Men…….

Cue Faith Based Blog.

So here I am just a couple of months short of 2 years in Rome working with issues of Human Trafficking and Prostitution and suddenly lots is clicking and happening that is making me return to 13 years ago and 9 years ago and 2 years ago. It’s crazy how I get the chance to sit and look at things.

Let’s go back to the 9 years ago “thing” or “moment” because that is the one that is most on my mind at this time. I have spent a few days rejoicing and celebrating God and also remembering some stuff.

I had a meeting with my leaders of The Salvation Army project in London and we were talking about the need to discover diversity and what that would mean in a project as I was in at the time. I prayed and asked around and discovered that the groups for men in prostitution (not the clients and there is a serious lack of provision there too) were so few and far between that this was a possibility and a way forward. I connected to groups and met with group leaders but always “the door” of opportunity was closed.

I genuinely got annoyed with God because I wanted to do something different and that came – we began an outreach to Massage Parlors and Saunas and even after 6 years of being persistent, a lap dance club.; but this wasn’t what I wanted. It was not what I had thought about. I never liked to fit in and thought that the premises we visited were easy. How wrong was I? I got so excited about this ministry and work, and the “men” project wasn’t going anywhere. Jump ahead 9 years now.

Then before Christmas along with my colleagues here in Rome we decided to begin Outreach. And the Green Light Project Rome was born.

Green Light Project
Green Light Project

I had my ideas and really wanted something different and I along with a group of “volunteers” climbed into the red van. Off we went armed with homemade biscuits and coffee and tea and smiles and a few nerves too.

Did I expect results – yes because even one person talking to me would be great.

What happened though was something that I never expected. In 4.5 months we have over 70 names and a whole load of “unknowns” and 90% of those we have met are Transvestites and they admit they are men, we have their male names too.

GLP

Last week reflecting on all that had happened with my leaders, I realized I was reaching the men in prostitution. men who are looked at differently to others. men ignored by the world. Men judged by the world at large. And yet God had prepared me with knowledge and information many years ago.

Now I know why God closed all those doors and why it wasn’t the right time. I am glad that the right time is now. I am glad that I didn’t try and do something back then, but more than that I am humbled by these amazing people I meet every Tuesday evening. They welcome me and accept me and we laugh, cry, talk and pray together. In confusion and pain and hurt and rejection, I am privileged to be a friend to them all.

So, there will be theologians and Christians who have something to say, well come with me and let me take you to the place that one called “Hell”. It doesn’t fit any artists image but who cares, it’s where I meet L and all those other amazing people.

William Booth said the following words and when “B” told us not to pray because the place we meet is hell, then my thoughts turned to these words again. And yes I am prepared.

“You must do it. With the light that is now broken in upon your mind and the call that is now sounding in your ears, and the beckoning hands that are now before your eyes, you have no alternative. To go down among the perishing crowds is your duty. Your happiness from now on will consist in sharing their misery, your ease in sharing their pain, your crown in helping them to bear their cross, and your heaven in going into the very jaws of hell to rescue them.”

So, I share this wanting you to know – that as a Christian, nothing is ever wasted.