Some female community members had the opportunity to participate in outreach in red-light districts while the Riverboat was in Bonn and Mainz. For most of them, it was a first-time experience, and what they saw broke their hearts.
Tamara Verboom (Netherlands) went with some local church volunteers to a backstreet in downtown Bonn where numerous ladies in tight jeans and high heels stood by the side of the street, waiting to be picked up by cars. “The hard part is not knowing what’s going to happen to them after they get into the cars,” she shared. “All I could do was pray for their safety, and for the men to step away from this lifestyle.” The church volunteers had prepared Bulgarian goodies and snacks for the ladies who come mainly from Bulgaria. They were so happy to receive a gift that reminded them of home.
Tamara has acted in the role of a sex worker previously while working in the onshore segment of The Agency. “When you act, it gets real for you, but it’s head knowledge,” she said, comparing the two experiences. “When you really see it in real life, you realise how big the problem is and it’s everywhere!” Witnessing the ministry in action made Tamara realise how crucial it is for more people and churches to be involved and support the sex workers. At the end of the night, she prayed with a lady named Dida and left her with a contact to call if she needed help.
Another group of four community members joined a similar ministry in Mainz on Valentine’s Day. Together with local church volunteers, they prepared flowers to give out to the ladies before heading to the red-light district. The location was a building this time with red lights shining through its windows. Gyongyi Legradi (Hungary) and Mariana Peres (Brazil) decided to circle the building seven times, singing and praying for God to break the evil chains in the place.
Halfway through the walk, Gyongyi shared that God had given her a specific person to pray for. She had a vision of a darker-skinned girl with dark hair and a scar on her face. They started praying specifically for people whom God had placed in their hearts. The church volunteers later revealed that they had prayed for a girl from Thailand that night and she was very open for the Gospel. Despite the saddening situation, God knows and cares for each one of the girls.