BY TINITA WEEKeS
In my 8 years of living and ministering in the Tenderloin, I have seen and encountered a lot. I have seen fist fights, weapons drawn, victims of serious crimes, and sadly even death. In the face of it, I have felt such a mix of emotions from fear, courage, anxiety, and helplessness.
Light is being brought into this neighborhood through the ministry of YWAM and others. I am now on my own path to see how much medicine can be another way for His light to shine. Medicine can help bring physical life to someone in order to pave the way for them to experience life in all the other ways that they need it - spiritual and emotional life.
My personal missions statement is to create and strengthen safe environments for people in crisis, in order to help restore life and bring physical, spiritual and emotional wholeness. In practical ways medicine has been powerful within the walls of our drop-in center - from responding to seizures, patching up wounds and sometimes simply offering a band-aid to help prevent infection by covering the many scrapes and cuts that can be accumulated while living on the streets.
In one recent moment of helplessness as a stabbing victim lay right outside our door, I waited for the ambulance trying to calm and reassure the man. I wanted to be able to do more - to be able to stop the bleeding but I could not. At that moment, I decided I would not be helpless again. I wanted to learn, in a practical way, how to save and restore life, so I trained to be an EMT. Because of my training, within the ministry, I can care for the whole person in times of crisis.
Right now, I see so many connections with the suffering of Christ and with those that we minister to in this neighborhood. Jesus can relate to those in trauma, pain, bleeding - He has experienced it all. He did that for us, and he can assist me in being a part of relieving it in others.
In that helpless moment outside our door with the stabbing victim, Jesus spoke to me. He told me that in the face of all of the blood that I saw I didn’t have to be afraid of it, but to focus on the fact that blood is a life source - just as His blood gives life to our souls.
Now YWAM is equipping ourselves and our community by offering free CPR/First Aid classes to staff, the Tenderloin and the greater church community in San Francisco. In this way, more of us can be prepared to use our hands to respond to Jesus’ friends and give life in every way.