“What does Jesus think about prostitution and heaven?” How would you answer this question if you were sitting in a massage parlour where you know sex is being sold? It’s a loaded question which needs to be answered sensitively and succinctly. We probably didn’t answer it particularly well, but we were caught off guard by the fact that a woman we’d only just met was asking such an open question about Jesus! Even in our fumbling, the women present carried on asking more questions about Jesus and the women He had spent time with. This is just one example of how God has been at work since Saffires started just a few months ago, in September 2015.
We are visiting women working in prostitution indoors across the city and giving them opportunities to chat, eat homemade cakes, ask questions and receive prayer if they choose. We have been visiting one location in Leicester every other week since September and have been amazed at what God has been doing. You’re probably wondering ’what is it like to visit a massage parlour?’ Walking into the premises we currently visit, we receive a warm welcome, an offer of tea or coffee and the comfy seats – some of the women choose to sit on the floor whilst we chat, despite our protestations. We talk about the things that are going on in our lives, laugh about things that we have seen around us, and generally build relationships. Sometimes it is busy, sometimes it is peaceful. But after only 3 months, it would seem odd to think about Saffires without the women we have met being a part of it. This may not be typical for all the premises we will visit, but it has been a huge encouragement and blessing to us as we start out.
So, is there room for God to move in this situation? Is there room for prayer in this scene? At Saffires we certainly believe so. We’ve had opportunities to pray for the women whilst we’ve visited them, and also received their prayer requests to pray outside of visits.
We also look for opportunities to help women access other services and offer to meet them for coffee individually if they want to chat more privately. Ultimately our desire is to create constructive routes by which the women can exit the sex industry, and even beyond that we pray that they will meet Jesus and accept His grace and forgiveness and give their lives to Him.
Whilst we are currently only visiting one premises, we have been amazed at the conversations we’ve had with the women and they have made us feel so welcome. Over the past few months we’ve been training two new outreach volunteers and in February they and we will, God-willing, be ready to start visiting an additional two premises. Please pray that God would show us where He wants us to visit next and that we would be greeted with as warm a welcome as we have received at the first premises. Pray that we would have more opportunities to pray with the women and to engage with them outside of their work place so that we can support them and show them God’s love in a multitude of ways.
If you’d like to know more about Saffires, please visit our website www.saffires.org.uk. We are also recruiting for new volunteers to start training in March, particularly volunteers for outreach, security and prayer cover. You’ll need to be available for either a morning or afternoon every other week (ideally a Wednesday) and will have to complete a formal application process. For information about these roles please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becky and Sarah, Saffires