Reaching the Massage Parlors
During the summers, outreach takes a pause to allow our volunteers to rest and get excited for the fall semester. This means that we were able to spend a good chunk of the summer dreaming and equipping ourselves to make outreach more effective. Our newest outreach is to massage parlors in our city which are actually undercover brothels, a place that I've wanted to reach for a very long time. Many Christians I've spoken to are very hesitant to reach out to this population of women, due to fear of traffickers. Knowing this is unreached territory that needs Jesus no matter the cost, I wanted to do my best to prepare my team and stay safe.
As we began experimenting with visiting these massage parlors, one location even chased us out in anger and told us never to return. After these experiences, we looked for ways to build relationships in a non-intimidating way. I did some research and found a group in Canada that's been reaching these brothels for nine years. I took a trip there, and went through a training they held and went out on outreach with them. I came back home with some new tools, and we put them into practice on our first outreach for the fall. We are so thankful to say that our massage parlor outreach was incredibly successful. Each brothel we went into gave us much more time to talk, and we offered all the women we encountered free ESL classes, which we could tell the women were very interested in. Most of the women were curious about church, and excited to get to know us better.
This was a huge win for our team that had endured through our initial and experimental phase. While we still have much to learn, we feel God's peace, and believe we have a solid foundation on which we can move forward and expand our outreach. Be praying with us this season as we reach out to 19 brothels in our city!