Missing. 

Last night I hit the streets with my City Sisters team. As we started to find our girls I have a deep sinking feeling deep within. I can not put my finger on it. As we drive down the street I see our sweet Yolande with a man who is old enough to be her grandfather, everything within me flares up and I want to fight. But I can’t. I could put her in danger her. An hour later I see our sweet Yolande with two massive men, twice her size and very scary, one of them is holding onto her in an intimate embrace. Everything within me flares up and I want to fight. But I can’t.

As we spend time with our ladies my sinking feeling grows, I can not pin point it. Is it because of Yolande? But I was already feeling it before I saw her.

What was it?
Then I talk with Zama, and the penny drops. Two of our girls are missing. Fatima and Chloe have been missing for four days. A phone call from Fatima was made to one of the girls saying that she had been drugged by a client and didn’t know where she was. There was no news of Chloe. There is no way to contact them, no way to know where they are. No one really cares because they are “just whores” .

Our girls are risking their lives daily to survive. We now have over 50 girls a week that we are caring for on a Thursday night. 50 girls who have no one to love them or care for them. 50 hearts that are profoundly broken. 50 bodies that are fighting addiction. 50 girls who are loved and seen by our Father. 50 girls who Matter.

Please pray for the safety and protection of Fatima and Chloe. Please pray for their safe return. And please pray for our team as we navigate each story as they unfold. Please pray for provision to keep our work going. Please pray for strength and wisdom.

If you would like to help support our family as we care for the homeless and sex workers of Durban, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch

Thank you x

Ministry

I want to explain a little about the ministries that Martin and I are involved with through One Future Foundation.

Martin is now over seeing The Eat Program which happens on Wednesday lunch times down by the sea front in Durban. We have food donated to us in the form of individually wrapped sandwiches, fruit and a drink. The homeless know where to come and they gather at midday. We come along and hand out the food, chat with the people, find out their needs, pray with them and sometimes share Gods Word with them.

I want to honour my husband for his work on this program, he sees the need and just gets on with it. He has a real gift with getting alongside the people we help, he takes time to chat and listen to their stories. He’s an encourager and an empathiser and takes Jesus to those he meets.

He also needs a new pair of shoes but never complains

I am overseeing the City Sisters Program. This is where I go out with other ladies in our team, usually on a Thursday evening. We check up on the girls who are sex workers along the sea front in Durban. We collect Blessing Bags throughout the weeks and fill them with items that the girls need, clothing, toiletries, condoms, food etc. We hand these out to girls we know and girls who are new to the streets. We use this opportunity to bless the girls with these items, to check up them, that they are well and safe (neither of which they are of course) to pray for them and with them and to let them know they are loved by us and by God

 

Last night was hard. Some of our homeless girls are in a bad state.

There are classes within the area that we work. When most people look at a homeless woman or a sex worker they see just that, but as you spend time building relationships and spend time caring you begin to realize that there is a class system within the life.

Benita is considered to be at the bottom of this class system. Drug addicted, sick, dirty and frail, she is at the lowest state of homeless. There is little hope for her, as far as she is concerned. She is looked down on by others. Even other homeless.
She started like many other girls who we talked to last night, young, healthy, tough, fiesty. Now she is dying. She is so so frail and in constant pain and fear. The depression is visual, all over her.
She is alone. She has no family, no partner, no children, no one to watch over her. Unless something changes she will die alone.

benita

We want to thank you for your continued support. Our boys are doing great, they love their school and are working hard.

We have many things to thank God for and some prayer requests and would be so grateful if you would join with us in these.

  • Thank God for our on going financial support, each month since December our rent and car has been paid, we dont have enough regular income to cover these costs but it always comes 🙂
  • Our team of helpers is growing, ladies have come along to join our City Sisters team. This is such a blessing to us
  • Great donations for Hope’s Closet, my second hand clothing stall which helps with supporting us and City Sisters
  • The use of internet in our home at a low payment to our neighbour

Prayer requests

  • Our laptop needs repairing, at the moment we do everything on our phones
  • Mart needs new shoes 🙂
  • Our on going financial support
  • our paperwork (you know what I mean)
  • protection whilst out working
  • lots of customers on Saturdays to Hope’s Closet market stall

Thank you!

We love you, Mart Vashti Joe Jesse & Hudson

to support us please do so via       http://www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch

Known by their love.

This is something that I am really working on. 

A few weeks ago we noticed a young couple who had started begging at an intersection on the way to the kids school. 

Always being in a rush to miss the crazy rush hour traffic we have never had chance to stop and talk to them. 

So this week Mart and I decided to take time to leave extra early to pick the kids up so that we could stop and spend some time with them. 

At the traffic lights stood René, a young Afrikaans girl in her early 20’s. Beautiful but worn. Tired. Somewhat broken down. We pulled over and quickly introduced myself. I gave her R10 and told her that I would be back. 
I returned the following day with a Blessing Bag full of toiletries. I found out where they were staying and told her a little bit about what we do with City Sisters. I told her I would be back. 

Today I returned with a big bag of clothes and shoes for René. 

Her first words “you came back”! 

This is what I am 100% certain of… If you turn up when you say that you will, you gain their trust. 

Today, yesterday and the day before I turned up. And I will keep turning up. 

We drove away and had to do a u turn and as we drove past, René was sitting on the sidewalk with a look of complete joy and awe as she took each item out of her bag to have a look. 

Mart and I will NEVER forget that look on her beautiful face. Her joy made our day. 

#onefuturefoundation #citysisters #knownbytheirlove #durbancharity #missionarylife #homelessnothopeless

Yolande

For our darling girls who sleep rough, a Blessing Bag makes such an impact. 

This past week we were donated a couple of great bags packed with toiletries, to which we added new clothes and lovely warm fleece blankets. 

Yolande has been sleeping rough for a couple of months now and we have built such a great relationship with her. She is our sweetheart. We are all head over heels for her. 
As she rummaged through her new bag she pulled out the blanket, wrapped it around her shoulders and stroked her cheek with the warm soft fleece. She then drifted off into her imagination, telling us how she dreams of One Future Foundation having a safe place for her to sleep, how she longs to have pillow fights and sleepovers “you know, like in the movies”. 

One day her dream will be a reality. We pray that it is soon. 
(shared with Yolande’s permission)
#onefuturefoundation#citysisters #homelessnothopeless #knownbytheirlove #donate #charity #durban #wearedurban #iheartdurban

You Came. 

As she sees me her face lights up. “You came” she squeals in delight. Of course I came. I said that I would. 

And just like that her delight is gone, given way to exhaustion and sadness. Her young teenage body scared and malnourished, so tiny and frail. And cold, so so cold. Goosebumps cover the large amounts of bare flesh. Her clothing skimpy and tattered. Her shoes worn through on the soles and blistering her child-like feet. 

She comes in for a hug, I wrap her in my arms and speak life over her. I speak words of love and truth. I hold her as a mother would, as I let go she immediately sinks into the embrace of Candice and rests her head on Candice’s chest, closes her eyes and whispers “I wish I could stay here”. I turn my back so she can not see my tears, Candice swallows her own tears down so this sweet child can not see our pain. 
Then the moment is over and she has to go back to “work”. And we have to drive away. 
Sweet little one we will always be there. We will always come. We will always love you. 

#onefuturefoundation #citysisters #durban #wearedurban #homelessnothopeless #knownbytheirlove #tospeaktheirtruth

What is required? 

The past few weeks have been quite a journey. Hudson fell very sick with not only a chest and ear infection, but also Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Then during week two of his illness I also became ill. So three weeks of fighting sickness has been brutal. We are both on the mend but still a little weak.

Today is Wednesday and we were supposed to be feeding our homeless friends down at the beach front. I really wasn’t feeling strong enough and wanted to stay in bed but then something happened. We found out that due to unforseen circumstances we were not going to be handing out food today.

The morning was canceled. You know some times these things happen and that’s OK. But it didn’t sit right with us to just leave them all down there waiting for us without an explanation. Communication with the homeless is hard as they do not have cell phones, so Mart and I decided to drive down to let everyone know what the situation was.

And man are we glad that we did!!!

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As we pulled into the parking lot we were met by well over 100 people, all lined up waiting for their packed lunch. My heart dropped knowing that we had nothing for them other than our apologies, which to he honest felt really empty.

Due to sickness I hadn’t seen our people for three weeks and I was greeted by so many hugs I lost count. My heart was instantly lifted, and then I had to address them all, tell them that we had nothing for them…. I felt sick. How do I tell these people that we have nothing, that the food that they had come for was not actually there? So I just bit the bullet and told them, and the response that I got was nothing short of God.

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One guy stepped forward, and for a second I thought that he was going to let me have it, but he looked me straight in the eye and said this… “Yes we are hungry, but we are not here for the food. We are all here because we know that you love us and you will pray for us.” And EVERYONE nodded and agreed with him!
Cue tears and sobbing from me!!!!

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Mart looked at me and chuckled. And we both knew that this was conformation for us.
You see this morning we were both battling questions. I was feeling physically ill and emotionally drained, and yet we knew what was required of us.

Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

In a nut shell He requires our obedience, even when we don’t feel like it. He requires us to love, even when they are being unlovable. He requires us to SHOW UP, even when that “showing up” requires us to humble ourselves and let people know that we have nothing humanly to offer. You see its not about the food, or the clothes or the toiletries, its ALL about showing up. Being there. Sticking it out. Even when life is hard, uncomfortable, challenging or down right impossible. He requires us to SHOW UP. Its ALL about HIM and His LOVE. All He requires of us is to show up and He will do the rest.

Ministry is hard work. And often we get caught up in how we are feeling, how we are doing, we forget that our calling isn’t about us. Its about Him, His Kingdom, and the people to whom we are called.

Today a hungry homeless man reminded me of that. And for that I am beyond thankful.

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If you would like to support our family as we care for the most vulnerable of Durban then please visit our PayPal account at downseyluff@aol.com or you can go to our Just Giving account at http://www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch

Thank you for your kind support and prayers. We love you all.

Mart, Vash, Joe Jesse and Hudson. xxx

 

it’s raining. 

Today we hit the waterfront just like we do every Wednesday, to feed our homeless friends. As all of our Durban friends know, this week has been wet! VERY VERY wet! We have been in desperate need of the rain for a long time and so we aren’t complaining about the down pour at all. I’m probably the only Brit who loves this weather 😂 

But today as we stood in the rain, soaked to the skin, feeding our friends, I realized how desperate they are. 

Living on the streets is hard, but when having to face these kinds of elements too its almost impossible for these people. 

Men, women and children came for food today, each of them dripping wet. Each of them having to try and make a plan for money today, for food, for shelter.

Our carguard friends discouraged because no one comes to the waterfront in this weather, so they will make no money today. No money to take back to feed their wives and children. They feel like failures because they are just trying to care for their families and they can’t even do that. God sees your hearts sweet men, you are not failures. 
Individuals walking up and down the waterfront, selling stickers, homemade bath salts, pens, asking people for help, their pleas falling on deaf ears.  Keep going Marie, Pedro, Crystal, keep your heads high, don’t take their ignorance personally. 
Street girls trying to survive the only way they know how. The only option they feel that they have. Our hearts break as their tiny, soaking wet bodies try to shiver away the cold. They put on a brave face as as client pulls up, terrified that this will be the one who ends her short life. 
As I looked down I see bare feet, wrinkledand white from the rain, blistered and sore from walking miles every day with no shoes. I see their broken Spar packets, filled with their worldly possessions. A couple of wet t-shirts and a sodden blanket. Where will they shelter tonight? Where will they be safe? Will they get any rest?  
 As I run myself a hot bath and get out my cosiest PJs, my mind drifts to my sweet friends and all I can do is pray. 

Can you help us to help them? Can you make a difference in just one persons life? The answer is a resounding “YES”!! 
We are in desperate need of…

Waterproof clothing,

Blankets,

Shoes for men and women, mainly sizes 7,8,9 for the men and 4,5 and 7 for the women. 

We need clothing and hats.

Bags for them to put their items in. 

Toiletries.

Towels. 

Pop up tents. 

If you can help please let us know.  

#whatsondurban #makedurbangreatagain #onefuturefoundation #wearedurban #bethechange