Plastic Chairs & Wooden Shacks

By Heather Todd ·

April, 20 2016

The brothel stood amid filthy streets with trash everywhere, rotting vegetables, loud noises, shouting, and motorcycles zipping through crowds of pedestrians. After walking for a few minutes, we cut down a dirt alleyway and saw some women sitting in plastic chairs outside of wooden shacks. These were the prostitutes.

Before I went to Nicaragua with my community group, I thought that women in prostitution were just prostitutes, and that was their identity. Even though God has given me a special love for women in difficult circumstances, I realized that I was incorrectly viewing them all. I thought that there was some huge difference between me and them. I live in the United States of America, and they live in a third world country. I’m married to a man with a stable job, and they sleep with multiple men each day to earn a living.

But you know what? We’re really not that different.

I saw that in a woman named Joanna. Joanna was prostituting herself to put her daughter through college. I was able to share some of my story about my single mom working three jobs to help me go to college. God was gracious to allow me to have scholarships and grants and eventually a stepfather who could help carry the financial burden of college tuition.

Joanna wants to provide for her daughter, and I have a mother who worked tirelessly to allow me to have a college education. This perspective bridged the gap between our stories. This woman loves her daughter and wants to be a good mother and provide for her, but prostitution is all she’s ever known. She knows how to sell her body for a living. It broke my heart that this is what she does out of love.

Now that I know the names and faces of the women in the brothels, I will not forget them. Because they are important to God; they are important to me. He allowed me to share that with them as my prayer was translated.

I saw desperation and hopelessness down there, but I also met women who went through Nueva Imagen’s year-long discipleship program and are now believers witnessing to the women in the brothels. These women don’t have much by our standards, but they know the love of Jesus and have surrendered their lives to Him. They now have hope and share it boldly.

I was challenged in my faith by women I saw at one point as prostitutes. Now they are daughters of the King — beautifully restored by the ultimate Healer.

God revealed to me that He is international. His church is universal; not limited to my little world.

He invites us into His plans for the world and lets us interact with people we would otherwise never meet. The same God who created the women in Nicaragua created me, and longs for us all to join together in unity as the Body of Christ and embrace this beautiful life that He has given us. Pasts and all, we are unified by the blood and righteousness of Jesus.

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