Thursday, February 26, 2009

Amsterdam in February

Immediate Financial Need

Hi all,
A bit of honesty here, I am in need of funds for this month. God has provided a way for me to be able to pay my $400 in student loans and debt each month so far, but I have presently run out of money! My bills are set to be paid automatically in 4 days, and funds have not come in for this month. I know these are tough financial times for most, so please, if you are able to make an immediate donation, contact me at

For those of you who have been, or will be sending a tax-deductible check to Imago Dei Church for my financial support, please:

1. Write "Amsterdam" in the memo line. (very important!)

2. Mail the check to:

2830 NE Flanders
Portland, OR 97232

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Scarlet Cord Friday Night Update, Feb 21st

Friday night at Scarlet Cord was amazing as usual. Conversations flowed and the community keeps getting stronger! Volunteers Melanie and Sandy took to the streets to invite the neighborhood to Scarlet Cord. They made good connections with several women and encourage the whole team to be in prayer for those we encounter each week. Cheryl and Jen stayed back to serve chicken curry (thanks to Greg!), salad, chicken wings, and pink cupcakes (love it Judie!). D was very late and had to eat and run since she was headed to work, but she appreciated the food and ate up. S came in screaming, "I'm a renter, I'm a renter!" S looked well and talked of the house she is renting with two others as well as her frequent attendance at AA meetings. She admitted to us that she has a problem with alcohol and is celebrating little victories along a path to kick her addiction. It was powerful to say the least! Please commit S to prayer this week asking the Lord to move. She also had a lot to say (for the first time?) about her relationship with a man. She has been with him for some time now and seems to be getting very, very frustrated. They postponed their wedding and she told a couple of stories of his insensitivity and anger. (another big prayer point!) S left with some hygiene product she was in need of and a full stomach (although the curry isnt spicy enough yet:)...Greg...I think that's a challenge!!)

Thank you all for your continued support of Scarlet Cord!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Her Heart is Fertile Ground

A while back, I went out with a Dominican woman named Milagros (Spanish for Miracles) for my first Scharlaken Koord shift in the Spanish-speaking part of the Red Light District. The truth is, there are Spanish-speaking women throughout the RLD, but we went to the area where they are most concentrated. We spoke with many women, the majority also Dominican. Milagros was a prostitute in Amsterdam 10 years ago, so she has quite a connection and heart for these women. I was amazed at how old some of them are. I think the oldest woman we spoke with that day was in her 6o’s! She and the other older ladies spoke openly with Milagros and I about their embarrassment from working in the windows at their age. They told of the many young men and women tourists that snicker and stare as they walk by every day. They shared about their home lives, and the financial and medical needs of their families. They spoke of the shame they feel about the work they do, and the desperation they feel at not being able to do another kind of work - a “normal job” as they put it.

There were 5 Dominican women working in the last brothel Milagros and I visited that day; one in her 60‘s, 3 in their 40’s, and then there was Aneris, the same age as me. I could see that Milagros has quite the rappor with that group. After about 15 minutes of conversation amongst the women, including tears and cries from the eldest about her desire to stop this work, we agreed it would be good to pray. We gathered hands in a circle and prayed together whatever came to our hearts. I was silent as the ladies took turns lifting prayers up to the Lord. In my silence, the Lord brought me a vision. I saw a woman’s heart, and it was open, with fertile soil laid out, ready to receive seeds from above. The seeds came down from the sky like sprinkling rain, and fell on the fertile soil in the woman’s heart. Then came a cleansing rain, followed by bright and warm sunshine. Little green plants started to sprout where the seeds had fallen. The little plants soaked up the cleansing rainfall and vibrant sunshine, and began to grow rapidly. They twisted and curled and grew stronger, thicker, more lush, up, up, up until the woman’s heart was entirely covered with a layer of beautiful, strong, new growth. The Lord spoke the same sentence over and over throughout the vision, “Her heart is fertile ground. Her heart is fertile ground. Her heart is fertile ground…”

The images of the fertile heart remained in my sight as the prayers finished and we all opened our eyes. I asked the Lord,

“What do you want me to do with this?”

He said, “Share it with her.”

“With who?”


A little nervous, I leaned in to Aneris and asked her if I could tell her something. She said sure, so I proceeded to share my vision with her. I told her about the fertile soil in her heart, that she is not dead or dried up, but ready for the change and renewal she is seeking in her life, and that God loves her more than she can ever know, and He is ready to give her the deepest desires of her heart. Her beautiful brown eyes looked up to me in tears, she thanked me for sharing, and hugged me before Milagros and I left the brothel. I was so glad I listened and was obedient that day in the brothel. What a blessing to be used in such a way!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Scarlet Cord Friday Night Update, Feb 6th

What a wonderful night! We had three new volunteers join us tonight, Cameron, Laura and Cindy. Welcome ladies, we are glad to have you! The first part of the night was a great time, the street team, Muna, Esther, Sandy and Cameron had a good time on the streets and were able to have some nice conversations. We have been on the streets every Friday since June and it's wonderful to see that the community recognizes us, knows who we are and what we do. It's so nice to see some of our guests out and to be able to talk with them on the streets even if they don't make it in to SC for the night.

Back at home, Sarah, Laura, Cindy, Emily and myself sat back and shared some of our stories and thoughts about how we want to make an impact on our communities. It's really great to know that we are all fighting for the same thing, even in different venues, and it's great to know that it can be done! We are all just individual people, but we can do so much together!

Towards the end of the night, D, S and a new friend C came in for dinner. It was really great to see D, she got a raise at her job! We are very excited for her! S came in with C and we loaded everyone one up with food, supplies and great conversation. I was able to talk to C for a while and she says that she grew up in the neighborhood. She actually went to church in the building we use for SC! She admitted that it took a lot of convincing from S to get her to come and when she walked up to the building (her childhood church) she almost walked away. But she said that as soon as she walked through the door she knew it would be ok. She said "I've been here for a half an hour and I already feel more comfortable here than any other place." She knows she can be herself and she trusts that we are not judging her :-) It made me so happy! And, for the first time, a guest asked us what we call ourselves. I explained that we hope the Scarlet Cord is a symbol of trust, friendship and unity. C left with a smile and said she'd be back next week.

I can't say enough how amazing it is to see the love within the walls of Scarlet Cord. I can see God's love bursting through the seams and it is so beautiful! The night renewed my feelings of the power of love and I walked away with a skip in my step. I can't wait for next week!