he understands

Since I’m preparing to go back out with YWAM Madison in less than a month (!!!), I thought I’d let you in on a little something I wrote in my journal earlier this year when I went with YWAM to Asia. It’s about my first time doing ministry in a red light district. Please pray with me for these girls and men. My heart is for them, and they are so deeply loved by God, every single one. And there is a very real hope for them in Christ Jesus.


You can feel their eyes on you as you pass by. That’s how you know you’ve arrived.

As a girl, you stand out here. There are only men loitering around. No women in sight.

Venture in a little further and you find all the girls. They’re standing together in groups. They’re not talking and giggling like you’d expect girls to do.

They’re strangely silent; stiff. They stare straight forward. They’re perfectly groomed, perfectly dressed, standing in perfect little lines.

It takes a second for a westernized mind to register.

They wait. They wait in their perfect little lines, in perfect silence, looking perfectly beautiful. And they wait there until a man approaches their group and carefully picks out which one of them will be the perfect ending to his evening.

And so his perfect woman leads him to a one-room apartment, about seven-by-seven feet small, with an over-used mattress in the corner.

Her bare feet move with ease, familiar with every bump and groove in the sloppily made cement stairs leading to the room.

She’s traversed them so many times these days that she knows every step by heart.

This room is home, sweet home by day; her “office” by night.

But how could she call a place like this “home”? And how could he so blindly see this as just her office? It’s a room full of night terrors and crying. It’s a place she should never have to be.

Yet here she is again, her heart desert-dry and cracking just a little more each time she is purchased by a man.

She moves mechanically, regardless of how she feels. Because she’s done this a million times before, and it’s all in a day’s work.

Back on the street, the ladies are still standing there in perfect formation. Waiting.

And all you can do as you pass by each girl is clasp her soft, uncalloused hands in yours, pray for her, and wrap her in the warmest, most heart-felt hug you can muster. It’s not a feeling you have to conjure up. It’s something that might explode out of you.

You smile lovingly, and smooth back her hair with a careful, gentle hand.

“Beautiful. You’re beautiful,” you whisper softly in English, and you pray to God that somehow she understands you.

He understands her. That’s the good part. He understands.

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