Day 1: Rural: North Georgia
Roberto and I met with Jen from Beautiful Feet Ministries to discuss their story of starting up strip club outreach in North Georgia. It is the ministry Jen, Beau, and I actually brainstormed together last Spring and now is a few months old. Beautiful Feet is an outreach that is about building friendships with women who dance in clubs for a living.
Jesus in a Strip Club
Club outreach is eye-opening, but not for the reasons that may come to mind. It was eye-opening because it was nothing that we’d always imagined. Before you are aware of what it truly looks like to work there by someone who is sharing their story, it seems that these are only places where darkness resides and fear has its dominion. However, that is far from the case, and even in the case that it was true, that’s more reason to be present; a voice of hope, life, and freedom for women who may not otherwise hear or experience this. We have found that a steady and positive presence in their lives speaks volumes and begins breaking down walls toward growth and freedom.
It has been my firsthand experience through this ministry that it is a truly humbling thing to go out and realize your mindset is still somewhat stuck in “rescuing” someone who is “least of these” and in that realizing you too are in need of rescue still. Recognizing my own arrogance and brokenness in my often too dignified independence. To recognize your own brokenness in the midst of it is really challenging. It’s messy to do ministry from scratch, to even call it ministry when the true desire is to honor women who are often dishonored. Beautiful Feet works to bring the knowledge and reminder that these women’s worth is far greater than they’ve been told or imagined.
So, night 1, consequently, was a night of revisiting dear friends at their place of work. We brought bright pink roses in a purple vase. We all laughed and shared the latest stories of life. It was a breath of fresh air.
Sex Trafficking in North Georgia
Yes. There is sex trafficking that goes on in rural North Georgia. As we sat down with Jen and her fiance Beau, they talked openly about the area and what exactly trafficking tends to look like there. House brothels in the burbs, AMPs (Asian Massage Parlors) open 24 hours, and girls as young as 14 being manipulated by traffickers who troll the middle and high schools and malls. If this sounds shocking, it is. If you are relieved that this isn’t your city, well, it is your city. The look of sex trafficking varies from community to community but those are just some basic facts and you will want to remain educated on your own area.
These sort of facts aren’t a reason to live in fear, or without hope of change. It is a way to protect your own children and women and kids you know by guarding them with knowledge. These aren’t kidnappings, they are women and children being coerced by people who are trained and skilled at finding their weakness. Clothes, jewelry, food, compliments, etc.
Educate yourself on your area. Find your local police station phone number and call in tips if you spot unusual activity.
* We are currently in Tampa, visiting with World Relief for days 4 & 5. We will head to Savannah tomorrow to meet with Sunshine Girls and to debrief the first half. We are on the Dream Tour.