Thursday, March 15, 2018

Building Trust with Women in the Sex Industry

Since 2013, Beautiful One has visited the same massage parlors once a month which has helped us build a good connection with some of the women.  We've even known one lady since the very beginning! This has enabled us to have many conversations with her about Jesus and her Buddhist beliefs. We prayed for another woman who had a pregnant daughter. Now she frequently shows us pictures of her beautiful grandchild and always reminds us, “You prayed for me.”  It's so important to share in the joys and the heartaches of these women.

Over the years, we have come to know several of the workers by name and they've opened up to us about some very personal and intimate details in their lives because they know they can trust us. This is the value of consistency and commitment. It took at least a year for most places to welcome us openly.  But trust takes time, especially in an outreach like this.  Now they know us and invite us in to sit down when they aren’t busy. We’ve learned so much about them and have been able to share the Gospel openly with them. Now we are working with with another local organization to offer ESL and Bible study classes with the ladies. We are still in the planning stages, so please be praying for this!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

No Romance Required

Starting in 2016, we have been making a focused effort to reach the LGBT community. So when I learned about "The Center", a community building for LGBT individuals in Manhattan, I knew I needed to go check it out. I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about the community and maybe make some friends. As I mingled with people in the lobby, I met a gentle, and soft-spoken man named Henry, who comes to The Center for their support groups. He’s had a life-long battle with depression and seeks comfort by attending these meetings. When I told him it was my first time at The Center, he took me on a tour of the building.

We had a good time just hanging out and making small talk, but when he told me he needed to leave to get to his next meeting, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. In his wallet was a small scrap of paper with his name and his phone number on it. He paused for a moment, and hung his head in shame, and proceeded to say, “Ryan I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with you… I know that I’m probably too old for you, but if you ever wanted to meet up again, here’s my number.” Clearly, he was longing for companionship.

I started laughing because, at this point, he had no idea that I wasn't gay. Henry thought I was laughing at him, and so he started to apologize. But I explained, “No, Henry, you don’t understand. It’s ok… I’m not even gay!” He looked confused. So I continued, “I’m not gay, but I enjoy learning about LGBT issues and meeting people in the community. So even though I’m not gay we can still hang out – no romance required!”

To make a long story short, Henry and I have had dinner together a few times since, and have been able to talk extensively about God, the gospel, and the biblical standards for human sexuality. As of now, he wants nothing to do with Christianity, but I have a place in his life and he is hearing the gospel.