Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ibiza Baptism

Brian Heasley who, along with his wife Tracy, leads 24/7 Ibiza has a great post on his blog about a baptism they recently did. It's a must read, so check out the full post HERE...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One Crazy Thursday 2

Check out part one of this post HERE

When we'd last left off, the team and I were getting ready to head home when we ran into a couple of workers that I'd gotten to know during the summer...

One of the biggest things we do in Ibiza is build relationships. The workers in Ibiza are young, and predominantly British. They work hard, for very little money...mostly so they can spend the summer partying in Ibiza. When you meet a worker out in the streets, you never know how long they're going to last. Some stick around for a few weeks, some a few months, and others the whole season. When I say they work hard, I mean it! It's not uncommon for them to work 10 hour shifts 7 days a week with the occasional day off. We try our best to just love on the workers when we can. The 24/7 Ibiza center that we have is open Monday - Friday for workers. It's a place that they can come and get free internet...we have a wii, table tennis, and some big comfy couches. They get to relax, and it's a great opportunity for us to get to know them better.

To be able to afford to live in Ibiza for the summer, a lot of workers shack up in apartments with 3 or 4 people living in one bedroom. So the center also becomes a place where they can get some space away from home. Through out the years several workers have found salvation and discipleship via 24/7 Ibiza.

 I'd met these two workers one night towards the beginning of the summer. I was out in the streets that night with someone from one of our short term teams. We were stopped by one of the workers because he wanted to tell us that he thought God was trying to talk to him. He tells us that he doesn't really believe in God, but he thinks that God gave him a vision the night before. We get a few minutes to chat with him about his vision, and in the end get to pray with him, and give him and his friend bibles. I feel like the Holy Spirit is leading me to read a specific verse for one of the guys, so I do that, and underline it in the bible I give him. While we chat, he tells us that back at home in the UK, his boss is a Christian, and is always inviting him to church. I leave the encounter knowing that I'll keep praying for him, because God is obviously pursuing him!

So when I get to run into them again, I'm excited. I get to chat with them for a few minutes, and learn that they've met another Christian on the island, who's giving them bits of scripture to read. I've been praying for them, and God has been moving...

I wrap up my chat with them, and then with the rest of my team finally get into the van to head home.

Our journey doesn't last long. The rule is that we don't stop working until the van is parked at home. If we see someone in need on our way home, we stop.

Someone spots a young man asleep in a doorway on a dark street. So we stop to help him. He's been drinking a lot but we manage to wake him. He's so embarrassed, and can't believe that he's fallen asleep in a doorway. While we're chatting with him, one of our team members spots the couple who declined our help earlier. They are in big trouble.

While the boyfriend is actually still stumbling along the sidewalk, we find his girlfriend lying in the middle of the street! The scary thing is that it's a dark area, so it would be easy for someone to simply not see her, and run her over. Since our van is so close we manage to talk them into letting us take them to their hotel.

When we take someone back to their hotel who is really drunk or high, we usually leave a bible and our card on their nightstand. The next day we get a call from the boyfriend. He didn't remember much from night before, but he found our card and just wanted to say thank you. When people call back the next day, it's a great opportunity to get to chat with them sober! I remember once during the summer I helped two girls one night, and the next day, they came by the center to chat and say thank you.

God gives us so many opportunities to share his love and the gospel with people.

Well that's the end of my crazy Thursday night in the West End...I'm hoping there will be many more to come!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One Crazy Thursday

If you read this blog regularly, I talk a lot about what it's like to be out in the streets of the West End at night. Here's a quick video, of someone taking a stroll up the West End on a summer night. (Warning: There are a few brief shots of scantily clad women...but that's the West End!)

I wanted to share in detail about one of my favorite nights in the West End of Ibiza. It was crazy, wild and totally unpredictable!  I remember after this particular night when I got home, I wrote about it in detail in my journal, so that I wouldn't forget anything!

It was a Thursday around 4:30am. We were actually done for the evening, and getting ready to head home. There was a 2 week mission team working with us, and we'd just sent them back to their hotel for the evening. After they left, we got a call on the batphone. During the summer, we give out cards with our number to workers from the local bars and clubs, and to people we meet on the streets. Usually if we get a call on that specific phone, it's someone calling for help. It was a simple call, so 2 of the team headed off to solve the issue, while the rest of us waited. Once they returned, we locked up, and prepared to head home.

On our way to the van, we were stopped by a group of prostitutes. They'd found a woman passed out in an alley, and pointed her out to us. We were able to wake her, and determine where her hotel was. It was in walking distance so we helped her up, and proceeded to walk her back to her hotel.

On the way, we bumped into a young lady named Jenny. I'd never met her before, but she worked in one of the bars in the west end. She pulled me to the side, and just wanted to say thank you. She'd seen the work that 24/7 Ibiza had been doing, and she wanted me to know that she thought it was great. As we were chatting two of her friends joined us. A girl and a guy. That's when the conversation got really interesting. The guy really wanted to know why I was there doing what I was doing. And he wasn't just asking in a flippant way. He really wanted to understand what my motivation was. So not only did I get to tell him why I'd come all the way from America to work with 24/7 Ibiza, I also got to share my testimony with him and the two girls. We spent about 15 minutes talking about God, Christianity, and the Church.

During our conversation, a few of my team members managed to get the girl we'd found in the alley back to her hotel. And now they'd returned. My conversation with Jenny and her friends was winding down, when suddenly chaos broke out.

Several things happened at once.

A group of 5 ladies ran buy us in a hurry (we think running from the police). There was lots of screaming and yelling, and as we glanced down the alley to see what all the commotion was about, we see two people take a pretty hard fall into the street. They'd been accidentally shoved by one of the girls who was running. We rush down to see if they're okay, and there we meet a couple that's on vacation. They've both taken drugs and are pretty out of it. Eventually we'll determine that they've taken ketamine, which is a pretty popular drug on the island. It's not a pretty sight. We find out where they're staying and ask if they want help getting back to their hotel, which isn't far. The boyfriend tells us they're fine, and that they can make it on their own. But it's very obvious to us, that they are not okay...

We hang back a bit watching from a distance. The girlfriend is in a really bad way, not able to stand, and her boyfriend is really in no condition to help her. At one point he is walking away (towards their hotel) and she is left sitting on the curb. We try again to help, but they decline, so we have to leave them. I really hate this, but we can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped...

Little do we know that we'll run into them again very soon...

Since there's nothing else we can do, we decide to head home. On our way back to the van, we run into two workers that I've gotten to know pretty well over the summer...

To be continued...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Human Trafficking

There are so many different types of people in Ibiza. When you're out on the streets at night, you never know who you might meet...
Some of my favorite people to work with are a beautiful group of African ladies on the island. They are brought to Ibiza during the busiest time of year to work as prostitutes.
They are the victims of Human Trafficking.
These beautiful African women, are promised the possibility of a job as a house cleaner or a nanny in Europe. So they leave their homes in Africa, hoping for a better life. Once they get to Europe, they learn the harsh reality. All of a sudden the person who's been "helping" them find a job, tells them that they owe a debt that must be paid off before they can go home. I met one lady who was told she owed $94,000! They are then told that the only work available to them is prostitution. Here are a few shocking facts about Human Trafficking:

  • An estimated 2.5 million people are in forced labor as a result of trafficking.
  • 43% of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation, 98% of them are women and girls
  • An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year
  • 95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking
  • In 46% of cases the recruiter was known to the victim
  • Estimated global annual profits made from trafficking -$31.6 billion

  • (Check out UN.GIFT for more info)

    We actually have a Sunday evening service  in our center in Ibiza, that was started because several of the African ladies told us they wanted to go to church. There were many Sunday nights, I found myself in the back of the room trying not to cry, and wondering how I ended up getting the chance to love on these daughters of God. Their situations are despicable, and there are times that I feel completely helpless. But I know that God sees them, and loves them, and that I am to do the same.

    Just one of the amazing things I get to do in Ibiza...