Tag Archives: Drugs

A day unlike any other

As I walked down the dark, dreary alley, I was preparing myself for a day in my life that would be the beginning of something monumental.  Each door I passed was marked with a red X, significant in this ‘red light district’ of the city. My mind overloaded with images, questions, and of who, what, and why.  Soon those questions would be answered.

This morning I made my way down to what has been called the ‘darkest place in all Israel.’  Us foreigners call it the ‘red light district’, though its much more detailed than that.  Yes, it is the hub for prostitution, but its also the center for drug trafficking, sex slavery, human trafficking, and even child slavery as well.  It is the one place in the city that most people avoid for the obvious reason.  YET, it is the one place in the city that needs us most.  

In an old bomb-shelter basement in the center of the ‘action’ a shelter for prostitutes has been formed… a place where the girls come for respite, food, showers, clothes, and most important love.  Not the obscene, ungodly love they receive every night; but the unconditional, no strings attached love that makes them feel like they can breath for a few hours of the day.  This is where I was headed; this is where I will be spending much of my time here in Tel Aviv.

My first day was emotionally draining, yet so unbelievably amazing!  There was a woman who came in completely stoned out of her mind, having to be carried in and out. I doubt she knew where she was or what was going on, but for those couple of hours she was off the streets, safe.  This is why they come…they feel safe and protected while at the shelter.

At night we then went out on the streets and handed out Shabbat meals to women and men in the area. Two local restaurants donate all the leftovers they have before closing the store for the evening.  We give out coffee, tea, meals, and cake until it is gone.  We were literally on the streets where people are shooting up right before our eyes and our own shelter women are being picked up by random strangers on the corner.

We are called to be the light among the darkness, but how can we be that light unless we go out to where the darkness lies? If we aren’t helping these women, who will?  Who will be their light, when they need it the most?  I admit that this will probably be the hardest work I have ever done in my life.  We are up against spiritual battles beyond what anyone can imagine, but the truth is this… If God is on our side, who then can be against us???

I’m sure this won’t be my last post on this issue, as it is becoming a huge part of my life so I will end this one here.  Shabbat Shalom…on this day unlike any other!

Drugs, Alcohol, Dagga, and Cigarettes

If that doesn’t grab you attention, I don’t know what will.  For the past 2 weeks, these topics have been my focal point.  You might be wondering, why… and I don’t judge you if you do.  While I am here at Thrive Africa, I’ve been helping out with Leadership Summit, a program their mission uses to reach thousands of kids in South Africa.  (please go to their website if you would like more information)

I am helping to write a new curriculum, which will bring awareness to the many issues these kids are facing on a daily basis.  My topic?  Drugs, Alcohol, Dagga (marijuana) and cigarettes.  We wanted to get insight into what they actually know about these topics, so I went to the schools and sat down to talk with them.  It was an eye-opening experience.  Many of these teens (ages 14-17) are taught absolutely nothing about drugs or the effects they can have.  These teens were literally begging us to give them more information. They are hungry to know, as their knowledge is limited to what they learn from other kids.  

As we sat down with them, they shared stories about themselves, their families, their friends, and other teens they know.  They opened up about the struggles they are facing, and not knowing how to overcome them.  They talked about teen pregnancy, rape, AIDS, and drugs.  Stories that would bring you to tears… 

After my day at the schools, I have finished writing the curriculum book, and now we will be working toward the editing process. It’s been awesome being able to contribute to the progress Leadership Summit is making in these teenagers lives’ (even in a small way).

Here are some pics of us talking with the teens: 

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