Today we visited “Super 24” with Hector and Emma (2 members of the MiArca Street Team) to visit a group of men who live on the street near the Super24 petrol station. We learned that last week they had been hosed down by a passing fire engine for no apparent reason other than they lived on the street. Emma explained to us that this group were very friendly and very motivated to work; because of their motivation to work there were only a few who were around during the morning. However, this allowed for lots of conversation and a small insight into their life stories. This blog is going to be dedicated to the stories which two of the men asked to share with us during our time together….
Mefi was the first to ask if he could hear our testimonies and then asked if he could share his story with us. His story began with happy start with loving Christian pastor parents and a roof over his head but when he was four years old both of his parents died within a week of each other and he was sent to live with his aunty and uncle. His uncle was very abusive, once Mefi was whipped across the back with electrical wire which tore open his back and another time he was left tied up in room all night.
At 8 years old the abuse became too much and Mefi left home to live on the street. By the age of 10 he was buying and selling drugs. Throughout his early teens he was involved in a gang – a common problem for young vulnerable boys on the street. The gang for him was a way of gaining protection but also a way to get drugs by selling his body. During his later teenage years he had girlfriend who was a part of the gang as well, and she became pregnant and they had a daughter together.
The birth of his daughter was a turning point in his life. He wanted to be a good father and provide opportunities for her and realised he wanted more for her life. He left the gang and started developing new skills and legal ways to make money on the streets. He learned to be a clown and performs in the streets as well as rapping and expressing his feelings through art & music.
Mefi explained that the early part of his life was fuelled by bitterness and hate, especially toward his uncle. However, he believes God has softened his heart and blessed him with a daughter.
Jorge was the first to live at “Super 24” and is a sort of father figure to the others. He didn’t explain fully how he came to live on the streets but he has been on the streets from childhood. His story revolved around his wife Yesica and his three children Justin, David and Esteven. Before he met his wife, he was putting himself in very dangerous situations involving illegal activities in order to make money to live off. During this time, he was raped and stabbed. After meeting his wife, she made him earn money in legal ways so that he could provide for his children. His family live together in a room payed for by the work Jorge does on the streets. Jorge is well known and trusted around the area, he looks after people’s cars and is even asked to do some cleaning locally. Once Jorge had the opportunity to murder one of his earlier abusers but felt God strongly telling him “No”.
Both men have a clear understanding of faith and of God’s love and it was humbling and inspiring to see such trust in God despite the terrible things which have happened in their lives. (An example which Jorge shared with us was that his wife lost twins during an accident, yet he still puts his trust in God.)
For these men their faith is something which can’t be taken away from them even when they have nothing they are in control of their trust in God.
How often do we try to get by without God’s help because we think we have enough to sort things out ourselves; if we had nothing would we turn to God in every situation and rely on his strength not ours? Is God ever our first resort and not just our last?