Positively Alene

stepping over fear to love a messy world

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.

Chick6

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.

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  • Meredith Sings

    Don’t stop telling the stories.
    Do NOT stop convicting the hearts of this complacent generation.
    Keep going….
    I am praying for you, and for the precious hearts of the women and girls that you will encounter.

    You inspire me.

  • scared

    I want to be as brave as you are.

    • http://www.positivelyalene.com/ Positively Alene

      Dear Scared — I’m not as brave as I sound. I’m truly a scared south Texas girl who is just in love with Jesus enough that I follow where He leads.

  • http://mary-hess.blogspot.com Mary J Hess

    You can do this. I know it. You are brave. You are strong. You have something to offer these girls. Go for it. He’s got your back. He’s leading the way. Cheers, my friend!

  • jill_richardson

    This is so beautiful, which I guess is an odd thing to say about a situation so ugly. But your love shining through every word is what’s beautiful, and your conviction that you’re in this thing, even as it hurts. God will do mighty things with love and commitment.

  • Amy L. Sullivan

    I totally agree with what you say about “once you have seen”. It’s easy to go and see and then come home and not think about it. It’s a totally different story when the faces you see are faces you can and will see again.

  • http://www.ahearteninglife.com/ Christy Willard

    So thankful for people who follow their passions/God’s leading in their life. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking to come to face with that reality. I work with an organization that deals with protecting kids from sexual abuse. It’s not easy, but such rewarding and necessary work. Thank you for sharing about your experience!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life
    http://www.ahearteninglife.com

  • http://www.elizabethingersoll.blogspot.com/ Beth Ingersoll

    It’s a great thing that you are doing, and it needs to be done. But I disagree with one thing–once you have seen, no matter where you are, you do NOT forget. I DID see in Africa, I saw the truck stops those girls wait around. I saw them get picked up off the side of the road. I saw the shame they bore, too ashamed to look you in the eyes, because for them, they are doing it for survival, not because they want to, or for drug money, or anything selfish. They do it simply to eat, feed their siblings. Many are forced into it by their parents, because they can’t find jobs and feed their own kids. I saw twelve-year-old prostitutes. I have a twelve-year old, and I can’t fathom it. Still to this day can’t wrap my mind around it….Seeing it across the globe instead of down the street does not make any less real, I promise…but blessed are you that will reach out those that ARE just down the street.

    • http://www.positivelyalene.com/ Positively Alene

      Love your comment! And I think it’s the same on the streets of the good ol’ USA, Beth. These women won’t want to be there. Many are put out by their parents, uncles, and even business men — and it is survival to meet the needs that those pimping them require. It’s sickening. I agree with Fivehearts Onefamily above — some of us don’t forget and others do. Some of us, God let’s us see enough to raise up a holy passion and anger within us so that we’ll do something. Others, He let’s see other things to ignite their holy fire. Either way, it’s a dark messy world out there when we open our eyes to really see.

  • Lisa Van Engen

    You inspire me.

  • http://myplacetoyours.com/ Susan @ My Place to Yours

    Ah, yes… The responsibility that comes with seeing. Praying God will open our eyes before it’s too late.

  • Fivehearts Onefamily

    I think these kind of experiences are different for everyone. One person will travel, see something heart-wrenching and then go back to the comforts at home and in essence, forget. Another person may see the same heart-wrenching thing and be changed forever, unable to forget and therefore a passion would hopefully start to grow in God’s glory. Different things touch us in different ways. Unique passions and desires. :) Thanks for sharing your journey. That would be difficult to see and not forget. I don’t care to even think about it.

    • http://www.positivelyalene.com/ Positively Alene

      Totally agree. I think that’s how God moves each of us to where He needs us to be His light to others. — He’ll raise up the passion in us.

  • Leslie

    Oh Alene. I love your heart. Your work encourages me to be brave too!

  • La McCoy

    Wow

  • http://richfaithrising.blogspot.com/ Jen

    Alene – I am just reeling at this post…on so many levels! “We choose not to see because it’s messy”….”It’s easier to see in a different country because we can go home afterwards, where it’s safe”. All of what you said, so true! These are real people, humans, hearts, lives….not just statistics!! Aren’t they friend? As a foster parent to older girls, I have seen the abuse that most often leads girls to the streets. It’s utterly heart-breaking! Starting young…running deep. You are one lady I so want to keep in constant with! I think we have much of a similar mission…rescuing the broken, help the hurting, go into those dark place for the sake of the gospel, for the purpose of hope, healing, and sharing Jesus! So blessed to know you through risk rejection!

  • bluecottonmemory

    With knowledge comes great responsibility – because once you know, you’re committed somehow – either through action or prayer. It takes a courageous heart to follow where God leads us – and you are living that courageous heart!!!

  • mercynotes

    This is awesome. Glad you were able to go, Alene. My heart has a passion for these girls, too, Alene. Would love to chat with you more about it sometime. You’re such an encouragement and inspiration.

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ Barbie

    Once we see, we have to take action. I’ve been praying, asking God to help me to see. This breaks my heart, but for every person who sees and acts, we are that much closer to bringing freedom and justice!