Unlike most of what I read or heard about 2020, not everything was negative. What should have been devastating and heartbreaking was used by our Lord and Savior to advance His will.
Opportunities for outreach increased during the early months of the shutdown. With the strip clubs closed, women were turned out by their pimps to work the streets. Most shelters and free kitchens were forced to close. Those Children of God that depend on these critical services to survive were left without options.
What did God do? He sent out His soldiers to love and serve the oppressed and abandoned. And, what did you do? You upheld His soldiers with your love, prayers, and financial support. He used all of us to accomplish some amazing things.
Out of Darkness increased their outreach commitment to meet the increased number of women working the streets by adding additional Princess Nights.
In partnership with Proof of the Pudding, an Atlanta catering company, 500 meals a day were delivered and handed out by Out of Darkness volunteers. This was accomplished by loading up the vans and driving to all the known areas where those in need congregate. Each meal and beverages were delivered directly to the recipient along with smiles and good wishes.
The very popular “Welcome Bag” program was expanded in 2020. These are handbags that Val makes from donated fabric samples. Then, in partnership with a group of loving and supportive friends, they are filled with a waffle-weave robe, underclothing, slippers, toiletries, snacks and a small bible with the words of Jesus in red letters. In the past these were given directly to the ladies that were assisted by me at the time of the rescue. We are now providing them to the Out of Darkness Safe House so that everyone rescued can be blessed.
2020 In review from my perspective:
- More Princess Night outreach in both Atlanta and Middle Georgia.
- Involved in more rescues. With covid restriction in place fewer male rescuers were available.
- Transportation to covid testing sites, every princess rescued had to be tested.
- Participation in the meal delivery program.
- Wore out another van, replacement purchased in November.
- Prayer Team activities.
- Ambassador Team programs.
- Coordinating procurement and delivery of Welcome Bags.
With all the contact I have with those I interact with, it seemed inevitable that at I would contract Covid-19 and I did. I made it all the way to December 10th before I tested positive. I have recovered completely and returned to my readily available status on the 29th. I did have to turn down two rescues while I was contagious. It was the first time I’ve said no in seven years. Fortunately, the rescues were covered by others. Val did not contract it and I have received my vaccination.
I want to share a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
God calls and prepares all of us to serve. Some are prepared and called to serve on the front lines. Some are prepared and called to serve as support to those on the front lines. Both are equally reliant on the other as I believe He intends.
On a personal note I want to thank all of you for your love, prayers and support. You are on my heart and in my prayers continually.
Love and prayers, Mark