International Ministries

God at Work: Baptist World Alliance (BWA)

September 4, 2009 Journal
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Immediately after the European Baptist’s Amsterdam400 celebration in late July, the Baptist World Alliance held their Annual Gathering in The Netherlands to conduct their yearly meetings—and to join in the commemoration of Baptist beginnings.  I have been regularly participating in the annual BWA conferences for the past 10+ years as a member of the Freedom and Justice Commission and the Baptist World Aid Executive Committee.  What a privilege it has been to get to know such dedicated Christian leaders from all over the world!  And serving with them has given me the opportunity share my passion for ministry with people in prostitution and victims of trafficking.  It’s been a great forum for raising awareness about trafficking/prostitution issues and encouraging the church to get involved.  We know that the traffickers are well networked—we, the Church also need to be networked!  And the BWA is a great world-wide network that is increasingly responding to God’s Call to “set the captives free”.  

Following the week of BWA meetings, the BWA Women’s Department Executive Committee stayed in the Netherlands for several more days for their planning meeting.  I was excited when they asked if I would spend a day with them, which would include a tour through Amsterdam’s red-light district.  They wanted me to help them to understand how we can be Christ’s presence in places like this.  These are women of great influence:  Presidents of the Baptist Unions of the continents of the world---Africa, Latin America, Asia, North America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand/Pacific, Caribbean.  For some, it was their first time in a red-light district.  I was eager that together we could envision global ministries for people trapped in prostitution!  

As we entered the red-light district, I gave a few simple instructions:
1)    We would see each person as someone created in God’s image, precious in God’s sight—no matter what their demeanor or circumstance
2)    We would smile at them and look in their eyes.  
3)    We would pray that the Holy Spirit would work in each one of their lives and that our presence would reflect the light of God’s love---far beyond any words that we might say.
Basically, the instructions I gave were “Step 1” in ministry in most red-light districts!  We also had the opportunity to visit “The Scarlet Cord”, and learned about many, many more steps along Christ’s healing path.  We began—and ended—with a time of prayer.  I have no doubt that God will use this day for His purposes and towards the redemption of precious lives….