“Lord, give us your eyes to see as You see, Your heart to love”
You know how often when you pray for patience, God doesn’t simply make you a more patient person but instead gives you a circumstance that will challenge you in the area of patience? Well what if you pray to have His heart for His people? To see with His eyes? These prayers are in accordance with God’s will and He will answer, though it may be difficult to bear the results. As any other Friday night the team met up at Laurie and Daryl’s apartment to prepare gift bags and pray. Before heading out we watched a film called “Branded” that was made to show some of the realities of prostitution in America today. As we watched my heart was so heavy, none of what I heard was really new information, but it was connected to real lives and they were genuinely sharing from their hearts. This was a great way to prepare our hearts to pray for the night. The heartbreak we saw displayed in the film would greet us face to face as we hit the streets that very night.
We spent some time in prayer, seeking Jesus’ face, bringing our own weaknesses before the Lord and putting on the armor of God and then headed out.
When we arrived to the track we made what has become a routine stop at the local roach coach and of course the bathroom! Here we met Jackie. During our first interaction he was taking a can out a trash can and he said hello to us, I sensed something special about him at that moment, I guess because a lot of people don’t volunteer greetings to us. As we headed for the bathroom, we found him again, this time he asked me if I had 38 cents. Having no cash on me, I told him I did not but then asked him what he needed it for. He honestly answered, “beer”. From there I introduced myself and asked what he really needed and he began to pour out his heart, he needed God to fix things, were his words. He began to share how he was in disobedience to the Lord and he knew he needed to get right. He had left his wife just a few days before and after being sober for several years had given into drinking again. He was an addict. We encouraged Jackie that it wasn’t too late, that even though he had made mistakes he could go back, he could turn the other direction, he would never be too far from God’s grace. We prayed with Jackie and then went our separate ways.
L---- was also an addict, she was in her 40s and was addicted to crack. We were amazed at how honest everyone was with us. We talked to her about getting help, she said she had been in and out of rehab and that she knew she just had to get sick of it in order to really make it happen. It’s a hard thing to understand about the human spirit, but we almost always need to come to the end of ourselves before we turn for help…taking the more difficult path. We did pray with her and give her a gift bag and she was very thankful and kind.
R--, told us she wasn’t a prostitute…. I don’t know that that’s true but there was a greater issue at hand for our time with her. She told us that she had been close to hurting somebody that day, someone had disrespected her and if she could get rid of them then it would eliminate further problems with others. She asked us to pray for her, that she wouldn’t do it. She was weighing the consequences for her with the results of her intended actions and for the moment she had chosen not to act on her anger. We did pray for her and again we saw God’s heart as he reached out to this young girl so bound up in pride… God can overcome anything.
The next woman I’ll tell you about we like to call ‘the lady who yelled at Laurie”… we never quite got her name. She was standing with a younger girl who we had met before who was happy to see us and took a gift bag. The yelling woman, was overly kind and excited when we first approached her, giving us all big bear hugs and saying how we were giving up our time to be there, then suddenly …she switched and we were the enemy. She was asking us what we were sacrificing… God had sacrificed His Son, she was “sacrificing” her body, what were we sacrificing? She got really close in Laurie’s face and was shaking her finger at her, and asking questions about the Bible and saying things about the Bible that were way out of wack like “God’s Son and Daughter”. Laurie held her composure (as we all prayed silently asking the Lord for wisdom) and eventually we just walked away. It’s hard to say exactly what happened, it’s possible that she had multiple personalities, it seemed more likely than demonic especially because demons know their scriptures (though they use them out of context)either way… it was a unique experience!
E---- had a son who was 13 and was on trial for molesting his little sister, I cannot imagine the heartache. Yet, this is often part of the cycle these women go through, they themselves may have once been abused, the same for the pimps and it has completely distorted their view of sex and love.
L--- recognized us and asked us to pray for D----, who was pregnant. D---- didn’t want to talk with us or to pray, but L--- received us wholeheartedly on behalf of all three of them (baby too).
N----had a day job at doctor’s office and had been prostituting herself for 17 years. She did not want to stop, she liked the money. Her heart was so hard no doubt from years of giving away the precious gift of herself that God had created for such different purposes. She said she went to church and didn’t need prayer, she was fine. Isn’t that what the enemy of our souls tells us, “you are fine, this is the best you could have, it’s all up to you” and so on…
At one point we tried to talk with a girl who was standing in front of a house, there was a pimp getting in her face and so she ran inside the house. We saw a man on the porch and there was another woman standing outside. We offered her a gift bag and she abruptly said she had no need for one. Something was going on in this home and we wanted to see if we could eventually talk to someone so we waited for a few minutes, after no one came out we left. Later…. We came back down the track and saw the same girl we had first seen so we tried again, again she went into the house. There was a young man (we think either a pimp or he worked for him) outside this time and we asked him what he was doing there, he said it was his parents house (not likely), after offering prayer and gifts for him and his kids, the other man came out and we were able to talk with both of them for a few minutes and give them gifts. They didn’t open up entirely but at least the door cracked a bit…
There were more women that night, some we were able to talk with, some not, but as this is getting entirely too long I will come to a close. We are so thankful for the opportunities God gives us to see as He does, to know His heart more intimately, though sometimes it feels a heavy burden to bear, we take it right back to Jesus. He met us that night and He ordered our steps that we might in His name bring a glimmer of hope to a hopeless place and in that we take great joy and delight.
We covet your prayers for us as a team and for the men and women that we met, may we all keep Jesus as the center and find freedom in the one who alone can loose our chains.
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.” Psalm 145:8