I was on a missions trips to Kenya once to a city known for sex-trafficking and prostitution – a party town.
We had the privilege of spending time with women (moms) who would prostitute themselves to feed their family. They would come to the ministry office and have a coke before work. Prostitution was their work. God was encountering them in dreams and speaking to them about His absolute acceptance of and love for them, yet they hadn’t found another option for work that would feed their family and help them raise their kids.
We had the privilege of spending time with young girls who were taken out of sex slavery, one of which used to be brought into the hotel in a large bag when she was about 8 or younger. Four girls now lived in a home together, full of joy, worshipping freely, loving God and their house parents outrageously. We ate together, we danced together, we played games, we got completely overwhelmed by God’s love in worship. I’m so thankful they let us into their home and family for this short amount of time. They didn’t have to, and I’m sure it cost them something. But they allowed us to come fellowship with them, with open arms.
We went to clubs for the purpose of loving well, loving even one person, by being with them, in their space, bringing light, seeing them, speaking words of truth, whatever it may be. However, the only thing I can remember is being so alarmed at the scene, I’m not sure how much I was able to cut through my own judgements and shock to love the people there. I repent for this. God was there, and I would hope one day I can go back and try again and magnify Him and His goodness with everything in me.
10 year old Kenyan girls as the accomplice to 50+ year old European men, sitting around a table of the dance floor. European teenage girls with braids, the only white ones in the room besides us – YOU ARE FAR FROM HOME. They reminded me of me as a teenager, but how different their circumstance.
While walking away, I had an open conversation with God. “Lord, sometimes it [the acts of sin in the world] makes me sick.”
“Me too.” – So quick, He responded.
“What are you going to do about it, God?”
“What are you going to do about it?” – Him
Alarmed. “What are we going to do about it?” – Julie’s attempt to save face.
Then He spoke, with conviction and clarity.
“Julie, I’ve given the Church everything she needs.”
She is the answer. He gave her everything she needs to help the world and to alleviate pain and poverty. The Church has the solutions. His bride can make the difference.
I spent the next bit of time repenting, and still do to this day.
What are you going to do about it? He emphasized the you, and it still rings in my head.
He wasn’t harsh; it is simply that if I’m going to point fingers at Him, He has the right to point it straight back.
<Side note about missions: As I write now, I acknowledge – I have a regret of trying to be “nice”, a “friend” and build a relationship, in our whole ~9 days there (sarcasm). If I returned, I would instead focus my energies on relentlessly seeking out and prophecying what God was saying over the region, I would take every opportunity to speak a word of encouragement to individuals. I would intercede in the presence of enemies. They didn’t need me (Julie, nice friend), they needed a word from the Father from a daughter who knows Him. I hope I left something more like that. I hope I left His fragrance. If I didn’t – I feel I may have completely missed the purpose of missions. Now still, I need to take this same threat of regret and ensure I don’t miss the mission here and now – speaking life, speaking encouragement, giving people encounters with God Himself.
Our leader though – wow – he was so in love with people. He prayed for people, loved on them, and saw healing everywhere he went. It happened in the airport on the way there. It happened in a village in Kenya in a brothel. That’s a believer! That’s a mission trip.
I experienced this one time when I hosted missions trips. There was a group that didn’t bring money, shovels or food. It was very last minute, but someone had the wisdom to say, “Yes, come!” While physical things are good and we need to do this, they literally brought in something different that I had never felt from a group. Their ability to love and connect with our kids and staff impacted us to the core. Every staff member left blessed, refreshed and encouraged, asking them to come back whenever they wanted. They brought something inside of them that I cannot tell anyone how to get – except probably what they did when they were done working with kids. (1) They asked me what else I needed, then did it, with excellence till the end. (2) They asked me, “Can we just stay in this room a while and pray?” And pray they did, all at once, in voices out loud with passion and strength. They touched heaven on our behalf and it still brings me to tears when I think about the strong presence of the Lord we got to experience together that day. End note>