Experiencing Jesus’ compassion

(story from Dan, a YWAM-DTS student who is on outreach in Germany and Sweden.)

When I stepped out of the café Wednesday night, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.

Like a typical late night in the city, people were still out on the sidewalks. Most of them were women. What I wasn’t prepared for was the looks of the men who drove slowly by – leering, appraising, as if the women in front of them were nothing more than something to rent for an hour or two. And that’s what they were to them – merely a body to use for their own pleasure. A transaction.

It was a common scene in that part of Berlin, Germany, where prostitution is legal. In fact, prostitution is considered normal, just another industry.

Berlin at nightEarlier that night, my team and I met some of those women. We wanted to get to know them and let them know they are worth so much more than their bodies. One woman shared how much it hurt when the men kept on driving. “Am I so ugly?” she asked. “I haven’t had any customers for a while.”

Sadness filled my heart. I looked at these women with a depth of compassion I hadn’t known before. I felt sad because I know God didn’t intend for any of this to happen. It breaks his heart that the girls’ view of love was so distorted.

Some of the girls were persuaded by their boyfriends to sell their bodies. Others were sold outright by the men who claimed to love them. For some, prostitution is the only way they see they can earn money to support their families. Still others are trafficked and held captive in brothels where their services often go for less than 30€ and working conditions are dangerous.

We partnered with an organization called Alabastar Jar while we were in Berlin. The people at Alabastar Jar walk and pray through the red light district and others strike up conversations with the prostitutes. They give the women coffee, tea, and other small items (like toiletries). They invite them to the café the following night to give the girls a break and a healthy meal. As they make friends with the women, they hope to persuade them to give up their line of work. Some are invited to move to a transitional home where they can get clean and find a different way to provide for themselves.

Will you join us in praying for the women and for their customers? Will you pray for the politicians who are working to create laws that will protect the women?

photo credits: Feet on the Street via photopin (license) and Im nächtlichen Schein via photopin (license)

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