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 – thank you Lord!