She was probably around fifteen the first time I met her at Blessings Church in Bucharest. You know, one of those teens that cause us good church folk to lower our eyes and not stare: a lot of piercings, questionable jewelry choices, black t-shirt, big make-up. One of those lost teens from marginalized homes who suck up our love and resources and then disappear into oblivion.
But, I liked Bee from the start. There was something in her eyes, in her smile, that told me she was responding to the Jesus spirit wooing her soul. She didn’t stop wearing her makeup or change her clothes or close up her piercings but she came regular, sang in the choir sometimes and grew up good. Not ‘good’ defined by us good church folk but ‘good’ the Jesus way, the Garden way, ‘and God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.’ God-made good.
God-made-good-Bee is my hero today.
She stuck around Blessings, got a degree, two actually, and when the world was finally at her fingertips, the kid with piercings went to work at the shelter. As a counselor. For Romanian women. Who have been prostituted internationally. And want to come home. And get out of THE life. But how do you come home? After all that bad, how does anyone ever get good again?
I can’t show you Bee’s face or where she works or the women she blesses – it’s too dangerous. But, I can tell you this: Bee has an awful lot to teach us church folk.
Sitting in her tiny counseling office, spinning in her spinny chair, this kid nearly two decades my junior told some tales that we don’t talk much about in church. She said that buyers pay their biggest dollars for pregnant women. Not teenage girls. Not college girls. Not experienced women. Mamas and babies. Mamas. and. babies.
You see, people are a commodity: two items for the price of one ; a mother is easier to control if she has a child to protect ; there’s a specialty market for people who have sex with babies or sex with pregnant women. Practical know-how for owning and selling property for profit.
And sometimes we don’t like to hear those sordid details in church among good folk but there it is anyway, staring us right in the face. We can lower our eyes and try not to stare because the sex trade is dirty and our lives are quite comfortable. Or, we can pour out our lives as an offering. There’s not much middle ground.
I’m sorry for the straight talk. The sex talk. The ugly words that create uglier images but I haven’t even scratched the surface. I can’t even write the stories I have heard and Bee has counseled and girls that are still babies have lived. Our vocabulary does not actually have words to convey the depth of this sin. But, a day in the life of this missionary has made me angry as I sat in a hotel and discussed the realities of modern day slavery. 27 million slaves in our world today. And, that is a conservative estimate. Twenty. Seven. Million. Souls.
Women taken to a farm and impregnated so their babies can be sold for tissue and organs. Wrap your mind around that. Say a prayer. Say 27 million prayers.
In upcoming posts, we will deal with understanding the issue of human slavery. Then, we will talk about you, about me, and what Jesus might want to do with a poured out church that wants to be a Blessing.
*Bee’s name has been changed for her sake but she knows who she is. Love you Bee. Your my hero today.