Thursday, February 18, 2016

Safe House 2

I am learning that each safe house has its own personality.  Each director has their own vision and talents that shape what the ministry will be like.  
Today we visited a safe house that was right by the hotel our family stayed at over Christmas.  Each safe house is located in the neighborhood of the bars they are working with.  I hadn't realized until the end of our vacation, how close we were to a red light district.  That's how it is here.  You have normal business and life going on around you then suddenly there is a street or cul de sac full of bars and night life.  I could obliviously walk by it each day and not even pick-up on the signs of what is going on.  I guess I just live in a happy little bubble, forgetting that there is pain and brokenness all around me.
This safe house is my favorite.  Maybe it's been around long enough to really become developed or maybe it's because it's a part of a greater network of safe houses in America.  A house full of peace and happiness that looked like a place I would want to live!  I guess this is where the interior designer in me comes out!  I love spaces that are warm and welcoming.  Spaces that come alive with color and where each thing in the room speaks of something deeper than just a pretty piece of art.  Here there were strings of twine with prayer requests pinned to them, notes on the wall of what to pray for and mementos of the lives living with in the space.  Seriously, it looked like it was straight out of Pinterest.  What a beautiful place for a wounded girl to find refuge.
This safe house began simply with a couple of women with a burden for the girls.  They began going to the bars to meet the girls.  They built relationships of safety then realized they needed to create jobs for these women to give them an alternative.  The ministry has grown into a multi-faceted organization, giving women a physical and spritual hope.  
As we walked through the spaces, I marveled at the many areas that need to be considered.  Three or four separate buildings in the area, fulfill different needs.  An outreach center that is safe where women who are considering leaving the sex industry can come to have their hair done or other needs met, building relationships with staff that will help them in the transition.  Housing for urgent needs and for the first few weeks after a woman is rescued.  A place to learn new skills. Childcare.  They have started a church that teaches women how to be and do church.  There's the financial end and then what about all of us who want to come visit and volunteer?  They have a position that just handles people like me, with a heart to learn more.  
We began our time with singing and praise.  I've begun to see how integral music and worship is in the healing of a person.  I know I always put on praise music when I'm sad or down.  The leader here emphasized how music is the framework for learning about God.  The more I listen, the more I see the knowledge and wisdom in the leaders about working with girls coming with wounds of abuse and abandonment as well as creating a picture of who the one true God is.  The process is very slow and very layered.
I could go on and on and I feel I've given a very poor picture of what this safe house does, but I hope that by the end of my trip, you will have a good picture of the needs and various ways of responding.

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