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Seeing Them as Daughters

The Daughters of Bulgaria is an MTW ministry to women caught in human trafficking.

“Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?’” (Luke 7:44) Of course Simon saw her—a sinner, a woman of ill repute, someone to avoid. Jesus pushed Simon to see that his pride and external-focused religion were strangling his heart and blinding him from “seeing” the woman as He saw her. Jesus saw her heart. She was broken.

Totally unexpectedly, our team started hearing Jesus’ question: “Do you see these women?” Honestly, I didn’t want to see them, but the Lord was doing something we couldn’t ignore—I, as a man, couldn’t ignore. He opened my eyes not to see hookers and prostitutes, but to see with His eyes: to see daughters. Not just any daughter, but my own daughter.

Human trafficking and prostitution became real to us after a long-time “rescuer” from Germany shared how the Spirit’s nudge to network in Bulgaria became unrelenting. So many of the women she met on the streets there were from Bulgaria. We learned from her about our country, and its role as a “feeder” country for human trafficking. She shared but it really didn’t impact my heart—it was too big, too impersonal. What could we possibly do? We were a church planting team. But then she said, “These women on the streets are our mothers, sisters and daughters ... ”

I am a father—but not just a father, I’m Daddy, and my 16-year-old daughter was sitting next to me as these words jolted my core. Suddenly all those nameless, faceless girls we drove by on the streets—I trying not to notice as a Christian man—had faces, and not just any faces but those of my own two daughters.

I realize now, the Lord had to work first in my heart for our team to really “see” these women and prayerfully seek how the Father wanted us to respond. I was looking at the women like Simon—making an idol out of religious/moral purity and seeing these prostitutes only as sexual objects to be avoided and not as daughters needing to be loved.

As I drive our team members to our weekly ministry visits with prostitutes, I know I am but a man, weak and in need of God’s grace. I see much that could weaken my resolve towards purity, but it helps to remember my two precious daughters. If one of them were to be enslaved as these Daughters of Bulgaria are, would not my prayer be, “Lord, please send someone to rescue my dear, dear daughter?”

Jesus asked, “Do you see this woman?” For every broken, enslaved, provocatively dressed prostitute, my answer is, “Yes Lord I see her, and she’s just like my little girl.”

This was originally published in The Journey devotional. Dal Stanton serves with MTW in Bulgaria.

Dal Stanton in Sofia Bulgaria Reflection on Sep 5, 2017

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Pray for the MTW team in Bulgaria and for those they serve.

Pray for those in Sofia, Bulgaria, who will be exposed to the gospel through our sports ministry. Pray that many would be drawn to Christ as a result of relationships built with believers.

Pray for those coming to faith in Bulgaria. And for those who can't yet believe due to a background deeply rooted in communism and atheism. 

Pray for Bulgaria, whose population is considered to be 95% "Orthodox atheist" (Orthodox in name only). Praise God for Bulgarians who are coming to faith and helping to plant churches! 

Pray for Europeans who have heard the gospel but are hesitant to fully commit to Christ. Pray that God would draw them to Himself.

Pray for the young Bulgarian women who are introduced to Christ through small group discussions, Bible studies, and English language classes. 

Pray for women forced by poverty into sex work. Pray for MTW ministries around the globe seeking to rescue and minister to these women.

Pray for two women, Monika and Andrea, who have recently come to faith against the odds in a hard-to-reach, largely atheistic European city.

Pray for Monika, that God would continue to heal her, give her a new purpose, and protect her life from physical harm, and for Andrea, that she would grow deep roots of faith and be a witness to those like her—unlikely subjects—of the reality of the grace of God.

Pray for college students in Sofia, Bulgaria, to grasp God's deep love for them and surrender their lives to Him.

Pray for God to call more men and women to missions in Sofia, Bulgaria, both full-time and as a volunteer.