Monday 8 August 2016

A Story of Birth, S-Cape Home

Over the next few weeks, I will be featuring stories from amazing individuals who are doing wonderful things for others. Their stories are stories of mudslides, hope, birth, witnessing a need and responding to it and their stories are part of what it means to be human. Some of these individuals have started organisations or they work in or with organisations who are setting the captives free! As a writer, I want to be the change I want to see and as much as I sometimes want to go and be that difference, I know I can be that difference right here.... by sharing the passionate stories of others. Today's guest is Miryam from S-Cape Home, a safe house for victims and survivors of human trafficking in South Africa. 

Miryam’s Story, Birthing

I am from Switzerland and I just love my country. I grew up in Switzerland, went to school in Switzerland and I thought that Switzerland would be my home for life, but as I started to grow in my walk with God, He started to give me an “out of the box” perspective on things. It started one afternoon. I was out walking in the mountains and marvelling at the beautiful lakes, the fields and the Alps in the distance. I was worshipping God for His creation when all of a sudden I had a deep sense that I was not going to stay in Switzerland. I was called outside of Switzerland and inside I felt sad but in those moments God told me that I would always have Switzerland. It would always be my home and I would always be able to go back home, God reassured me that He would never take that away from me and I decided whatever the cost, I would trust Him. As a young girl growing up I feared believing in Christ because I had this idea that God would make me a missionary in Africa and I did not want to go to Africa. The enemy does not know what God has in store for our lives but he recognises things in us, something about our calling and he causes us to fear the very things that God has in store for us. After that day in the field, I can’t recall all the details of my life and how they unfolded but I eventually signed up for D.T.S (discipleship training) and went on a mission trip to South Africa. It was in South Africa (the Africa I had feared) where God showed me that He had put all the gifts inside of me to be a missionary and these gifts are specific.
So I returned to Switzerland and was working two jobs and getting paid for them, when God opened another door for me to return to South Africa. I must add that, another place I did not want to visit as a missionary was India. I just did not want to go to India but God took me there for a few months and in India I met my husband and now India is a part of my heritage! Eventually though I left my two jobs and I returned to South Africa, I got married to my husband and we settled in Cape Town. Our hearts desire was to have children but it didn’t happen straight away even though I felt that we should continue to trust God for a child because God had promised me that I would get married and have children.
At the same time when I was challenging God on His promise, He laid on my heart the vision for a human trafficking safe house. At one point the vision was so big, I had sleepless nights.
I could see the complexities of running a safe house and I thought, how can I do this, the vision God is giving me is so big it is not going to be possible to have a family and run a safe house! Again, God told me to trust Him, so I trusted Him for the safe house and for a child. 

A big part of my testimony lies here. I was an epileptic for ten years and was on epileptic medication. I did not grow up with epilepsy, it came later through bad spiritual things that I did. I had prayer for deliverance and I was delivered from these spiritual bondages but God told me that I needed to keep taking my medication and that He would heal me in the right time. So I continued taking the medicine. One morning I woke up and suddenly something said to me read the leaflet in the medication, I had never read the leaflet before but when I did it said “not suitable for pregnant women.” Immediately I heard God say “Stop now!” I was like “what do you mean?” but I stopped because God told me to and a few days later I found out that I was pregnant. When I visited my gynaecologist I told him that I am no longer taking the medication, he told me that we could see how I progress without it and that I could possibly start it again once my child was born. But throughout my pregnancy God kept on telling that that He was healing me. He also told me that I was going to have a son and that I needed to name him Raphael, which means God has healed and today I am totally healed! Hallelujah.
Right before I fell pregnant, we began praying for a building for human trafficking victims and survivors and while we were praying one day I received a prophetic word that I would be a mother in the natural and in this ministry. God kept on telling me that the birth of the ministry for this safe house would take place in the natural and in the spiritual, at the same time. So throughout my pregnancy I was on a journey to have my son, as well as to birth forth the safe house ministry as well. My husband and I had waited so many years to have children but the truth is that my natural pregnancy and birth was ordained by God to coincide with the birth of the safe house. That was the plan! Before this we had tried in vain to have children and we had tried in vain to get a house for the safe house but nothing worked. Then God led me to a specific area and to a specific house, I knew immediately in my heart that it had to be in that place and in that house. So I arranged with the owner of the house, who travelled and lived overseas, to meet with me so I could sign a lease agreement for the safe house. Our meeting was set up and we were due to meet early in the morning but at midnight just a few hours before our meeting, I went into labour. But I waited through my contractions until 8am because I knew I had to sign those papers on that day. It was dramatic! I contacted the owner and asked him to come earlier, but he got lost. I was literally in the car, so far in labour already, when he pulled up and I signed the papers then and there on the bonnet of the car and then we drove off and I gave birth to my son. It was amazing how God gave me the opportunity to witness 2 births on the exact same day. I had a sense that it would be around the same time but not on the same day. 

Autumn quickly moved to winter
The lease was signed and the first safe house location was born. I worked with various other organisations like Justice Acts and up until this point all the funding for human trafficking went to prevention. With the birth of the safe house, the funding then moved to victim assistance, which is where my heart is invested. At one point we were so full we had 5 residents in the house and we needed more space. Then suddenly, the ministry that owned the building put it up for sale but we continued to trust God even when a witchdoctor moved in downstairs and set up his office. We heard him chanting but we continued to meet in prayer and fasting. Sadly, we did not reach the target to buy the building and it got sold. It was really a hard time, we had nowhere to go and 3 residents still left with nowhere for them to go. It was July 2012, everything went and we had to say goodbye to our offices and to the building. It was a real storm time for me, I had so many questions, everything was going so well and then suddenly it was all gone. 

Spring Came Again…..
But eventually I could hear God speaking to me again about restoration and changing direction. When I looked at it I suddenly realised that we had just been meeting an immediate need but God wanted us to refocus and change our direction.
It was time to organise ourselves and get ourselves established as a registered non profit organisation. Once we did that, through a serious of events that took place we were given a house by the city council and the safe house started up again! We began working with the police as well and today we have a separate office facility away from the safe house and our dream is to have a bigger place where we can house more people who need our help. We imagine a wonderful big place where we can have many residents and where we can offer them vocational training, workshops and other courses. The ideal would be to have three separate facilities for the safehouse, an office and a training centre. We trust God for this reality and believe that nothing is impossible when we believe!

Recent Statistics on Human Trafficking in Africa
·        Half of the children who are trafficked each year come from Africa
·        Most trafficked victims are girls between the ages of 5 – 15 years
·        Studies show that South Africa is one of the main countries for human trafficking
·        Before July 2013 there existed no legislation in South Africa, to protect victims of human trafficking
·        There are up to 10,000 child prostitutes in Johannesburg.
·        Up to 1,000 girls are trafficked to South Africa from Mozambique each year.
·        The Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo are the main “recruitment” areas for victims of human trafficking.

Update on S - Cape House 

S - Cape Home has seen so many beautiful developments over the passed few months. A new section has been built on to the original house, to accomdate more people. The women living at the safe house are growing their own veggies, interacting with art therapy, job skills and are growing personally. A big pharmaceutical company is sponsoring the safe house for a year with toiletries, medical supplies etc. I am truly blessed to know Miryam and to have witnessed the journey of this safe house,  that is a haven for the broken. To know more or help, visit their website: S - Cape, Restoration from Exploitation

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