Pay to Pray
In June 2016, the ladies went to share Jesus in Europe for 30 days. They went to Paris (France), London (UK), Amsterdam (Holland) and Munich (Germany). Here’s what happened in Amsterdam:
We arrived in Holland on June 12, 2016, via a cruise ship from England. Once we arrived at our hotel, we prayed together, then took some time to rest and prepare ourselves for the ministry and adventures that awaited us in Amsterdam. Due to all of the vices that are legal in Amsterdam, such as prostitution and drugs, we braced ourselves, expecting to encounter an extreme level of demonic activity.
We’ve all heard the phrase The freaks come out at night, but from what we’d heard, the freak cycle in Amsterdam is 24-7. We arrived at our destination around 10:00 a.m., and as we began to explore and look for destinations where we could minister, we came upon a Christian bookstore. Their signage said in giant letters: Jesus is Lord. Jessica had seen the words as we walked toward the city’s center from Amsterdam’s central train station. She was excited about going in to show solidarity because she believed that our discovery of a Christian presence in the midst of a city known worldwide for excess and pleasure was a sign of hope and diligence. She felt we needed to support them.
When we entered, the bookstore was small, well organized, and very comfortable. We approached the cashier and began to ask him about the business, and how it was faring, due to all the legalized activity going on around the city itself. He said that the store was the last standing Christian bookstore in Amsterdam and that it was in danger of closing. We prayed for him and the store and inquired about areas where we could do street ministry. It turned out that the Red Light District was located right behind the store. He then blessed us with words of encouragement and we headed to our destination.
It was quite early when we made it to the Red Light District, but tourists were already out roaming the streets. Women stood in the window booths of brothels, wearing provocative lingerie and taunting any man that walked by. We were deliberate in not viewing these women as prostitutes—this was only their job description, not who God intended for them to be.
After seeing how perverse the atmosphere was, we decided to regroup and pray for strength before speaking to any of these women. We felt a demonic presence in the air so thick; it coated our bodies. Jessica began to cry, and we had to take a second to regain our strength before moving forward with ministering. We started to walk laps around the District to get a lay of the land, and as we walked by the window booths, we could see the women giving us the eye, scowling in a way that insinuated: Bug off. It was as if they knew who we were and what we were there to accomplish.
Bevelyn took the first opening to speak to one of the women. The woman immediately told her she was not interested and had no time to talk. After four other women had declined our attempts, we decided to leave the District and regroup at a nearby coffee shop. Once there, we prayed for a bit. In that area, we also encountered an Englishman who shared with us that his love of marijuana also made him love Amsterdam. Afterward, we decided to leave and return the next night.
The Happy Lady
While walking back to the central train station, from a distance we saw a woman standing with a sign that read “Jesus is Lord.” She was singing and praising God. We went and stood with her and joined in. Her street ministry was unusual: She did not try to engage with passersby. Instead, she just stood there with her sign and sang and praised Jesus. She was full of laughter and joy. The sight of her was so organic and refreshing to our hearts since Satan had just sent us home emptyhanded—or so he thought.
A man briefly came over and began to question the woman about Jesus, and why people kill in his name? She just replied “Jesus loves you,” and continued to praise. As we praised God with her, Edmee started to pray out loud. Before she knew it, she was preaching. The woman asked if she was a preacher. Edmee went on to say that it was her first time preaching in public. After having a blast with her, we prayed and blessed her financially. She had stopped working just to praise the Lord in front of the train station. People would bless her with money, which ultimately helped her to take care of herself. She gave all credit to the Father and praised Him. What we witnessed convinced us that day one in Amsterdam was not in vain!
The next morning we visited a village for orphans. We wanted to minister to the kids and bless them with children’s Bibles. Upon arrival, we learned that interacting with the children was by appointment only. We would only be in Holland for four days, so we could not fulfill that goal. We decided to go home and rest to prepare for a late night in the Red Light District.
We returned to the city around 6:00 p.m. Things felt different this time because we were a bit more prepared to handle the women. Bevelyn decided that the best strategy was for one of us to approach a lone woman in one of the windows solo, rather than all three of us approaching her at once. The person speaking would ask the woman, “Do you talk to girls?” If the woman said yes, our designated speaker would enter the booth, tell the woman what she had come to do, and say that she had two other friends outside.
Whether a woman would allow the other two in or not, at least one of us would be inside, and have an opportunity to pray. Though we preferred to pray as a group, we were happy to take what we could. Bevelyn walked up to the window of the first woman we targeted that night and asked her if she spoke to women. The woman said yes, and let her in. Once inside, Bevelyn got permission for the two of us that remained to come inside. Once there, we asked for the woman’s name and cut straight to the chase. She told us that her name was Daisy, and we also introduced ourselves.
After getting acquainted, we told the woman that we came to pray for her and that we were willing to pay for her time because she was working. At first, she looked at us as if we were crazy, and she didn’t understand what we were saying. So we reiterated what we’d said. We explained to her that she didn’t have to do anything, just pray. She agreed, and we began to pray. Her mistress abruptly entered to ask what we were doing, and we told her that we came to pray with Daisy, and were willing to pay for her time.
The mistress seemed very confused and annoyed at our response. She told us that Daisy was not interested and that we needed to leave. Bevelyn responded assertively and said, “Oh, so what, our money is not good here? We are gonna’ pay just like everyone else. The only difference is we’re not DOING anything, just praying—so what’s the problem?” The mistress’ aggressiveness subsided, and she asked Daisy what she would like to do. Daisy explained to the mistress that it was easy money because she didn’t have to do anything, and would not mind the praying. The mistress then refrained from insisting that we leave and instead walked out the booth. After about five minutes of prayer, the mistress came back in and sat to listen to us pray. It was evident she wanted to hear what we were saying. It is imperative that a mistress keeps tabs on her girl. After all, she can’t afford to have prostitutes getting saved, then watching one of her revenue streams walk out the door. At the end of the prayer, we gave Daisy a Bible, 50 euros, and our card. Edmee then told the mistress, “You are a beautiful flower. JESUS LOVES YOU and knows who you were meant to be—and it was not this.”
Pay to Pray
After leaving, we realized we needed change. We had a 200 euro bill and needed 50 euro bills so we could pay the ladies. We went from place to place asking for change but were unsuccessful. Two men who we had previously ministered to stepped in. When we first met them, one of them had asked for prayer. The other one said he used to perform in live sex shows, but had recently stopped when he became a father. Those men sent us to a live-sex show entrance to ask for change, saying, “Tell them we sent you.” It was amazing—not to mention ironic—to see these men wanting to help us to minister while connecting us to a live sex show to resolve our dilemma and complete our mission.
Upon getting the change, the concept of what we were doing with the women at the brothels dawned on all three of us at once: We were going to “Pay to Pray.” We realized the only way these women would give us the time of day was if we were willing to pay for it. That is the reason these women were in the Red Light District in the first place: to get paid. So for the Lord’s will to be done, even if it meant that we had to pay to get Jesus to these girls, that’s what we were going to do.
There were so many window booths to inquire at, so many women to speak to, and so little time to do so that we had no choice but to move aggressively on the “yes’s” and disregard the “no’s,” just to make sure we encountered as many women as possible. For anyone viewing one of us standing outside of these windows, then the other two entering soon after, it looked like a sneaky way to buy sex. The difference was that we were buying prayers.
Five Girls One Transsexual
While Bevelyn had favor with many of the ladies we approached, we prayed for five girls and a transsexual man that day. Bevelyn asked him if he talked to women, and he replied in a thick Latin accent, “Yeah I talk to women. What you want to talk about?” Bevelyn then took advantage of the opening and invited herself into his booth. Once in, Bevelyn immediately showed him the Bible, money and business card she had for him. She just wanted to let him know Jesus loves him. He started to cry and rubbed his body, expressing how Bevelyn’s words had given him chills. He told Bevelyn that he felt such a strong presence of God in her, and he began to cry passionately. Bevelyn hugged him gently for a long moment, and he told her afterward that it felt as if someone was also hugging him from the back as Bevelyn hugged him from the front. Bevelyn knew who that person was. This encounter consisted of few words, and mainly emotions and the overt presence of Jesus. Bevelyn and this transsexual man continued to cry together, submerged in the presence of Jesus.
He then expressed to Bevelyn how he was at a point of giving up and was exhausted with his life and the people in it. He told Bevelyn how he had needed to encounter her because he was on the verge of giving up. He said that he had never met a Christian like her. Most Christians he’d encountered had called him a demon for being a transsexual. He looked very much like a biological woman, but when Bevelyn had entered the booth, she immediately knew in the spirit that he had surgically transformed his sex.
He told Bevelyn he could feel her, and it was different than anything he had ever felt, and he knew that Jesus was with Bevelyn. Bevelyn then took the time to encourage him and tell him how important he is to Jesus. “You are so important to God, he brought me and my friends all the way from America just to meet you where you are, and to tell you He loves you, and you are still regarded in his kingdom no matter your downfall.” He thanked Bevelyn and asked her not to leave, but Bevelyn knew the job she had been sent to do was done, so she hugged him again, kissed him on the cheek, and bid farewell.
While Bevelyn was in the booth ministering, Edmee engaged in a conversation with two men right outside. One of them was high, and the other seemed sober. She exhorted them not to settle for the crumbs the world offers and told them they could have “bread” in Jesus. Jessica was standing at a distance sharing Jesus with a man who appeared to be drunk.
At The Pub
As we were praising God for what had just transpired, a man from behind mocked Bevelyn for saying “Thank you Jesus.” He walked up next to her with an intense flirtatious grin. He was a tall, blonde Irish man with strong, handsome features. Jessica asked him, “Are you a Christian?” Bevelyn said, “No, he is an atheist.” He suddenly looked at Bevelyn in disbelief and asked, “How did you know that?” and Bevelyn replied, “The God that you think doesn’t exist told me,” with a sassy smile to top it off. This man and his business partner invited us for a drink. We took it as an opportunity to minister to them and some of the employees at the pub. We saw in this so- called atheist a strong pastoral calling, and we conveyed that to him while praying for him.
Our last day in Amsterdam was very charming, probably because an idea Jessica had proposed about giving out flowers to people came to fruition. She and Bevelyn went into a flower shop at the train station. Meanwhile, Edmee was getting some change. Edmee was not excited about getting flowers there (she’d had bulk prices in mind) but was pleasantly surprised by the coziness of the shop, the nice lady at the counter, and their reasonable prices. We purchased 50 roses, and had them individually wrapped with a handwritten note that said: “Jesus loves you.” We visited with the florist as she nicely wrapped every single rose. Once done, we got on our bikes and headed to a popular shopping alley by our hotel, and distributed the flowers.
Luke 16.9 reads “make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”
Money is a powerful tool. It can be used to build or to destroy. This verse can be interpreted in different ways. When it comes to our experience in Amsterdam, Luke 16.9 takes on a whole new meaning. We used unrighteous wealth to open doors for the Gospel to be preached and heard. We trust that the seeds sown will bring a harvest of women and men of God, no longer prostitutes. We look forward to befriending and fellowshipping with them one day in the eternal dwellings of heaven.