A look into Brothels
The World Relief office is situated right in the brothel district, which is a big reason why the idea for the party came about in the first place. Geof Bowman saw the need for hope in this area, where he works, so he partnered up with Destiny Rescue and the tradition began. As we walked around inviting women to our party, we were able to snap some pictures of the brothels.
Pictured here is a brothel owner. By the grace of God and her strong connection with Jackie, we were allowed some photos inside the actual rooms. On the left you can see her makeshift kitchen.
Another bedroom (this bed has a thin mattress):
Another bedroom (this one has a sleeping customer):
A child sitting in front of a brothel...her Mom probably works inside. I think this photo tells such a story...it represents children born into brothels. We met many children of prostitutes, and as I looked into the eyes of each child, my heart broke for their life circumstances and the environment that they are learning from.
Party for Prostitutes
The culmination of our trip was upon us: it was Saturday, day of the party. We tied these message of hope on some flowers that were donated by a great lady from our church named Dina.
We kicked things off with a catered lunch:
They serve fish with heads still on and eyes still in. I never did get used to seeing that.
The women ate, and they fed their babies too. I even got to hold the four month old pictured below:
Around 48 local prostitutes were there!
After lunch, a message of hope and the gospel was shared. It was all in Khmer so I didn't understand...but seeing the Bible made me feel right at home.
Here is Steve, passing out flowers to the girls. The tag on them says "Jesus is hope."
Here is Jackie, passing out Bibles to the girls. They are in Khmer, the language of Cambodia.
We loved watching the reaction of the girls!
We had a raffle for prizes:
Some traditional Khmer dancing performed by girls from Destiny Rescue:
We witnessed lots of smiles while playing games:
What a joy to see these girls having laughing and taking a break from a life of prostitution.
After the festivities ended, I watched the prostitutes leave and my heart was so heavy. Here is a mom, holding her child, along a bible and some flowers with the name of Jesus written on the tags...she is on her way back to work at a brothel. I had hope though; hope because these girls just heard the message of Christ's love for them and the redemption they can receive through Him.
Cards were passed out with information for the girls if they wanted counseling & a way out. They were told about opportunities to learn a new trade and hopefully pursue new job. Ten of 48 responded immediately, and hopefully more will as they reflect on their experience.
None of this would have been possible if it weren't for Geof Bowman:
...he was our connection to World Relief and served as our educator, tour guide, and ultimate resource for understanding the Khmer culture. His wisdom inspired us...and we were blessed to hear his ideas, which are now operating programs, working & making sustainable change in Cambodia. Thank you, Geof!
And thank you, readers, supporters, and prayer partners. Your encouragement has fueled this mission more than you will ever know!