Key verses: Isaiah 61: 1-4
A Heart Like His
Jesus said….. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…..”
There is great need in our world today!
Almost seven years ago, I began volunteering with a new non-profit ministry, reaching out to prostituted women on the streets in Berlin, Germany’s Red-Light District.
Prostitution has been tolerated in Germany for years. After government reform in the year 2000, prostitution became a legally accepted profession. Because of this, along with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, Berlin has become a hub for human trafficking and forced prostitution. It is big money! There is an estimate of over 400,000 prostitutes in Germany.
Most of the women we work with are victims of trafficking from Eastern European countries, primarily Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.
Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. *1
Because of my experience in banking and accounting, initially, I was asked to do the bookkeeping for the ministry. However, because of the need for more café staff, one day I was challenged to become more involved in working directly with the women. I resisted at first, but I did agree to visit the café in the red-light district and to pray about helping in a new capacity.
I was punctual for my visit to the café. My friend, who was to meet me, was late. I waited outside the door for at least 15 minutes (which seemed much longer)! Before I knew it, a man approached me asking, “Are you new on the streets?” Feelings of embarrassment and humiliation immediately rose up within me. I remember rolling my eyeballs in disgust at his question and the ugliness of all I was witnessing there in the red-light district.
Immediately, at that moment, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. I sensed the question, “Do you love me?” I quickly answered, “O Lord, you know I love you!” And again, “Do you really love me?”
Again, I answered, “Lord, you know I love you. Mark and I came here to serve as missionaries because you called us. We left our families and our home, I gave up my good job, we love you, and that is why we are here.”
At that moment, I had a spiritual revelation! I knew the truth! Yes, I did love the Lord, but I immediately repented knowing that I did not love these women as I should. I thought of the story of Jesus in John, chapter 4, where He knew He must go to Samaria to meet with a woman at a well.
Justice begins in the heart of Jesus. Jesus longs to make everything right! I believed if Jesus were physically in Berlin that day, He might have been on K-Street. He would not have avoided this area or these ladies! I could not either.
I felt, then, God asking me if I would love the women and if I would be light in the darkness. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I asked the Lord to give me a greater portion of His love and compassion to do this work! I trusted Him, and He has been so faithful!
I immediately joined the café volunteer team and later became the café outreach director. In the café, women find a safe haven off the streets where no men are allowed! The women are welcomed, loved, and not exploited! A healthy meal is provided along with sincere, warm friendship. Our team endeavors are building relationships and letting the ladies know, “we see you!” We share Christ’s love and let them know He loves them too. As a team, we desire to see dignity restored. Through a holistic approach, there is healing and hope.
Sometimes our work takes place outside of the café. When there are rescues, women must be taken to a safe house. Many need help going to their embassies to obtain new passports, or help to find new jobs, and may need help in obtaining basic clothing and supplies. When any of the women accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, time is invested in discipleship. Please pray more will accept Christ.
There are times we accompany women to doctor appointments, appointments at the job centers, etc. Members of our team have been there to support women as they deliver babies and/or as they say goodbye to a newborn baby they are giving up for adoption. Team members have sat beside the hospital beds of those who have been abused and beaten, needing medical care, and those who were dying because their bodies were destroyed by drugs, anorexia, sicknesses, etc. No one should die alone. It hurts when we lose one of the women. It hurts badly!
In recent years it has become quite trendy to participate in Social Justice work. Many from all walks of life have become involved in efforts to bring more awareness of the nightmare of human trafficking. I am grateful for every effort. I believe, however, that true freedom and healing from the trauma can only come through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
God sees injustice and slavery. All of God’s people are called to justice. We who are free should participate in God’s work of setting others free.
Justice begins with the heart of Jesus. As believers, we should all pray and ask how we should become involved in justice issues. Through obedience and compassion, as He leads, we can truly be People of Promise bringing hope, healing, and salvation that comes only through Christ!
*1 Definition of Human Trafficking provided by the United States Department of Justice
After serving 30 years in Germany, we have a new missionary assignment to serve in the German-speaking region of Belgium. With God’s help, we will be involved in church planting and also begin a new work with women in Belgium and just over the border in Aachen, Germany.
By Jeannie McClung