i went to learn and i was suffocated.
When God calls you to crazy, big, scary things you need to get some facts. God’s burden upon my heart for those caught in sex trade has been thick. And the pressing nudge upon my soul made it clear it was time to take a step.
I went to learn.
Having known now for about six months that God was calling me deeper into the messy to be a Light to those caught in sex trade, I had to set out to learn more. This past week I flew to Atlanta to learn from an amazing ministry Out of Darkness.
I just needed to see this vision God had given me in real life. I needed to talk to those who had gone into the dark. I needed to be prepared.
We set out one evening in a van to minister on the streets in Atlanta. I was anxious. I was nervous. But mostly, I was broken because I knew my life was fixing to change.
As we rounded a corner there stood two girls. Young girls. Looking for men to get their pay. I was watching, trying to take in every detail of the experience. As I lifted up prayers and my heart broke, street sex trade became real. My prayers now had faces to go with them.
Soon I couldn’t breathe.
These beautiful young girls brought tears to my eyes. Why were they out here? How did they get caught up in this world? Were they battered before they were sent out by their pimps for the night?
Trying to process my thoughts, visions, and the actual truth of what I was seeing I began to feel nauseated.
Men from every corner of that parking lot were approaching those young girls. My breathing became labored. My stomach was turning. This was real and it was sickening to my soul.
We approached the girls. As one backed way off not wanting anything to do with us, the other was friendly in conversation. Giving her words of encouragement and offering her a way out we ended our short visit with prayer.
I felt like I needed to gasp for breath from the bottom of my soul. I was suffocating. Not literally suffocating as some of those girls had been accustomed to as pimps hold pillows over their faces to suffocate to take control of them. No, this was a suffocating of my soul.
My breath was taken away by the fact that this is real, it’s here — in your city and in mine. And we choose to turn our eyes the other way, because it’s messy.
Once you’ve seen.
Maybe we choose not to see, because there is a responsibility that comes with seeing. [tweet that]
It’s OK to see it in Africa or India on a mission trip, because we know we can always return to our safe comfortable home. And while we’ll be messed up for awhile, those images will begin to dim and fade away.
But to see faces trafficked just miles from your home, that’s a different story. How can you forget?
God has called us to go into dark places and be the light! It’s messy. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s scary.
It’s time to go.
My soul still feels the suffocating heaviness I felt that night watching the men swarm around those young girls like vultures. I can’t let it go. There are girls here in my hometown too. I’ve seen them. I want to know them.
So, we are going. We are headed out to love on some girls, tell them of their beauty and worth, and offer them a way out. We will be consistent to earn their trust. We will be loving to show them we truly care. We will be scared. We will be wrecked.
But we are going!
If you live in Corpus Christi and you’d like more information, give me a shout.
What have you seen that has suffocated your soul? Where do you need to shine your light? Is it time for you to go?
Thank you Amy Sullivan for your timely challenge to #riskrejection. I’ve taken the risks and I’m all the stronger for it. Thank you to all the others who have encouraged risking! Let’s all go be difference-makers starting right in our hometowns.
About Alene Snodgrass
I love to tell the story whether it is from behind a camera lens, writing at a computer screen, or speaking into the lives of others. With a heart for the broken and down-and-out, I serve others. I'm learning to be fearless to help you be fearless. Follow me on twitter @alenesnodgrass or facebook. Check out my newest book, Graffiti -- scribbles from different sides of the street, written along side a homeless man.