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