James Knew….

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James 2:15-17The Message (MSG)

Faith in Action
14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

This was just shared on our Facebook page CHURCH  it was taken yesterday after our get together as Nicole and Marc were driving home, literally a few blocks from where we meet. lines of homeless being fed by a group from another church. They do it every Sunday. They get what James got.

For some of us this passage from James is just the obvious. Its daily life for us. Numerous times I have been on the streets with the sex workers and have taken off my own shoes or jersey or jacket and given it to one of the girls who was without. To me its a no brainer. You don’t have any shoes? Here have mine. I often tell them that the item is a gift from their Father.

When our family is down to nothing, empty bank account empty wallet, somewhat discouraged, we STILL have capacity to give something.

How is that possible? Because this passage from James has become our family lifestyle. Loving others is our lifestyle, and whats awesome is we are surrounded by people who are living the same lifestyle.

Yesterday was Martin’s 41st birthday. A friend heard that and they decided to bless our family with dinner and some treats. This friend doesn’t know all of our story, they don’t know the number in our bank account, they didn’t know the home that we are currently living in, they just knew that they wanted to bless Mart and our family for his birthday. This friend gets the James 2 lifestyle. Whats even more amazing is that this friend is a new one, we have known each other for four weeks, and yet the treats in the package were exactly the way to my heart. A bag of almonds, some flavored tea and some honey. Three of my favorite things, she didn’t know but my heavenly Father knows EVERY detail.

It doesn’t take much. Matthew Barnett who founded the LA Dream Center says ” Find a need and fill it” that’s how easy it is. It can be as huge as feeding a few hundred homeless people on a Sunday lunch time or as simple as taking hold of someone and holding them a little bit longer than usual, a good hug goes a real long way!!!

So today I ask you, “find a need and fill it” You have a greater capacity to love, we all do. Today make James 2 your lifestyle.

We love you all.

The Downs Family. xx

 

 

 

 

 

Taking back Hump Day…

So many people call Wednesday “Hump Day” , it’s like “if I can just get past Wednesday then its almost the weekend and I don’t have to go to work.”

I used to feel like that. I used to just wish the weekend would come so that I could sleep in, laze around in my pjs, hang out with friends, have fun.

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But now life has changed. Its funny how when you walk in your calling  things start to change, things that have been the “norm” for so many years are suddenly so foreign to us. I now long for Wednesday for a different reason. For the ladies of One Future Foundation Wednesday is now our main delivery day. It’s our day when we get together in the red-light district, grab a coffee and then hit the streets and abandoned apartment buildings. It’s the day that we love and laugh together and the day when we show love and light to other women who have been forgotten or left behind in life.

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It is so new to me to have a couple of friends who are living the same calling in life. I’ve not had that since I lived in New York. It excites me to think that God loves me so much that He has placed me in a position where I now have more than two friends who “get me” .

This past Wednesday was something really special. The encounters that we had were nothing short of Heaven ordained. A handful of new sex workers literally came to us this week, just came to the van as we were parked on the waterfront. These women were then given a Blessing bag and any clothing that we had in their size,  also protection for them as they go about their “business”. They were open with us about “work” and there was an amazing level of trust shown by them towards the four of us. This is very rare. Girls in the sex business do not trust ANYONE. It took years for me to build relationships with the girls who I have cared for over the past 9 years, but these girls just opened up and trusted us enough to really share where they are at. Only God does that. Our group of four are open and nonjudgmental, we genuinely love and care for the girls, and I really think that the girls are seeing that and understanding it on a deep level.

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All of us at One Future Foundation are getting impatient, we want everything to happen right NOW. We NEED our housing up and running, we NEED to be living in the city and not so far from the community that we have been called to. We NEED to be near to each other. We are impatient, but we know that His timing is perfect and we know that He has not only homes for us but provision for the calling that is over us all.  So for now we are doing what we know we can do. We are moving forward (a little bit too slow for some of us;-) ) and we are loving those who we are called to love. He is so good and He is in control of every detail. We have surrendered it to Him. And in return He is gently loving us and teaching us to trust Him completely.

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The Downs family is now living 100% by faith. If you are interested in supporting us on a monthly basis you can donate to PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com or you can email me for our banking details vashti.downs@gmail.com

We love and appreciate you all.

From the Downs Family. xx

 

 

Love Gomer. 

I’m sitting in a coffee shop sobbing over the story of Hosea. He is calling us to love Gomer unconditionally. Gomer, who lives on the street corner, Gomer who breaks our hearts over and over, Gomer who uses and sells drugs, Gomer who sells her body to survive. 

He is calling us just as he called Hosea. 

As we walk in obedience, his favor starts to flow, but my goodness its hard. 

Loving unconditionally. Fighting for someone’s life. Caring when others don’t or can’t. 

I am feeling haunted this week by what I saw on Sunday morning. 

But how do I love this woman the way that my Father loves me? I don’t know. 

Matthew 12:8 says “there is more at stake than religion.” 

All I pray as I sit here is that He takes over every part of my being and makes a way. “As sure as the dawn breaks, so sure is His daily arrival” 

#missionarylife #livinginafrica #shereadstruth

Reality.

Today on my way to church I stopped to deliver blankets and clothing to Anitjie and Nathan, thank you so much to the two ladies who donated. Your gifts were received with much excitement.

While I was talking and praying with Anitjie she asked me to talk to her sons girlfriend. She was asleep under a rain soaked blanket. Her name is Sne and she is 22. I asked her what I could pray for. These pictures show her response.
Sne is dying. (pictures and story shared with her permission)

 

She is too scared to go to the hospital. Her only option is government hospital, and I have experienced first hand over and over how homeless people get treated in these hospitals. I do not blame her for being terrified. She would rather die on the side of the road than go to Addington hospital. This tells me a lot!

This is why we do what we do. This is why we have planted a church on Point Road. This is why One Future Foundation was started.
This is why Hope’s Closet was created.
This is why I am ALWAYS asking for help and donations.

For girls like Sne, who are destined to die alone and scared.

I am asking, pleading on behalf of all the young girls like She, for all the grannies like Anitjie and little boys like Nathan, on behalf of all the girls who have to sell themselves to survive.

PLEASE donate at the link below.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ahopefulreality

Church. Part 2.

Go read previous post for Part 1 of our crazy miracle filled story so far, then come back here and read this part 2!

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Ok ready? SO less than 24 hours after surrendering to rest I receive a message via facebook from my friend Nicole. Nic and I have known each other for a few years but haven’t seen each other in person for years due to them living up the coast and us inland.

We have kept in contact via social media but not all that often. So when Nic’s message came it was somewhat of a surprise. Then I read the contents of her message and I was BLOWN AWAY!!!!

For 8 years I have had a dream for the homeless and sex workers that I have loved. That dream was to have a center for them to heal and be restored and empowered. A place that is safe, free, clean. A place where they can sleep in peace, take a hot shower, do laundry. A place where they can learn, where they can have an opportunity for finish school via the internet. A place where they can learn trades. A place where they are loved unconditionally.

As I start reading Nic’s message to me I very quickly realize that what I am reading is MY God given dream!! Word for word, every detail. My heart exploded right there. I’m trying to tell Mart what she is saying and I cant talk, I literally forgot how to talk for about five mins. Laughing, crying and laughing some more. ONLY GOD!

As I am talking to Nic I realize that this right here is why I didn’t quit. This right here is why I fought to keep the love going, even on the days that the girls from the shelter broke my heart over and over.

Through all the trouble and heartache something in me told me to not quit. And now I know why.

He was preparing others to join me. And those others are family. Not just a bunch of people but family with the same heart and the same vision. To see the city of Durban restored, her people healed and loved. A city restored to Christ through love.

And it all starts with planting a church. So this past Sunday we had our first get together. Our first opportunity to sit and hear from Marc what Father has been saying to him and how this crazy adventure is going to look.

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I sobbed my way through, I couldn’t believe how the dream that I had held for 8 years was opening right before my eyes. And I wasn’t going to be doing it alone any more, I was surrounded by people with the same heart. Man we were excited.

I have a tattoo of a Lotus flower and in Sanskrit it says “at ease in muddy waters” For the past 8 years it has felt like Father has been using me to root in the mud, in the dirt of Pickering Street, in the murk and darkness of the shelters. Now that lotus is breaking through the top of the waters and is starting to open. A lotus has many layers of petals and they don’t all open at once. On Sunday the lotus bud burst open and the beauty of the flower started to be exposed, its only going to bloom more as time goes on.

As Church grows and the dream continues to be fulfilled His glory is going to start radically transforming the city of Durban.

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It’s just the beginning but already we KNOW that this is why we have to stay in Durban for a couple more years. Not just paperwork. But His work. Its going to be an interesting journey as now as a family we are living 100% by faith. That means NO monthly fixed income. Daily trusting Him for food and living expenses. We HAVE to trust Him.

So please join us in faith. Please continue to pray for our family. Those of you who support us financially thank you for keeping us going. You are ALL part of this story just by supporting our family. As the story unfolds we will continue to keep you all up to date.

We love and appreciate you all.

Downs Family.

 

 

 

 

CHURCH Part 1.

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Well the life of the Downs family have changed drastically over the past month. It’s somewhat crazy and bonkers but what is happening before our eyes are nothing short of miracles.

As you all know I have been ministering to the homeless and the sex workers on Point Road in Durban for the past 8 years. It’s been hard. Really hard. I’ve done it alone and at times I have really really wanted to just walk away from it all. But some thing kept me going. Probably partly the Holy Spirit and partly the fact that I’m a stubborn brat who doesn’t like to give up or fail. So I just kept going.

Since the home intrusion and the attack we have been feeling that God is up to something with our family, we just wanted to pack up and move back to the uk, so we started looking into that. But it isn’t that straight forward and we need to do a lot of paperwork before we can return, it will take at least 2 years. This was so disheartening for us. and We felt lost and rejected and isolated for a few months as we tried to find our footing and regain a sold foothold and let Father speak to us. If we are going to be here for another 2 years some HAS to change. We felt like we were suffocating.

Then one day my body basically shut down. I started to bleed. It was terrifying. There was no reason why it was happening or why there was so much blood, for days my bed looked like a CSI crime scene. I finally went to my doctor, hospital wasn’t an option with no medical aid. Thankfully I have an amazing GP who is also my friend. She calmed me down and put me on meds and bed rest until the bleeding stopped. I lay in bed for the whole week. I was in chronic pain and emotionally very broken. The trauma of my particular attack had finally caught up with me and my body was taking a big hit.

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On Friday morning my body was stiff and aching so I tried to get up and gently stretch my body, move my muscles just a little bit. Here’s what happened……

My heart and spirit yearned to get on my mat and stretch out this past week of bed rest. I made it as far as the couch and un-rolling my mat when my body literally just stopped. My entire being shut down and some invisible force pulled me back into my bed.
I was mad at myself, at my body which has been worryingly broken this week, mad at the fact that I am missing time with my family.

As I climbed back into bed I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me. “Surrender to rest” as I started to process this I realized that this whole week, although traumatic physically, has been an opportunity for me to take the time to surrender to rest. I could literally kick myself if I had the energy 😊.

So I lay back down on my bed, surrounded by dozing kitties, placed my hands on my heart and just breathed.
Breathing the Holy Spirit. Breathing in healing.
Breathing in peace.
Breathing in rest.
Surrendered to His voice to His love, to His plan.

Surrendered to rest.

That’s when things got even crazier!!!

You will have to wait for my next post to find out exactly Just how crazy life has gotten!!!

We love you.

From the Downs Family.

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