In an attempt to lead lives of more action, the Shiyan group is trying to open up new routes of ministry throughout the city. I will share with you one such endeavor today.
Many big cities around the world have famous red light districts. In some countries, prostitution is even legalized. Well, Shiyan also has a couple of large areas that we call "pink light" streets, even though it definitely isn't legalized here. Around 6 or 7 in the evening most hair salons in town flip a light switch and the ladies sit around waiting for customers. It's so blatant and out in the open for all to see that I have to wonder how much the police make under the table each year. Well, Priscilla and Jessica feel called to reach out to these pink light ladies and are in the process of talking with the Chinese Sisters and trying to draw up a plan of action.
After visiting Wuhan (capital of this province, about 7 hours away) they learned that Wuhan and Beijing already have groups doing this sort of outreach. The Family in Beijing has had success in that some of the ladies have stopped working in the pink light district, are going back to school, and are making money for themselves by selling crafts on the internet. Jessica and Priscilla took notes and asked questions in Wuhan and now are in search of a Chinese Sister here in Shiyan who has the same passion to work with these ladies. It's important that this work not just be something weird that the foreigners want to do, it needs to rely on Chinese involvement. Jessica sent out an email last week that lists their needs and concerns better than I ever could, so I'm including parts of that email here:
Last weekend when I was in Wuhan, I had the opportunity to meet the foreign women who are leading a similar effort in Wuhan's pink light district. I got to speak with Kelli and Heather, who had begun the MNSTRY 1 year ago. The spoke to me about the logistics, how they go about each day, and the success/troubles they have been faced with. Heather shared a really encouraging story with me about a visit to the MNSTRY, where 4 women have left the pink light work and are living in a rehabilitative house. They go to night school, and support themselves by making jewelry that they sell online. Its called the starfish project, if you would like to it! I was also blessed to speak to two girls who had just joined the work there, and they gave me such a unique insight into what we were undertaking. I am so grateful that Abba gave me the gift of meeting with them, it really opened my eyes to what we were about it begin!
In light of lessons learned from meeting the women in Wuhan, and PRYRful consideration, Priscilla and I have a fresh outlook on the work we would like to do. First of all, the next two months will be filled with constant PRYR and careful preparation. I never want to underestimate the seriousness of what we are undertaking. There are a number of very serious things to consider, and so here is where we are in need of PRYR warriors such as yourselves! Please keep the following in your conversations with Him:
1. The LRD will raise up leadership among our Chinese sisters to take control of this mnstry, it would be impossible without them. (We are looking specifically for one sister who really has a heart for this work to join with us in leadership, but we are also searching for all others to help!)
2. The LRD will give strength, dedication, and insight to Priscilla and me as we try to be his hands and feet
3. The LRD will prepare the hearts of the women in the pink light districts to be open to our friendship
4. The power to overcome in the spiritual battle we are about to enter into
5. The pink light MNSTRYS already underway in and Wuhan
The actually logistics of the work as still very much up in the air, as we would really like to have our Chinese sisters leading in the preparation stages. There are a number of possibilities that are looking promising, such as offering free medical checks, or giving clothes or other basic necessities. There will be various roles to play in the MNSTRY; women actually going inside to talk with the pink light ladies, PRYR teams out on the side walk, and PRYR assignments throughout the city to cover us. (A great way for the men to be involved!).
~Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart. There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of
.~And it shall be in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me, Ishi [my Husband], and you shall no more call Me, Baali [my Baal]. For I will take away the names of the Baals out of her mouth, and they shall no more be mentioned or seriously remembered by their name. And in that day will I make a covenant for with the living creatures of the open country and with the birds of the heavens and with the creeping things of the ground. And I will break the bow and the sword and conflict out of the land and will make you lie down safely.
~And I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will even betroth you to Me in stability and in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.
(Hosea 2: 14-20)
This is a big step that would not be possible without our Father's help, but it also needs the help of everyone in the Family. Please be Mindful of this and everyone involved, and please Ask that a native Sister can be found who will take up a leading role in this. As we've tried to become more action oriented and involved with other things such as the poor and beggars in town, some of the Family here has balked at the idea of being that close and involved with those kinds of people. But they are slowly realizing that we are called to do exactly that. Of course, it's not only the Chinese who are hesitant to make such a big change to lives of action, most of us foreigners are just as reluctant, held back by laziness or bad habits. But we're all working together so we're gaining ground bit by bit.