Sunday, July 29, 2012

What are little girls made of?

It is estimated there are up to 27 million slaves worldwide, and that 99% of victims are NEVER rescued. Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime. A UNICEF report says up to 2,000,000 children are currently being exploited around the world for purposes of sex or pornography. In some cases, children are forced to work as prostitutes serve as many as 40 men per day.

This week, we met some of those little girls. As I looked at the sweet faces of these little girls, I thought of the children that used to be my students, I thought of my little cousins, I imagined what it would be like if they were my children. I listened to them pour out their hearts through tears. 

We visited the house of one sweet little girl....I listened to one sweet girl who was only as tall as my elbow tell me about her entrance to prostitution in order to help her mother who was dying (but was later manipulated by men involved). I looked at her mother lying on a mat on the floor and could tell she was close to death... Elizabeth and I decided to call a lady who is a nurse that we know to come and help her mother. The sweet little girl immediately connected with us, desperate for help. I'm excited to see what God does in her life. 

God has truly expanded our ministry to whole new levels. We have our hands full and are more and more need for a safe house for these sweet girls. 

We had a team come pray with us last week in front of the biggest brothel in San Jose. As we prayed, one of the team members asked me to comfort her because she was overwhelmed with the complete darkness. As I listened to her speak, I remembered the promises of God for this very type of darkness. And although our ministry does take us into some of the darkest places, we have seen God's light in the midst of that. It's an honor to carry Light... it's because of grace we have that light. 
Working in such a dark ministry has made me love the Lord and love His Light more and more. 

There is hope. As Christians, we hold the hope. 

Connections, ministry, friendship

A few nights ago, I received a phone call at 10:30 as I was going to bed (obviously one of the few nights we aren't out on the streets). On the other end of the phone, I heard the voice of one of the women we work with, Sarah. I have been visiting her on the streets and mentoring her for the past few months; but she has never come to the church services or other things we do in the ministry house. God's timing is incredible... truly incredible. When we are obedient to Him, He does the coolest things! This is one of those things. A few weeks before, I asked Sarah about her brother and she lost it... she began to share with me about his life. He had been in jail for the past 10 years, but before going to jail had contaminated many women with AIDS without their knowledge. She told me that she thought that was a sin and I agreed. She then told me that she might just go and tell him that he needs to repent. I told her that would be a fine idea, encouraging her in her endeavors to help mentor her brother. Why hadn't she thought of this in the past 10 years since he has been in jail? God's timing!

A few days later, her brother died of AIDS. I was the first person she called when she heard the news. She said that the only reason that she had peace, was because she knew her brother had repented after she shared with him what was on her heart... incredible. 

I cried as I listened to her speak on the other end of the phone.... what an honor it is to be the person that someone calls when they are in their hardest moments. What an honor. That is why we go to the streets. To reach hearts. 

The 'pimps' miracle continued

I know I blogged a few weeks ago about a pimp's wife being healed after we prayed with him in the park. We saw this man again last night and he asked us to come to his house and pray for his wife once more. God has saved her from death, and now she is at home, but still has pain. We gladly agreed and Carlos and I went to see her this morning. Carlos took his guitar and we sang and prayed over this woman. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Pimp's encounter with God!

        Last week, as we stood on the streets talking to some of the men prostitutes; a car came flying by and then slammed on the breaks right in front of us. One of the most well-known pimps from the biggest brothel in the city got out of the car. He was looking for us frantically (we had just passed him a few minutes before). He asked us to pray for his wife of 30 years who was "FOR SURE" going to die. She was in ICU in a coma with a swollen brain, the doctors wouldn't even let him enter. We cried out to God for a miracle. We wanted this pimp to see God.
       The next day he went to see her and she was awake and recognized him. With tears in his eyes he screamed, "He did it. God did the miracle!"
Wow! Pray for this man's life to be transformed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Called to Cry

In the past few weeks, I have been awaken in the middle of the night. I sit up in my bead as tears stream down my face and I feel the urgent call to pray, to intercede. I have been asking God about how to pray for these victims, and He has been teaching me a lot about prayer through experience. As I begin to pray for these men and women and children, some I barely know, I can feel the heart of God. I can feel His heart break for these hurting people. I feel his desire to redeem them and to rescue them. I can feel their pain and their desperate need for someone to fight for them. I believe that a lot of that fighting happens through intersession.

God has my heart completely, I am madly in love with Him. But what I want to search for is His heart. His heart for these men and women and children.

I think we are all called to cry out to God. We are all called to come into agreement with God's heart and to pray. Let's cry out for these victims of exploitation.... these parentless children who have no one interceding for them.

Arise, cry out in the night,
    as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord. 
Lift up your hands to him
    for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
    at every street corner.
-Lamentations 2:19 

I am thankful that there was someone praying for me in my hardest moments. I believe that through their prayers, battles were fought and won. 
Although I do not understand how, I have seen it first hand. 

It's an honor that God wants to take the time to share His heart with us. 

Who are you crying out for? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's in the small things!

"When you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes."
Jeremiah 19:12-14 
We are claiming this promise for the men, women and children who are coming to our church service at Casa Ágape every other Sunday. There are a lot of hearts being turned toward Jesus & seeking God, this is one of them... please pray for him. 

Last week Carlos and I planned a soccer game for the male prostitutes and some of the guys from our YWAM base. It was incredible. These boys see men as people who take, who abuse, who use, and who see them as objects. The soccer game was powerful because the guys were able to be around and enjoy time with people who wanted to take nothing but give friendship. The guys we minister to were so impacted... they actually looked people in the eyes... and if for a brief few hours got to live like and to relate to others as 'normal people'. And they knew without a doubt, that there was something different about these men they were playing soccer with... something they had never seen before. For a while, they were able to relax and enjoy the freedom in playing. For a while they were able to feel on the same level as everyone else; not as a slave. They want to continue to have soccer games, they absolutely LOVED it! Pray that we can find a cheaper place to continue building trust and discipling these guys! They have called Carlos throughout this week to talk to him about another game! Some of the guys who showed up for the soccer game are guys that we never dreamed would actually come! 

We have been pouring into one lady, Laura*, from the streets for some time now. We have a very strong relationship with her and she accepted Christ alongside the girls from our ministry. She comes to church each Sunday, brings her niece and nephew, and she sometimes knows our ministry schedule better than I do! :) She is a sweet girl who deeply desires a different life but who has had a horrible and terrific life. For the last 2 weeks, Carlos and I have been driving around taking her to doctor appointments for her teeth. At the first appointment, she sat holding my hand as I talked to the doctor. She just looked from me to the doctor, then back to me. She is older than I am, but acted like my daughter. The insecurities in her were so obvious even in this little situation. Laura acted like a 14 year old. I felt like her mother. And then I realized that she was first abused as a child... and from that moment forward she stopped growing emotionally. She feels so unworthy; it was evident in her eyes and her trembling voice. But what a privilege it is for us to disciple this girl in a process to get her off of the streets and to declare the truth of God over her life. We listened as the doctor told her that every one of her teeth had to be pulled out as soon as possible.... she has literally never even valued herself enough to practice any 'self-care'. The ministry is paying for these emergency needs of hers. Please keep her in your prayers in this hard time. 
*Name changed for protection.

Next week we will be having meetings with some government officials about the 'Safe House'. Excited to see what God does. These victims, these children, need a home and need love and need a savior.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

God's hand at work!

God’s Power in the Park
On Thursday night our team went to the streets with a youth group that is here on a mission trip to pray on the streets. We prayed for about 2 hours, and as we were about to leave, a man ran up screaming. He had the wildest look in his eyes like he was literally about to ‘lose it’. He was urgently asking for candies.... he was not even listen to us as we responded to his questions but pushingly continuing to beg for candies. Carlos and Johnny laid hands on the boys back and just began to pray. As the pray, the holy spirit interrupted the situation completely. Both Carlos and Johnny were being led by the spirit, and began to pray and declare truths over this young man’s life. As they prayed, the entire demeanor of this guy changed. It was incredible.... his shoulders began to relax, he stopped yelling, he let his head hang relaxed.... and then he put his hands to his face as he began to weep. The power of the Holy Spirit is incomparable, when he moves and speaks, things change. This was a huge testimony for me just to witness the power of God’s touch.... at the end of the prayer, Carlos talked to the boy for a while and poured into his life. The boy shared that he was a drug addict and very young... and after that experience something changed in his heart. Before we left, Carlos got his phone number and will continue meeting with him to help him change his life.
I was really impacted as we were leaving; God told me to speak to him about his father. As I told him that he had a father who loved him, he said through sobs, “I don’t have a father! I’ve always been alone”. I explained to him that he had a loving father in heaven who has and will ALWAYS be with him, who loves him and who desires to help and to bless him. We continued talking about this and then he asked, “If God is there, why can’t I ever see him”. I told him that he CAN see God... he CAN feel Him... he CAN hug him.... that God sent us as his representation here on this Earth. God has chosen us Christ-Followers to be his hands, to be his voice, to be his arms, to speak through us to reach every person... and GOD himself sent us that night to love that boy. What an privilege as christ-followers that we get to be God’s representation on Earth... what an awesome Father we serve. 
Amazing Freedom Street Ministry Church Service on Sunday
On Sunday we had the church service at Casa Agape. This is the church service that we hold for the prostitutes. 35 people showed up for church! I was so thrilled with the turn out! Some of the transvestites that we work with who have always ‘hated church’ came. Some women who are victims of exploitation whom we have ben helping for months came! Carlos was our preacher for the service and he shared about ‘our value and how we see ourselves affects our dreams’. It was such a powerful message. The entire church was almost in tears (some of the transvestites were crying as God spoke to their hearts). At the end of the service, one young boy who is a prostitute and victim of exploitation (and has been since his early teens) accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior! It was SO incredible to see God speak to his heart and see him find freedom! Of course, getting off of the streets and out of this horrible situation will be a long process; but he has found the start of a changed life. He was beyond emotional as he poured out his heart to God in front of the entire church through tears. It is amazing to me to watch people who are in the very darkest and ‘hopeless’ situations find the transforming love of Christ. I am so honored to walk this process with him.  
God is in the HEALING business
On Saturday night we went to the street to minister to the prostitutes as we do every Saturday night. At one corner, we came across a young transvestite who has a sad, horrible, story... he is not on the streets out of his own will but by force. The week before he told us that he was diagnosed with hepatitis and that it may be fatal. We prayed for his, that God would heal him. When we saw him on Saturday, he came running up to the van. He could not wait to tell us his news. He was in shock, declaring that 'God healed him'. He had returned to the doctors who were in shock to announce that it was just completely gone... that he had been healed....  they were all in shock and called it a 'miracle'. Although this miracle was amazing.... the most amazing part is the Miracle Giver. God goes to such great lengths to show us his love and his pursuit on our lives...