This environment isn’t foreign to me. It’s not new. It’s no longer uncomfortable.
I’ve been in and out of bars and strip clubs for four years bringing Kingdom and love.
My heart has long since been softened for the men. There was a time back when I was angry with them but Papa soon broke that hold of bitterness off my heart.
Last night I was struck with the question “what about the men?” And I brought it before the Lord over and over again as we went into bars and walked the streets!
I wish I could paint you a picture of the scenes we see. But I wish you could see it all through Papas heart. That it would break you but immediately be filled with hope and joy because our King is victorious!
The first bar we went into there was a man to my right with a Filipino girl and I could feel him staring at me wanting to get my attention and my heart beat wildly for him. He was clearly drunk so I didn’t engage. He was probably in his 60’s, seemingly having the time of his life as he was entertained by the women on stage in front of him who wore nothing more than a small bikini.
There was something within me that wanted to turn and acknowledge him. To look him in the eyes with warmth and grace and love on him.
It becomes much harder to do that when they are drunk and not with it.
Oh but Papa, what about him?
What is his story?
What does he see and feel in this place?
After some time walking on the street we went back to a bar I was at the last time I came. It’s one of the larger ones on the street and it has two floors that wrap around center stage. We went up to the second floor and this time it was packed out!
I went intentionally looking for a girl that me and my dad met last year but didn’t find her.
My attention again drifted to the men. There were some with several girls hanging on them and around them. Others just sitting with one and not even talking, barely touching.
Then still others who sat alone or in groups of men and just looked.
Papa do they know that the girls are scared? Do they ask questions too? Are they curious? Papa would you heal their hearts.
I saw lap dances with the young girls and men well over middle age…. Jesus what does their heart truly feel in that moment? Is there any recognition of their own brokenness? Their own loneliness?
My mind was thinking and praying a million things all at once.
It’s not because it’s new or shocking but because Papa wants to do something. He’s drawing attention where he’s already doing something. I’m not sure what yet.
There was a man walking around on the second floor who again was probably in his 60’s, he was larger and looked like a pretty tough guy. He was wearing a big white tank top and shorts. He had been drinking and wore almost a half smile as he danced around a bit and engaged with some of the girls walking about.
I looked right at him. I couldn’t help myself. Then moments later he had reappeared downstairs and was walking up on the stage with the girls and started dancing. (This is okay and welcomed in the bars here) the girls squealed with excitement as they danced around him and clapped.
Then suddenly a guy in his 30’s on our floor loudly said ” oh my god! No way!” And almost ran to a place he could get a better look! He pulled out his phone to take picture or video and proudly exclaimed “that’s my dad!!!!!” The waitress quickly told him he couldn’t take pictures or videos inside so he put it away and just enjoyed the rest of the moment without documenting.
My hand was over my heart during all of this as I couldn’t help but call out to Jesus.
“Lord what are you doing? Jesus what do they really believe about this place? Have they not heard stories in the recent years about trafficking and exploitation and what it all looks like today? Do they know ? Do they care?
We come for the girls and lady boys but what about the men?
Who will offer them more? Who will introduce them to the Father? Who will love on them? Who will call them back to dignity and honor?
How does that happen?
Where is the army of men? Of Kingdom loving men.”
You see molestation. You see grinding. You see lap dances. You see the greed and desperation in their eyes. You see the hallow “fun”. You see the hunger for love.
Very early on we had stopped on the street to talk with some lady boys. As we stood there we were off to the side with plenty of room for people to get around us but suddenly I felt someone’s whole body rub against the back of mine as they walked by. I really wasn’t phased but I turned around to see an older white male with a young Filipino walking and the guys face was turned slightly enough towards me that I caught the left side of his face and saw his eyes.
I wasn’t offended. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t feel gross or taken advantage of… My heart leaped out of my chest.
Oh Papa… What are your thoughts for him? What are your sweet sweet thoughts for him?
Would you have me step out and talk to the men? What if I got trampled on in the process? What if all they wanted was to be entertained by a warm body?
Jesus if there were to be even but one who would have an open heart would you open my mouth and move my feet.
I’m honestly okay with the risk of it but I don’t need to do it foolishly either.
Jesus… What about your men?