A young mom of a precious 3-year-old, is a friend of ours who works in an adult business. She surprised me with this text message one Sunday morning 30 mins before our church service was to start: “ I’m on my way! :) ”
We were not on our way since we weren’t even ready yet! But my husband and I got there just in time to stand on sacred ground beside her singing “oh, how He loves us so....”
Having lunch and treating her daughter to ice cream that day was a bonus for both of us!
Seven evenings of visits with seven visiting team members to seven different adult businesses kept us busy during the month of August! We put in close to 40 hours of preparation, prayer, driving, visiting and talking to the ladies and employees.
Outside of that, we also invested close to 30 hours, including driving time, to help a few girls with things such as:
- Online applications
- Career Center appointment
- Dentist and Doctor appointments
- Treating a few to a nice lunch out
- Food deliveries
- Celebrating birthdays!
One evening I received an emergency call and was able to have a late-night dinner with a vulnerable young lady looking for a safe place to stay; I simply leaned in to listen as details about her complex situation came to light. Our main mission at this time was to offer her a much needed place of rest on a temporary basis until her true needs and the necessary next steps were revealed. The most important thing to her at that time was to know how many miles were between her and those of us who truly cared about her in case she became afraid. Hours and driving distance didn’t matter on this night to me or the team members involved…those details simply got lost in the thoughts and prayers on the way home after safe arrangements had been made.
We are learning that true friendship with these ladies and their families means that we get to enjoy the journey with them, whatever the need may be. It’s simply being available and offering to walk beside them no matter the distance or the hour – this is what makes the biggest difference between building a community or just offering a service.
Would you believe that our very next Sunday started almost exactly the same way? “Okay, I’m on my way; be there in 15 mins!” This text came in from a new lady we met just one week earlier during her first and only night in one of the businesses we visited. We were more than happy to wait, anticipating her smiling face walking through the doors.
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus
~ Written by Tammy Stauffer, Executive Director