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Tooting evening patrol 26/2/2010

We spoke to a guy called Jai who is from Mumbai but works in a restaurant in Tooting. He told us his wife and children still live in India but he had been working in the UK for 3 years.
We greeted a man called Harmid who was waiting at a bus stop in Tooting High Street and we had a brief chat – he asked about Street Pastors (what we do, how we’re received by people etc.) and wished us well.

Outside ‘Jasmine’s’ which was a church this week (sometimes it’s used as a night club) we met 2 young black African guys in their mid twenties called Cali and Femi who were interested in becoming Street Pastors and they asked if SP’s are all over the city as they were from Canning Town or Acton. We gave them an information leaflet and suggested they look on the website for more details of their nearest team they could apply to and told them a bit about training required.

We approached a young guy, had a brief chat and he told us he was homeless then he walked away.
We had a good chat with 2 guys outside The Antelope pub – one called Gary was getting married soon so we wished him all the best.
We greeted the homeless elderly Asian man, Havard, who we regularly see sitting near the Londis next to Tooting Broadway.

We then bought some hot drinks in Chicken Lick’n and another man approached us inside the restaurant and asked about Street Pastors. He was alone and there was something about him that left one wondering whether he was also possibly homeless, but he didn’t volunteer any information about himself. He was getting quite frustrated when the toilet was occupiedfor so long, left then came back 10 mins later but it was still occupied. He waited a few mins longer then left.

When the young black woman came out, we approached her and asked if everything was ok and she asked if she could put her SIM card in one of our phones to call a friend to fetch her as her phone battery had died and she’d been waiting for them for an hour.
After that we chatted a bit more and she told us about her fam, then asked if we were christians then asked for prayer for her mother and for her depression which she’d had it since she’d given birth to her fisrt child (she now had 2). She also said she’d had a few miscarriages which had upset and dsiturbed her and told us she’d turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with it, that she’d drifted away from church and asked for some bible verses she could read in her bible she had at home. She thanked us that she could talk about problems and worries that were concerning her with people she didn’t know as she didn’t feel she wanted/could to talk to friends about it as she felt they would judge her.

She was fine for us to pray for her there and then, but we decided it might seem a bit like a show for everyone in the restaurant as she had all of their attention now and talked quite loudly, so we said we’d pray for her when we got back to base.

She also asked advice about whether or not to take her antibiotics (which she pulled out of her bag) as she had been drinking and we advised she shouldn’t take them right away, but wait until she’d sobered up and had lots of water to drink before taking them. We told her about a midday Friday church service at the Salvation Army that she might like to attend if she was looking for a church.

She then opened up a box of Malteser chocolates she had in her back and offered us each one, then proceeded to approach all the other customers and the guys behind the counter saying her mother taught her she should always share.

We then said goodbye, walked out of Chiken Lick’n and met Esme who we listened to, advised and helped by buying a bus ticket and giving her the fare to catch the next bus.

She told us she had been to see her brother who lived in Tooting, but he had been consuming alcohol and is abusive (she had a swollen eye but didn’t say it was from him) After a while she told us she was actually homeless but stays the night at various friends’ and family’s places when she can. It was 2am when we saw her but she was about to catch a bus to Streatham then change for one in Brixton and knock on a friend’s door to see if she could sleep there. Her brother is HIV positive so she goes round to check on him even though he’s abusive and her sister in Battersea is unwell but let’s her come around every morning to wash, have a meal, clean her clothes and she cleans her sister’s flat and helps out where she can, but can’t stay there all the time. She told us that things had all fallen apart for her when her mother had passed away, and she had so much anger and bitterness that she had become someone she didn’t recognise. She said she could hear something in our voices that reminded her of a softness she had used to have in her heart but it was so covered in hate and anger that it was now drowned out.

She asked what she should do about all the hatred and we suggested she start with forgiveness, as hard as it may seem, to help her let go of the horrible things she was holding onto so tightly. She listened and said she thought we must be a messenger sent to her to tell her that, that God works in mysterious ways and she thought that there must have been a reason she had had to be at that bus stop, just to hear that from someone. We paid the bus driver her bus fare and told him she needed to get off at Streatham, and gave her £2 to catch a bus to Brixton from there and suggested she too attend the Salvation Army midday Friday church service adn ask for Clare. She was amazed and encouraged reminding us this is the way the Father workds, in mysterious ways, as she’d been advised to do the same and ask for Major Norton, by a council worker(I think?) she had met earlier that day. She held one SP’s hand and thanked for talking to her, helping her and left encouraged by the amazing ways God brings circumstances together to give us messages. She said we’ll never know how much this encounter actually meant to he and she would never forget us.

It was so amazing to see God was doing something really deep/ meaningful in those few moments at a bus stop.

Thank you SO much to everyone who prays for the patrols and for the people we meet, for the Holy Spirit to go ahead and prepare the hearts and minds of people to experience God moments – He so wants to, and it was such a privilege to witness a glimpse of light shining into the darkness of someone’s prison, possibly even a chain or 2 that had bound someone for years shattering as they moved from hating to knowing that they need to forgive??? We’ll never know, but I can imagine God must be smiling down on his prodigal daughter beaming with immense pride and love for her.

Please keep praying for her whenever she comes to mind.

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