Major “coincidences” to get another girl safely home – We were alerted by a lady on the Barbican who had seen a girl throw her phone into the harbour. We approached and she was very upset and distressed as her boyfriend had left her alone after an argument – now having thrown her phone into the sea; she realised that having been using Apple Pay on it for all her payments; she now had no money and no contacts and therefore no way of getting back to Torquay!
With the Prayer Pastors praying, Natasha, on our team, asked the boyfriend’s name and managed to ring him through Facebook Messenger on her phone – amazingly he answered! He said he’d been trying to phone her but obviously had got no answer with her phone being underwater. He came and picked her up 20 minutes later
So the chances of the team being there at that precise time….……and of one of the team having Messenger and internet access on her phone ………..and of the boyfriend answering a call from a total stranger……..??? Wow! Thank you SO much again Lord for yet another example of your amazing love!
God’s miraculous provision…of cigarettes? – We were asked to assist a distressed young lady outside a nightclub. She was in floods of tears but with due hugs and reassurances from our ladies, we managed to glean that she lived locally and she agreed to let us walk her home. As we reached the Walrus pub, 5 minutes away, 2 things happened:-
- She announced that she simply had to get some cigarettes, us thinking “Oh dear, our nice easy walk might be about to get a lot longer while she looks for a shop open at 12.30 a.m.!”
- A man “happened to” walk across the road at that point, asking if he could help. I said “It’s ok we’re dealing with it, thank you” and without anyone asking, he produced a lit cigarette, hardly smoked, and gave it to our girl, along with another unused one! 5 minutes later, now not needing to find an open shop, she was gratefully waving goodnight to us as we saw her into her house!
The right Street Pastor, in the right place, at the right time – By 12.10 the Barbican was really quiet so we decided to go back for a break but as we walked down Southside St. a man came up to us and asked if our phones had internet. He had come down from Shrewsbury to stay with friends but they’d got separated and his phone was out of battery and he couldn’t remember their nos. – did we have Snapchat on our phones so that he could log in to his account and contact them that way? As it happened, one of our ladies has Snapchat which she had been about to remove as she doesn’t use it much and he managed to both find and ring his friend through it, arranging to meet at a local Tesco – which happened to be the way we were walking – he was so grateful for our help, saying that not many people would let a stranger use their phone for fear of them running away with it and that had we not been there, he would probably have spent the night on the streets! Yet another “coincidence” arranged by our God in His love for people!
We were talking to a young man with Down’s Syndrome who had unfortunately not realised he needed to save some of his money for his taxi home. He had a few pounds and, having asked the Prayer Pastors to pray, we took him to a taxi rank in the hope that maybe a kindhearted taxi driver would take him home for less than the normal rate. Our hopes proved unrealistic as our conversation with a taxi driver merely confirmed that he didn’t have enough money for the fare but as we were talking to him, a young man who knew the lad passed by and asked us what was the matter. We explained the situation and he immediately gave our man a £10 note! Problem solved; another miracle to thank God for and a reminder that we are not alone when we walk the streets
As the streets were quiet we had stopped and had a pleasant chat with a man, cracking a few jokes and as a matter of course, rang the Prayer pastors to let them know after we had said goodbye to him, not thinking much more of it. A few minutes later we were approached by two ladies who were looking for their dad. He had “escaped” from sheltered accommodation nearby and they were worried because he had Alzheimer’s and other age-related difficulties. They had no idea where he was and didn’t even know where to begin to look. We didn’t think we had met anyone like that, but we asked for a description anyway. It turned out to be the very man we had spoken to just a few minutes before! We were able to tell them we had just spoken to him and point them in the right direction to catch up with him. As the ladies left, I remember thinking to myself What are the chances that the only guy we had spoken to in the last half an hour, just happened to be someone who was being looked for?.
We spotted a young girl in a bus shelter, sitting held upright by a much older man and vomiting profusely. The man said “I am getting her sobered up enough to come in a taxi.” But it rapidly became apparent that he did not know her, so concern about her safety was escalated. The young lady was too drunk to communicate at all, but did manage some sips of water. It looked as if this would take a long time and the Prayer Pastors were alerted. Then – a God-incidence? – her phone rang and one of the team was able to answer it. It was her father, concerned and trying to find out where she was. On being told the situation, he promised to sort out transport and come and collect her which he did some time later. In the meantime the “helpful” man who had been with her suddenly left and got into a taxi by himself – not only a “God-incidence” but also another “What would have happened to her if we hadn’t been there?!”
We found a smart phone on the Barbican. It was locked and there was no easy way of checking who the owner was, so we planned to hand it to the Police. Later in the night, having not yet come across the Police, we were in Union Street by Wetherspoons. The phone rang, so we were able to answer it. It was a friend of the owner, who was with him. They were directly across the road, so he only had to cross over to collect his lost phone!
On Saturday we had one of those God-incidences that you wouldn’t really believe….
My team had been re-routed to Mutley Plain for the second shift. When we got there, it was petty dead and I suggested going to Freedom Fields Park, partly because I was talking about where we used to patrol when we started but rarely visited now…. As we were walking I was praying that this wouldn’t be a waste of time, just me being nostalgic… and that the Lord would lead us to where we were really needed.
We were walking across the park when we saw a single girl walking towards us; it became clear that she was quite distressed and probably a bit drunk. It transpired that she had come from a house party somewhere, wanted to get to her boyfriend’s house and let him know she was OK and on her way to him…. She was concerned that he would be very worried; her phone was dead, she couldn’t contact him or anyone else… and she didn’t have a clue where she was now, especially as she had only just moved to Plymouth and it was cold and dark….
One of our ladies was particularly good in getting alongside her and we eventually found out where she wanted to go and walked her there, giving her – as she was wearing fairly flimsy party attire – a space blanket as well as a heavy escort! We made sure she was OK before we left. We don’t know where and how she might have ended up, as Freedom Fields Park is not exactly en route to where she wanted to go and she was very vulnerable… but we have a Loving Father who knows rather more!
On Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning we JUST HAPPENED (thank you Lord!) to be in the right place at the right time again – as we passed a side street we heard a young woman in tears, calling out her partner’s name time and time again – she was in great distress and ﬂoods of tears. From what we could piece together, she and he had a huge row, (partly we think because she was in a lot of physical pain, recovering from a cancer operation). He was now in a friend’s house, refusing to answer her calls. We ﬁrstly offered to walk her home as she lived close by but she refused, still crying and saying she “just wanted her man”. We then offered to ring him and did, but he ignored the calls, before texting back to ask who was trying to contact him. We replied, explaining and after a few more texts, he came out and they simply embraced each other, all hostilities forgotten. It was precious to see. As we turned to go she smiled at us from their embrace and said Thank you SO much – now that’s what I call job satisfaction!
When we’re on duty, one of our golden rules is that we don’t carry money (sensible ‘cos we’d be suckers for every sob story we’d hear) but one of our teams found a £10 note on the ground and later came across a very upset girl who’d had an argument with her boyfriend – he had stormed, off leaving her very upset and without enough money for her taxi fare home – you can guess the rest can’t you? – Another example of our awesome God arranging these “coincidences”
Yet again, if we hadn’t been there…
As Street Pastors, we regularly get people saying thank you for what we do, which is a great encouragement and very much appreciated.
However, our greatest hope is that people will see beyond us to the God of love who put us there in the first place – whatever qualities may be seen in us have all been put there by our loving heavenly Father, so that we might reflect a little bit of what He’s really like.
One such example of His goodness was when we “happened” to meet a somewhat drunk young lady who was being “helpfully attended” by a young man she didn’t know. We reassured him that we’d look after her (not sure he was so pleased!) and shortly afterwards we’d sobered her up a little and saw her in to a taxi. We stayed to wave goodbye and make sure her “friend” didn’t get in as well; but then the taxi driver wound the window down to say that she didn’t have any money – she’d lost her bag, so we checked around the area where we’d found her but to no avail.
In the bag were her money, cards, cash, house keys and phone so she was a really stuck, not to mention very upset. She remembered her parents’ phone number, which we rang several times with no answer, and we walked her to her sister’s house, but again no answer despite long and loud calling and knocking
Eventually we managed to get her a bed at the Salvation Army, dropping her off there at 10 to 5 (more overtime!) and we heard the next day that her sister had collected her in the morning.
But if we hadn’t been there……………Yet another example of the love and mercy of God in putting us in the right place at the right time (AGAIN!) – thank you Lord!