How it all began

a testimony by the founder of the ministry Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag:

    It was late when I left that night. Our refugee feeding program had run long, and I was anxious to get home—partly because of the hour, and partly because of the neighborhood. The area around Omonoia in Athens, Greece, is a nightmare of human misery. Drug addicts purchase and consume their dose; homeless refugees spill over the sidewalks to fill the streets. Women stand on corners and in shadowy doorways offering their bodies to anyone who can pay.

    It’s not the kind of place where you want to loiter. But as I walked toward my trolley that night, a woman caught my attention. She was standing in front of a run-down hotel, soliciting customers. Certainly not the first woman I had seen in prostitution in our area, and surely not the only woman working that night.

    But as I saw her, something happened. I think it might be a bit like Christ felt when it is recorded in scripture that he saw the crowds, and was moved with compassion to do something for them. I felt like seeing this woman was an invitation. But I wasn’t sure to what.

    I began to pray.how-it-all-began-optimized                           

    Over several weeks, I asked God to open the door. Even though I was already a missionary, I had no idea how to approach a woman in prostitution! “Give me a way to speak to her, Lord,” I prayed. God was not slow in answering.

    Another late night, and another brisk walk through the neighborhood. This time, there were several people outside the hotel: a few women, and one very big man. In a red skirt. I’m sure he would have been tall even without the heels…but he was wearing high heels, and a long blonde wig. As I approached the group, he stepped out into my path. “You got the time?” he asked. “I hope he means my watch,” I thought.

    I held out my arm as I walked past. I hadn’t gone more than a few steps when God moved again. “This is a very sad man,” he seemed to be saying, and I immediately began to pray as I pushed through the streets toward my home. I don’t think that’s at all unusual for us as Christians. God puts a burden on our hearts, and in response we lift it to him. What was strange was that I couldn’t stop praying! Prayer was pouring out of me over this man and his life. I felt as if the Spirit of God had been waiting for someone to intercede for him. “I have to go back,” came the urgent impression.

    Just as quickly came another thought. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! It’s eleven o’clock at night in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. What do you even think is going to happen?”

    I paced the sidewalk and argued with God. “If you want me to go back, at least tell me what you want me to do!”

    “Ask them their names,” he said.