When “Outreach” Becomes a Mission Field
I wrote this when I was about 5 months into the anti-trafficking movement. This was when my heart was still very raw for this landscape, and I was still learning. Now, I’m over two years into this ministry, and I feel the same but have seen lots of changes. I see more of the church rising up and stepping into position to fight! I have worked alongside some of the most dedicated and honest people I have ever met. I have seen this ministry change my heart and open up opportunities for healing in my personal life, my children’s lives, and my marriage. I have undergone some crushing moments (I’ll write about those later) and some amazing and triumphing moments. I have cried out not only for my own hurt but for the hurt of those still in bondage. I have heard survivors, and I have been cussed at by women still in the industry. Both have amazing stories and testimonies just waiting to be released. I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world.
I’m going to be on my soap box for a moment. I hope you don’t mind. But something hit me the other day. I realized the church as a whole has become too comfortable in their “outreach” programs. Feeding children and clothing the homeless are much needed ministries, but what about the pimps, prostitutes, strippers, drug dealers and the ladies in the brothels and cantinas? Wait! Don’t mention that while standing in a group of people in the church foyer. People don’t want to hear about 13-year-old prostitutes and the exploitation of women all around the Houston area. Comfort is doing an “outreach” that makes the church body feel good about themselves. Yes, I went there!
This is why reaching these women is no longer an “outreach” but rather a mission field. The church has failed these ladies, so the Lord has called out and is raising up a new kind of people to go out, be uncomfortable, and reach these ladies for the Kingdom. If this is a church “outreach” where is the church? Why aren’t we openly talking about the injustices happening on the streets of our neighborhoods? Why, when you mention sex trafficking in a group of people at church, do some walk away and others get clammy and uncomfortable? It’s because the church has also failed its congregations too. The injustice is happening in our churches as well. This needs to be talked about, preached about and seen. Churches need to rise up and see that this is not an “outreach” but a mission field where God has called many to serve.
When I was a 12-year-old girl thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up, this was the furthest from my mind. I wanted to be a teacher, a firefighter, a doctor; not hang out on the streets of Houston at midnight talking to pimps about Jesus. But, when you say “yes” to God, you find yourself a bit uncomfortable at times. When you say “yes”, God tends to stretch you and challenge you in ways you never imagined. I’m blessed with every call we make, every girl we transport and every stripper I hug. I’m blessed to be a missionary on the field in Houston, Texas spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and hurt. I’m blessed to have this mission field to serve in.