. To those who lift us up in prayer and encouragement. To those who send gifts into our bank account. To those who send messages of love. You are all part of this journey that we are on and we appreciate you all so very much.

We ask that you continue to pray for the miracles that we need and if you would like to have more info about our prayer needs please email us at vashti.downs@gmail.com

Those who would like to support financially you can do so at http://www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch                                                                                        PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com                                                                                              or you can email my mum at lindsey.toms57@gmail.com for our UK banking details or to give through our Stewardship account which can claim back UK tax

Regular giving can also be set up through any of the above methods

We really appreciate every bit of support.

We love you all. Have a blessed weekend.

Unless…

Shelters here are not like in the West, they are basically old warehouses cram packed with bodies, male, female, young and old. Drug addicts, drug dealers, sex workers, pimps, families who are down on their luck. Pregnant women. Rapists, murderers, grandmothers and newborns. All under one roof. 200 bodies, broken, diseased, addicted, dying.

Sex workers servicing clients on the bottom bunk, a young single mother nursing her baby on the top, while on the neighboring bed, just 2 feet away a girl lies dying from AIDS. Day in, day out, this is the life in TDK shelter in the Point area of Durban.

THIS IS LIFE.

The majority of the ladies that we care for reside in TDK. The majority will die there, unless…

One way that you can help make the “unless” a reality is to support our family.

10 years ago this month I walked into TDK for the first time. 10 years ago I fell in love with the most broken of Durban. 10 years ago my life calling was made clear to me. And 10 years later we still can not do the work that we do without your help.
As a family we live by faith, as a family its been a hard and grueling journey.

Some days we have, other days we have not, and yet we keep pushing forward in the Calling that has been placed on our lives.


If you would like to help you can do so by donating to our PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com

Or through our Just Giving account http://www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch

If you would like to give directly into our bank account, please contact lindsey.toms57@gmail.com

We appreciate every single penny. We can not make the “unless” a reality without you.

Crisis.

What a week it has been, its safe to say that Candice and I are exhausted today!
Thanks to the generous support of our dear friends and donors we were able to hit the strip two nights this week! What a blessing! And both nights we were able to provide our dear ladies with a hot meal.

Candice and I took a couple of drives through the CBD area and were once again reminded just how much of a crisis we are facing. 100’s of girls and ladies forced to sell their bodies for survival. Having sex with disgusting men just so that they can put a roof over their heads.
Our hearts were once again broken for these precious women.

Last night we started the first of many short films based on the work that we do and the lives of the ladies that we care for. As we sat in the vehicle, we candidly talked and we could feel the desperation. Rain pounding and wind howling they climb out of the car and back to work.

“This is not a life, it is an existence.” Jess, age 21.