In 2015, Bevelyn, Edmee and Jessica went to share Jesus in Baltimore and Charlotte. Here’s what happened when they encountered two mothers:
Baltimore was memorable. Whether it was ministering to the youth, drug dealers and users, or literally having church in the Park with homeless people, our experience in Baltimore really impacted our ministry. One rainy day we decided to go to the mall to see if there were people we could minister to.
On our way out, a young woman (let’s call her Monique) with two young children approached us. She asked us, “Can you help me get a hotel for the night? I have no place to stay.” Obviously, we knew that this was the assignment the Lord had prepared for us. Now the dilemma was, how could we really help this homeless woman and her two children? Was there a long-term solution? We asked Monique how come she was on the streets? She proceeded to explain that she was living with her mother, but was kicked out. A neighbor had warned her mother that she would lose her Section 8 if she had her daughter and babies living there.
We were baffled. To play the devil’s advocate, if what Monique was telling us was true, we may have “understood” if the mother had kept the babies and kicked her daughter out if she really was having issues with her daughter being there. However, to kick her and the babies out for fear of losing her Section 8 was beyond our comprehension. Monique then shared that she had been living in a shelter for 90 days, but her time was up—thus her being stranded on the streets.
Bevelyn then began to question her to further understand how a shelter could put a mother and two small children out after 90 days, as if doing so was nothing. Bevelyn, being familiar with the system, asked if they put her in any housing programs or helped her find a job during the 90-day process? It just didn’t make sense to us. Monique just answered no, and was very short with her other answers. For some reason, she seemed not to care about the questions Bevelyn was asking. While this was going on, Jessica was playing with the two children.
The oldest was a three-year-old girl named Deedee. She was pretty but was not talking yet. Her little brother was one. We wanted to find her a place they could stay for longer than one night, so we started to Google places for her. Monique shared that she knew some of these places, but seemed only to want to get to a hotel she knew was not too far from the mall. Looking at the children and knowing she had nothing but a tiny stroller and a few diapers and a baby bottle, we could not just take her to the hotel without at least getting the children some clothes, food, and toiletries.
We headed to the hotel. As soon as we arrived, Jessica and Edmee got out the car with Monique and Deedee, while Bevelyn stayed in the car with the baby. Monique knew how to check in, where to go, she even knew the exact price for the room. We realized that this was not her first time there. As Bevelyn was waiting in the car and playing with the baby, she noticed something was odd with the baby bottle. The liquid inside looked sour. No wonder, the baby was crying on our way to the hotel when Monique wanted to feed him the bottle. This concerned Bevelyn.
We then headed to Walmart. Once we arrived and got out the car, we prompted Monique toward the carts and told her to get whatever she needed for her and the babies. As we walked behind her, we grew more concerned. We noticed that her food selection was not suitable for babies. We continued to watch as she walked over to the clothing section, and also there, the selection was not suitable for their living situation being in such a state of emergency. We decided to take over, for lack of a better word and started to point Monique to items she really needed not wanted—starting with baby food with fruit and vegetables, powdered milk, and water. We explained to her that the children needed nutritious food. While packaged goods may not be the best, they’re certainly better than items that are altogether junk food. We had selected onesies for the children and told Monique she could get an outfit for her to wear. When we saw her get skimpy shorts, it confirmed to us that her priorities were not straight.
Our ride back to the hotel was somewhat quiet. Jessica played some more with the kids. “Listen before you go ahead in the hotel, I need to let you know something,” Bevelyn said. She then proceeded “While I’ve been here in your city, I’ve met a lot of people with serious issues, some drugs, some money, all different vices. But with you, your issue is them boys.” She continued, “It’s all cute and fun when you ain’t got no kids, but you got two children to focus on. And I’m going to let you know right now, those are God’s kids, and they are going to be OK. God will take care of them.” Bevelyn ended by saying, “So you can either get with the program or not, but whether you do or you don’t, those kids are gonna be taken care of with or without you—thus says the Lord.” Monique replied, “OK.” We gave her and her children a hug and left them at the hotel.
To be truthful, we were sad and overwhelmed at their situation, especially the children. On our way back, we kept thinking about what we’d witnessed, and kept wondering how the enemy could have so much room to play in people’s lives? From the Section 8 situation to a 24-year-old woman being on the streets with two babies, who did not seem to have her priorities in order? While it’s true that Monique may not have known better, we were overwhelmed. Where would they be going the next day? However, we had to trust that she would heed to what we believed the Lord wanted her to know that day. We were also thankful that this young woman had decided not to abort her children. While certain things begged to be criticized about her, where were the fathers? At least, she was still there for them.
A few months later, we decided to go minister in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bevelyn met up with a friend named Randi and invited him to join us on a trip to the Salvation Army to minister. This idea had come along early in the trip, and we thought it would be great to minister with Randi in Charlotte. We decided to bring socks along with us to give away to people. The weather had been wet and rainy while in Charlotte, and we figured it would supply some comfort to individuals we encountered. Once we got to the Salvation Army, we went to the office to get approval on giving things away, and speaking to the people. They gave us the green light and also directed us to where to go. While Randi went to give away socks in the men’s section of the building, we went ahead and visited with the women and children in their section. We placed the boxes on the main table and invited the women to get some socks. Ninety-nine percent of them eagerly made their way and got socks. Some others even fought over the socks and argued. This gave us the opportunity to minister, and to speak peace and humility over them. While we started to get comfortable with the people there, Bevelyn noticed a young woman (we’ll call her Shannon} sitting quietly in the back.
Bevelyn walked up to her and asked her if she would like some socks? She assumed Shannon would want some for herself and the baby she was holding. Little did she know that the three other children who were playing around her were also hers. Shanon, who was 24-years-old, had four children, the oldest was four and the youngest was one. Bevelyn realized she only had socks for men and women, and none that could fit the kids. At that moment Bevelyn sat with her and inquired about her situation and why she was in the shelter? She did not give much information, aside from the fact she had her babies back to back and was going through a lot at the time. As she spoke to Bevelyn, the Lord began to pour words of encouragement into Bevelyn’s ear to speak. Bevelyn asked, “can I pray for you?” Shannon shook her head, yes. Bevelyn then began to witness, saying, “You are a strong mother. You are a blessed mother. These children are a gift, not a burden. Do not be ashamed. You are not a loser. You are not a nobody You are not a worthless woman with only four children to show for your life.” She continued, “You are blessed. The enemy lied to you when he told you that you were anything less that that. You are a wife. Your children will not be ashamed of you; they will look up to you. They will be proud of you.”
As Bevelyn prayed, tears fell profusely down the young lady’s face. Bevelyn could see that the words the Lord gave her to speak were obviously something Shanon needed to hear. The biggest thing that stood out to Bevelyn at that moment was that with all the fussing the other people had been doing over socks, this woman sat quietly in the back asking for nothing—yet she needed it the most. Bevelyn then went to Edmee and gave her a briefing on the encounter, and then stated that she felt it on her heart to give her some money. Edmee proceeded to go to the car and get the money.
As she returned, she saw that Jessica had already delved into playing with the children. They were watching cartoons on Jessica’s phone and were eager to search for a show called Paw Patrol. Edmee sat right next to Shannon, gave her the money, and spent some time with her. She was a little quiet while watching over her children. The people in the room were all waiting for the 5:00 p.m. dinner. You could tell she wanted to make sure her children did not cause trouble. By now, half the people in the room were paying attention to the game being played between Bevelyn and three other women. They were playing spades. This was hilarious. The people were in awe as they watched Miss “Christian” Bevelyn “buss heads” so illmatic like she did. It was gangsta and awesome all in one package. Bev was killing it!
While this was going on, Edmee noticed that Shannon’s baby was playing with the only bag, Shannon had. Edmee suspected Shannon was letting her baby play with it to keep him quiet. However, the calm ended when a baby bottle dropped out the bag. The baby started to cry. Shannon immediately picked it up and hid it from her baby, as the milk inside was not good. This took Edmee back to the time when they were in Baltimore and brought her thoughts back to Monique. Both women were 24 years old. Both women were on the streets with children. However, Shannon would rather let her child be hungry than feed him sour milk. Edmee asked Shannon if she could get her and her children some food. Shannon proceeded to explain that they were not allowed to eat in the waiting room. Really? So why were there other women, older than Shannon, with no kids eating fried chicken in the room? “I don’t know,” Shannon replied, but as far as she was concerned, she did not want to disrespect the rules.
This was so humbling to see. Edmee went to Jessica and said, “This is Walmart time!” We discussed going there to get everything we could, from food to clothes, diapers, you name it. She then went to Bevelyn to explain their plan. This time, it would just be Jessica and Edmee making the trip. God forbid if we had taken Bevelyn away from the game, as it had become the entertainment of the afternoon for the whole room. Edmee went back to Shannon and asked how long she’d be on location. Shannon explained that she’d be staying in the waiting room until it was time for dinner.
As soon as Jessica and Edmee arrived at Walmart, they headed to the baby section. They did not spare any expense. There were four children and a woman to feed and clothe!!!! We took everything we knew Shannon would be able to handle (knowing she had four kids and no stroller). We had to think of how she would carry the stuff. So we got a rollaway bag. The integrity this woman had despite her circumstances really fueled Edmee’s passion for what we were doing. The Lord added an extra boost once we arrived at the kids’ clothing section. There were onesies that were located front and center, and would you believe that they all were showing the characters from “Paw Patrol.” We were thrilled! We knew this was the Lord not only providing for their needs but also their likes.
By the time Jessica and Edmee returned to the Salvation Army, Shannon had already gone to the cafeteria. We all got in the car and packed everything in the rolling bag as neatly as we could. We then proceeded to the welcome center and asked if they could ask Shannon to meet us. When she arrived, we discreetly handed her the rolling bag, letting her know it was for her and the children. This was a pretty brief exchange. There was not much to be said. However, we believe it was a powerful exchange. We knew she would appreciate what the Lord had done through us, and were thankful to have met her.
Psalm 127:3 reads Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
Encountering these two women and their children confirmed that the Lord really has the heart to provide and to be the provider, despite the harsh situations we may find ourselves in. We also saw firsthand that Our Father has the heart to bless children, and that if we give Him the opportunity to provide for them, He will. These women may have made poor choices, but we commend them for doing just that—giving the Lord the opportunity to provide for them by not taking away their children’s right to life. This is not to condemn the women who’ve aborted their children, as there is forgiveness for those who receive it and repent. However, it is an appeal to mothers AND fathers to trust God at His word when He says that children are a gift from Him.