Catholic Vancouver May 17, 2017

Volunteers launch outreach to prostituted women

By Agnieszka Ruck

Volunteers Kasia Butkiewicz (left), Mildred Moy, and Yvonne Lee gave out chocolate and Scripture cards to prostituted women May 6 with Marga Sison (not pictured). It was the first midnight trip by Catholic Street Missionaries. (Photo submitted)

Brand-new Catholic Street Missionaries already expanding efforts

VANCOUVER—The Gospel message is dispelling some of the darkness for prostituted women out on the streets at midnight.

“All we have is love,” said Mildred Moy, a member of St. Mary’s Parish in Vancouver. She has been reaching out to prostituted women for more than 13 years.

“They are smart, intelligent, young, and pretty. They can do other things! They think they can do nothing but live on the street, but that is a lie.”

In December, Moy founded Catholic Street Missionaries to reach the homeless and prostituted with the Gospel, warm clothing, a snack, and an offer of friendship. On May 6, she took three volunteers for CSM’s first midnight outreach on Kingsway.

“We walk up to them and just introduce ourselves and give them candies and Scripture cards,” said Moy. The cards contain short Biblical quotes or phrases about God the Father. The volunteers read the cards aloud and invited each woman to choose one that particularly moved her. They also offered to pray for personal intentions.

“It was beautiful seeing how they still desire God’s love, despite their circumstances,” said first-time volunteer Kasia Butkiewicz. “They’re searching for it and there are things that are in the way.”

She met a woman who listened intently as the volunteers read the cards, and chose one that said: “You are my child and I am waiting for you.”

Butkiewicz gave her the card and asked why that phrase stood out. “She said: ‘I’m his child and he’s waiting for me to smarten up and get my life together and come to him!’” Butkiewicz could see tears in the woman’s eyes.

“With women who are prostituted, the biggest thing that they’re missing is love and a love for themselves,” she said. CSM’s aim is not to be preachy, but to “show love and kindness.”

Marga Sison admitted she was nervous when she signed up to take a midnight walk with Moy and the team. “I didn’t really know what to expect,” she said.

She was surprised to find many women, especially those that Moy has been visiting for years, kind and receptive to the Scripture verses.

“If they pray or don’t pray, they accept what we have to share with them. That was really nice: to know that Jesus can work in everyone and anyone.”

The backs of the Scripture cards have phone numbers for recovery houses and helplines printed on them.

The Scripture cards and candy are “just the beginning,” Moy said. “We try to journey with them, walk with them, accompany them, be their support as they find a path to recover or get another job or get off the streets.”

Her message is: “We are the church, your extended family, and we care about you.”

Sison is looking forward to the next midnight outreach. “It’s incredible. I still haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I really want to do it again.”