24 n November / December 2013 n www.faith Today.ca
plains. Because she is cold she climbs reluctantly aboard the
bus, complaining how “This isn’t making me any money.”
The volunteers don’t carry cash.
Addictions and a lifetime of hardships have brought Jessica to this tough place. As she sees it, renting her body for
sex on this street corner is her only option. She doesn’t want
prayer. “I don’t believe in God.” When one of the volunteers
asks if she sometimes gets mad at God for the way things are
turning out, she says, “No. Like I said, I don’t believe in God.”
She doesn’t want food. She doesn’t want a ride home. She
accepts a pair of gloves and steps back onto the dark street.
Our encounter with Carina* is very different. We’re rumbling along a thoroughfare when the Love Lives Here driver
makes a sudden left turn, cuts through a parking lot and
heads back the way we’d just come. “I saw a girl at the bus
stop,” he says as he pulls over.
Two volunteers, a man and a woman, step out to greet
her. A few minutes later they return with Carina, who ap-
pears to be only 16 or 17. She’d been afraid, waiting for the
bus. Men kept pulling over and propositioning her. That’s
not what she was looking for. She just wanted a ride home
and was very grateful to be sitting in safe company. When
she realizes she’s with Christians, she says she’d been to
church recently with a friend who’d gotten “saved.”
“Have you been saved, Carina?” asks a veteran volunteer.
“No,” she replies. “I’m not saved. I want to. I don’t know
As the bus jolts and bounces towards Carina’s home,
a younger volunteer offers a brief and simple explanation
of salvation through Jesus Christ and invites Carina to say
a prayer with her. After the prayer the busload bursts into
song. “Happy birthday, dear Carina, all the angels rejoice.”
“Don’t forget to tell others,” says Heidi.
The Love Lives Here volunteers don’t believe in coincidences. They see each engagement as a divinely ordained
connection that was meant to happen. They believe they
are planting seeds of hope and healing, even in the women
who walk away or reject their compassion with cursing.
The encounter with Carina boosts the volunteers’ spirits
and bolsters their belief. Their intervention has given a vul-
Volunteers with reeD (resist exploitation, embrace
Dignity) hold an unusual communion service in
front of brandi’s exotic Show Lounge in Vancouver.
phOTO: ANDRE W STEphENS-RENNIE