Sunday, March 19, 2006

Working the streets

Where do you turn to find hope? Maybe you turn to your family . . . your church . . . your friends. For Tyra,* there seemed to be no one . . . and no hope.

At the age of fourteen, Tyra began doing drugs. At fifteen, her family kicked her out of the house, and she began doing “tricks” to support her lifestyle. By 19, she didn’t have a home, and she was sleeping on the couch in an acquaintance’s apartment . . . just making ends meet to support her drug habit. That was when we met Tyra.

It was a cold Friday night when Brenda, our coordinator of street outreach, invited Tyra into the Breakthrough RV. Tyra was immediately suspicious. Why was someone being kind to her? But Tyra was so cold she agreed to come in for a cup of coffee. She and the staff member talked. Tyra left. We prayed. Over the course of the next year, we saw Tyra once or twice a month. Each time we listened. We provided safety. We talked about people and programs which were available to help her get over the drugs. We shared the gospel message, and we told her about the Breakthrough Joshua Center. Then last week one of the girls doing tricks on Tyra’s street was beaten to death. Tyra was scared and ready to get help.

Today Tyra is living at the Breakthrough Joshua Center and enrolled in a drug rehabilitation program. I am so grateful for God’s beginning work in Tyra’s life, but I am so concerned about the other girls and women on the streets. Some estimate 16,000 girls and women in Chicago are involved in prostitution. The streets are not safe. Within the last few weeks, three of the women we ministered to have died. Two were murdered. The other died of Aids.

The recent deaths of these three women from the street have been hard on our staff, especially Brenda. Please pray. Our hearts are broken.

Breakthrough Director of Women's Services, Yolanda Fields and Street Outreach Coordinator, Brenda Williams

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