Women of Reverence welcomes Rachel Minter as a guest blogger.
Rachael Minter is from the USA and her husband Josh is from South Africa. They live in East London with their three girls, Selah (5), Shalom (3) and Kairos (6 months). They met while on Harvest school in Pemba Mozambique with Iris Ministries.
In 2013 they first came to East London to visit Josh's family. While they were there, they were brought to a church service located at a preschool on a rubbish dump. They instantly fell in love with the children and people there. God told them to move to East London and shortly after, the school and church were handed over to them to lead.
From that they birthed a wider ministry called Global Mercy Missions. Global Mercy Missions has a mandate to release the kingdom of heaven into every area they are called to serve in. They began ministry under the umbrella of Global Mercy Missions called Rahab's Hope which aims to rescue women from prostitution and trafficking.
For the last 7 years, my husband and I have spent most of our time in places that we have “no business” being in. Amongst our favourites are brothels, drug dens, homes of gang members, and the streets in the red light district. Here we find some of Gods most beautiful treasures, hidden away. The ladies who stand in the dark shadows or under the neon lights, selling themselves. They have been told their whole lives that they are only valuable for their body and it’s “assets”. Bullied and abused, oppressed and violated. Not many people would call them “Treasures”, instead I’ve heard other vile names shouted at them. Filthy names that cut deep to the core of their already broken hearts. We have chosen to call them “Rahab’s”, inspired by the prostitute woman in the Bible who housed the spies of the Lord while in Jericho.
When we first started Rahabs Hope, we had no connections into the brothels. So we chose to go on foot, walking the streets in the red light district late at night. We prepared little gifts for them, knowing that this may be the only genuine gift they will ever receive. Over time, our presence was accepted and valued by all the women who encountered us, even the pimps were ok with us being around. The ladies experienced a picture of “the church” that they had never seen before. They were somewhat shocked to see “followers of Jesus” doing faith-filled acts of selfless love.
I will never forget an encounter I had with one woman in particular. She wore a black leather mini skirt, stilettos and enough makeup to hide the pain in her face. She saw me from a distance and ran. I wanted so badly to give her a gift, to let her know she wasn’t forgotten. I ran after her, even though I was 6 months pregnant, shouting “please I just want to give you a gift”. She picked up her pace and shouted “I don’t want your gift! You don’t f****** know me, you’re from an f****** church and you just wanna f****** judge me! That’s all you people have ever done!”. I cried out “I don’t judge you! I love you! I’m so sorry that the church has hurt you!”.
She stopped in her tracks, in the middle of the road, long enough for me to say “please if you don’t want to take my gift, I will just leave it here for you on the corner you can take it if you want to”. Confused and still angry, she said “what do you want for it?”. I said “nothing, it’s free and I made it just for you”. Hesitantly she made her way towards me. Saying “why would you want to give ME a gift, no one ever gives ME anything”. I told her how valuable she is and how sorry I was for people judging her and calling her names. She took the gift and shouted at me with tears in her eyes saying “now look what you’ve done! You ruined my f****** makeup!”. I apologized and told her again how valuable she is. She walked away undone and crumbling before me. That was the last time I ever saw this woman. I don't know where she went, I'm believing she left the industry and went home. But whatever happened to her, she experienced the real love of Jesus through one woman, myself, pursuing her like she deserved to be pursued and nothing will ever take that moment, that touch from God away from her.
Choosing to love and serve women (and men) in this arena can seem so hopeless. Sometimes we walk a journey with a women for years and she never chooses to leave. Early on, I experienced the reality that this type of ministry can feel extremely unrewarding and unfruitful. You go home at night feeling more broken than you knew you could, full of secondhand trauma. You ask yourself why you put yourself through this pain time and time again.
My husband and I came to a point where we said to God “even if we see no fruit from our labours, no women rescued out of human trafficking, we would be satisfied and honored knowing that we hosted God‘s presence in the darkest places, where no one else was willing to go. Once we made this our goal, to bring the presence of God to the darkest places, our jobs got a lot easier. We just showed up and God did all the work.
While we still have many sad stories of women who have not seen freedom, we also have so many good stories of women who experience the genuine love of God. Even stories of women who have returned home and been set free from their pimps and a life of slavery. Now we go into the different brothels and have home-groups with the women. Serving lunch, worshipping and praying with them. Many have gotten saved and healed! Many who would never have known the love of God. We are so honored that God has entrusted us with his beautiful daughters. No chain is too strong for him to break, no street to dark for His light to shine. Just one word from His voice is enough to call a lost daughter home.
So how can we respond? We can make love our goal, not the outcome. Are we willing to be His hands and feet, no matter the cost? We may not even know how to start or what to do, but all God needs is our yes, He will do the rest. We say yes Jesus! I encourage you to ask Holy Spirit, what are you asking me to say yes to? Who are you putting in front of me to show your love to? He will show you, then it's your choice to say yes!