Friday, January 29, 2010
Counselling, encouraging, teaching, rebuking, training, organizing, planning et al.
Meeting all kinds of people on the streets- police, a bank robber, drug pushers, drug takers, Hotel staff, church pastors, non profit organizatrions, weeping parents, deserted boyfriends, pimps, et al.
2009 was a time of growth for me. When you reach out to those ho practice every and all kinds of sin, your knowledge of the word, and your level of wisdom in counseling are challenged to the fullest extent.
As a man in a ministry that ministers to women it was not easy. Of course there was temptation, but since my feet were firmly planted in the rock, Jesus Christ, temptation was resisted or ignored.
The ministry was set up.
The ministry began to produce fruit.
Pastors began to become familiar with the ministry.
Systems were set up to assist in Rehab- especially THE TREE TOOL which pinpoints the main area needing rehab- spirituality, morality, community or skills excellence.
Then there was the daily diary the girls have to do, based on THE TREE, that was the key to counselling.
I told Petra from the start that I felt I should be there only to set up the ministry with her and get it going. Once it was going, I would have to pray and see if the Lord wanted me to commit to the long term.
In John, Jesus sat down with a samaritan woman. This surprised the disciples since men did not fraternise with women in public, let alone a Samaristan woman!!!!!!!!!!!
I found the same reaction from some pastors who strongly objected to the presence of a single man in a house full of commercial sex workers undergoing rehab. I understood their worries, but in the setting up stage of the ministry, a man was key to the smooth flow of the ministry. Fixing things, driving, being a man in an inner city environment where mugging is a daily crime, being there at night witnessing to the girls on the street, etc etc.
But now the ministry is set up, running, recognised and is beginning to bear fruit, now is the time to depart and write books and study theology, my love. No man is indispensable, and I believe that two or three commited Christian girls will be able to more than fulfill the role I occupied.
Please pray for Petra as she runs the ministry with Margaret, rescued from the streets, and Martha, a Christian worker from Kenya who is there for just a few months.
Unfortunately this blog site WAS called 'House of Life Ministry', and has been changed from this to the parent ministry of Steve Blomefield, nation builders Trust.
Because Blogger has at its core the USERNAME, which is the personal email address of the owner of the blogsite, and his personal password, these cannot be changed. What can be changed is the name and website address of the blogsite. So I have changed the name of the site to 'steve and house of life ministry' and again to the parent ministry 'nationbuilderstrust'.
Kimo of Ywam, Durban is going to cooperate with Petra Luna, Director of House of Life. They are going to choose another blogsite name, probably the old one 'houseoflifeministry'.
Then those who wish to follow the postings of House of life will be able to follow them as before, at the old Blog address.
I see that the former 'friends of house of life' are still friends of nation builders trust. You should be able to remove yourself as friends of nation builders trust if you wish. However, you may wish to stay friends on this blogsite because I will be posting insights into difficult questions that christians ask.
Such as 'How can Jesus be the Son of God AND part of the oneness of the trinity'.
How come John the Baptist was the greatest prophet to that date, and why are beleivers from that time greater than John the baptist?
How come the prophets of the Old testament were able to accurately predict the end of the empires that surrounded them, but we pentecostals cannot predict the end of the empires of today?
What process did the Old testament prophets use to prepare their preaching?
Can Christians of today use the same methods of old testament prophets to arrive at SIMILAR accuracy concerning the civiliations of today?
Why does the writings of economists differ so much from the writings of the OT prophets. Rememeber that while economists have a hit rate [accuracy rate] of about 60%, the OT prophets had a hit rate of 100%. Has this specific, detailed accuracy ever been repeated recently by genuine beleivers who were not mediums or channelers? [YES!!!!]
Why is it that so many beleivers claim to be filled with the spirit but exhibit lives that are far from lives filled with the spirit?
Did the Pentecostals make a mistake when they said that the EVIDENCE of being filled with the Spirit is the speaking in tongues. If yes, what is the actual evidence that a christian is filled with the spirit [from scripture, not Pentecostal Tradition please]?
Friday, November 13, 2009
My life was on the upward. I was blossoming. I had passed my university entrance exams [called matriculation exams], and I was heading off to university. My heart was leaping inside me as I saw myself studying, passing my exams and getting my degree. Through the degree I would get a job that would break the mire of poverty my family was gripped by. There was a spring in my step and a smile on my face. My brain was overloaded with hope, vision and bright expectation.
How could I give up a life of hope, security and confidence in exchange for such a miserable life? It all started in November 2006 when I met a charming man. He acted as though he was overwhelmed by my beauty, shapely figure and innocent charm. He claimed he was totally in love with me. Our destinies had met and it was appointed for us to meet, love and live a life of intoxicating love until death seperated us after many many years of happiness. He showered me with gifts, with devoted love and attention for only me. I was his queen, his princess, the girl of his dreams he had prayed and waited for.
I believed him and gave myself to him body, spirit soul and life. I was madly in love. Nothing was as important as the love we had for each other. No sacrifice was too great. No pain of suffering would ever be able to rise so high as to put me off this man who filled me with utter completeness fulfillment and joy.
My love for him was tested when he sincerely explained to me that in order to for 'us' to survive, I had to start getting money through prostitution. In order to dull the shame and humiliation, he offered me crack cocaine. Crack cocaine is highly addictive. Once you have the first pipe, you just have to have it again and again. I believed him and sacrificed my body for him. I just had to have the crack, so he began selling it to me. Soon I went out on the streets to get money to take another hit of crack, but it was never enough. Each pipe promised the ultimate high, but always disappointed me, and demanded another try. Soon he asked me to steal in order to have cash.
He got money from my prostitution, from selling drugs to me and from the proceeds of my thieving from clients. He would always demand more and more money-shouting, cursing and condemning me. Somehow I felt that he was right. I was wrong. I was not doing enough for him. He was the benefactor even though my life was rapidly being destroyed and he was using the money I got for him to entertain and sleep with other girls.
I pliunged into depression. The love of my life was unsatisfied. The love of my life was unhappy with me. The love of my life needed more and more and more and I was failing and failing and failing. Nothing was good enough for him. He often looked at me with disgust and went to entertain and seduce other women. I became thin, did not wash, and was very frail. All hope was gone. Expectation was gone. Faith in my future was gone. The vision of feeding my family, of bringing respect to my father was completely erased. All was despair. What I craved was one word of encouragement or love, but it did not come. What i also craved was one more hit of crack that would lift me out of despair into hope and confidence, but instead the after-effects of crack gave me terrors and paranoias, unimaginably terrifying that would take ages to dissipate.
Then three angels came in the form of Petra Luna, Pastor Steve Blomefield and Pastor Christine van Straaten of Grace Family Church, Umhlanga. The night they rescued me I will never forget.
It was a dreadfully cold night on the 31st July, 2009, 3 years after my first encounter with drugs. I had been parading around the streets of the point, Durban, in a skimpy skirt, sleeveless top and artificial braids. I was suffering from the cold, biting wind, but the craving to please my master drove me on. I kept chasing one particular client around and around, trying to make him notice me above all the other girls on the pavement. I failed.
The time was 11 pm and I was close to calling it quits. As I crossed the street a woman [Petra] with a mantle approached me. 'Jesus loves you sister'. Those words aroused bitter anoyance in me. How could Jesus love me when I was stuck in this predicament? If that was the love of Jesus I would rather he keep it to himself. She handed me a tract and I took it, shoving it into my pocket. I had no intention of reading it, only getting rid of her. I continued trawling for clients.
Three blocks down the road, a blue car stops for me and inside is an older white man. I had hit the jackpot! My luck had come in. I jumped in only to be met by a sad compassionate eyes [Pastor Steve]and a warm hand from a woman in the back seat [Christine]. They were not clients but Christian workers. I was deeply angered and spoke derrogatory things in anger. I thought I would put them off, but they persevered. Finally I agreed to pray with them and I surrendered to Jesus Christ. I felt a calmness envelope me and I was free.
Nosipho went through the program and obtained a job. She started work as a secretary but after just one week went back to drugs and the man who inspired her to start using them. Please pray for her.
When I arrived in Durban I got a job and life was relatively easy. I was working and a boyfriend soon followed. I fell in love with him hook, line and sinker. He was my one true love and life seemed good.
Two months later I found out that he had a girlfriend/wife he was staying with. He had a child with this woman. I was merely an amusement-some plaything on the side. I was torn apart. How could a man I loved so deeply betray me so immensely? I fell into adeep depression and my life fell apart. I then lost my job. I now had no man and no job-and no money, no food and hunger in my belly. What now?
I met some girls in the Point, Durban who told me how to make money by selling my body. No qualifications needed. No tools to buy. No experience needed. Simply stand on the street corner and sell your body to interested clients!
They gave me hope. I only had to treat sex as though it was nothing, and get paid for it!
The life was disgusting and degrading, but I needed to eat. Also I had to send money to help my mother and my child survive at home. A little bit of meaninglessness, humiliating sex wouldn't hurt- right? WRONG!
Commercial sex work stripped me of my life and my soul, my dignity as a women, my pride as a young girl. My self esteem crashed. I felt as though I was worthless. .........But life was to soon change. ....................
I met House of life workers one lazy afternoon, standing with my friends in the sun in Fisher street, waiting for clients. I was approached and begged to go to a church meeting nearby to hear the Word of God. I hesitated, but since I was promised some free food and clothing at the end of the service, so I decided to go.
The church service was held in an unfinished, unpainted warehouse, but strangely, as I entered the church, I felt a warmth I had never felt before. It was as though someone had their hand on my shoulder. I felt a presence around me and felt compelled to give myself to Christ. I resisted for a while, but soon I submitted to the Holy Spirit and received jesus Christ into my heart. ..... and my salvation.
At the end of the service I asked to go to the HOUSE OF LIFE to be rehabilitated from the abuse I received, and the evils I was committing. I was interviewed and went to the HOUSE.
At the HOUSE OF LIFE I have first of all surrendered my life totally to Jesus. Then I received divine peace, understanding that all things work out for blessing in my life.
Part of the HOUSE OF LIFE program is training in skills, with excellence. I will soon be going to commercial college. At the end of this I will do an exam and receive a certificate. With this certificate I will get a job and start rebuildinging my financial and educational life. I will also be able to send clean money home to my mother and for my child. Halleluia! Thank you Jesus for you are so good to me.
Notando went to college, passed her certificate and returned home to where her parents and children are. It is beleived that she is working now, and providing for her children and bigger family.
Monday, November 9, 2009
The dangers include assassination by pimps angry that their girls have been removed from their influence; mugging as the streets are walked at 2 am in the morning, where drug users are desperate for cash for their next 'hit'; rape of the women who are witnessing the streets; violence against workers; hijacking of the car as it goes from one crime-ridden area to another [in Durban at night red lights are routinely crashed so that the car is not stationary and become vulnerable for hijacking].
But this is only the beginning of the dangers. The girls who come off the street are often infected by Tuberculosis; hepatitis B; HIV; often skin diseases, diarrhea; gonorrhea, and many other diseases that can be spread in a person to person contact in a house.
Some girls who come off the street have pent up anger and may become violent in the house. Twice there have been incidents of attempted violence- one with a knife and one with a pair of scissors.
The staff regularly pray for protection from disease and safety from sudden explosive anger by girls in the house.
The advantages? As serious as the dangers are, so also is the depth and breadth of reward in living in the HOUSE. To see women who are professional sex workers, some hijackers, fraudsters, liars, deceivers, thieves come to Jesus Christ and submit to his rule, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, then change comes and gracious Godly women emerge from the awfulness of sin. Then comes the voice of the Holy Spirit within. 'Well done you good, faithful servant'. After that there is a peace, a joy, a satisfaction, that comes to the worker. Our reward is not in money, property, cars, bank balances but our reward is stored in heaven where we will see girls who have been plunging towards an eternity in hell- come into eternity with Jesus.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
To all who knew her Karen was considered a vibrant , extroverted young girl who had everything to live for- that is before she met her boyfriend-turned-husband-turned pimp and on that fateful night turned to be her murderer. Soon after meeting her her asked her to be his girlfriend. Soon after that he sked her to marry him. She was a mixed race South African – a honey colored skin, a beautiful face and a superb figure. He was from Western Africa and needed to marry a South African to obtain permanent residence. His charm and abundant supply of cash caused her to agree.
But soon after marrying him she was told that their cash supply was low and that in order to eat, she had to start commercial sex work. At first it was difficult and humiliating, but she wanted to help the man she loved. She would do anything for him- in heaven or on earth ..... or even in hell. Eventually she was used to it. If she bought in a lot of cash she would be 'Number one' above the other sex workers who also worked for him. If she was lazy she would be badly beaten. Because of her honey colored skin and desirable figure she found it easy to be number one. For survival she learned to suffer degrading treatment and do degrading things for clients. She learned to steal credit cards for stupid, gullible men. She was even prepared to go to prison for her 'husband'. .... as long as she got that approval from her pimp.
But her life was short lived. Her husband became her murderer ...... but first the torture. She had to be made an example of. Sex workers in his control had to be terrified of disobeying him. They had to have a dread of him. They had to know that that to betray him or disappoint him was the shortest path to life termination. I say termination because sex workers are not human, they are tools to get money. They suffer humiliation, the pimp does not. They go to jail, the pimp does not. They carry the risks, the pimp does not. They suffer poverty, the pimp does not.
The evening she was battered to death started on its usual slow pace with all prostitutes falling over themselves to get clients just to please their pimps. There was no limits to the measures girls would turn to just to aqcuire cash. Unfortunately for them some measures have consequences, and in the case of Karen those consequences proved to fatal. She was so desperate for her husband/pimp's approval that she often ended up stealing, conning and defrauding her clients. That night she made the mistake of stealing from the wrong Nigerian. With no hesitation from her pimp arrangements were made to kidnap, rape and torture her as punishment.
She was summoned into Room 2, a room infamous for it's broken bones, fractured skulls and nearly always smears of blood. Any girl told to go to room 2 is immediately gripped with terror. Urine spontaneously flows down her legs, a bodily reaction to intense fear. An anticipation of blows with the fist, feet, broomsticks and clubs. She hopes to be slapped with all the force a man can muster, but this is rare. She prays to God to help her, but experience tells her that it is the devil in control here. She has lived for the devil and she will be punished with satannic merciless evil. The man will usually beat her, kick her, punch her until he has no strength and no anger left.
When he starts his attack on a defenceless weak girl, it will start with anger and desire for punishment. But as he continues her screams, the begging for mercy, the promises to conform to his will have the opposite effect. Instead of causing him pity, the blood flowing and her helplessness arouses a perverted sadism- a lust for pain experienced by others and caused by him. Also a sense of power. He feels godlike. Her life is in his hands, her health is in his hands, the wholness of her bones is in his hands. He does what he wants to and no one can contradict him. He can kill her and is often tempted to. With each blow to her cowering body his intoxication of power rises and rises and rises. He will stop when his strength fails.
Even if she dies he may not stop because the lust of violence and power does not stop at the point of death. Kicking a dead but warm body still arouses the same passions. He will never be caught because no one will even think of betraying him. While the court case is pending all witnesses will be dead and the case will fall to the ground.
Karens beating lasted 3 hours, which is a relatively short time in drug standards. A series of powerful punches that would not shame mike tyson would pulp her body, then came the questions, accusations, judgments. Then more blows with whatever instrument came to mind. Then more questions and accusations and conclusions. Always the helpless girl was wrong, and he the judge was right. Always he was the benefactor, she the selfish user. Always he was kind but she abused his kindness. He would claim softness and she abused his softness. He helped her but she did not help him.
But this time the punishment was cut short. The blows were too hard. Perhaps her slim neck broke. Perhaps the skull was crushed by the fury of his boots. Perhaps she began bleeding inside and when thwere was no more blood her life switched off. Perhaps she prayed for death and death came suddenly. These words were screamed by him so that all in the house could hear him- and what he predicted was soon fulfilled.
'YOU HAVE STOLEN FROM ME FOR THE LAST TIME YOU B****, TONIGHT YOU HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WITH GOD!'
I'll let you decide who took that young girls life, whose only crime in this world was that she fell inlove with the wrong guy, tried to please him with all she had within her and as gratitute for her efforts she died an excrutiatingly cruel death by the hands of her lover.... in room 2 of a certain house in a certain street in a certain suburb of Durban.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Fig. 1. The empty Lounge of HOUSE OF LIFE, May 2009, now full of furniture
The first encouragemnt to us was when Pastor Mark van Straaten and Dudley Thomson came and prayed for the house when it was newly rented and totally empty.
Very soon the house began to fill up with fridges, stove, curtains, crockery, utensils, blankets etc. Many of those donors were from Grace Family Church in Umhlanga, Durban. Nearly everything needed for daily use has been provided for. This has been imensely encouraging to us.
Fig. 2. The HOUSE OF LIFE girls about to be baptised at Grace Family Church. Finished with the old life, they are born again and have started to live a new life, a transformed one.
Fig. 3. One of the HOUSE OF LIFE girls about to do the plunge! She is being baptised by Pastor Mark Straaten of Grace Family Church and one of the assistant Pastors.
The CONTAINER MINISTRY, one of the ministries of Grace Family Church, began to play a large part in the supply of foodstuffs and practical equipment for the house.
Sometimes the flour supplied by Container ministry is used to make cookies, and aresold at churches and the money raised used to help pay bills. The skill of cooking is one of the skills taught in the excellence program so that girls can earn money from home business when they leave the center.
Fig. 5. Dried vegetable mix from the CONTAINER MINISTRY in the inner city feeding program. The dried vegetables are used to make vegetable soup and a vegetable stew. Because they are dry, they can be preserved for several days even though the benefactor has no fridge or deep freeze. His storage cupboard may be a rock by the sea or a bush on the beach.
Fig. 6. A cold Thursday on the beachfront, Destitutes sleep on the beach because they cannot afford the shelter fees of 3 USD. Then they come at 3 pm to hear the preaching of the Word of God by Pastor Steve Blomefield and are given food for the day. The food is prepared by HOUSE OF LIFE women. It often includes food donated by the CONTAINER MINISTRY.
Some of them impoversished by the economic climate, others are prostitutes impoverished by pimps and sickness such as HIV and tuberculosis. Others are hobo's impoverished by alcoholism. First the Word of God is preached. Then the people prayed for, then they are fed. Many go back to their parents and families and leave their destitute and criminal lifestyle. Some join a church rehab program or a city rehab program. Some go into the women's rehabilitation program at HOUSE OF LIFE.
Mostly we would like to thank our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for He is the one who is the compassionate one that fills people with love and compassion, who then act on behalf of Grace Family Church and the Container Ministry to give food, money and equipment to HOUSE OF LIFE, enabling us to feed the poor, clothe the poor, rehabilitate girls and teach them Christ.
Fig 1. Pastor Steve Blomefield teaching in the inner city
But our model at HOUSE OF LIFE makes it clear that they have to learn excellence in whatever work they do. They have to grow in knowledge of the work they do and they have to grow in talent in what they do. While they are in the first three months rehab phase they are given tasks to do- the same task for a week. During the week they are expected to grow in excellence. In order to make it clear if they are doing work with excellence, all work is marked and a percentage given daily. This imparts a sense of excellence in all their work.
However, it does not stop there. They are also sent for training at a commercial college. They do the course and they do a test, getting a certificate. With this certificate they are able to get a job. One girl is doing a till operators course and there is a job waiting for her when she has finished. Another girl is about to start work as a secretary. With money she earns, she will pay for more courses and gain more knowledge for her work. Courses such as typing skills, computer skills, letter and report writing skills.
The girls are consulted and they are channeled into work that they find challenging and stimulating. Some like gardening. Some like cooking. Some computers. Some secretarial.
It is wonderful to see the growth of the ministry. From evangelism to church planting. From Church planting to rehab. From rehab to work skills. From work skills to living productive lives in the city.
This means that the staff of HOUSE OF LIFE have to have a depth of spirituality, a deep knowledge of the Word; and wisdom, knowledge and understanding in knowing how to counsel, discipline and lead the people. Mistakes are inevitable on the road to experiential knowledge. Every time you realise that the wisdom you had was not the right kind, because you do not produce the fruit you expected in a girl, and that you need a richer, deeper wisdom, you are tempted to sorrow, inadequacy, even guilt. However our humanity, while real, cannot be allowed to overshadow a greater reality- the girls still need encouragement, guidance, counsel, discipline and instruction.
Many policies and practices are immediately seen to be the right wisdom. Those that are obviously wrong are discarded. The model of the tree has proven itself time and time again. As soon as we get to know a girls we can see if her main problem is spiritual, moral, community or excellence. Immediately we teach, counsel, preach, encourage, exhort and discipline so as to build these qualities, grow them, encourage them, strengthen them.
We are extending the model of the tree by journaling. Every weekday the girls are doing their journal. Every day they are given their journals, they write them, answering four questions.
1. Have I Loved Jesus today? [Worship, time in the Word, prayer etc]
2. Today have I done what is right? [Practiced the righteousness of Jesus; obeyed God]
3. Today have I lived in community in THE HOUSE. [Not jealousy, resentment, anger, etc] 4. Today have I been diligent and learned excellence
Each day the journals are collected. each day they are examined and it is readily seen where counselling and encouragement is needed. Obviously nearly every day the girls fall short of the standard of the Word of God ....... and also the counsellors! All have sinned, all deserve the wrath of God ..... but all may receive the mercy of the Lord. This teaches not only the holiness of the Lord, but also the Grace and mercy of the lord. Not only these but also a daily reminder that excellence must be developed daily. Without excellence no work done will succeed.
Then the journals are collected and kept in security.
This is teaching the girls to learn to walk in the light as the lord does. They have been used to a lifestyle of hiding sin, hiding pain, hiding fear, hiding loneliness and confusion. Now these need to be bought to the light, confessed, cleansed and healed.
It is helping those who teach to 'itch where it scratches', or to accurately teach where the need of teaching is.
It is helping the staff to really know the kind of life these girls have lived, and to observe the miracle of changed lives. It is critical to know what the girls have been through, the way they lived. They way they lied. The way they survived. The way they were manipulated into offering themselves to slavery by pimps. The way they deceived clients into allowing them to steal from the client. The style of the beatings they received. ...... so that ministry can be shaped so as to meet the real and actual need.
The tree model and journalling is producing revival. The house is becoming a community of believers. Those who are not strong and being counselled and exhorted by other girls, instead of being tempted and discouraged. For a long time we battled with girls who deliberately dominated other girls, divided the unity in the house, discouraged each other etc. But now there is a change with godliness ruling in the house and true spirituality in their hearts.
There were no chairs, couches, cutery crockery, pots and pans, stive fridge, deep freeze. ...... Yahweh Jireh- The LORD has provided.
The Lord gave Pastor Steve Blomefield a prophecy that He wished to provide high quaslity things fora people abused, rejected and ignored by mainstream Christianity. From being called whores, prositututes, immoral, adulterers, liars, deceivers, thieves, perverts and any sin you can name, they have been sought for by Jesus. He came to seek and save the lost. He has found them
They were a people rejected, but now they are a people beloved by the Lord. They were blind, but can now see. They were deaf to the Word, but now they love the Word. They were a people in bondage to sin, pimps and drugs, but now they are children in the freedom of the spirit, with righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit [Rom 14:17].
Now they are children of the King, their Father has provided them with a house to stay in, couches to sit in, tables to eat from and media equipment to learn from.
People are providing food, and people are drawing alongside to help create an organic vegetable garden. We have eaten onions, tomatoes, lettuce and spinnach from the garden, and more are bearing fruit.
The love of God, and the provision of God are not theory, they are there for the girls to see for themselves. They have seen it, touched it, held it and enjoyed it. God is gooooooood!
We are praying for donors who are willing to give regularly so we can plan a structured spending.
If you are willing, please phone us or email us. The information is in the heading.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
We always pray God's blessing on those who have given to the ministry in cash or kind. We pray for those in the USA and all over the world who keep in contact with us and encourage us. We pray for the leaders of the ministry. We pray for the local pastors. We pray for our national leaders. We pray for financial provision and for the provision of food. We pray for the girls who are out on the beachfront.
At 7 pm each person will read, meditate and pray over scripture. They will ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Word to them.
At 7.30 we will share what we have received. This causes us all to focus on the word and ask the Lord to teach us the Word so we all have something to share. Those who have nothing to share are often needing counseling.
Then comes the excellence program. This is a very important part of the rehabilitation program.
1. The girl will be given work to do. She will them assess how well she will do the work. She will give herself a mark as to what she believes she achieve.
2. After the work is done she will mark herself.
3. the supervisor will then mark the work. Encouragement will be given, or guidance as to more excellence.
as time goes on the girls will achieve higher and higher marks. This will give them a sense of self discipline, self achievement and higher morale and self esteem.
Breakfast follows at 9.30 then at 10 teaching is given, usually by the house manager, Patricia.
Lunch and then in the afternoon, skills program between 2-5.30 Local people will come and teach cooking, sewing, crochet, computer or basic work skills.
Supper and then teaching by Petra, myself or an African pastor, Pastor Julius.
In the mornings Pastor Steve will be writing, but in the afternoon there will be staff meetings, administrative work, meeting community pastors or counselling girls.
Finally half an hour of prayer and then bed at 10 pm.
They have now moved into the house and Petra is a mother to the girls, and Steve a father to the girls. There is a resident married couple. Patricia is the house manager, and Peter, her husband is a co-pastor of a church.
Some of the girls are orphans, and others come from homes where they suffered violence and rape. The vast majority of the girls involved in commercial sex work have suffered rape, often repeatedly, and this usually this was first experienced in the home. So home life was one of fear and abuse. Thus at the HOUSE OF LIFE we have to create a family atmosphere of love, acceptance, teaching, discipline, harmony and personal growth. We have to inspire the girls to have vision and to teach them how to grow so as to achieve that vision.
When the girls leave home they come to the city to find work. They often move into a shelter and pay 3 US Dollars per night. There may be 50 people in the shelter, both men and women in bunks in one warehouse style room. They quickly run out of cash and are encouraged by other commercial sex workers in the shelter to learn the trade. Out of desperation they agree. They then seek the protection of a pimp who manipulates them using tools of sex, pseudo love and drugs to enslave them into a new life where they serve him and work only for his prosperity.
At the shelter they have no discipline whatsoever. Because they work late at night they wake up late in the day. If they find food, they guzzzle it down on the spot. Food is obtained by Take-Away Restaurants. Rarely do they cook a meal with proper vegetables and rarely do they buy fruit.
They soon learn that life in the shelter is all about survival, and if this means deceiving, lying, arguing, fighting, dominating others, manipulating others and violence, then this is what they will do. It is all about survival. This lifestyle becomes a habit, a culture.
When they come to Jesus, they have to learn a whole new life. They learn love, forgiveness, kindness, honesty, discipline, order, walking in the light, excellence of work, and most importantly, the Word of God and who Jesus really is. They learn that while man is sinful, Jesus can give him His righteousness by faith.
This is why Petra and Steve have to be in the center. All day there is a continual stream of encouragement, counselling, discipline, teaching, prayer and preaching. By continually focusing the girls on Jesus as they Way, the Truth and the Life, they are continually changed into his likeness.
Now we live in the HOUSE OF LIFE, we can join the pastoral community here. Church women from the community here can teach the girls cooking, sewing, knitting, crochet work, gardening, and other home skills. Supermarkets can provide food. Pastors can come in and teach the girls.
We are beginning to meet local pastors, attend their churches and are inviting them to come and teach in the HOUSE.
I thank God for the way that the ministry is growing. From midnight outreaches to feeding programs and then finally to the establishment of the house, then us moving into the house and establishing links with the local Christian community, we are growing, growing, growing.
We cannot go into rehab work willy-nilly. There has to be a clearly defined approach to all we who minister, say and do. While our goal is to evangelize and disciple the commercial sex work community, we must have a strategy by which we achieve these goals. That strategy must be biblical, because the Word of God has a clear understanding of what drives women into prostitution, theft, addiction, conning and broken relationships. The Word of God not only can define the problems, but has simple but profound answers to these problems.
Every problem in the HOUSE OF LIFE family can be traced to SPIRITUAL PROBLEMS [not knowing, loving and obeying Jesus]; MORAL PROBLEMS [integrity, righteousness]; COMMUNITY PROBLEMS [being unable to get on with others, unforgiveness, pride, jealousy,anger etc] and EXCELENCE PROBLEMS [being unable to do work with excellence].
If you can imagine a tree which has three roots which are invisible to the secular world [but of course are visible to Jesus]- these are spirituality, morality, community harmony. If you pass someone on the street, you cannot see by mere looking if the person is moral, spiritual, and lives with others harmoniously. But the tree [branches and fruit] itself is visible. The visible tree is the product of work in the real world, and this work has to be done with wisdom, knowledge and excellence. Unbelievers can have wisdom, knowledge and excellence of work, which is why we will send girls to secular training programs, colleges and universities. But without the roots of spirituality, morality and community, they will be unable to build a proper career or business.
Of course Jesus himself is the whole tree, because he draws us to salvation, calls us to our calling, enables us to live in righteousness, gives us the model of the Godhead and the church as a community and gives us the example of himself as a model of excellence.- We live for the glory of God in all work we do here on earth.
Now that we [Petra and Steve] have moved into the house, we can observe all the people here. We can quickly identify which of the four areas a person is struggling in, and we can then provide biblical answers to sin in any of these areas. We have found that the Word of God truly identified the roots of the evils that drive people to addictions, commercial sex work, an inability to form friendships and live in community with others, as well as an inability to work properly.
By preaching, teaching, counselling, casual exhortation at tea and meals, and by training in skills, we are providing a proper foundation at HOUSE OF LIFE that will enable a girls who has gone through the rehab center to build a proper life for all her future. When she leaves the house of life, she also can identify to herself where she is failing or succeeding and can go to the Word of God and to Jesus and receive Christ's righteousness and grow into maturity.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
THE THREE GIRLS UPDATE
The girls who featured on our first Blog are as follows.
P. is at the House of LIFE rehab center. More about her further down. …. N. has been thoroughly saved, reconciled with her mother and has returned home to the Cape. She is living there and is attending church there. B. has returned home to the Gauteng area after having been saved. She is also back with her parents.
PHOTO: P in March
PHOTO: P in June
In mid June we accepted four girls to the House of LIFE Rehabilitation Center. J, P, M, and Pa. There are at least 20 girls who wish to come, but we made a decision to vet them first so as to start off well, and continue well. We also decided to not fill up the center before we had the entire bedding, lounge chairs, plates etc. Please see the Blog for the things still needed for the house.
- We have decided to preach the Word of God unadorned in all its power and simplicity. We have not bought in secular techniques, fads or fashionable philosophies. Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more [Rom 5:20].
Our method is by passionate and loving evangelism, and solid, pointed, no-holds-barred-biblical teaching. After all, Paul said that he preaches nothing other than Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Our aim is to look for Jesus Christ to be formed in the lives of the disciples.[gal 4:19]. Despite the fact that Paul was a formidable intellectual, he looked to the simplicity of Jesus Christ 2 Cor 11:3. That is our aim. We have found this to be astonishingly powerful.
P was photographed before. She is on the blog titled three women. Her face was puffy and swollen with drug addiction and a commercial sex lifestyle. After the previous report, she became very sick, nearly dying. One day she asked for a hug. I gave her one, but the smell of rotten flesh was overpowering. She lost huge amounts of weight in two or three weeks. She requested and received prayer and became healthy again.
Her face has been radically changed into a young woman of poise and beauty. She has an angelic voice qualified to glorify Jesus in Gospel songs. However, first she must get her foundations or roots right. These are spiritual roots, moral roots and community harmony roots. She has woken up to the fact that Jesus is here, he is alive, well and loves her.
She is also undergoing social transformation as she realises that she has been put in a family, the family of God. Previously she would be hostile and antisocial with people in the Durban shelter. They would shout at her and sometimes punch her and kick her till she became quiet. This has traumatised her, but she is rapidly healing as she realises that she should love her Jesus family and be loved by them. She now abounds with love and affection, and joyfully receives love from Christian women visitors.
She ran away from home. Her mother advertised on TV and the newspaper that if anyone knew where she was, they were to contact her. P phoned home from the rehab center and there was rejoicing that she had been found, was well and was being discipled in Jesus. She is very keen to learn the computer, and she has received a couple of small lessons on my own computer.
Pa is in her late 20’s. She was a commercial sex worker, standing on the streets. She was driven to this because she has two children who are not with her but are being looked after by their father. She was not being supported financially by the father of her children, so she was forced to seek money on the streets for rent and food. Sex work was so abusive that she began drinking heavily to dull the inner pain she was feeling. She responded to the preaching of the Word of God by Petra, and came to Christ. She also is responding to the teaching given by Pastor Steve Blomefield.
PHOTO: Pa .............
She was not addicted to rocks [crack cocaine] or other drugs.
She is a good cook and often cooks for the people in House of life. Her whole countenance has become radiant because of the inner spiritual change. She has rapidly grown in Jesus and her whole manner is changing as she becomes more and more like Jesus. She has realised that her previous lifestyle was sheer madness. It was not at all sensible.
J is an orphan. She fell in love with a fellow schoolboy, got pregnant and was thrown out of her family home. She moved to Durban and found a new boyfriend from Burundi. She believed strongly in the power of Sangoma’s [witchdoctors], and magic and muti [magic medicine].
Unfortunately J’s boyfriend was abusive and violent. He abused her by slapping, punching and kicking her often. Her response was to learn the same style of violence. Petra has encountered J fighting with claws bared and seeking eyes to puncture and make blind, and fists lashing out, uncaring of punches received. Several times Petra has had to pay for a shelter so that J could find temporary refuge and a place to stay.
She responded to Petra's preaching of scripture and her love. She has renounced this way of life of violence, magic and muti. She has fallen in love with Jesus. She formerly was an orphan, but now she has a spiritual mother [Petra], a spiritual father [Steve] and a family – Christians.
She says that Jesus has changed her life from the former life to a new life. Jesus has a plan for her life. he has helped her resist temptation of the devil and she has no desire to return to her former way of life. She is filled with joy, and fun, and bubbly happiness now that she knows Jesus loves her, forgives her and has placed her in a loving family.
Margaret, formerly the Queen of Durban, [see the Blog on the Queen of Durban] has also come to the center. Petra met Margaret many years ago. Petra met up with her on her return to South Africa from the USA. Margaret was so happy and desired to hear her at the Tuesday and Thursday meetings when Jesus was preached. The more meetings she attended, the more she lost the desire to do practice prostitution.
PHOTO: Margaret reading the Word of God
She came to House of LIFE in mid June. She has been completely delivered from the desire to drink, to smoke cigarettes and to engage in prostitution. She has well and truly given her life to Jesus, seeing his love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. She reads scripture most of the day and gets revelation from the Word of God. Instead of turmoil and stress, peace and quiet joy have taken over.
Margaret can also crochet and is making a blanket for someone.
HOUSE OF LIFE
I am Steve Blomefield. I am part of House of LIFE ministry team, headed by Petra Mercedes Luna. I am a Pastor to commercial sex workers. Drug addicts, alcoholics and the abused of Durban inner city and red light districts. Petra does the evangelism and the deeply personal counselling and I do the most of the teaching. Rachel Thomson teaches the girls about life skills and some vocational skills. Christian women teach life skills and pastors come in and teach the topics they love.
Photo: Steve Blomefield Pastor to Durban inner city
Normally I am the driver. I am not an evangelist so I do not work outside my ministry area. Usually I wait in the hotel for the evangelistic team, led by Petra. Then I drive them home. But tonight it was going to be different. I was going to cruise with them in a combination of red light districts in Durban. We would spot a girl standing on a corner, Petra would get out and I would wait in the car. When she got back in the car, I would cruise to the next girl, or group of girls.
The first area we focussed on was the Point Road area. Suddenly Petra saw a male homosexual prostitute, T. He called himself a woman and spoke and acted like a woman. While having a gay manner, and clutching a fistful of money, T was clearly broken and distressed.
Photo: Petra Luna and T
T said ‘I don’t want to talk to you Petra, I want to speak to this one [me]!” I said to him “ T., out there no one wants to talk to you. No one is interested in you. They only speak to you to abuse your body. They pay. They go. No one cares for you, but I am different. I want to listen to you. I want to hear your heart…..” T. immediately broke down in tears and jumped out the car, running along the sidewalk. We followed him. Finally we stopped the car and Petra jumped out and hugged him, saying “Jesus loves you and so do we.”
T started crying again, and then sat on the sidewalk. After some time he got into the car. “I earn a lot of cash and then I spend it on rocks” [crack cocaine].” That is normal. Commercial sex work is abusive, whether it is consensual or not, paid or not.
God’s plan is for sex to be between two people who have a lifelong covenant of love and special loyalty to eat other; between two people, who support one another, build one another and who laugh, cry and struggle together. It is built on deep intimacy and companionship.
Commercial sex is soul destroying. The one who pays [the client] is driven by jungle instincts, satanic lust and often utter cruelty. The sex worker is not a warm, loving human being. They are seen as people who are so vulnerable that the payment of money will entitle the paymaster to do or be whatever he desires. If any sex worker will not submit to his demands, there are plenty of other sex workers who will, because of poverty.
The sex worker also does not see the client as one made in the image of Jesus, often lonely, but instead as one in bondage to lust, therefore can be manipulated, drugged and plundered from. Many times the sex worker has been abused at home, so stealing from the client is payback. The client is a piggy bank, a stupid victim. ……. Which is why so many sex workers just disappear never to be seen again. Revenge is sweet to a client who has lost his credit cards, money, cell phone, and dignity.
For these reasons- the abuse suffered by sex workers, the fear of revenge, fear of pimps, fear of police, the memory of soulless, mindless, loveless repeated, weird sex; the memory of slaps, punches and kicks suffered. The memory of people shouting abuse, cursing them. The memory of unfulfilled love and the many rejections, nearly all sex workers become obsessed by alcohol or drugs or both. The inner pain and torment is far too great, chemical friends have to be invited in to help the searing inner agony.
We dropped off T at his flat. Other residents looked at him. Their stares spoke volumes. He was not gay, he was pathetic. He was not gay but tormented. He was not gay but a victim. Despised. Yet Jesus sees him with such enormous love that if T was the only sinner in the world, Jesus would have died for him. Jesus sees him as made in his image, then marred through sin. Jesus sees him as a person broken but the potential of total healing….. For eternity.
Durban Inner city pastor
HOUSE OF LIFE
Friday, June 5, 2009
People have started to give things to the rehab center and so in order that donations are not duplicated, we are posting a needs list on the blog site.
As the soon as the needs are filled, we will delete them from the blog so we don't get two of the same thing. If we were disorganized and allowed two or three of the same thing to be given to us, it would not be good stewardship on our behalf, and would be a disappointment to our donors.
4 PLATE STOVE WITH OVEN ........................... PROVIDED
DEEPFREEZE ........................................................ PROVIDED
MICROWAVE ........................................................ PROVIDED
FRYING PAN ...................................................... 1 PROVIDED
SET OF COOKING POTS ................................. 2 PROVIDED
SERVING DISHES ......................................SOME PROVIDED
COOKIE BAKING TRAYS
BREAD BAKING TRAY
CAN OPENER ......................... PROVIDED
POTATO PEELER .................. PROVIDED
OVEN GLOVES ..................... PROVIDED
APRONS .................................. PROVIDED
DISH CLOTHS ........................PROVIDED
OTHER COOKING EQUIPMENT ..PROVIDED
1 DINING TABLE .................................. PROVIDED
10 CHAIRS ............................................. PROVIDED
15 KNIVES .............................................. 6 PROVIDED
15 FORKS ................................................ 6 PROVIDED
15 TEASPOONS ............................................. PROVIDED
15 PUDDING SPOONS ....................................... 6 PROVIDED
15 PLATES ................................................ PROVIDED
20 COFFEE MUGS ......................................... 10 PROVIDED
20 COOL DRINK GLASSES ................................. 10 PROVIDED
8 PLACE MATS
2 TABLE CLOTHS ............................................ PROVIDED
1 DINING SIDEBOARD
TRAINING AND TEACHING
DVD PLAYER ............................................. PROVIDED
TELEVISION ............................................... PROVIDED
VCR PLAYER .............................................. PROVIDED
DVD TEACHING BY SOLID BIBLE TEACHERS
VIDEO TEACHING BY SOLID BIBLE TEACHERS
STUDY AND WORKING TABLE ........ PROVIDED
2 WASHING UP SPONGES ................. PROVIDED
2 WIRE WASHING SPONGES .............................. PROVIDED
1 DRAINING RACK ...................................... PROVIDED
2 SEATER COUCH ................................ PROVIDED
4 SEATER COUCH .............................................. PROVIDED
5 OR 6 SEATER COUCH ......................................... PROVIDED
10 LOUNGE CHAIRS ............................................ PROVIDED
7 BAR STOOLS ................................................ PROVIDED
1 COFFEE TABLE .............................................. PROVIDED
5 STEEL BUNK BEDS [SINGLE WIDTH] ............................ 3 DOUBLE BUNKS
10 COILED SPRING MATTRESSES TO FIT ........................... 6 PROVIDED
3 DOUBLE BED 70MM MATTRESSES ................................. PROVIDED
5 70 MM BY THICK, SINGLE FOAM MATTRES........................ 1 PROVIDED
5 BY 70 MM CM THICK SINGLE FOAM MATTRESSES............2 PROVIDED
2 DOUBLE BEDS WITH BASES
15 BED COVERS [SINGLE] ........................................ 5 PROVIDED
3 BED COVERS [DOUBLE] ....................................... 2 PROVIDED
15 DUVET SINGLE ................................................. 3 PROVIDED
15 BLANKETS [SINGLE] ...................................... 5 PROVIDED
2 DUVET [DOUBLE] ................................................. 2 PROVIDED
3 BLANKETS [DOUBLE] ............................................ 3 PROVIDED
30 SHEETS [SINGLE] .................................................. 10 PROVIDED
6 SHEETS [DOUBLE] ................................................... 4 PROVIDED
30 PILLOWS ............................................................... 4 PROVIDED
30 PILLOW SLIPS ...................................................... 4 PROVIDED
8 BED SIDE TABLES
8 SIDE LAMPS
3 COMPUTERS [to teach computers]
COMPUTER DESKS 3 .......... PROVIDED
1 WASHING MACHINE .............................. PROVIDED
2 BROOMS ...................................... 1 PROVIDED
2 IRONING BOARDS .............................. 1 PROVIDED
15 TOWELS .................................. 6 PROVIDED
2 BATH MATS .............................. 1 PROVIDED
2 TOILET BRUSH ...................... 1 PROVIDED
NEW TOOTHBRUSHES ...................... MANY PROVIDED
TOOTHPASTE ............................. MANY PROVIDED
1 EXCERCISE BIKE
To all thosewho intend to bless this ministry with material donations, may the Lord Bless you abundantly. Those who give to the poor lend to the Lord.
Love in Jesus
Petra Mercedes Luna
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
As usual I was in a nightclub, but there was only a little business. I had had a few drinks and my normal clients were not there to give the cash I was looking for. I had rent to pay, food for my child to buy, pay for the child minder. It was in the early hours of the morning when there are very few people around, and the darkness seems especially dark and the night felt especially lonely. There were a few moth-eaten, dirty rats scurrying around snatching the remnants of hamburgers, and the odd piece of fish or a lonely chip or two. These were thrown away by half drunk, half full, half empty night club revellers. Some, like me, were disappointed that their hopes and lusts were unsatisfied, so the exodus home had begun. The first few were getting into their cars and fading into the blackness of the night.
Fig. 1. Margaret, the Ex 'Queen of Durban'
I decided to get a lift home while I could. Sometimes a lift turned into good business. Talk might arouse desire and the man might pay for services rendered, or at least money for a midnight takeaway or a morning breakfast. A car stopped for me. It was a man who was alone. Things were hopeful. He offered to take me all the way home- it looked like business was going to come my way after all. I agreed and got into the car and soon we were chatting away. But then suddenly he drove past the turning. I asked him to drop me right there, but he only accelerated. He drove past Kloof, then Pinetown. I began to fear. My heart began to pound. My mouth became dry. My knees stared to shake. About 40 km from the club in a rural area he turned into an isolated property. Visions of kidnapping, violent rape and murder filled my imagination. I had heard of girls just disappearing, never to be heard of again. Now I was really frightened. No one knew where I was. If I disappeared, no one would know that I had been to this club, so no one would be able to find me. Only the child minder and my son would be waiting in vain. He drove between waterfalls towards the gate of the house. No one would hear my screams. No one would come to my rescue.
I had to do something, and quickly. I started begging for my life. I begged and begged and begged. And he relented. This time he drove me to another house. But this house was as frightening as the last one. On the garage there were weird paintings in red paint of human heads and human bodies. The heads were apart from the bodies, and the legs were apart from the bodies also. The house was dimly lit. I was once again scared for my life. I got out of the car and ran for my life, but the house I ran to was empty. The man followed me in his car, calling out for me to get into the car, but I was terrified. Finally he asked me if I had whiskey in my flat. I lied and told him I had all kinds of drinks. He then agreed to take me home. This time he did take me home, but as soon as he stopped the car I ran out of the car and into my flat and locked the door behind me. I was shivering with fear and it was not until near dawn that I finally managed to get to sleep.This was a risk I ran on any night of the week in this business.
Fig. 2. Margaret, beginning to attend House of LIFE services
I was 15 when I started to doing CSW [Commercial sex work] in Cape Town. A friend who was already engaged in CSW told me that I could make a lot of money for very little work. I was strongly tempted because I came from a very poor background. To me easy money looked better than the struggle of poverty. I found that my beauty and my charisma drew in the clients and I was quickly earning money I only dreamed of, money that only those with high educational qualifications could bring in. I told my mother that I was staying with friends, but in reality I was staying in the houses and hotel rooms of strangers.
Another friend invited me to come to Durban with her, and I agreed. Her child became sick so she returned to Cape Town, but I stayed on in Durban because the money was plentiful. It was not long before I became pregnant by a white man who worked for Mondi Paper Mills. But he abandoned me and the baby when he went back overseas. This forced me to work even harder to pay for baby care and all the things my baby needed.
Fig. 3 Margaret in worship at House of LIFE
I would go to clubs and meet sailors, then they would smuggle me on the ships and I would do whatever they wanted. In the morning they would give me 100 US dollars. One night’s work would pay for two weeks accommodation. Any extra cash would go for food and buying high class clothes and the kind of hairdo’s that the rich pay for. This would bring in more money.
They called me the Queen of Durban and my fame grew and grew. Often I would be paid for getting new girls for my old clients. They would then also pay the girl for their services.
But eventually I tired of it. My life was empty. My son would know I was a CSW and he would despise me. At times I would have to be treated for diseases. At times I would be cursed for giving men the diseases other men gave me.
In 2007 I started to go a church called 'The Well,’ in Winder Street, in the Point area of Durban. It was at that time I met a woman called Petra Mercedes Luna on the beachfront. She preached Jesus to me and I began to be interested in the gospel. I followed her to Doctors for Life in Pickering Street, a ministry she started. I would go there daily to hear the gospel, but there was no rehabilitation centre so I was forced to continue doing the CSW work I began to hate. When Petra returned to the USA I went to Cape Town and worked in a Bed and breakfast there. At last I was able to stop CSW. But that job came to an end and I was back into poverty. I had to return to my old ways.
Fig.4. Listening to a sermon at House of LIFE
I returned to Durban in 2008, and it was there that I saw Petra Mercedes Luna once again, on the beachfront. She invited me to meetings in Fisher Street. These meetings are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sometimes Petra preaches, sometimes Pastor Steve Blomefield preaches and often other pastors preach. They then feed us. This food is really needed because many of us have just no money. Through their teaching I am learning about Jesus. But because we have no way of earning money, we are sometimes forced to go back to the streets to pay for our accommodation which costs USD 5.00 a day.
I am helping House of LIFE staff feed the people at the end of each service. The food is donated by supermarkets, people in Phoenix [Durban], Grace Cafe and the Container Ministry of Grace community church, Durban.
Fig. 5. Margaret and Petra with Container Ministry food
Very soon I will undergo rehabilitation at the House of LIFE rehab centre in the Bluff, Durban. I just want to learn more about Jesus. I want to forsake my old ways. I want to ask Jesus to come into my life and change me from the inside out. I want to learn about a job so that I can go out and work and earn money to feed my son and pay for his schooling, and live in my own apartment and pay my taxes and help other girls come off drugs and CSW.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
The right side of the house, showing the kitchen, and two bedrooms
This is the tiles lounge. It is very spacious and very cool. It can hold about 40 people seated in chairs, ideal for morning discussions, lectures and public meetings.
The house is bare of furniture. The kitchen is bare of cooking and kitchen equipment. The laundry is bare and so are the bedrooms.
HOUSE OF LIFE MINISTRY
Bronx, NY 10475
ACC name: HOUSE OF LIFE MINISTRIES
Bank: Amalgamated bank of New York,
1067, bartow Ave,
Bronx, NY 10475
Phone Petra Mercedes Luna
cell: +27 74 666 8304
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Finally after much searching by Steve Blomefield and myself, and prayer, we have a wondeful building for the rehab center. We have been going to house after house. Some were overpriced. Some had rooms too small. Some had too few rooms. Some had inadequate security. Some were in dangerous neighbourhoods. Some had tennants in who refused to leave, though they had not paid the rent.
There are four large bedrooms; a small bedroom; a huge lounge suitable for public meetings; a large kitchen and a large bathroom and laundry.
It was decided by the team to not pay more than 7000 rand per month [USD650], but this was a big house [2000 square feet or 220 square meters]. In addition there was a small cottage with a bedroom and lounge. The landlord was planning to rent that seperately. So we suggested that we pay the R7000 for both. We waited for two weeks and the state agent phoned us to say that we had the house.
We have signed the lease and move in on May 1st.
I will add photos within the next few days.
Meanwhile, for you who are in South Africa, if you have any bunks or beds; Blankets, curtains, furniture, stove, fridge, deep freeze etc that is lying idle at home, and you would like to sow these into the kingdom of God, please phone us at the numbers in the title page.
Petra Mercedes Luna
HOUSE OF LIFE MINISTRY
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Pastor Julius, from Nigeria has been with me a long time. When I returned to South Africa last December, he immediately joined with me and has been a treasure to the ministry. He comes out with me, Peter and Patricia[Peter's wife] until all hours of the night. He also is very helpful in giving me understanding about African culture and African thinking.
Steve Blomefield, who has had a lot of experience in Drug Rehabilitation in Zimbabwe. He was on the staff of 'Bread of Life', a rehab Center for men in Zimbabwe for three years. He has a prophetic teaching ministry, using the principles of the Word of God to know where nations/churches/economies are going, just as the Old Testament prophets did. He has a very strong teaching ministry. He has done some teaching to us co-workers, some disciples and to a Phoenix [Durban] Churches. He knows how to use computers and he helped set up this blog site. He contributes wisdom to the daily running of the House of LIFE ministry.
Rannimah from Phoenix. She is a helper, an intercessor, a cook, and an encourager
Silvia Moodley from Phoenix. She is an intercessor. She is an exhorter and has a ministry of helps. She helps call people from off the street and into the church. She also is a mature woman of wisdom, often giving very helpful advice at the right time.
Sally from Phoenix. She is a good cook, an organizer and a helper. She has loads of potential to help organization in the ministry.
Sheelan from Phoenix, Durban. He is a very active helper. He is also a very good cook. He has a lot of potential for the ministry.
Rannimah, Silvia, Sally, Sheelan, the Phoenix team.
Keiko Kawasaki, from Japan. Keiko is an excellent violin player and her music sometimes brings tears to the eyes of the commercial sex workers. Once she played at midnight and the African sex workers began gathering into a crowd, singing and dancing worship to Jesus. She has heart of love and compassion for the girls.
Thank you Jesus
Petra Mercedes Luna
One would think that with the high incomes that commercial sex workers, thieves and drug dealers get there would be plenty of money to go around. But it does not work out that way. What you sow you reap. ..... Give money to the poor and you lend to God- who pays with interest. Steal, make money from sin and the craving for the high, and Satan makes sure that those made in the image of God end up in the gutter.
Making an alliance with the devil may turn to your favour in the short term, but in the end satan is a destroyer, a thief, a liar. Those who serve him end up in need, in hunger, and live day to day in desperation.
A child cuddles sacks of maize meal - in eager anticipation- that comes from the USA via the container ministry of Grace Community Church, Durban.
Needy women and children fill small shopping bags with maize meal- enough for 3 to 4 days of meals.
We took her back to Durban and put her up in a shelter. At the shelter there are about 100 men and women staying in double bunks all together, including women with babies and whole families. There is no privacy.
Last week when we visited her in the shelter she was dying- but not from HIV but from thirst. With 100 people around her, no one cared enough to get her water from the tap. She was almost unconscious but when she saw Steve [Blomefield], and he held her hand, she started to cry. In the midst of a crowd of people she was utterly alone and in deep despair. Then I came to her and she began to tell me her story, I burst into tears. Steve and I rushed her to hospital [ambulances take 5 hours to come]. In hospital she was put on a drip as she was highly dehydrated. In spite of being in the terminal stages of AIDS, she was 'discharged' the next morning by the hospital. She had no strength to walk home.
She is too weak to line up to get her medicine. She simply cannot stand up long enough, waiting for the queue at the hospital to finish, so she gives up and goes home. Neither are we allowed to take her medicine for her.
Fig. 2 Queen When stronger
Right now she is dying of hunger as she has no appetite. Her arms are being shaped, not by flesh but by the bones of her arms. She is weak but she is able to eat the Chinese noodles we buy her that are cooked by adding boiling water. She lies in bed at the shelter, paid for by House of Life Ministries each day. At some point the desire to die will be greater than the desire to live, and from that point the end will come quickly.
However she has hope, because she has surrendered her life to the Lord, and is a born again Christian. When her suffering ends, her life in glory will begin.
Fig. 3 Queen in the last stages
In South africa, 25% of adults are HIV positive, and nearly 100% of commercial sex workers are. They also have sexually transmitted diseases of various kinds. Most commercial sex workers have been raped by close relatives or family friends. Then they go and work as commercial sex workers in order to live.
House of Life Ministries