Written by: Femke Helland
For two years, my husband, Matt, and I have been part of a team that visits the people who work in Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District. We tell them about God’s love for them—about hope.
We pray, we listen, and we offer practical help. Sometimes the young women want to talk; sometimes we have to put in more effort to get to spend time with them. We always try to think of unique ways to bring something to bless them, surprise them, and show them God’s love in a tangible way.
For my 40th birthday I came up with a plan. I ordered a big birthday cake and cut it into about 50 pieces. On the box I wrote a note that said: “Today is my 40th birthday, and I love spending it with you because you are so valuable to me.”
Matt and I stepped out of our comfort zone and took the birthday cake and a large thermos of coffee to the young women. Their responses were so special! Hugs, birthday wishes, presents, and text messages. We even got to know new women—which is an opportunity to share Christ and to talk about the help we offer to get out of this work!
The reason we go out to the young women is because, in the gospel of Luke chapter 15, we see time and again that Jesus goes out to look for that which is lost. Sometimes finding and building relationships with the lost around us takes some creativity! We have brought various young women breakfast, coffee mugs that say “You are loved,” flowers, and even a beautiful bathrobe.
Another reason we meet with these young women is because we are doing it unto Him! If we read Matthew 25, we discover that anytime we help, love, and serve the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters, we are doing it unto Him. In the hurting, oppressed, lonely, and poor we can see Jesus. When we do something about their hurt, their oppression, their loneliness, or their poverty, we do it for Jesus. We can see our acts of love as acts of worship to Him!
Every time I go into Amsterdam’s Red Light District and enter the women’s workspace, I don’t look at their clothes, I don’t look at the surroundings. The thing I do is focus on each young woman’s eyes. Because when I look in her eyes I see a beloved daughter of the Lord. And when I focus on that, loving her is an act of worship to her Maker!
God has placed each one of us in a place with people in need of His love. I know that if you listen to the Holy Spirit, He will give you and your family creative ideas to make His love tangible to those around you—even if that means stepping out of your comfort zone.
As an act of worship, brainstorm some unique ways to share God’s love with others. Then, step out and put your plan into action and watch as God transforms your family.