I had decided not to go to Freedom Street last night because this week is full of activity, I had gone to Metro on Sunday, and because of how difficult it was for me last week. Not difficult in the sense that it was hard work- but it is hard for my heart to hear stories like Honey's, and I end up carrying a weight that I know is not mine to carry. I know that going to the streets and hanging out with the prostitutes and transvestites to share the love of God with them is God's heart and an important ministry- but I believe it's not what I've been called to do long term.
Paola, one of the base staff, came into the common area and said that a lady needed some food taken to her, but she didn't want to go alone. She asked a friend to go with her, but she didn't want to go. "Will anyone go with me?" Paola asked, "I just don't want to go alone!" I grabbed my jacket and told her I would go wither her, just thinking we would go buy food and take it back to a lady at the base.
I got into the car and Paola explained more of where we were going. "You see," she told me, "there is this prostitute who has become my friend and she got kicked out of her house. She has no where to live, so she has been living on the streets since Friday. She has a 6 year old son, and she just called me to tell me that she was hungry because she hadn't eaten. And she's my friend! I can't tell her that I can't help her when I sleep in my bed and I ate 3 meals today. So I'm going downtown to find her and to give her food."
As I found out where I was going and what we were going to do, I prayed that God would prepare my heart to hear her story. We picked her up in downtown San Jose and went just around the block to a Chinese place. She ordered her food, and then poured out her heart. I knew my role was just to accompany Paola, so I just listened as Silvia and Paola talked.
Silvia, who is around 40 years old, was evicted from her house last week for owing too many month's rent. It was a scene as they kicked her out. The landlord called the police, and it became a total show as they literally threw her stuff into the middle of the road in the pouring rain. "It was the most shameful thing that has ever happened to me," she told. "All of the people came out from their jobs and just stared as all my stuff was thrown outside. The landlord's wife accused me of having paid my rent with sex, but it's not true. I have never done that. All of my stuff is ruined. I spent all of my money on plastic bags; I didn't even have enough money to get boxes. My bed, my furniture, my clothes...they are all ruined. I have nothing."
What she said next is what really broke my heart. "My son's birthday is on Monday, and all I want is to be able to give him 1 present in my house. Thats what I'm asking God- just let me be in a house, even though it will not having anything in it but empty rooms, so that I can be at a home to give my son a present." Her son will be 6 and since the eviction, is living with his father who is Silvia's client.
In the book of Isaiah, it says that, "if you spend yourself on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." I'm not sure what the second part of that verse looks like for us and for Silvia- for the light to rise in the darkness. But my prayer is that as we went and loved Silvia last night, that God's light would rise up in her both her her spiritual and physical life.