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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Or drop us an email at email@example.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