Sharon is a ProstituteFeatured, Social Justice — By Carole Smith Turner on July 20, 2010 at 8:00 am
I first met Sharon two years ago on Midnight Outreach. Her and a friend were working north Florida Blvd. She told us that she was a backslid Pentecostal. She said she knew Jesus and prayed everyday. She let us pray with her and she said she would come to church the next Sunday. Alliece, the head of Rescue and Restore here in south Louisiana, had to tell me that she was a prostitute because she didn’t “look” like one to me at the time. She was so pretty. Her hair was long and red with beautiful waves.
I have seen Sharon several times over the last few years. I would look for the red hair as I drove down Airline. Each time I’ve seen her she has looked worse and worse. One time I stopped to talk to her she was walking very fast away from a john, she kept glancing back at him, Her face was swollen from a fresh hit, given probably by him. I asked her about it and she said it was a bug bite. I offered to take her to the hospital, she refused. I told her she could come to the Cafe and get some free coffee, food, clothes, bandage for her face, access to resources around town that could help her. She politely took the card and said she would check it out one day.
I saw her last week and I noticed how bad she looked. Her face is now covered with sores and her body looks more and more emaciated. Her red hair dyed darker red with what looks to be a cheap rinse. I can see the glow of vibrant carrot red trying to resurface.
Today on outreach I went looking for Sharon, when we stopped to talk to her and give her a bag of goodies, she again told me how she was a backslid Pentecostal and how she felt sorry for the girls “out here” that don’t know Him at all. I told her that Jesus will meet her right where she is and He loves her no matter what. I again asked her if she needed anything and she said no, I also invited her again to come see us at the cafe for some free cloths and stuff. She said she might, like she always does.
Before we parted she said “ya’ll pray for me please” I said “Let’s pray now” she looked back at the john waiting for her on the porch of the house, “Uh, well I gotta hurry up, he’s gonna let me use his phone”. I told her I would be real fast as I put my hand on her shoulder and she moved in closer, letting me know she was willing to let me pray for her quickly. I asked God to surround her with His love. Love that heals. I asked Him to show her that she is a daughter of God, with a divine purpose, a beautiful daughter and her heavenly father loves her.
I choked back the tears as I finished the prayer.
“Bye ya’ll” she said looking back over her shoulder as she walked quickly to her waiting john.
A while back I was in a meeting with Alliece. We were talking about effective ways to reach out to prostitutes. She said for me to get a bag and fill it with little hygiene kits, snacks, information cards, and such so that when I stop and talk to the Sharons of the world, I have something to give them that they need.
This is that bag:
Each ziplock contains some soap, a toothbrush that already has tooth paste on it, some bug repellent, some crackers, breath mints, and a card with the Dream Center information on it as well as a card with the At Risk Youth/Street Outreach Program hotline number on it.
I believe Sharon will one day come to the Dream Center but even if she never does, we will go to where she is and show her Jesus…bring “the church” to her by not going away, continue to reach out to her, loving her where she is, just like Jesus does and I believe she will one day come back to Him.