Grace. Love. Hope.

There’s a level of exhaustion that can not be described. And I’m right there.
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I can’t describe it but I can identify it.
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It’s the result of being a single Mum of 3 boys, living day to day by faith financially, running an organization that cares for the most vulnerable, trying to do everything to the best of my ability and then having 2 of the girls that our organization cares for brutally murdered in the past 2 weeks and having countless other girls missing all while trying to figure out how to keep our very most vulnerable ones safe and help them to heal.
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That’s the kind of exhausted I am.
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It’s effing hard. I can’t hide from it I have to embrace it, feel it, process it and then somehow get up and keep fighting. I’m learning how to have grace with myself, I dont have super powers, I HAVE to let myself rest and heal, but man it’s hard when I know what I know and have seen what I have seen.
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His grace is sufficient. His love unconditional. His hope the Anchor to my soul. And to that I cling.
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#unconditionallove #extravagantgrace #hopeforthesoul #durbansextrade #exposehope #brotheloutreach #GBV #weseeyouweloveyou

Mama.

It’s not a good picture but I’m sharing it because it represents so much of what we do as @xpose.hope
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Last week as we drove the streets of the red light district we spotted a young mum to be standing in an alleyway. Hot pants, croptop and a 4 month pregnant tummy. The sweetest little baby bump caught our eye immediately and as we pulled over to bless her with some food and toiletries her beautiful face lit up.
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This week we had a baby bag ready for her. A nappy bag filled with toiletries, clothes and nappies for her baby. We also had 2 packs of Pampers that were donated from our teammate from HOLAH baby home. This darling girl could not believe that we were giving her these gifts for free. Her 2 friends came over to see and the 3 of them just kept thanking us over and over.
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It doesnt take much to show love and kindness. Last night we saw so many of our familiar faces and they are always so excited to see us, but what they don’t realize is that we are even more excited to see them.
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We love these women so very much. We see their hearts and we feel their pain, but we also celebrate their lives. They are seen and they are loved and we are honored to be able to let them know.
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Favor.

I wrote in my previous post about how eXpose HOPE is experiencing great favor since we started back up since lockdown.

Our 3 main team members. Leanne, Vashti and Liza.

We have been incredibly blessed by other organizations who love the work that we do. 3 in particular have donated gifts for the ladies and groceries for the brothels and its has been such a time of unity and love between the organizations.

My friend Leanne (see pic above) and her partner Kim run HOLAH baby home and they care for abandoned babies and children, many of whom have mild to severe special needs. I’ve had the honor of being able to assist them when needed and I just love how we can work hand in hand to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable. I feel incredibly blessed to have my 2 closet friends in the eXpose HOPE team with me and I LOVE them so very much.

Those who follow us on social media will know about a little family that we have been helping for the past while. Bella, Sandy and baby Lesli have been in an incredibly vulnerable situation in town and were needing to find a new home that was safe and away from the crime and drugs of the homeless shelter. After a lot of rejection from other organizations that claim to help women like Bella and Sandy God provided them is a beautiful little cottage on the coast. It is safe and has the most stunning sea views. (I’m a bit jealous)

Seeing this family safe and together has been such a relief. Baby Lesli has a few medical issues so please life her and her Mama’s up in prayer. One day I will ask Bella to share her story with you all, it’s a traumatic and painful one but now life is really looking up and their future is bright.

A new start.

With our outreach work we have been super busy building relationships with so many new girls and ladies. Last week we were able to get our foot in a new brothel that seems to be packed with young girls. It’s so hard not to storm the gates and pull them all out, but that’s not gonna happen so we come quietly with food and gifts and hope to gain their trust and that of the managers and security guards. We dont know their stories yet, but we will as we gain their trust. We are know reaching 3 brothels a week and so many street workers. We are feeding close to 100 ladies and girls a week, all of whom are in the sex industry. This is heart breaking and concerning for us as weekly we are meeting new ladies. Covid has caused great job loss in our country and many women are having to survive by turning to the sex industry. Its devastating. Many of them are so young.

We love these women so completely. They bring us joy and heartache. We are honored to be able to love them and be part of their lives.

We appreciate all of your love and support and if you would like to help me to continue the work here with eXpose HOPE please donate at my PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com or contact me for the uk banking details.

Love you all dearly.

From Vash and the eXpose HOPE team.

Treading water.

Life is so confusing at times. This month I feel like I am treading water trying to survive.

Ministry work is going so well, so much favor and abundance for our work and for our precious ladies and our little team is incredibly excited and encouraged by the outpouring.

But then on the other hand here I am trying so hard to just keep swimming. Trusting God daily for provision can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. Together with some personal health issues every day life I find myself treading water rather than swimming. Thankfully I have a great doctor who is always on hand with advice and help.

As you know, during lock down I moved to a new property, we are loving living here back in the area that we lived before, our landlord lives on the development that ours and other properties are part of, its like a small community of properties that he owns and we feel happy and safe here. Just recently my landlord told me one of the other houses has come available, still in this same community but with a third bedroom, ours only has two. He has offered it to me at a reduced rate but a little more than I am paying at the moment. I have accepted this property as we really do need that third bedroom. Please stand with me in prayer for this extra rent to come in each month. God has been so faithful in his provision to our family.

Parenting alone is not difficult for me. I find life easier without the pain from before he left and I LOVE being a mum, especially as my kids are literally the best in the world. I love their different personalities and quirks, I love how they are passionate about so many different things and I love how they love me. All I want is to provide my sons with the best life I possibly can. I struggle with the fact that I cant take them away for a holiday or even out on day trips. I cant provide them with the things that their friends have. But they know that I am trying my very best and I know that’s what counts. In all of this I’m hoping that they can see a way to trust God and build their relationship with Him

I know that I am called and that He will provide for the calling. The tight rope walk between fear and faith is a hard one but I refuse to look down and loose my focus. This week I will continue to care for our ladies, I will walk into the brothels carrying the gifts of LOVE and HOPE. I will stay focused and keep moving forward in the calling as I place my family’s needs at the feet of my Heavenly Father. He has to provide for us. He just HAS to.

One thing I know for sure is that obedience births favor.

We would really appreciate your prayers during this time. For my health, our financial situation, the boys and for the ministry.

If you would like to help support us financially please do so through PayPal or my HSBC account
V E Downs
91808885
40-36-22

If you would like to set up a monthly direct debit you can do so via HSBC or PayPal

We love and appreciate you all.

Blessings from V, J, J & H xxxx

The lie.

Written on the wall inside the closet of one of the rooms in the brothel. Written with eye liner and mascara. Written as an affirmation, a reminder, an encouragement to keep her head up. A reassurance. It shattered my heart.

The room was dark and damp. Wallpaper hanging as it peels from the damp walls. Broken window, soiled bed. She sits there hands vibrating as her body starts to come down from her last pull of mandrax. She picks up her “pipe”, a broken glass bottle, puts it to her mouth and uses her lighter to heat the “button” of mandrax and inhales deeply. She holds in the smoke as long as she can before she coughs it back out of her lungs and quickly her hands stop shaking and her eyes roll in her makeup smeared face. She sighs.

I feel sick to my stomach. I get up off the dirty couch that I am sitting on with my teammates and I embrace her as she melts into me. “You know I hate it when you hug me.” She lies, and I say “I know”. And she relaxes into my embrace. I want to cry, but I dont. She doesnt need my tears, she needs my unconditional love, she needs me to be steadfast in my care for her. So I kiss her on the top of her head and tell her how much she is loved.

“It’s gonna be ok.” I lied.

#unconditionallove #extravagantgrace #hopeforthesoul #durbansextrade #exposehope #brotheloutreach

New York state of mind.

As I drive along the beachfront of Durban off “work” and just trying to appreciate the ocean view and hustle and bustle of the promenade its easy for me to forget that under the surface there is a very very dark underworld in full operation.

Drugs, firearms, human trafficking and the sex industry are right there vibrating like a hive of demonic activity. If you are sensitive then you can actually feel it in your body, spirit, mind. A seeping oil slick of darkness and evil, spreading out for as far as the eye can sea.

Holiday makers, locals enjoying the sunshine, and staff from all the hotels and restaurants make the beachfront a bustling environment and most of them are totally unaware that the woman who is sitting at the hotel bar, or the woman sitting on the bench talking in the view, or the homeless girl begging for donations to pay their shelter rent are actually all pawns in the elicit trade of sex.

As I sit here and write each of their faces are in the front of my mind, right where they always are. Their beautiful faces, sassy intelligent characters, sweet personality quirks, all there always on my mind. You see you might not even notice then when you take your family to spend the day riding bikes at the beach, your brain hasnt been wired to spot them, in fact your brain has been wired to not see them.

But me, my brain, my eyes, my heart, my spirit, ME I know too much. I see every single one, even the ones who are trying so hard to blend in.

I know too much, seen too much, heard too much, felt too much. I know things that any “decent” mother of 3, in her 40’s should not know. I know things that would shock and probably intrigue you. I also know things that would terrify and repulse you. It’s not something that I admit to very often. Most days I try to act like a regular Mum picking her kids up from school, grocery shopping, small talk with the neighbors. But if only you knew what I knew….

When I started life as a “missionary” I was 18 and fresh out of secondary school. I didnt know what I wanted to do with my life so working with kids was the direction I chose. I thought I’d forever work with kids, I wanted a massive family and I figured I would just be a teacher cause that what girls who dont know what to do do… or so I thought…

Love had different plans for me and my future. I found myself living in Bushwick Brooklyn for a few years working with Metro World Child and caring for the most awesome kids. I loved living in New York, New York was home. Like really really home. I figured out who I was, what I was good at and what I wanted to do with my life while I lived in NYC. I built significant relationships with people who understood me and loved me for who I am. Those friends still stand by me today, cheering me on and lifting me in prayer. New York has a large portion of my heart and I will always love her so so much. I feel like she wooed me and pulled me into her and I had to wrestle my way out when the time was right. But man I’d go back in a heart beat.

New York prepared me for now. The dark nitty gritty of the project buildings that housed the teenagers that I spent my time ministering to were not so different from the buildings that I now find my ladies living in here in Durban. New York gave me the confidence to walk into a brothel or strip club here in Durban and care for these women. New York taught me to be bold and brave and myself.

Divine Love, Father God, knew that I needed New York and They knew that I had something that was needed by the women of eXpose Hope here in Durban. I dont have much to offer, but what I do have I offer completely. I love REAL hard. I fight fierce and I speak loudly. New York taught me that.

On the days I want to quit (too often) Love reminds me of my leader/Pastor/boss Pastor Bill Wilson. Reminds me of how P. Bill has never quit on his calling, no matter how hard it has been over the years. P. Bill has been though literal hell during his decades in New York. Fighting for the lives of vulnerable children, not just in NYC but the world over, Pastor Bill has stood firm on his calling to love. He has been such an amazing example to me over the years and his love and teaching have been a large reason why I’ve not quit.

Last year I went through hell. This year I’m rebuilding. It’s not easy but I refuse to quit. I may have lost support and some of my personal confidence, but I still know who I am and to whom I am called, and so I start again, not quite from scratch because now I know better, now I’m a bit tougher, a bit more resilient and determined.

Now I know a LOT more. I have a deep understanding of the sex industry and sex trafficking. I know the dirty secrets and my love for these precious girls and women has only deepend since my own personal rebuild.

Last year I wasnt destroyed, I was deconstructed. And this year I am rebuilding on a stronger foundation. I feel my NY spirit rising up and I’m excited to see this part of my journey unfold.

Over the next few weeks I’m committing to telling the truth about the sex industry here in Durban. I’m committing to empowering our ladies to speak their truth and will share with you all along the way. Won’t you join me? Won’t you be a part of this journey with me? I’d love it if you would. Together we are stronger.

If you would like to support myself and my boys please do so at my PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com

Or drop us an email at vashti.downs@gmail.com and I can send you my UK banking details.

We are really really needing some extra friends to jump in on the journey and support us so that I can really push forward with this work.

We appreciate you all so much.

Lots of love from V, J, J and H. Xx

Roar.

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This picture was taken last night.The cops were doing a “clean up” of the streets of Durban. Cleaning up the sex workers. That’s the term they use “Clean Up”, as if our precious ladies are trash, garbage, dirt, rubbish that needs to have someone physically clean up.

Let that sink in for a moment. Be brave enough to let it settle in your heart. How does it feel?

These beautiful, precious women and girls are seen as a thrown away unwanted object.

Unwanted. Used up. Rejected. Discarded. Broken. Beyond repair.

As I take in this image something rises within my core being. Like a dragon awakening deep in the cave of my soul. I feel it physically rising within me, clawing its way up and out. It makes me want to tear away this human shell and roar with every ounce of anger and rage that I can muster. I need to breathe fire. Hot angry tears flow and the sobs escape. I feel it physically. As I type I have to breathe consciously. I want to scream at the injustice. I NEED to roar. I need to rise and fight for these precious souls. These discarded daughters.

I was born to roar. Of that I am sure.

“I am the daughter of a King, who is not moved by the world. For my God is with me and goes before me. I do not fear because I am His” – ‘Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. You are precious and honored in my sight because I love you.’ – Isaiah 41:10

If you would like to help support us as a family and the ministry we are involved with please do so via paypal   downseyluff@aol.com or HSBC Vashti Downs  40-36-22 91808885

Thank you x

Hey there.

Well it’s been a while hasn’t it?! Life is pretty nuts the world over and South Africa is pretty intense right now. Lockdown has caused so many to loose their jobs and the poorest of the poor are fighting to survive.

People literally have nothing to eat. Families starving and we don’t even hear about the half of it. Daily reports on the news and social media have my heart shattered over and over. Our team has been reaching out to the red light district and one of the brothels and in doing so we know that our precious girls are feeling the love and hope that we carry with us. We have renamed our outreach program, it’s now called eXpose HOPE and that’s our mission, to take hope to these beautiful women.

We have seen great favor since we stepped back out there and we are so excited about what is to come. A couple of weeks ago one of my friends who happens to be a DJ on our local radio station and is quite the celebrity, asked if she could have an on camera chat with myself and one of our ladies who works in the brothel. Jane co-runs an initiative called Kindness Can and she wanted to talk to the 2 of us about how unconditional kindness and love reaches the hearts of our ladies.

It was a really powerful time and Jane and Paul were so kind and gentle with our lady. When I took her back to the brothel she looked at me with tears in her eyes and thanked me. She told me how loved she felt. And that’s what it is all about. Unconditional love, extravagant grace and hope for the soul.

The kids are back at school after a few months of lockdown. It’s a difficult decision for me to send them back but I’ve seen how well they are doing and how happy they are so I’m letting them go. They have been such stars through all of this. I’m so incredibly blessed with these boys of mine.

Joe is in full swing writing comics and developing superhero characters. He’s really passionate about writing and about movies and magic. You will always find him with a pack of cards in his pocket and a notepad and pencil. Hes also really funny, has jokes for days and likes to try them and his tricks out on me. 😂

Jesse is doing really well. He is still battling with his schooling and asks that everyone would pray for him in that area. He is the kindest kid I’ve ever known. He spends a lot of time creating things with wood and he would really like to be a carpenter when he grows up.

And then there’s Hudsie Bear. He’s perfect in every way 😊😉 He’s doing really well with his schooling, loves to read and is also really good at being a friend to others. He’s a complete mummy’s boy, and I love it!

As for me, I’m hanging in there. Life has not been easy, single parenting in a 3rd world country in the middle of a pandemic with now family support system has really taken its toll on me. My health has not been great and I’m still making life adjustments to try and heal my physical body. There has been a lot of added stresses with my visa situation, financial situation and the ending of my marriage and these things have caused a lot strain, but I’m pushing forward. I refuse to quit or give up on the calling on my life. But I’d really appreciate your prayers in this area. Fighting to be strong is a journey and I’m on it.

I have seen so much love and favor over the past few months and it inspires me to keep going and growing.

Please can I ask you all to pray for financial miracles for my visa situation? I have an immigration lawyer now working on it but it’s going to cost me quite a lot of money. Please pray for provision.

To support the work that I am doing and to support the boys and I please got to my PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com

I love and appreciate you all. Thank you for caring for us and for your love and prayers.

Love from Vash and the boys. Xx

Urgent appeal.

Well what a time we are living in. The world seems to be turning upside down and it’s so easy to become fearful and panic.

And here at Hope Farm we are trying to prepare for the lockdown which starts on the 26th. We have 2 days to stock up on essentials like food, animal feed, gas, medical supplies and the like. We have no funds for this. And this is so concerning. We have 11 children to care for and 8 adults along with the farm animals.

We have 48 hours to try and get what we need and we are trying to not panic. And this is where our faith has to kick in and take over. We have zero option but to trust that our needs will be met.

If you are able to help us by giving a gift of finances please let us know.

We have a PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com

And my banking details are available if you email me at vashti.downs@gmail.com

At this point every single penny will make a difference. $20/£20/€20 goes so far over here at the moment.

We love and appreciate you all and we are praying that we all come out the other side of this stronger, kinder and more full of faith.

Thank you for caring. Love from Vash, the boys and the rest of the Hope Farm tribe.

2 months in….

Well HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 😂🤦🏻‍♀️ Yeah I know I’m already 2 months late, life has been INTENSE since Christmas.

I guess the biggest development is that the boys and I are moving to Hope Farm to live. We are really excited about being there fulltime and being fully immersed in farm life and ministry.

The goat shed, soon to be cottage.

This move is 100% God and we are trusting Him for the building funds to come in so we can finish the work needed on the cottage before we move.

Oh yeah… we move at the end of next week… 🤦🏻‍♀️😂

At this point we arent sure how this is going to happen, short of a miracle. The cottage that we are currently renting is no longer available from the 29th of this month. And we have been told that we HAVE to be out by the end of next week.

So here I am sitting here once again asking for you prayers and support. We have had some amazing support for the work so far and I’m incredibly grateful to those of you who continue to stand with us and believe in the calling.

Here is the breakdown of what is still needed for our new home. If you can help in any way it would be an INCREDIBLE blessing. Donations can be made via my PayPal account downseyluff@aol.com or at my uk bank account email me at vashti.downs@gmail.com.

I’ll post a ministry update in my next post, but in the meantime please go to our Facebook page Hope farm Legacy of Love. Or you can follow our ministry eXpose HOPE at our Instagram account @xpose.hope

Thank you for always lifting us up and trusting for miracles with us. We love and appreciate you. Xxx