Have you ever hugged a prostitute? Have you ever prayed for a pimp? Have you ever wrapped your arms around and wept with a first-time mother who lost her child? Have you ever sat next to a woman while she is getting her chemotherapy?” asked Gloria Huerta, SCC Hispanic Region Women’s Ministry Leader. “I could ask so many more questions, but if you answered ‘yes’ to any one, then I am sure your own life has been changed for the better.”
The questions above describe a few ways women from SCC Hispanic Region churches have been reaching out to their local communities. At a recent gathering of the 2017 Women’s Ministries Leaders for the SCC Hispanic Region, Huerta emphasized the importance of expanding our vision and outreach in local communities. Women shared about knitting caps for cancer patients, baby blankets for L.A. County hospitals, connecting with domestic violence shelters and much more.
The ministry at Mid-City church was unique. The congregation hosts a free breakfast and prayer every year on Thanksgiving morning, but that’s not all. Their guests make the program special. The congregation is in an area where there are many “ladies of the night.” These ladies come to the church for this meal, and the elders of the church pray with some of the “pimps” who accompany the ladies. “Many of these ladies do not give their real name,” Huerta said. “Others whisper their real names into the ear of their prayer partner and ask that they continue to pray for them.”
In addition to receiving a free meal, guests are covered in prayer and their needs are met—whether it be clothing, toiletries or just friendship. This ministry has touched the church members, too. “I can tell you that it was all God; all we really did was say, ‘Yes Lord,’” affirmed Gladys Pacheco, Mid-City church Women’s Ministry Leader. “God really moved the congregation to donate, serve food and pray. Immediately, every single need that we had for this event was met.”
“One woman who was a drug addict asked us to pray for her by name,” Pacheco said. “She had just been beaten by her pimp. At first she gave us a fake name. She sat and ate breakfast with a few of her friends, and when they were done, we asked them if we could pray for God’s protection over them. They agreed, but as we began to pray, this woman was so moved by the prayer that she whispered and asked me to pray for her by her real name. They use fake names in case they are arrested — her giving us her real name to pray for her was a big step for her. I know God was drawing her to Himself at that moment.”
Each of the ministries mentioned at that leadership meeting meets a different need in the community. Still, these ministries all have one thing in common: They’re about loving members of the community as God speaks to their hearts.
“We realize that being a ‘lady of the night’ is not something that a little girl might have aspired to become, yet life throws some crazy curve balls at you,” Huerta noted. “This unique ministry touches the lives of those whom society might frown upon and consider untouchables, yet here we see love in action. No barriers. Just love and compassion.”