Reflections of headlights flashed on the puddles as twilight set in.
I walked from the car-park looking for the others.
When I got to the corner where I was supposed to meet them, they weren’t there.
Where could they be?
I crossed the busy intersection to the other side, but they weren’t there either.
So down to the tunnel I went, the rain drops falling on my hair.
The entrance to the tunnel was busy but I made my way through.
Gosh, I didn’t realise how long this tunnel was. Past a busker winking at me, past the jostling crowds, out the other side.
I walked a little along the river, looked around, but, no, they weren’t there either.
Now I really don’t know what to do.
I stop to think. I turn slightly and that’s when I see Evie.
Although it’s not until later that I learn her name.
Sitting at the end of the bridge begging. Her head in her hands, behind the scrawled sign “Please help”.
She looks so young.
I go over and sit with her, behind her sign.
“What are you doing here?”
She is homeless, spent the last few nights on the street.
She tells me that everything has been stolen from her as she had slept, her purse, her jumper, even her sanitary pads.
She says that she has a permanent place to go into on Monday, but it’s Friday and she needs help to get through the next two days.
I sit with her. I tell her about Jesus. She says, “That’s funny, everyone keeps telling me about Him.”
Even as we speak someone walks past and drops a gospel tract into her begging container.
She points to a man begging in the middle of the bridge.
“He’s mad at me, I have to watch out for him, I’m in his patch and taking his business from him. He’s a druggy.”
We have dinner together and afterward I put her in touch with a women’s shelter, I say that I will pray for her and we part.
I walk back along the river, back through the tunnel.
Back to where I was originally meant to meet with the other street preachers.
And I see them. Right there. They have been there all along.
I had walked right by them and not seen them. Somehow.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Tuesday night I pray. I pray for Evie and other stuff. I wait on God.
He says to me, clear as anything, “Go to Evie.”
“Go to Evie.”
But Lord, she moved into a place yesterday, she is fine now.
“Go to Evie.”
But Lord, she’s not there at the bridge anymore
“She will be there, go to Evie.”
Ok. If you give me an opportunity to go, I will go to her.
My parents drop in and say they will mind my son.
I drive into the city.
The whole way there I think that I must be crazy, what am I doing? I could be sitting child-free in a café somewhere…
But I go anyway.
The car parked, I get out, walk. Then, for some reason, I start to run. I run and run to the bridge. I come over the crest and look to see if she is there.
She is there. She is begging.
I run to her, out of breath.
“Evie! what are you doing here? You were meant to move in to a place on Monday!”
She looks at me and says “Why are you running?” as only a teenager can.
I laugh, embarrassed, because I don’t know why I’m running myself.
Then she says “The place didn’t work out”
We have lunch.
Turns out she had gotten to the bridge five minutes before I arrived.
Another time she met my husband and we went out to dinner.
She came to my home once.
She said she was bringing someone for me to meet.
(Please God don’t let it be a man.)
I go out to meet her in the drive-way and she’s carrying a baby girl.
18 month old Rose.
Rose had been removed, but was now returned to her mum, Evie.
Because, Evie tells me, a house has become available for her.
Her boyfriend is getting out of jail
and her mum is coming to live with them too.
They stay for a while. Rose is so sweet. Evie is too.
That’s the last time I see her.
She moved into the house with her daughter, boyfriend and mum.
It’s far from here.
But she texts me and tells me that they’re doing well.
…….God didn’t let me see the friends I was meant to meet that night
Instead He wanted me to meet Evie,
A young mum,
But He knew.
And He had His eye on little Rose the whole time.
Truly His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting.