In the middle of the pandemic, we felt God nudging us to take a new, slightly frightening step. We felt we were to rent a house, to create a space for women to come, relax, be served, and pray.
We started looking for a property that would be suitable. The area the women work in is one of the most expensive in the city. We wondered if we would be able to find something that would fit our small budget.
One street over from the beach and one street over from where they work we found a small bungalow that was perfect. It needed a bit of work but we called in the troops and got things done.
We created a space that felt like home. We installed air conditioning to make it refreshing. We found gently used furniture to make the space beautiful and comfortable.
When we finished the renovations we sat as a team to decide how to open. Originally we thought we would have a grand opening, inviting churches and other people we knew. But what would we tell them we would be doing in this house? We realized God hadn’t given us that part of the plan yet.
So, we all prayed and felt as though we were just supposed to open the doors.But, would the women take the time out of their day to come?
The women came. They flopped on the couches and they opened up in a new way. They relaxed, they allowed themselves to let down their guard even more. They stayed sometimes for hours. This time gives us the opportunity to know them more, and to speak into their lives more so than we can on the street or even in the tent.
What we provide
After opening our doors medical professionals began to approach us and ask if they could be of service. We now have available to the women:
These services are offered free of charge on an on-demand basis. We also have a free store that provides clothing and other household items. Once a week we provide a hot meal both in the house and on the street.
We have held and plan to continue to offer, as and when we have the resources, courses in various areas. The first we held was on the basics of hairdressing and both women who participated have since left the streets.
Aside from the tangible things that this house allows us to offer, there is a sense of peace they feel there and often comment on.
One of the women who has now left the streets recently brought her family to Hope Center. As they sat with us and shared a snack she said to them, ‘Do you feel it? Do you feel the peace here? I always felt it when I came here, the presence of God'.