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Monday, August 24, 2015

GOD PROVIDES

Last week, I got a call from a woman who had just run away from her pimp.  Being over 18 years old, there's not a lot of places she can go unless she's willing to testify against her pimp.  Out of the places where one can go and start over - none of them I'm aware of anyway will transport the victim.  They also tend to want an interview first before even accepting a new client.  Meaning you have to take them to an interview, then usually wait at least a day to hear an answer, and then you have to sometimes wait a while if you're waiting for a bed to open.  Which gets even more complicated if this woman has left without any money which is usually the case if they're calling me for help.  If they had money - they generally just leave without calling us for help.

It's getting near the last week of the month for me which means most of my money has been spent already on the bills.  It's not easy to take care of a sick daughter, two dogs, a cat, and to run SWA, when your total monthly income is $1440 a month.  I'm not kidding.  Thankfully, we have a patron who is picking up the RV payment, and making sure our hotline phone line remains paid for and operational or I wouldn't even be able to keep our 800 number or hotline paid for.

So what do I do when I get this call?  I don't know many people with a car.  Out of those who have a car - I don't know many who would go and pick up this woman 100's of miles away from where I'm, or they, are at, then drive her even more 100's of miles to get her where she needs to go.  How else can she get there?  No cab will go that far.  Sure there's the bus - but he's bound to have someone checking on the bus stations so I can't send her there.

But as I'm telling her on one hand "I'm coming to get you"  - I have absolutely no idea where I can get the gas money to do this.  Any money I can raise I know is going to take me at least three to five days.  Even if I borrowed from a payday loan place - it's going to take at least 24 hours.  I have no credit card and I just spent my emergency money buying a second portable air conditioner because of the heat wave.  I had just borrowed another $100 from our patron to buy two new tires and a battery for this poor car that's making at least weekly trips back and forth from California to Nevada.

I've been told however that if God wants something - then the "power to carry it out" will appear.  I'm looking around the house for something to pawn even and  I can't find anything that's worth more than $20 with the pawn shop.  There's things I could sell - but not in time to go get this woman sitting in a coffee shop waiting for me.  I already know that I can call all these "trafficking task forces" and out of all their "volunteers" I don't know one that would go and get this woman, take her to an interview, take care of her until they get a bed, etc.

It's never worked before - but for shits and giggles I call some of the newer members of SWA who have called in recently telling me how "grateful they are that SWA saved their life" in the last few weeks.  One of them had said to me "I spent all day on the phone and you were the only legit program I found - please help me" and another had gone on for 20 minutes about how our Recovery Guide saved her life.  Surely they'd donate $50 so I can go and drive this woman to safety and let her know she's okay and not alone.

Otherwise, what's going to happen?  If I don't come, and I don't find someone to come if I can't - what else is a prostitute with no money and no home who is hungry going to go and do when it gets dark and I say I can't make it?  I know what will happen.  I also know that it would then be a matter of time before her pimp found her again if she goes back and then there's hell to pay.  Considering I've seen some pimps murder these women when they've left and then they find them again in order to maintain their "street cred" it's a serious issue.

Of course everyone blows me off.  These are people who have told me they have jobs - all blowing me off when I ask for some help to go get this woman.  The money can't be paypal'd - because I have to put gas in the tank now to go and get this woman today.  So after spending about four hours calling people begging for donations - I just give up.

I start looking around the house for something maybe I can take back and get a refund on.  I spy this car vaccuum I'd bought that said it was good for dog hair that I had treated myself to on my birthday.  I figure maybe if  I can find the receipt then I can get a refund and I'm in business.  I find the receipt and figure this will just barely get me there, get her to where she has to go, and me home again.

As I go to the Walmart customer service - they insist that it's been longer than 30 days and for that reason they can't give me a cash refund.  They offer a store credit - but that's not going to get me gasoline.  They're not budging - so I remembered in my 12 step training my sponsor used to always tell me "tell the truth and let God work".

So I did.  I told the woman what I needed the money for and begged her to please grant me an exception and give me a cash refund for this stupid vacuum.  She tells me maybe she "can get a manager to give us an approval" which I already know is a nice way of saying she's going to get someone else to tell me no and back her up.

Out of a clear blue sky - the woman in the line behind me comes up to me and hands me a $100 bill.  I blinked twice like am I seeing this properly - and yep - it's a $100 bill.  She told me "God wants you to know He's behind you and what you're doing".  This woman is glowing with a white light also so you can see God moving through her as she's doing this.

I didn't know what to say but just started crying.  This meant more to me than the money in the bank.  How often do total strangers come up to you, hand you $100, and say "God wants you to know He's behind you".

Wow.

All I could think of to do was tell her that God would bless her back for this act of faith.  My daughter was out in the car.  I showed her the $100 bill and said "mission accomplished" and put the vacuum back in the car.  The woman had even handed me back the vacuum saying "keep it and go and get your young lady".

Which we did.  We reached our destination, got her, and she's doing fine now.  Thanks to the mystery woman at the Walmart in Santa Clarita!  God bless you too!

An even more important lesson to me was what my daughter saw happen.  She saw me act upon faith - and God delivered.  I also got to see how powerful our traditions are.  In reaching out to help this woman - I got a wonderful lesson in how God is behind our work, and my daughter got to see this in action also.  So many people got something out of my being of service - which is a key component of working a 12 step program.  It says very clearly that "common welfare comes first - personal recovery depends upon SWA unity" meaning that by taking care of all of us - I get taken care of also.
Thank you 12 steps once again.


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