I’ll never forget the day I had a client ask me, about 24 hours after her arrival at the Assessment Center, “Why is everyone here so nice?” Before I could even answer her, she went on to say, “There’s no way all of you could be good people, it’s impossible.” She told me she had “never met so many good people in one place in her entire life.”
Now I certainly don’t share this to brag on my staff at the Assessment Center, while we have an incredible staff, that isn’t the point of my story. I answered her question to the best of my ability, saying that “We were each called to serve and that we all have a genuine and honest desire to love and lift up women who have been hurt by the world.” I explained to her that our love for God and our desire to please Him is what fuels our passion to serve them.
As many times as I think of this story or explain it to someone else, it continues to surprise me at how amused she was at the thought of “good people” and their existence. As if “good people” were a myth she’d only read about or seen on television. It seemed unreal to me that she’d never encountered someone who had good intentions for her.
But then it dawned on me, maybe she hadn’t. And the sad reality is that maybe a lot of our clients haven’t. So many of the women we meet have never been involved in a ministry like Redeemed before, they’ve never been around people with honest and kind intentions for their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. And I have to say, that hurts my heart. It’s devastating when you realize that so many of these beautiful, courageous, and inspiring survivors have never felt love before they walked through our doors.
Here at the Assessment Center, that is a very real and prominent part of our job description. Showing the clients a Godly, unconditional love is so important, and sometimes it requires no words at all. Our actions probably carry the most weight, far above the words that we speak. Simple things like letting them pick their tumbler cup color, choosing which bed to sleep in once they arrive, giving them a smile, or even a hug when it’s appropriate can go a long way! It’s easy to forget that these women may have gone their whole lives or a number of years without ever making decisions for themselves, without ever thinking if they prefer the color pink or purple, or without ever having someone smile at them for no reason and asking for absolutely nothing in return. Their reality is so different and unbelievable compared to the world that we know. Even asking how they are feeling, or how well they slept the night before can mean so much to someone who’s had so little in the past.
It’s unfortunate, but working in a 30-day shelter sometimes limits the ways we can show them love. You can only grow so close in that amount of time, as opposed to the safe house where they have months and months to connect and create a defining bond with the staff. But in the short time that we do have, we use every opportunity to spread love and genuine kindness. We do everything in our power to show them who Jesus really is, through both our words and our actions.
They all come from different places and have a variety of backgrounds, but more often than not, their abusive lifestyles started long before they entered into the commercial sex industry. Some may have been abused by family members, friends, the foster care system, or simply somebody who was instructed to care for them but failed to do so. Some of our clients have physical or sexual abuse that started as early as one or two years old! It’s almost as if they are programmed to believe that “good people don’t exist”.
We may never be able to explain every book in the bible in 30 days, or give an explanation as to why God allows certain things to happen (Who can?). But if we can provide these wonderful ladies with love, support, and direction then we are doing exactly what we are called to do. When it comes down to it, Redeemed Ministries is nothing more than a collection of imperfect people who have been called and equipped by a perfect God. And by placing Him at the center and keeping Him at the center of it all, we portray these “good people” that the clients once thought of as a myth. We aren’t a myth, and we aren’t unnaturally good; we simply serve a God who raises us up to be the fiercest and most loving individuals we can possibly be!
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13