One of the bravest women I know. The Director of our work in the red-light district.

At the end of the day, after we walked through the red-light district with Seeta (staff name changed), we gathered back at the center. It was sweltering and the shade of the center’s roof provided much-needed respite from the cloak of heat and scorching sun.

We scraped our metal chairs into a circle and asked Seeta to share with us some of the things that have been happening in the red-light district. She excused herself briefly and returned carrying a leather-bound journal and opened the pages. At the top of one of the pages she had penned five names – written beside them were dates.

In the last two months, she helped five women find rescue. Beside each name was their freedom date and a short sentence about where they had gone.

This process of rescue is layered and complicated; each rescue takes time and considerable wisdom. Getting the ladies out is a major hurdle but it is not the only one. Rescued women often have nowhere to go, and without a plan may end up back in the district they left or on the streets, revictimized. Rahab’s Rope has a network of a few safe houses outside the city to send the women to once they get out safely. These five were scattered to various centers where they could be safe and receive resources to learn vocations or be repatriated home.

Seeta is tiny and may come across as meek at first glance, but this woman spends her days serving the hardest of the hard. She chooses to be there when almost everyone else would not. I have personally watched this small-statured woman rise and raise her voice to command a crowd of aggressive ladies…with a few loud reprimands she asserts control. Every single time.

Seeta is one of God’s mightiest. Of this I am certain.

On this day, we sat knee to knee in the shelter of the center,. As she gave voice to the heaviness of her work and the inherent risks she takes on behalf of these women, I felt like the air itself got heavier. I asked Seeta if she is fearful, and without the slightest hint of a pause, she said no. “I choose not to be afraid. I want to be used by God to save as many women as possible. This is my wish. To save as many women as possible.” And then she looked down and giggled as if she was embarrassed by the attention she was receiving.

On days like today when oppression feels tangible; after standing in individual brothels and meeting generations of mothers and daughters living side by side in this place, here is where we close our eyes and breathe in hope. He is here. In this mess. And honestly, it is the most authentically beautiful picture of the Gospel I have ever seen.

One secret, leather-bound journal.
Those handwritten names, with their freedom dates beside them.
And the beautiful, brave, loved by God, hand that penned them.
In the darkest dark, there is holy light.
He is here.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him. I will protect him because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” – Psalm 91:14-16