Our last stop for PEACEMAKERS Global Prayer Mission USA was Tennessee, Nashville’s Cumberland View Projects, aka, the infamous Dodge City. We were told that this was one of the most crime-ridden areas, and had a string of weird looks and much discouragements from residents living outside the area. They told us that it would be unsafe for us to go there. But, this was not the first time we were told this about an area, town or city which we were about to Patrol. Thankfully we had Prayer Shields in the UK, New York, and Florida.
On the morning of the Patrol, our guide did not turn up and we were unable to make contact with him by telephone. However, we had a friendly bus driver who was familiar with the area and along the journey, we had opportunities to listen and chat with computers, and to pray.
As we were approaching Dodge City, the heavens opened. It rained continually, and so heavily, in fact, it lasted the whole period designated for the Patrol, so that we were forced to stay on the bus, and to pray from the bus. We could barely see through the rain drenched windows, and the little that we did see driving through the projects, was not a pretty site.
On our way back into the City, the rain began to lift, and we got off the bus outside Nashville’s Women’s Rescue Mission. We were not met with kindness nor empathy, and we were not allowed to speak with the women inside nor on the grounds outside. Someone said this was perhaps because we did not contact the Centre manager beforehand, and therefore we had no permission for a visit. But, there was a sheltered area about 200 yards across from the main Mission building, where several women sat smoking, taking cover from the drizzling rain. These women were extremely hard to reach. Some of them swore, some turn their backs as we approached them, one woman spat on the ground and a few just looked as if they were looking straight through us, their eyes appeared glazed as if staring into space, while some chatted in small clusters. However, of the lot, one young woman agreed to speak with us. She said we should refer to her as Dee.
Dee has been homeless for around 4 years, spending time in several shelters, and moving through a few States, but had been at this one for almost 2years. At first, she appeared sarcastic in tone, but as we engaged in conversation, she became less suspicious and became open and engaging. She told us that it was hard for someone to get out of this sort of situation, but that she longed for change. She was hopeful that one day she too would have money, get a place of her own, and make a better life for herself as well as having sufficient to also help others. She was keen that that break would come about from the lottery or some other big break like the Lottery. Dee had done some volunteering in the past, she had seen others getting out but somehow it seemed that she was never fortunate to be offered that chance. She also said that women sometimes were raped, robbed and abused in some of these Homes, and she was tired of this way of life. We listened and prayed with her, during the prayer a worker came over and ask us to move on. We truly felt that this was a case that Peacemakers could adopt and offer some sort of sponsorship. Dee would not give us her full name nor a personal contact telephone number, but she did promise to visit our website and that she would contact Reverend Palmer through the Contact Us page. So far, we have not heard from her. It is our hope that in time she may get in touch.
Dee remains in our thoughts and prayers, and although we were not allowed to use our camera on the grounds, we got one of Dee and the Rev as they sat in the shelter across from the Mission Centre.
Nashville Rescue Mission – Women Housing