New York City is home to hundreds of Asian massage parlors, as well as numerous strip clubs in which women are sexually exploited on a daily basis. Single mothers, immigrants, and victims of sexual abuse work long hours in places like these, feeling as if they have few other options of earning a living. Beautiful One is a ministry of Street LIFE Ministries, which exists to befriend women in the massage parlors and strip clubs and treat them with the actual value and worth bestowed on them by the One who created them in His image from the very beginning. (Read below for more on the history of Beautiful One.)
We bring gift bags filled with goodies women enjoy, a friendly note or encouraging verse of Scripture, and simply spend time making friends with them. Love, acceptance, and a caring community are some of the most basic, core needs of every human being.
Inside the clubs and massage parlors, we are often asked, “Why are you doing this?” Because we love you and Jesus loves you, unconditionally. We believe that as we simply love others because He first loved us, God has great things in store for our teams and those we reach out to.
Our desire is not only to provide friendship, but also connect those who are interested with resources that can empower them to live a life free of sexual exploitation and abuse. Additionally, we seek to raise public awareness and train others to effectively care for those in the industry.
Prior to founding Beautiful One, Street LIFE Ministries ministered for years to women who work in the red-light district of one of Brazil’s biggest cities through banquets, birthday parties, and more, something we longed to carry back to NYC. So we started by praying for victims of human trafficking and women in both the adult industry and prostitution as part of the Queens House of Prayer, Flushing (see also www.qhopf.com). As we sought God, a vision was born in our hearts to go beyond prayer and bring His love into the local strip clubs and massage parlors.
Let’s be real: In some of these places, it goes beyond just massage or stripping. In May 2013, the vision became a reality and we fell in love! A few of us brought roses to women in massage parlors, even though we could not communicate with them due to the language barrier. Their responses were beautiful: we found that the women were hungry for love and friendship. We continued to go, and God eventually provided a translator who speaks the exact dialect of Chinese that most of the ladies do! In October 2013, we attended a training with Strip Church and subsequently joined their network of women and ministries who are also serving those in the industry. We are inspired by those represented in this network, and we’re humbled and thankful to be able to learn from their years of experience.
Since then, we have expanded to more massage parlors and strip clubs and trained a number of volunteers to do outreach with us. We believe that God will continue to expand this outreach into all that He desires it to be!