PASTOR HIRES TWO PROSTITUTES WITH THE HOPE OF CHANGING THEIR LIVES
Last weekend I hired out two young prostitutes for the first time in my life—for the whole night. Because I’m a preacher and didn’t want people to know what I was doing, I asked a trusted friend, Cossette, to hire these women and bring them to a hotel where I would join them. I also didn’t want to pay an inflated price because of being white, so she could hopefully negotiate a more reasonable price. Neither of us knew how these things worked, and we were both a little nervous. What is the going rate? Would anyone spot us? If I were caught with them, my whole credibility and reputation would be destroyed. Cossette and I had our plan lined up. She met them in a suburb a few miles away, and brought them over by taxi to our part of town.
She called me when they had checked in at the hotel nearby. After reading bedtime stories and putting the kids to bed I went down to meet them. They were fashionably dressed and wore lots of make-up. One was on the skinny side, the other more chunky, both pretty. They were nervous but were trying hard to look relaxed. Divine and Arlette, 21 and 22-years-old respectively. Their mechanical smiles broke my heart. I sat down and introduced myself. I told them how I wanted them to have the night off. They could order whatever they wanted, enjoy a hot shower, and then have a night of deep rest. The only rule was not to solicit any of the hotel guests. I would be back in the morning to pay them, and after breakfast together, they could go.
I lay in bed that night next to Lizzie and couldn’t stop thinking about Divine and Arlette, and of the thousands of women within a few miles of us in the capital who right at that moment would be enduring some random customer having sex with them. I hate the sex trade with a passion, in no small part because I have a mother, a sister, a wife, a daughter, and each one of them would probably have ended up doing the same thing had they been dealt the same hand in life as Divine and Arlette, and countless others. So morning came and we met over breakfast. I’d kept the previous night’s conversation short because they would obviously have found it totally weird and been full of distrust. But at least now their guards were somewhat down.
I didn’t want to probe too much, and told them they didn’t have to answer any of my questions if they didn’t want to. I said I thought that as little girls they didn’t dream that one day they’d grow up to be prostitutes. Sometimes terrible things happen in life, and you’re forced into difficult choices. But maybe things could change—if they wanted to. They’re both orphans. They have no elder family members to look out for them. Divine’s Mum died shortly after giving birth, and it was when her Dad died in 2012 that she was forced into prostitution to pay the bills. Arlette has six siblings to support, and likewise has been in the sex trade for the last three years. Selling their body is the only way they can survive, and it pays for them to study.
I asked them what their dreams were.* They said they wanted to run a small marketing business. I told them we had prayed that God would lead Cossette to the right ladies to help. Maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe God was in it. I imagined out loud how, if they made good choices from here on in, that in ten years they could be running a healthy business at the market, happily married with a few kids. Divine’s eyes lit up at the thought. Dared she believe…? Cossette is a young grandmother who has been through a lot herself. She took over from me and gently, lovingly but firmly counselled them. They were totally receptive. We held hands as a foursome and invited Jesus in to help them make a fresh start. So it was over to them.
A few minutes later, Lizzie arrived in the car. Eight of us bundled in together—Lizzie sat in the middle of the back seat with Divine and Arlette on either side, all three with one of our children on their knees—not a scene that they would have expected the night before! We dropped them off back in Bwiza on our way to church. I told them to make a plan and come back during the week. Early Monday morning, Divine rang. Can we come and see you? They had a skip in their stride when we met later that day. We talked more, and agreed that they should finish this academic year before starting a business. We made a budget to establish what they needed to keep out of trouble. Divine burst out: “No way Simon, there’s no going back, now I have hope!”
This coming Sunday, Cossette is taking them to church and connecting them with a life group. They’re seemingly keen to grow in faith and join a community. It’s just the very beginning of a new chapter for them. No doubt there will be plenty of lows in the mix, but here’s praying they make a go of it. I have dreams of them becoming an inspiration for others. If we did this in the coming years on a more consistent basis—the pioneers with a story to show other girls that it is possible to start afresh, that they are not forgotten, unloved, or abandoned.
Source: A God Report from Simon (surname withheld to protect identity)
When Shance “Rudge” Rudgley went in for a routine health check he got some unsettling news. Blood tests revealed signs of serious kidney problems. “They told him he needed to go to the hospital and he was there for 12 days,” says Tiffanie, his wife. “He was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure and put on dialysis for one year.” Tiffanie and her husband are strong Christians but adapting to this health trial challenged their faith as never before. “My family and friends were devastated and heartbroken by my diagnosis,” Rudge said. Tiffanie was the wrong blood type to donate a kidney to her husband. “He didn’t have any family members who could donate. They told us it would take 6 to 8 years to get a deceased donor for him,” Tiffanie notes.
After going in for dialysis for four hours each day at the hospital, they began doing home dialysis 10 hours a night. Dialysis came with a big price tag: $1750 each day for the treatment and $33,000 a month for supplies. Rudge is blood type O and this blood type is hard to match. He could only receive a kidney from another type O. There is a separate waiting list for patients with type O at each regional transplant centre in the U.S. If a donor has the right blood type, they must also have the correct “HLA” (human leukocyte antigen), a genetic marker located on the surface of the white blood cells. If these first two factors line up, a third is required – a test to determine if Rudge’s immune system would produce antibodies rejecting the donor’s tissues.
Rudge’s chance of finding a matching donor was estimated at one in 100,000 which explains why he was facing a 6 to 8 year wait. At Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, where he put his name on the waiting list, there are currently a thousand people waiting for kidney transplants. Tiffanie and Rudge prayed diligently throughout their trial. One day a young woman named Cheree Swan showed up at New Vision Baptist Church, the same church attended by Tiffanie and Rudge. Cheree learned about the women’s Bible study at New Vision called “Women’s Fight Club” and decided to visit. “We meet in one big group and then afterward break off into small groups,” Tiffanie notes.
“Our small group leader brought a lady (Cheree) who had never been to our church and had no friends here and sat her right next to me.” “Could you make her feel welcome?” the small group leader asked Tiffanie. When it was time to share prayer requests, Cheree said something completely unexpected. “Please pray I find a recipient; I want to donate my kidney.” Tiffanie could not believe her ears. Her body began to shiver at this surprising request. “We’re praying for a kidney for my husband – he’s in end-stage renal failure!” she exclaimed. “What’s your husband’s blood type?” “O.” When Tiffanie realized Cheree’s blood type is O, her body began to shiver even more, she said.
A week later at Fight Club Tiffanie’s small group leader handed her a letter from Cheree. “I want to donate my kidney to Rudge…I felt led by God to do this,” she wrote. Tiffanie began to cry. They still had to wait for more tests to determine if this match fitted all the established criteria. On Valentine’s Day 2014 Rudge learned God provided a perfect match in Cheree. Rudge received her kidney a month later at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre and his health has been excellent ever since. “I thought how could this ever happen?” Tiffanie says with amazement. Rudge is also filled with gratitude to God. “Our God is faithful,” he says, “always on time and there when you need Him. If someone told me this story I wouldn’t believe it, but I lived it.”
MISSIONARY INTERCEDES FOR BABY WITH HIV – GUESS WHAT HAPPENED
When Rolyn Cadiz, a single Filipina missionary to Burma, got a call about some parents who wanted to give up their baby, she was wary. “I said I didn’t want it,” she recalls. Rolyn was 32 at the time, unmarried, and very focused on her work along the Thai-Burma border with refugee children. She went to meet the parents. “Why are you giving up this baby?” she asked. “If we buy milk for her we won’t have money for ourselves to live,” they told her. “Won’t you miss your baby? Won’t you cry when she leaves?” “No, no,” they insisted. Rolyn adopted the baby and gave her a new name, Zoe Elise, which means ‘life consecrated to God.’
Shortly after the adoption, she discovered the dark-haired infant had an eye infection. She decided she would take her in for treatment. The night before they went in, Rolyn couldn’t sleep. “God made me intercede for Zoe for the entire night. I couldn’t stop praying for her,” she recalls. The next day, Rolyn took Zoe to the Kwai River Christian Hospital in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand. She discovered the eye infection was more serious than imagined. “The doctor told me if we didn’t bring her here she could have been blind.” Then she was startled by even more shocking news. Zoe tested positive for HIV. “That’s when I understood why God had me intercede for her name.”
Rolyn received the test results with surprising equanimity. “When I learned the news I didn’t panic. I didn’t cry.” Very early the next morning, while it was still dark, the Lord awakened Rolyn once more. Rolyn stared up toward heaven and inquired of the Lord. What now God? What do you want me to do? Then God impressed on Rolyn’s heart: Zoe’s life will be a living testimony to those who don’t know me. And everyone who comes to know her will know that I am God. Tears flooded Rolyn’s eyes. “Thank you that she will fulfil her destiny,” she cried to the Lord. “And thank you she is healed. Thank you that what you promised in her life will be done.”
After Rolyn’s neighbours discovered that Zoe was HIV positive, they refused to babysit or help Rolyn in any way. Rolyn carried Zoe everywhere, because no one would watch her. One of the neighbours asked if Rolyn would start treating Zoe for HIV. “It would take money for all this medication,” Rolyn replied. “I have no money, but I have the Word of God and that’s more than enough for me.” “Jesus even raised the dead,” she continued. “If God said he will heal her, He will heal her. I know He has a great plan for her life.” The neighbour turned away, shaking her head, marvelling at Rolyn’s faith. When Zoe was about 18-months-old, Rolyn took her back to River Kwai Christian Hospital to be re-tested for HIV-AIDS.
A nurse in the hallway called to Rolyn: “Have you heard the results?” A faint smile lit up Rolyn’s face. “I knew in my heart she was already healed,” she says. Then came the momentous news. Zoe tested negative for HIV! “I kept the positive and the negative results,” she exults. “I know God healed her. She had no medications except healthy food.” After Zoe turned four, the neighbours who once shunned mother and daughter slowly started to come around. “They saw how happy she is. Zoe was always smiling and waving to everybody. They called her ‘happy baby.'”
NEW ZEALAND GIRL ATTEMPTS SUICIDE AFTER SCHOOL GOT HER AN ABORTION WITHOUT PARENTS KNOWLEDGE
A mother has petitioned the New Zealand government to pass legislation that would ensure parents are notified of their teenage daughter’s pregnancy, prior to any decisions or referrals for abortion. The petition, signed by Hillary Kieft and six other people, was presented to Whanganui MP, Hon. Chester Borrows. Parliament is asked to pass legislation requiring a parent of a girl under 16 to be informed of her confirmed pregnancy before she is “referred for any resulting medical procedure, and that any consent sought for the medical procedure be fully informed as to procedure, possible repercussions, and after-effects.”
Kieft, a mother of 6, was devastated when she found out that her daughter had been taken during school hours for an abortion, at the age of 15, without her knowledge or consent. The abortion was only revealed to the family when her daughter attempted suicide, after a year of depression, self-hatred, anger and substance abuse. “As a mother, how do you deal with that?” Kieft told participants at a Family First Forum “Our daughter survived by the Grace of God. But life has never been the same.” While parents must sign consent forms for field trips, basic first aid and dental treatment, when it comes to abortion, the Care of Children Act, 2004, gives girls of any age the ability to have the procedure without the knowledge or consent of her parents.
Abortions are known to be arranged during school hours by school counsellors, nurses, or other staff members. Family Planning agencies are also complicit in secret abortions. Family Life International NZ’s National Director, Dame Colleen Bayer, was saddened that parental rights, while absolutely important, appear to be the only concern. She felt uneasy that many parents appear to be in favour of their child having an abortion. “Abortion is a family issue,” she said. “It affects everyone. The child could be the means of pulling the whole family together. We’d like to find a way of reaching the hearts of those parents to show that we care, and that we can offer a life-giving solution—that is the best for both the young girl, and the father of the baby.”
G7 LEADERS DISCUSS MILITANT GROUPS TARGETING CHRISTIANS
The Islamic militant groups Islamic State and Boko Haram were discussed by leaders from the world’s richest countries last weekend. The G7 summit in Germany also involved the leaders of Nigeria, Tunisia and Iraq, who form part of an “outreach” group of non-G7 countries. Islamic State and Boko Haram have been targeting Christians in the Middle East and west Africa. It’s thought hundreds of thousands of believers have been killed or forced to flee their homes by the militant groups in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria. Both groups are attempting to set up a caliphate ruled by strict Islamic law which forces Christians to pay a tax, flee or face death.
US President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Canada’s PM Stephen Harper and Italian PM Matteo Renzi joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bavaria, to discuss the threat they pose. A coalition of countries is already involved in air strikes on Islamic State but the response to Boko Haram is less organised. A week ago at least 31 people died in a Christian area of Nigeria after a Boko Haram suicide bomber blew himself up at a market. Reports suggest 38 people were injured in the attack in the city of Yola. Also on the agenda at the G7 summit were Russia , the Greek debt crisis and the threat of infectious diseases.
ISLAMISTS LOSE GROUND IN TURKEY ELECTION – WHAT THE SHOCK RESULT MEANS
The Turkish people voted against what some consider a growing dictatorship that’s been gaining ground since Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected prime minister in 2003. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) fell almost 9 points from the 2011 parliamentary elections, winning just under 41% of the vote, thereby forfeiting the single-party majority it enjoyed for 13 years and denying them the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution. The Republican People’s Party (CHP), Erdogan’s main opposition, won 25%, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) finished with 16.5%. For the first time, the pro-Kurdish HDP (People’s Democratic Party) went beyond the 10% electoral threshold with a respectable 13% of the vote.
The AKP needed to win 276 of the parliament’s 550 seats to continue the single-party majority. With 99% of the votes counted, current projections give the AKP 258 seats, CHP 132, MHP 81, and HDP 79 seats. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the AKP will “continue walking in our way with further determination.” The pro-Kurdish HDP was jubilant. “The ones who are authoritarian and arrogant lost, and the ones who are in love with liberty and peace won,” HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas said. Some say nothing will stop Erdogan from pursuing his goal to Islamize Turkey. “Erdogan looks in the mirror and sees a sultan,” Michael Rubin with the American Enterprise Institute told The Jerusalem Post. “Erdogan has tasted dictatorship and he likes it.”