Hello to you from this new communications platform. I am as yet uncertain how I am going to use this forum in combination with our other blog, as well as with facebook. Some experimenting will have to take place! Please be patient as I figure out what forum is best for what kind of communication.
Those of you who have heard us speak this summer while on home assignment have heard us talk about the issue of human trafficking. This is another term for an old issue, namely slavery. The main way it rears its ugly head in Vienna, at least as far as we now know, is through prostitution. Apparently there are 2 main sources of "workers" for the prostitution "market" in Vienna: women from Eastern Europe who need to earn money in some form (as far as I know, the term "human trafficking" does not apply to them), and women from Nigeria who have been tricked into coming to Europe often thinking that they were coming to be nannies. They have basically been sold to people who deal in prostitution in Vienna. Before they leave they have to endure a 3-day voodoo ritual which hopefully assures their silence and obedience.
As a team of WorldVenture missionaries we have been becoming more and more aware of this issue; so much so that we are determined to find some way that we can reach out to these women with aid and the Gospel, as well as possibly contributing to the solution to their dilemma. What our contributions might look like is very unclear to us. But to give you a feel for what is happening on this "frontline", I have translated an email update from one of the gals who is reaching out to women who have to sell their bodies on a daily basis. The women called "A" in the update is from Eastern Europe, as I recall, and has been making great strides in walking away from her former life. An Austrian outreach, with whom gals from our church in Vienna work and with whom we are in dialogue, has been trying to help find her way back into a more normal life. She isn´t a believer yet, but the women who know her are very encouraged. Here is the translated update:
Dear praying friends,
You have been praying for „A“ who has been spending 2-3 afternoons at our place during these summer months. My 13-year old has especially taken her into her heart….
When Sabine and I later drove to our outreach, I prayed that the Lord would send us another “A” . We then met “V”, one of the many with whom we spoke. She is someone who for months has been totally hopeless and despairing. Due to her fight for survival and with a brutal pimp in the background she has been totally worn down. Sabine told her about “A” and encouraged “V” to try to trust God and us one more time.
We know that the Lord can take her step by step into another life, but “I can´t trust anyone anymore,” was what she told us. Please pray for her. Her life is a "garbage heap" but the Lord is the Resurrection and the Life. “He can do immeasurably more than we all ask or imagine!!!” Eph. 3:20
We spoke all together with 22 women, and we could have talked with 10-15 more. “S” too was totally down. She has a 2 ½ year old son, who lives with “S´s” mother.
“N” is from Hungary could speak German very well, although she has only been on the streets for 3 months. She continues to experiment with white magic, but continues to read the Bible daily after she comes home from “work” and has taken a shower. That is a phenomenon that we quite often encounter. Occultism and Prostitution often go hand in hand. Many women want to read the Bible before they go to sleep. In my 30 years of being a missionary I have never handed out so many Bibles and New Testaments as in the last 2 ½ years that I have spent in Vienna in the red light district.
Thank you for your work you do on your knees.
From the heart,
Sabine and Margit.
Well, what do you think? We live a really crazy world, don´t we? Please pray with Celeste and me as we along with our team try to find out what we can do to try to alleviate the suffering, as well as to reach these gals with the Gospel. If you have any comments or ideas about this kind of ministry, please let us know.