As we prepared to go into the streets 3 deep with 4 different teams, I thought I was ready to accomplish this mission. After all there was a period of my life where I could relate to being on the streets and wondering where I would stay and how I would get food in my stomach. As I got out of the car with Beza and Mesfin we locked our arms with one another and off we went. The first girl we saw was sitting down with her knees pulled in tightly to her chest with a long skirt covering them. Her name was Salam. We asked her what she was doing there and she replied she was waiting for someone. In reality this probably was her home for the night. It was safer than other places because it was well lit. We asked her if she had ever heard about Jesus she said no who this is. Beza and Mesfin began sharing the good news.
The next girl we came to was a prostitute by the name of Zoeto. She was probably in her mid 20’s. You could tell that she was not new to this. She was definitely high because she was extremely nervous and kept dropping things out of her purse. It seemed as if she had maybe just gotten dropped off from turning a trick because she was putting lotion on her arms and trying to freshen up. She kept looking behind us making sure that there wasn’t any money she was losing because of us distracting her. We spoke with her about Jesus but you could tell all she wanted was to work in desperation for survival.
We continued walking past a bar that had around 5 girls that were wearing short skirts, high heels, red lipstick and smoking cigarettes. I would guess that their pimp was nearby and required them all to stand together. After passing them we looked and there was a street person covered from head to toe in the corner. Our spirits were drawn to this person. Beza tapped on him and he began to stir. It was an older man probably about 50-60 years old. Wenmagn greeted us with a smile. He gently pulled down the bag he was covering with and sat up. We asked if he had heard of Jesus. He guaranteed us that he had heard of him and used to know him. When he did know HIM he was happy but things changed for him a long time ago. He used to be a soldier and had done many bad things that had separated him from this Jesus he once knew. Tears were streaming down his face. You could literally feel his love for this Jesus he once knew.
We were right in the middle of this emotional moment when from behind us we here this loud stomping. I jumped so high out of fear as if I were a frog leaping from one lily pad to another. In was in sync for the 3 of us. We had been caught off guard. We all 3 rose to our feet to a 30 something year old man yelling at us. Beza calmly is talking to this guy to then begin to tell him about Jesus and why we are here on the streets. He wanted nothing to do with the word of God. The guy who seemed like the pimp to the 5 girls that were standing beside us came over and began to talk to this guy; obviously putting him in his place and taking up for us. Next thing you know the older man that we had just shared the most intimate moment with talks with this guy who doesn’t look Ethiopian and tells him that he is grateful that we are talking to him and shares about Jesus.
The guy who is from Somalia continues to be bothered by us so we begin to walk. Wenmagn walks with us. With him we continue to speak Gods truth to him letting him know that God has never forgotten about him and loves him very much and that HE awaits for HIS return with open hands. We stopped at another street man that was chewing on chat; a local plant here that many use as a stimulant to keep them from getting hungry. If they chew enough they begin to hallucinate and it gives them energy. We spoke truth to him but you could tell even though his body was physically there his mind was absent. The Somalian man came creeping back up and was yelling at us again. Filled with fear I began to just pray. I held God accountable to what I knew HIS word said; That the enemy cannot touch us because we are covered in the blood of JESUS. I learned quickly to not make eye contact with this man because every time I did he would get closer to me. So I stood my ground as a prayer warrior.
We walked next across the street to a younger street man maybe in his 20’s. His name was Mahammad. He was easy to speak with and was accepting to the news of Jesus. He was very curious and asked many questions. We showed him a church that was in the area that he could go to get the love and support he needed. We drew a crowd with this one. Many of the country boys with their blankets came and sat and listened as the news of Jesus Christ was being shared.
Hannah sat quietly with her 3 month old baby that was sleeping. She just sits awaiting someone to just drop a coin for her and the baby. We sat down and talked with her for a while. She had come to Addis from the country side about 6 years ago and was good until she got pregnant by her boyfriend. He left her all by herself and now she was on the streets by herself with a 3 month old baby.
As we walked up the hill talking about all we had encountered I saw something so disturbing. It was a white skinned person like me talking to one of the bar girls as they call them here (prostitute). He was obviously trying to pick one up. I stopped dead in my tracks and hurt badly for these girls. Up until this point I had not seen anyone trying to pick up the girls just them standing there. He obviously didn’t like what she had to say so he moved on down to the next one. Everything inside of me wanted to run across that street and tell him to leave her alone and to get away you gross bastard.
Now my eyes were being exposed to things that reminded me of things I had encountered as a young child throughout my 20’s. These precious girls didn’t know that none of these men could possibly give them what they were worth in the eyes of their creator. Walking up the hill we look to our left and there was this fragile girl not even knowing how to dress to look so called SEXY. She had on a long skirt, a long sleeved shirt with a vinyl black vest on top. You could tell she was new to this and very uncomfortable being there. Her name was Betty. She had a four year old daughter at home and had to provide for her baby. She was doing this for her baby she said. She had a neighbor that would listen for her baby as she slept while she was out working. Asking her how much she makes in a night she responded that sometimes nothing if there is no business but other time 70-100 birr would be good. That is like 4-6 US dollars, I asked her what she normally gets when she lays down with a man her response 7 birr (.40). My heart ached for this beautiful girl who didn’t even know her worth. We spoke with Betty about Jesus and right there on the streets she accepted Jesus as her personal savior. We will be following up with her this week. Pray that we can disciple HIS precious girl and get her off the streets at night.
Driving to another area we met with some street boys who were in their 20’s they said that they had tried to go to church but they wouldn’t let them in because of the way they looked. Sounds familiar huh; the same problem with the church all over the world. Tssefa and Daniel couldn’t walk into the doors of a church because the clothes they had weren’t good enough or they were not as clean as some of the others. And we wonder why people want nothing to do with the church. We were told by another Zinash who was a beautiful girl that had worked the area for a while but not long enough to be torn and broken I guess you could say she still enjoyed it. Yea I have heard of Jesus I have had Christians come out here and tell me about him but offered no solution, so what do you want me to do?
I asked Trent before we even made it to the streets “Babe what if HE wants us to open a home for these girls to come for a year or so to help them get off the streets, get a job, and know JESUS personally”? He gave me his usual smile that says “Carmen Post I love you and your willingness to follow him!"