How do we cope with the sad stories we hear so often? We are asked this question repeatedly. We do encounter tragic stories, but we also have the privilege of hearing and seeing lives transformed by God’s persistent love. That’s what compels us into the darkness over and over.
On Valentine’s we had a party in our outreach center in the heart of the red light area. Eleven Nightlight women joinedto help with the party. Some painted nails, some taught women how to make jewelry, some did artwork with children, others played guitar and sang, one gave facials, and others served food and greeted women as the entered. I was sitting near to where Minnie was doing the nails of a young streetwalker. I noticed the woman wiping tears so I leaned closer to hear what Minnie was telling her. “Most people don’t care about women like us. How many do you know who love streetwalkers? But God loves us. God doesn’t care about what we have done. He loves us. My life has totally been changed by God’s love.” Minnie was sharing her story of transformation from the streets into God’s family. She paused her nail painting to give the woman a hug and told her, “I didn’t used to care about other people. I was selfish, but now I find I really care about other people and when I see them hurting, I just want to hug them.”
Minnie told the woman that if she needed prayer for anything we would be happy to pray for her. The woman said she had never felt this kind of love and when Minnie spoke about Jesus she felt something warm that spoke to her heart. We prayed for her and she cried. She said she felt lighter and more at peace.
Minnie’s testimony comes from her life experience. She was orphaned at a young age. She ended up on the streets when she had no way to provide for her child and grandmother. As a streetwalker, Minnie sought pleasure and significance through the men and the pleasures that their money can buy. As she became addicted to a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and sex, Minnie began to feel desperate. Someone told her about Jesus. She prayed to Jesus asking him to get her out of this lifestyle and soon after she was directed to NightLight. Now Minnie is passionate about Jesus and longs to share Him with the women who are still on the street. Watching Minnie’s face light up as she shared about Jesus brought joy to our hearts. Hearing her passion and vulnerability in sharing her life transformation spoke deeply to my heart.
It’s women like Minnie that make it all worth it. Minnie was once one of these young girls at risk on the street but now she is a powerful witness for Christ. Eleven women whose lives are transformed came to the outreach party to serve and be a light to the very darkness that once exploited them. The love they now know compels them. The same love compels us and not only helps us cope but fills us with joy in the journey.