International Ministries

Divine Encounter Part 3: Captives of the Show Bar

September 21, 2009 Journal
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Dear Friends,

"I Believe in God now," "One" said to me this week on a bar visit. I read the tract you left me and I cried and cried. I wrote about "One" in the journal, "1440 Minutes of Darkness." I know "One" doesn't fully understand. She is still at the bar. She is still carrying on previous practices. But I saw a glimmer of light in her eyes; she has hope now. "Om" also written about in that journal, has since left the bar and started work at NightLight. Every week, supported by your prayers, a group of outreach workers faithfully and passionately invade the night with God's light to seek out the captives and whisper to them "Follow the light to freedom."

Captives of the Show Bar

After two divine encounters, the night was still young and we headed to a show bar. This bar is a hard one to visit because of all the nudity and sex shows taking place through the night. Last visit we met a woman who was new and unhappy and we were drawn to return to her.  Fortunately, we found the woman we knew fairly quickly and got caught up in a conversation. When we focus on the women in conversation, the background fades and is less daunting. Beng wasn't so lucky. The man sitting to her side was "entertaining" a woman by exposing himself. Disgusted and somewhat nauseated, Beng turned her back to them and faced the shows.
I know two of the girls who do the sex shows - lesbian shows. My heart aches when they perform. One I've known since she was 15 - dropped out of school to support her siblings' education. I prayed for the infant daughter of the second when she was critically ill. Sweet young women, dedicated to supporting their families. I look to the stage just long enough to smile at their eyes but not enough to dismantle the invisible masks they wear and cause them to feel embarrassed. They feel lucky because doing the shows means a lot of money without being forced to have sex with the men. It is a choice I am grateful I have never had to make.
The woman sitting with me only makes half what the other girls make because she keeps her bikini on when she dances. After trying for three weeks she really doesn't like it. She would like to work as a maid or with kids. Her husband of 10 years became so abusive she ran away and reported him to the police. He is still out of jail though and she is careful to stay away from his networks. Now she is stuck with this job to get by. I know we are full at NightLight. I know we don't have the funds or the space to keep hiring women, but, in faith, I write down our number for her and tell her that she can come by and apply for work if interested. Grateful, she rolled it up and stuck it in her high boots. We gave her a hug, paid our bills and left.
Going down the stairs I feel drops of rain drizzling down. Not enough for an umbrella and not enough to wash away the sadness. Not enough to deter the customers. Sex shows are addictive and even rain doesn't deter an addict. Money is addictive, especially when your family depends on it and you have no other way of paying your bills. Desperation forces women out to meet the demands of desperate men. An exchange is made for a fantasy that eludes reality and more often than not turns into a nightmare. The rain is only enough to draw attention to the somber and heavy burdens beneath the fluttering neon signs.
The night is still young for those seeking to exchange brokenness for fantasy. The night has been long for the light bearers though. Darkness retreats in the light but dawn is still a long ways away and we are weary. We have met our divine appointments. For a few moments we saw the light interrupt the night's agenda. A little bit of hope. I glance across the way and see Tom sitting outside the bar conspicuous in his bright yellow jacket. "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot master it." (John 1:5) His bright yellow jacket is a sign of hope. A few more hours and the darkness will retreat again giving way to the agenda of light.

Annie Dieselberg
CEO NightLight