“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” –John 8:11
After making 50 sandwiches and cooling water bottles we headed out to the slums of downtown Phoenix. Our Plan: To minister to prostitutes, bless the homeless with food and where ever else the unpredictable city might lead us to.
We arrived at our destination and attempted to make a quick stop at a gas station. As we pulled up, a local noticed us, decided we “looked nice,”and struck up conversation with us. He immediately began showing us his gun wounds, stab marks, etc., as he described how tough he was. As we began discussing the gospel with the man who called himself , Uncle Dwain, his “tough guy guard,” quickly broke. He shared his need for God, and even began tearing up as he described losses in his life, due to his poor choices. We were able to give him a water bottle and some food for the night; until he was able to go back to his own house.
As we spoke with Uncle Dwain some of the other women with out group spoke to a soft spoken young lady, outside of the car. It was never completely clear but odds are she took part in some level of prostitution, based on their conversation. The women were able to bless her with food and water as well as encourage and gently convict the woman spiritually. Mia and Esther hugged her tightly as two cops pulled up. Uh, oh…. we found out there was a warrant out on the woman we had been speaking with. She still had to appear for a court date, and the police had been looking for her, for the past few days. Tears rolled down the woman’s face, not for her own pity but because of her cats who would be left in her house alone, with no food. We agreed to follow the police to her home to check on her cats, she loved so dearly. As we approached the house(see first image on top of page), the police officers warned not to enter the household; as he wanted to first search it. Several drug needles laid over a dirt area in the yard along side, 2 foot tall grass. The entire house and fence area was tagged with graffiti. Her windows were broken and door left wide open. The woman was taken to jail for a few nights, however, Esther promised the woman, she would go back to the house to check on the cats. We were able to pray for the young woman before she was taken away.
After that we headed down to “The Zone.” The Zone is one of the most heavily populated areas of homeless, in all of Arizona. There is actually a free facility for homeless in this area. The Facility provides homeless of all ages with shelter, food, health clinics, etc., During the day hundreds of homeless people sit out on near by streets. We were able to speak with two different couples for several hours. We distributed, food, water and bibles to our new friends. After doing so we sat, ministered to the individuals and prayed with them. It humbled me to hear the request of one man when we asked him for a prayer request. “I think we take a lot for granted. I am so thankful for my arms, legs and senses. I want to pray for people on the streets that have disabilities,” He said, as he teared us. The man certainly had a call on his life. He and his friend Barbara (who was blind due to a fatal infection), possessed such a quiet, yet strong and compassionate character. They thanked us for the encouragement and wisdom, and said they would keep us in their prayers, as well.
We had a wonderful time, and we feel fortunate to have met the people we did. Though we went there to minister and encourage them; they occurrences of the day and the people we met ended up ministering to us as well. Please keep our homeless friends and wishfully our “former,” prostitute friends, in your prayers.