July 5th I shared this post on Facebook:
“Some ask why we keep doing it. It’s the prostitutes boyfriend sitting in the back row with his head hung down while Pastor Bob preaches about the prodigal son, and who goes up to the altar to pray after church. That’s why!!”
The prostitute came into church with her boyfriend on Sunday. Why? Well it wasn’t because of any pointing or wagging fingers, or because of the condemnation of anyone with a false sense of their own righteousness, or judgmental glances or whispers, or shaking heads. It wasn’t because somebody put a sign on the corner that said “No hoe Zone”, It wasn’t because anybody yelled “dirty hoe” at her as they drove by in their car. It wasn’t because some well meaning person informed her of God’s Law and her destiny in Hell either.
It was, in part, one faithful servant of Jesus Christ. Who has poured herself out as a thank offering and willingly went where He told her to go, to speak to whom He told her to speak, and to love who He told her to love. Saturday night wasn’t the first time she went out of her way to speak to the prostitutes that work near the corner of Franklin and Delaware, Christ’s love spilling out without condemnation and soaking these ladies. It wasn’t the first time she walked away with a breaking heart and tears pouring down her face. Saturday night the prostitute expressed how she didn’t want to live that way, but felt unworthy to enter the church because of what she was doing. The beautiful servant of Christ; again with a breaking heart and tears expressed to me on the way home that she hoped that she had spoke well the words God gave her to speak; she talked about her feelings of helplessness at not being able to do more, and wondered if she would ever get to see the fruit after pouring out so much of herself. She prayed at the stop light for the prostitutes, for her to get to see fruit, and not to grow weary in doing good. We both felt weary and discouraged, but later that night chose to praise Him and rejoice in spite of our weariness. The prostitute came into the church with her boyfriend on Sunday.
We are just a small mission church on the corner of Franklin and Delaware. On Sunday at 2pm our sanctuary is filled with the lost, broken and hurting; the poor and hopeless; the unwashed and the mentally ill; prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics and thieves. They are broke, or on welfare or on SSI. We literally collected 2 dollar bills and some change in the offering plate this Sunday. We have been doing this for 5 years. Fighting the discouragement that tries to set in when we see those we’ve poured ourselves into start to be choked by the weeds, or fall under the weight of their circumstances. Believing in faith that God will provide the finances to keep our vans on the road, and to be able to pay the rent for the St. Mary’s school where we have between 30-40 kids every Sunday coming to church. That someone will provide us a meal after church on the two Sundays a month one of our sister churches don’t, and that God will finish the good work begun on this corner 14 years ago. Sundays like this make it all worth it. Please pray for the people of Flint’s East side, please pray for us.
UPDATE: We were able, with the help of another pastor, to get this couple into an apartment they can afford. This means that her boyfriend is no longer afraid to leave her alone in an abandoned house, and can go look for work. She has not been on the streets for 3 days now.