Somewhere to Turn
Often when we meet girls during our outreaches we never know if we will ever see them again or what will happen to them. The afternoon before our weekend outreach we took some time to pray for the girls we have met in the past and the ones we would meet that night. One of our staff, Brenna, had the thought that whatever we said to the girls that night as we handed them the gift bag, may be the last nice thing they EVER hear in their lives. This created such a sense of urgency for us. We have a mission and we have a message to share with these girls; that there is a God whose love for them is endless. What if the words we speak to them prompt them to cry out to Jesus in a life or death situation, which they are faced with every single night, and in that moment they are protected and experience what it means to be loved by God?
God called us. He goes before us and we follow. He began this ministry and placed us together into a team with passion to see these girls hearts transformed because if we don’t go, then who is going?
This weekend we were reminded of the importance of being lead by the Holy Spirit. There were a series of moments where we wondered what we would have done if we didn’t have the covering of Jesus over us. Looking back on the night we saw how God was literally guiding each of our steps, the placement of our car, where our eyes were looking, what our ears were hearing, and what our hearts we prompting us to do. We were awake and alert for the events of that night.
We had the opportunity to revisit some of the women we had met before. Some of them had on our hearts and minds throughout the past week. As we stood on the corner with them, we were able to engage in more conversation with one girl in particular who wasn’t interested in talking the previous time we had met her. She even felt comfortable enough to share her name with us, unlike the time before. At one point a police officer had been doing a couple of rounds past us as we stood there talking. Some of the regular officers that work the area know who we are, what we are doing, and allow us the opportunity to reach out to the girls before they pick them up. This night the officer passing by didn’t appear to know who we were and seemed curious as to what we were doing. The girls began to get a little worried when they saw him continue to pass by. Although prostitution is illegal in California, many of these girls are forced and manipulated into selling their bodies on the streets. Getting “caught” by the police means consequences from their pimps. Whether it is a beating, forcing them to sell their bodies in order to bring in more money and make up the cost of bail, leaving their children without mom, or the reality of more of a criminal record- there will be consequences and that is scary. Just being with the girls in that moment, brought comfort to them. At one point I casually reminded one of the girls that we were just there as friends talking to them; that made her feel secure. Knowing that we were there to support her and offer a hand built relationship and trust. It’s a part of the process. Building trust so that in the moments of need they know they have somewhere to turn.
God’s protection was evident that night, and His timing, as always, was exact. Each person on our team is so rooted in the love of God that fear isn’t intimidating to us at all. Every part of the sex industry: street gangs, pimps, and traffickers are intimidating. Everything about those things shout stay away this is dangerous, and we should be afraid according to the danger they hold. But our God is stronger. He has proved it to us night after night of outreach and year after year of our lives. We can always look back and see that God was there, every time. It’s one thing to know that in our minds but another to acknowledge it in every moment of our day as Holy Spirit leads us into the will of God.