Posts Tagged ‘prostitution’

ImageI just bought a new car last week, 1990 Honda Accord. It’s black, lowered a bit, fun to drive. Its going to be nice to save some money on gas.

Two days after I bought it was the last day of 2012 and since the world hadn’t come to an end yet I went to pick up the Epic Life mail one last time from my good UPS friend John Apple down at the Oaktree village. Thumbing through the stack of junk, packages and letters I crossed the sidewalk without looking up, hit the remote, and opened the door to my new ride.  As I slid into the driver’s seat my eye caught a girl walking the same sidewalk I just crossed. She landed in a iron chair outside of the UPS store I had just left. As she sat down our eyes connected and the corners of her mouth turned up and she winked at me with a, “Hey Honey…” wink. I smiled back and turned my attention to getting my key in the ignition as fast as I could and powering on my space ship and flying.

But it didn’t start.

I looked up and the young lady was still sitting there and from under her furry brimmed hoodie came another smile. I tried turning the key again but to no avail, the car wasn’t going to come to life and whisk me away, back to my busy life. After a few more tries it was time to call Tony, I know he has Mondays free so maybe he could come get the car started. I looked up again and became aware that I was still being watched.

So… I got out of the car and went and sat down next to her. She said, “Hey there.” I replied, “Hey there.”

And then I asked her how long she had been working on the streets. I was surprised at how fast she moved into conversation about prostitution with me, as she told me she had been working at a regular job but had a girl friend earn in two days on the streets what she would make in a month at a job where she paid taxes. She needed money to live and this paid the bills. She spoke between slow draws on her cigarette, raising and lowering her hand to her scarred chin and cheek.

Then I told her that she is much more valuable than surviving a life of giving her body to be used and living alone in a motel room night after night along Aurora waiting for another guy named John to call her. 

Heather crumbled into her lap and began to weep uncontrollably. 

I spoke of the great and miraculous love of Jesus and the transformational power of Grace and forgiveness and that I have these great friends all around me who would welcome her as part of their family. I then offered to take her home, to spend New Years eve with my family. I would even buy her time if she needed that.

Her sobs where audible to anyone walking past as she relayed the story of her horrendous experience as a child. A kind woman, who passed by two minutes earlier, offered us a couple of lattes as she returned. She had to be an angel. 

Heather declined my offer, said she couldn’t do that, she would only hurt us, and became very skittish of the situation she had found herself in. It seemed time to let her go, so I wrote mine and Kristine’s name and my cell number down on a napkin and told her that no matter when or where, if she needed to call I would answer. If she needed protection I would be there. She quickly folded the napkin in half and pushed it into her purse, while wiping her mascara smeared eyes with her sleeve.

Tony arrived. 

Heather left.

The car started on the first try.

Aurora Avenue North

After reading a recent letter to the Major of Seattle, “Hell Starts Here, 145th & Aurora”, posted in the Aurora Seattle Blog (which does a great job of keeping ‘eyes’ on Aurora Ave. N.), my cranium started into a grey matter tsunami about the people I have encountered on Aurora, which Richard, the author of the letter to Major McGinn, tells us resembles Dantes Circle of Hell.

But what, or who does Aurora represent? Indeed if we have eyes that only see the physicality of our immediate surroundings which hem us in on all fronts accosting our eyes with the mere tripe of this facade of stone and steel. This plastic and glass empire wanes heavy and indeed does resemble the inferno of the underworld where man is hopeless without Christ.

At first glance, or for some at second and third glance if not at each glance through his or her life, the Corridor of Aurora Avenue accosts the eyes and mind and the innate desire to be surrounded by beauty, even if it is a man made beauty, stirs our beings to scream, “Hell Starts Here!

The tsunami in my mind is fierce, flooding and disorienting my thoughts because I live in this great city called Emerald that has no belief or desire to believe in a God who is loving yet just. This city, a landscape of 700,000 souls with millions just over the fence, pretends to believe there is no moral Right…but is quick to condemn the many who are described, not by their ideas or character or eyes or even their names, but instead by the “concrete waste land” they have been forced to inhabit.

How is it that a society that believes there is no God and therefore no moral right or wrong can pass judgement so quickly on people who are suffering deep despair and isolation? But when our focus is on our surroundings and the eye candy that we ignorantly suck on, we will miss the souls of the people who drive those cars, who sell those cars and who live in those cars that traverse “Gasoline Alley.”

The common solutions, that I have heard and read, to the problems of Aurora Avenue go something like this, “We need to bulldoze the entire strip of alley cats and rats who call Aurora home, and while we are at it put in a bicycle path running from Pike Place Market to 145th in a park that once was Aurora Ave. N.”  The fact is; if Aurora Ave. N. “closed” thousands would be out of work and thousands would lose their businesses. It would displace businesses into the coveted, almost worshiped, neighborhoods and their quiet streets. Causing yet a greater crisis.

Does it ever occur to anyone that we need the commerce of Aurora? The basic needs of a city lie along this strip along with those who derive their livelihood, those who, by the way, have names. Names like Pericles, Azi, Chey-Sun, Cynthia, Bud, Ryan, Fay, Will, and the list goes on. Sure there are many nefarious activities that occur along the strip but does that mean we throw out the baby in the proverbial bath water? Or…do we make a shift?

What if we seek to transform instead of throw away?

I wish you, yes you, could sacrifice one of your precious well paid hours and walk on Aurora with me and look long into the eyes of the small business owner, or the customers who frequent the same businesses. Come look into the haunting eyes of the homeless, prostitute and “dancer.”  My hope is that it breaks your four chambered muscle pounding with in your chest. My hope is that you and I remember these people where once children with bright eyes, hopes and dreams. Many ruined by their parents and hence trapped in this prison we so easily condemn to hell.

At some point we need to stop throwing insults and condemnation at the problem and start getting involved.

At some point we need to stop throwing money and hopes that the “government” will do something and start getting involved.

At some point we must stop speeding down the Aurora Corridor with blinders held tightly to our eyes and start seeing and hearing.

In a somewhat crazy emotionally unstable state,  I truly believe this strip can be transformed, healed and reconciled to beauty. Don’t ignore it, don’t throw stones. Take a lesson from Jesus, “You who are without guilt may throw the first stone.”

Want to link arms and see North Aurora Transformed…Please join me.

I have recently learned some information from the Seattle Police North Precinct about the prostitution on Aurora. In the past few years prostitution has been decreasing in numbers of “walker.” There has been a concerted effort to clean-up the Avenue, which supposedly has lead to a lesser number of ladies on the streets. But recently the numbers have risen. Estimates have said there are 40+ walking ladies on the North Aurora corridor, who move up and down this stretch of historic Highway, and the numbers are growing.

A few months ago I heard a popular talk radio host, Ron of the Ron and Don Show, tell his audience of 300,000 + listeners that there are no “walkers” on Aurora any more. Well he’s wrong and sadly his listeners are now thinking the problem has been taken care of. (I like listening to the Ron and Don Show, by the way and usually there are some great thoughts and discussions on the show.)

My thoughts on this have been growing as I discover some of the sad truths of what is actually happening on Aurora and around Seattle. When I moved to Seattle two years ago and found God directing my path to start a church on Aurora, it didn’t take long to begin noticing the same girls walking the same blocks. Taking a tour of the underground of Seattle we learned that Seattle use to have quite a prostitution problem down town and somewhere around the time the World’s Fair came to town the city moved the prostitution out of the city, north and south on Aurora. The tour leader told us that the prostitution still exists on Aurora because of that move.

Then we learned more about the motel situation on the Avenue and the drugs, alcohol, homelessness and prostitution being supplied from these old rat trap motels. Now the city has closed the worse four trying to cut the crime, the calls for emergency personnel and the nuisance in the neighborhood.

Now the prostitution problem is growing, according the North Precinct and the lesser known issue of sex trafficking (link, on world trafficking) along with it. All right in our back door. Sounds like it has been around for quite a few years, like 5,000.  Maybe the growth of the street ladies is in direct proportion to the closing of those four motels.

But there is a bigger picture here than a problem…these are lives, human lives being consistently and methodically destroyed. All of these women were little innocent girls at one point with no dreams of becoming something to be used, but wanting and dreaming of being a princess who would be cherished and loved. And through the years, “The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy…” John 10:10 An he has done just that in so many lives.

“…But Christ has come to give life!” John 10:10. So this all comes down to my thoughts as of recent.  “What can I do?” I wish I could just spend some time with one of these ladies and share with them the beauty that life was suppose to be and that there is a way out of this “career” of brokenness.

Maybe it is time to buy an hour and a cup of coffee and talk. Maybe my wife and I could do something more than see and shake our heads in sadness. Maybe Epic Life Church can make a difference in a woman’s life. Maybe…

The cry of affection

the need of love,

can only be filled,

by the One above.

Desire and temptation

on confusion corner,

a hottie mired in trash

with cash as a mourner.

Eyes that see love

that’s twisted and marred.

Hands out to be helped

running into the barred.

Cute is a curse word

Mute is the Christ Herd.

Sex is a rusted tool

There is a man, the fool.

Standing on curb to get

the care of a stranger,

Climbing in a red sedan

with a typical stranger.

A hotel room

A cigar flume.

A defiled bed

a curse word said.

Out in five,

like a bee from a hive,

the dive,

she will strive,

to revive

her heart.

Done in five,

like a bee from a hive

the dive

he will strive

to revive

his heart.

Hurts go deep,

like the sting of a wasp.

Both caught

in a death grasp.

both seeking affection

both getting rejection.

no protection

no direction

no reflection

in need of protection

in need of direction

in need of reflection

the love

the hate

For self has no soul

like a cereal bowl.

Is the Hope available

to a girl in tights?

Is the Hope achievable

to a boy without fights?

transformation?

reprobation?

salutation?

Hope out numbers

the enemies plunder’s.

God’s hand can touch

Gives life to lifeless.

Heals broken hearts

makes hands strifeless.

Transformation?

Yes!

Re-creation?

The Best!

He captures the tear

trades faith for fear

when you run he’s near.

He takes the pain

turns it into joy.

Like a baby child

with a new found toy.

Sister you don’t have

to wait for the money,

to get your love

from one who calls you honey.

There is One greater

who loves you more.

Reach your hand out

and open the door.

to Freedom.

Mister you don’t have

to give out the money,

to get your love

from one who calls you honey.

There is One greater

who loves you more.

Reach your hand out

and open the door.

to Freedom.

To the dance of Forgiveness.

To the glorious Whiteness.

All sin is taken away,

and you become whole.

You never pay for

the redemption of your soul.

You see before you the power

The Man died at just the right hour.

He demonstrated

Proclamated,

Manifestated,

His own love

for you.

While your were

still a sinner.

Buried in self,

and pride

and anger

and hatred

and lust

and the list goes on,

He died for you.

Cause he loves you.

Experience Grace,

Like sunshine on your face.

Just one taste

Gives transformational haste.

What if God takes the Aurora Avenue of Seattle, the North South highway running right through Seattle’s heart, and Transforms Seattle through the Redemptive Communities he establishes on this corridor? That would be radical and awesome!  Pray for God’s mighty work to be accomplished in the lives of his servants and the lives of those yet to know him from Aurora.

 

Aurora - the North South highway through the heart of Seattle

Aurora - the North South highway through the heart of Seattle

Dream with me…

     “We buy a run down pit of a motel that has had prostitution running rampet for decades at hourly rental rates and transform it into a home and rehabilitation organization that helps women who find themselves on the corners of Aurora night after night. A place where God is able to take the very drug dealers and users out of this dive of a hotel and transforms their lives to create a safe house for users to become dry and learn a trade and become members of a productive society and Christ centered community, as their lives are transformed by the King’s power. A place where the ex-users are teaching and mentoring their previous dealers to live lives that are a reflection of Christ. A place that supports itself from a high-traffic coffee house carved out of the once deplorable hotel office. A coffee house that gives employment to recovering users and dealers alike, and helps bring girls off the streets from selling themselves for a living to serving, not only coffee, but an ideal atmosphere where all people are welcomed and have an chance to experience God. What if this place becomes an epicenter of the Epic Story God is currently writing.”

Dream of the possibilities, they are great!