Easter was going to be different this year. I was grieving. I so deeply missed my friends and the ministry I left behind in Arizona. For the past six years I had only know exhaustion on Easter morning. This Easter I wouldn’t be exhausted, instead I would be longing, longing to be a part of and hear how God had mightily moved Saturday evening.
Then it arrived. A small package from Phoenix. What could it be? I opened the box to find a velvet black bag containing a green beaded necklace and a note.
For six years I was a part of an amazing ministry that reached out to prostitutes and strippers. Many women from a couple of local churches would fill “Easter Baskets” with gifts to take to the streets to deliver to the prostitutes and into dressing rooms at gentlemen’s clubs for the dancers. This year the gift would be necklaces similar to the one I had received. These necklaces were crafted by the hands of Thai women who had been rescued from the sex industry and given an opportunity to have a better life through employment and through the knowledge of Jesus.
This necklace reminds me of how God worked to change me and the lives of many women. I am still amazed that dressing room doors at strip clubs were opened to us. Teams of two to three Christian women were welcomed to bring gifts and conversation. We didn’t just drop off a gift, but we were able to get to know the women, tell them about Jesus, and pray with them. The Lord protected us as we walked crime-filled streets late at night to deliver gift bags to prostitutes.
This necklace reminds me of Moreno, a woman I met at one of the gentlemen’s clubs who would call me at times to share her struggles with me. While I felt there was little I could do to help her, I prayed with her. I felt honored that God would use me in such a way and let me know that our work and prayers were making a difference.
This necklace reminds me of a crying mother who called me to confirm that her daughter was telling her the truth. Her daughter who worked at one of the clubs we visited told her that she needed to go back to church and she felt this way after meeting us. This mother could not believe that Christian women actually reached out to women like her daughter. This mother was so grateful for she had been praying for years for her daughter.
This necklace reminds me of a woman who quit her job soon after we spoke with her. Her heart and her eyes were open to God’s calling. I rejoice that Christian women surrounded her by discipling her, giving her a home to live in, and helping her with new employment. A few years after becoming a Christian, this women actually joined the ministry and returned to the clubs, this time to bring light, hope, and real love.
God can transform lives.
I find it interesting that when I wear this necklace I get so many compliments, more than when I wear any other piece of jewelry. When I receive a compliment I take the opportunity to tell others a little piece of the story behind it. It is a moment to inform others about the needs of women around the world and a God who loves them.
But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.
I Corinthians 2:14
Do you believe that God uses you to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, even unlikely places like strip clubs? Are you looking for opportunities to be sweet perfume to others?