The Brothel in the Field
(written when one of our staff spent several days working alongside our direct intervention staff)
Our Indian interpretor told me, today, "I can't help falling into their love." She was trying to say "I can't help falling in love with them" but "falling into their love" is a better description of how I felt today. The field we are in is filthy and partly hidden from the road by wild scrubs and scrubby trees. The girls wore garish make up and ran up to every man who walked down the path, which was strewn with a layer of used condoms.
The brothel consists of four metal stalls with rusted tin roofs and “doors” draped with shabby soiled curtains. Old Hindu god posters and alcohol posters are randomly attached to the back of the cardboard and blue tarp “walls.” There are long wooden tables in front of the “entrances” that the women sit or lie upon while they are waiting for the next customer. They welcome me and try to make me comfortable.
There is a steady stream of men and women going in and coming out from behind the curtains. Money is exchanged and change is made by the madams and pimps. The rate is 200 rupees – about $5. The garish make up gets slightly smeared but isn’t repaired. Some of the girls have black eyes – caught in the middle of fighting between men and other prostitutes.
They all love M and V (Rahab’s Rope staff) with a love that makes no demands and has no agendas. These women – young and old are secure in knowing M and V come 2-3 times a week out of a pure, unselfish love. There is a sweet comfortableness and familiarity in this awful place.
I sat next to a girl named Minnie*. She held my hand as if it were a lifeline. She is probably 21-22 and she speaks English very well. I asked her where she learned to speak English and she said she had been in school up to the 10th grade and fell into a bad crowd. She ended up being drugged and was taken to this brothel and believes there is no way out for her. What I wanted her to understand that God - the true creator God not some crazy idol- loves her, created her, knows her and died on the cross to save her. She is from Nepal - a long, long way from home. Please take time to pray for her today.
One of the women has a little girl with her – about 2 years old. She keeps her in a make-shift tent. The little girl has on a dirty T-shirt, bare footed and no bottoms – no diaper, no shorts, nothing! She squats down in the dirt to “poop” and everyone watches and laughs. Oh, God in heaven, what chance does this child have to know a life beyond this field?
Most of the women were brought here against their will. Tricked and sold by family members or “friends”. Many from Nepal and Bangladesh. Some “arranged” by husbands to pay off gambling debts or to support the household. It is degrading and de-humanizing – there is such a sense of hopelessness in their expressions even when they are smiling or laughing.
Watching Randa* was the hardest – she is probably in her early 20’s and has three children – cared for by the man she is living with now. She is pregnant with twins and due any minute. Since she can’t “work”, she helps collect money and make change. She is so uncomfortable and miserable. We sat on the table and M asked her what she planning to do with the babies. She told us that she will care for them herself. She had an abortion in February and got pregnant, again, a month later. She had planned to have another abortion for some reason, she didn’t. The despair in her face was overwhelming. We asked if she needed anything and she told M, “You have given me so much already. I don’t want to ‘burden’ you.”
Father, God, You are sovereign. Your Word promises that a sparrow doesn’t fall from the sky that You don’t know about. Father, You hold life and death in Your hands. You knew Randa and all her children before the foundation of the world was laid. I seek Your wisdom, Father. I do not ask “why”, I ask “what”. What do You want me to do to help Randa, Minnie, and all the other women I have met and “fallen into their love,” here in India? I know you are the only answer. I pray that You would open their eyes and hearts to receive you as Lord and Savior. We all prostitute ourselves to this world – our comfort, our possessions, our desires and ambitions. We are all like these women – just at different levels of human comfort – when we refuse to accept Your gift of salvation. You are the only answer to every need and longing. Only you can give peace and freedom no matter what our circumstances are. Father, once again, I ask that I might be invisible and that Your love, mercy and grace would be all that anyone can see in me. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to represent you to these women. Amen
*names have been changed for security purposes