International Ministries

Maggi’s Musings

September 10, 2009 Journal
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Note:  Maggi Susman, from Denver, CO, is volunteering for me here in The Netherlands for 3 weeks--helping me with administrative tasks.  She also volunteered to write the journal tonight from HER perspective!

"I had a glimpse last night of one of the facets of Lauran's ministry.  We were in an "upper room" in the offices of a Christian project working with women in prostitution in Amsterdam.  This room was reached by a narrow, winding staircase, with a hand-rail wound around with a red rope (see the story of Rahab in Joshua 2 and 6!)  By the end of the evening several women and one man had gathered--all concerned at that moment with ministry to Hungarian women who are working in prostitution in Amsterdam.  One of the social workers at the organization hosted us, and one of the women was from Hungary.  She is here to learn about ministry to women here because she wants to work with those returning from prostitution in her home country--and even prevent others from being exploited.  Everyone around the table got acquainted over apple pie and tea.

There was much sharing of contacts and networks:  people who are in well-established ministries in many places in Europe, who have great information and resources.  Then came the "how-tos".  Lauran and others emphasized that everything begins by listening to the women working in prostitution answer the question, "What is your greatest immediate need?"  And then meeting the needs one at a time!  There was much discussion about why the women end up working in prostitution (for the money, to help family members, because they are tricked into, or groomed for it) why women from Hungary come here (contacts among those who entice them)--and then the alternatives that can be offered them.  It was also reiterated that no program is totally transferable--each country, each city, each culture, each woman is different, and only by listening carefully, and being very patient, can meaningful help be offered.

I was gratified to be able to see in action the ministry that my endless hours of data entry enables!  These were not new ideas--I had seen these things in action in Thailand, too, and know that even in the local church, the behind-the-scenes "stuff" makes ministry possible.  But here we were, in the red-light district of Amsterdam, and people from Hungary, the U.S., Holland--were all praying for people we hadn't yet met (and who some of us won't meet), praying that they would know the wholeness that comes with knowing that God loves them.  Everyone in that room had put away their own concerns for a moment: thoughts of husband and children, immigration issues, what non-Christian family members think about their ministry.  Everyone focused on calling on God to help them know how to reach those in prostitution who need them.
And then we went forth:  some in groups of 2, to meet those working in prostitution with God's love, and Lauran and I to return home, praying through the district as we walked along."