We continue to meet the most amazing people here who are doing incredible and sacrificial things for people who really need love and help. I am working on understanding what rights and resources ARE available for families and women, and so decided on Thursday to visit a center in Ocean View called 'Open Door.' From what I could see it was for children of child abuse, but hadn't heard much more. I met there with a woman named Sharine, who runs the development for the children there. They have an extensive program that has feeding, hygiene, activities, and learning all the children there, as well as programs to help parents and caretakers. They do SO much and Sharine has a deep passion for the community and especially for the children. We were both excited to meet and will work together in the future as well as use one another for references when a need arises in our various ministries.
However, what really struck me as a unique and strange opportunity that has now come my way came as she was sharing the story of a local Ocean View woman named Evarnie. I had heard the major details of this story earlier in the week, as I learned a woman died in Ocean View on Tuesday and it seemed her boyfriend had killed her. She was a white woman and people said she was always walking around drunk. That was all I heard, until Sharine began telling me her story. Evarnie was a white woman whose boyfriend is 'coloured' (the term for white/black mixed race) and they stayed together in Ocean View. She struggled with alcohol abuse and would be out walking around drunk at times. It was also known that Evarnie and Peter would fight often and Evarnie would have bruises, cuts, and breaks to show afterwards. But she also was a Christian and really wanted to change her ways. Sharine continued to encourage her and finally she did get clean, although her boyfriend Peter would show up and verbally abuse her in front of the children and anyone else in ear-shot. Eventually she went back to the alcohol, but continued to share her desire for a new clean life. LONG story short, it is now know that the Evarnie and Peter had an argument about some money she was getting, the fight got out of hand and he killed her. Then he cleaned her up, cleaned up the house, and tried to tell the police she had a heart attack. It quickly became clear the real cause of death and the community seems not to be surprised at all. The craziest part for me, is that as I want talking to Sharine about her friend she was telling me about her desire to have a memorial service and how they needed a pastor, and suddenly I said that I would do it. So now in about a week I am going to help Evanie's family and friends mourn over the untimely death of their mother, sister, and friend. I have no idea why I am doing this, but feel really strongly that I should, and honestly feel honored to bring this woman some dignity and respect. She was far from perfect, just as we all are, but deserved life and love. It is a shocking and tragic real-life example of what can happen with domestic abuse, and possibly even more tragic that this community doesn't seem to be shocked by it all. The fire that is moving me to help these women grows and I know there is a need for community and love for these women who feel so alone. I'll keep you updated on the details - but this is definitely a new thing for me - so please pray!
Lots of love,