Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's Three A.M. Do You Know Where Your Pimp Is?

A little controversial title...I know, I know. If it offends you, sorry, but my aim is to make the rest of this post worth your discomfort.

At Furman, I remember the sororities and fraternities used to get together and have a 'pimp and ho' party. The girls would dress in as little as possible, and cake on the make up. The guys would show up in fake fur coats, big sunglasses, and Gucci shoes. They'd carry canes and hug up on the ladies. It was pretty raunchy if you ask me, and no, I never participated by dressing up like a prostitute. Everyone would laugh and joke around and think they were so cool. A bunch of rich white kids whose Mommies and Daddies were paying their way through a $30,000/year school so they could all grow up to be doctors or lawyers or business people. We all had no idea what it was really like.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm some expert on the ways and lives of ladies who walk the street selling their bodies for money and the men who have trapped them in that lifestyle. Honestly, until this morning at about 3am I had never seen a real prostitute...Julia Roberts was as close as I had come (in Pretty Woman, of course). But, this experience really opened my eyes to see it differently.

We hit the streets around 3:45 am...it was prime time for what was happening. Arriving on Sunset Blvd after getting prayed up, we donned roses and cards which had information for these girls to contact the church if there was ever a situation in which they wanted to get out of the lifestyle. We would have the opportunity to talk with the girls, give them a rose, tell them how the rose represents God's love for them...that He cares for them and that He sees them as a beautiful, delicate rose.

I couldn't imagine hearing that if I were in that situation. No one has cared for them lately. These girls, sometimes too young to have a driver's license, have been thrown away, scared, and have seen and experienced more trauma than anyone should. They don't want to do this with their lives. They had dreams when they were little just like I did, I bet. But they haven't been given the same opportunities that I have and maybe that's why they're walking the streets after midnight, and I'm working on my Master's Degree homework after midnight.

There was, for the most part, a pretty good response to us asking them if we could pray for them...for safety that night and for hope in their lives. We then gave them a hug, told them how beautiful they are, and went on our way.

After the time walking the streets...after the roses were all given out. We went to the donut shop. There we saw the epitomy of pimp...the expensive SUVs with the rims and the bass pumping. We saw some guys with fur coats, Gucci shoes and gold plates/diamond studed teeth. That was what I expected...

What I didn't expect was to have some sort of good conversation with them. But that's what happened. Through the people who were leading the outreach (they have built trusting realationships with these guys over the years), we met and talked easily to about 10 pimps at that donut shop. I was surprised to see how genuine, how well spoken, and how driven these guys are. I was impressed at their listening skills, too. They'd ask us questions, and really want to know the answer. We asked them questions, too...questions about their lives, and they were pretty open to answering.

The interesting, but not surprising thing that I found was that these guys, too, have lived hard lives. They were abused, saw a lot of hardships growing up, and sometimes thrown away by their families and society. Getting out of jail, it's hard to get a job sometimes, and so one thing led to another, and some of them have been managing these girls for 15-20 years. They really are pretty good business men, y'all! Think about it...they know how to market a product, provide a need, and get payment/results. They have strong drive, and for the most part, are pretty successful.

That's why they are the ones we need to be praying for and encouraging towards salvation! If they get saved, they'll be able to free the girls under them. Not only that, but think about the great ways they could impact the world for the Kingdom in ministry and the business world.

They have heard the gospel, and some of them are really counting the cost of following God. One guy said, 'I'd like to be a Christian, but I'd have to give everything up. What would I do, then?" Hey...I'd rather him be there, thinking in that way than not at all and just jumping into it without knowing what he's getting himself into.

So, please keep praying for some of the ladies of the night and the men who control them. God is doing something and it was a privelige to be out there where He's already working. He is molding and making us as He leads us to and fro.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006



Hey y'all. It's been a little while since we've posted, and thanks to a few people who have let us know it's time to get back in gear, here we are again...


Spring Break went really well in South Carolina. Despite the cold, rainy weather, we were able to really enjoy our time there. Mom, being sick, was looking quite frail when we arrived, but I decided to try out some new recipes, and she got her appetite back and gained much needed weight. She had two doctor appointments in Charleston, and both of them went well, and she was not admitted to the hospital, which was a great answer to prayer.

Brandon got right to work after the jet lag wore off. He tackled my parents' bedroom, which was in the middle of renovations that had begun before Mom got sick and just haven't seemed to be able to be finished with all that has been going on. Brandon painted and laid the hardwood floors, and this was a HUGE help to both of them.

Dad was able to catch up on work and sleep while we were home. He had not been able to attend to either for a little while, so he felt a lot better after he was able to take care of business and his own health.

Mom continued to improve over the 10 days I was there. It was good to see it happen, and I was able to come back to California a little more secure about her immediate health. We had some good conversations while we were there, and came to find out that she has put her trust in Jesus as her Savior and Lord of her life. This is an answer to a long line of prayers over the last 10 years. Please pray for growth in her new faith and for healing from Jehovah Rapha, the Great Physician, the Lord that Heals. Though her immediate health has improved, she is still very ill and needs God to intervene.

Brandon made it back to LA in time to help team preach at the Saturday Night Redefined service, and we spent 5 whole days apart! This was by far the longest time we've spent apart since we've been married, and it was definitely hard to do, but we endured. When I arrived back in LA at the airport in Burbank, he greeted me with a flower and a kiss.

We have started the new semester, and Brandon is taking some Fuller-esc courses: Pastoral Care and Abuse, Urban Mission, and Theology of Hip-Hop Culture. I have taken some distance learning courses along with my other two core courses in order to free my time up in case I need to go back to assist again during and after my dad's hip replacement that is supposed to happen in April. Currently, I'm up to my eyeballs in leadership classes and loving it, as well as taking a Church and Mission class and a Biblical Foundations for Missions class...

Please pray for us as we have some big decisions to process and make in the upcoming months. We are confident that God is working and is going to take care of our every need, as well as lead us step by step into His perfect will for our lives and His Kingdom.

Thank you for all your prayers and support.