"Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."
The scribes and Pharisees may have dropped their stones and walked away that day, but so many of us have throw stones by judging others and the choices they make.
Seven of our team members headed for Phnom Penh, Cambodia today. We had the privilege to spend an evening with a ministry called Precious Women and participate in their outreach program. The women and men who run Precious Women go out to the Karaoke TVs (KTVs) where the prostituted women work. These beautiful Cambodian women sit in chairs out front and invite male customers in for food, drinks, entertainment, and are expected to be with their male companions and provide intimate services for the evening. KTV after KTV line the street in Phnom Penh. Our team prayed over the city as we drove to the Precious Women office. From there we broke up into 4 teams, each with two translators from Precious Women, and headed out to different KTVs.
The KTVs are dark, noisy places with glaring neon lights. These places often do not get foreign customers and the women were a bit surprised when we invited them to our table to sit and eat with us. Slowly the staff of Precious Women would draw them into a conversation about themselves while our team would smile, serve them food and ask questions about their families and their hopes and dreams. Time after time, we heard the same story. Many of the women were abandoned by their husbands or beat by them and their money taken away and they have no other way of supporting their families and their children. Some work in the factories by day and the KTVs by night because they don't make enough money any other way. Many had to quit school because their families could no longer support them. When asked what their dreams were, often the women wanted to learn salon skills but didn't have the money to do so. Precious Women can fund their education for a year and these women lit up when they heard that!
Our team asked if we could pray over the women and they agreed, one learning for the first time what prayer was and was then eager to receive it. We prayed truth over them and that they would know they were loved and valued by God. The last thing we did was invite them to a fellowship gathering for the following afternoon. More on that to come!
The goal of Precious Women is to give women dignity and hope, to educate them, and to help them heal spiritually. Many women graduate from the program and very few return to the bars. They also have plans to start a men's ministry to bring education to the men, particularly students in the university dorms, to fight the problem from the other side.
Tonight we saw God's people entering a place of darkness to bring hope and good news to the poor and disadvantaged. And we believe these KTVs are exactly where Jesus would be seen if he were here today, scandalizing the proud and loving the vulnerable. We will never forget tonight.