April 19, 2012
By Betsy Blanchard, serving in Spain, where she and a small team founded Cinderella’s House, a ministry for women exploited by sex trafficking and prostitution
As part of the ministry of Cinderella’s House, I began frequenting an area where street prostitution is prevalent among women from a wide range of nationalities. Every woman has a sad story; most are forced into sexual exploitation.
It’s Their Turf
It’s tough to meet with the women on neutral ground, away from the streets, where more solid relationships might be formed. They are reserved and unwilling to cross over to their turf, where they call the shots—walking away from us in a flash if a client comes along. They are satisfied with just our company and the break in monotony.
Some prostitutes are angry about a God who doesn’t solve all their problems. They are controlled psychologically through the practice of voodoo, rather than by pimps. Forced into their “work,” most of the women are in a form of debt bondage—some to the tune of 50,000 euros (more than US$65,000). The common thread running through every conversation is that they want out!
Can God Love Me?
Several months ago, I had a conversation with Jo,* who has been unafraid to chat with me. When I told her that God loves her and wants a better life for her, she asked me, “How can God love me if I’m a prostitute? I’ve always been told that God hates prostitutes.”
I told her about Rahab and other women whom God blessed and used in special ways despite their reputation as “bad women.” I related the story of Jesus’ gentle, caring response to the woman caught in adultery. Jo was quite shocked to hear these truths. Raised in another religion, she had not been taught about Jesus’ redemptive love and was happy for me to pray for her.
After an extended absence from the field because of a back injury, I returned with a teammate to visit Jo, who was very glad to see me and to meet my friend. It was a “quiet day,&rdauo; and Jo was alone, so she opened up more than usual, telling us of the difficulties of life in prostitution, of her shame, and of her desire to keep her family in the dark about her life on the streets. Giving us her phone number, Jo agreed to meet later for a more personal time in a neutral location, where I pray she will have a life-changing encounter with the Prince of Peace.
Read more about the Cinderella’s House Project.
What You Can Do
Pray that Jo will follow through with her promise to meet with Betsy. Pray for Betsy and her team during the final stages of preparation to open Cinderella’s House, a residence that will offer a holistic “way out” of life on the streets for women like Jo.
Your faithful support of the Great Commission Fund gives Betsy the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of her new friends through the Cinderella’s House Project.