Another round of abuse shakes a broken family. A scream, the desperate flight, and another child is lost to the night.
Every morning I walk to work and see them—the dirty, the lost, and the hungry. Their vacant, hopeless eyes stare out at me. But this desperate, feral lifestyle was preferable to home.
Instead of having loving parents and happy childhoods, they are forced to face extreme desperation, poverty, and danger. Many times, faced with the choice of going hungry, or selling their bodies in the sex trade.
This was Veronica’s reality.
Instead of going to school, Veronica stalked the streets for her next opportunity to get high. Instead of going to the café, she looked in dumpsters for her meal. Instead of dreaming of the future, she was lost in hopelessness and hurt.
When I met her, she was a teenager. She was quiet, reserved, and strung out on drugs, similar to other girls I worked with in the past.
As we began talking, her dark eyes met mine and then darted away as I asked her, “what are your dreams?”
A burst of life came through, “I wanted to be a singer.” For a second, she forgot her living circumstances and hunger pains. She perked up at the mention of music classes taught at our mission.
Her stomach growled, and as suddenly as it arrived, that flicker of hope was extinguished.
I could see the desperation and sense the urgency. I gently explained that God made every human with dignity and even gave each person a unique set of talents—like her beautiful voice. And through Jesus’ death and resurrection, she could find forgiveness and real hope for her future.
She nodded along as I told her, “Veronica, Jesus loves you very much.”
When I saw her next, she seemed even more hopeless. I fervently prayed to Jesus to touch her life.
Then like a ghost, she was gone. That night, she died in a drug-induced fight on the street.
This is my normal. This is the urgency of the gospel. No one should die without the chance of salvation.
Psalm 90 encourages us to number our days. Ministering here on the streets is a constant reminder of that. Every day, I meet the heartbroken and the desperately lost. I never know if I’ll see them again after I hand out a meal or a pair of socks. I wonder: will this one survive the night?
I must use every interaction to share the hope of Jesus and point them to him. I never know if it will be their last opportunity.
I don’t know if Veronica accepted the Lord as her Savior. But I know I’m called to stay faithful to these children, to keep sharing the gospel with them, and to make my life count for eternity.
So many of my fellow ABWE missionaries feel this way in their ministries. We feel the heavy burden and the urgency to reach those around us with the Gospel.
Through the Global Gospel Fund, you can help missionaries serve and reach the lost. Your partnership can reach 1,000 missionaries around the globe with needed resources that enable the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Would you consider helping these missionaries as they tirelessly share the love of Jesus with others? Together we can ensure thousands of children just like Veronica get a chance at salvation.
Time is short. Eternity matters. And you can make an eternal difference.