This isn’t a story that begins with once upon a time…but it does happen in a land far, far away. 18 hours by jet plane in fact with a 13-hour time difference.
“Welcome to Hell.”
Those were the words out of his mouth (our Exodus Road guide) as Jonathan and I exited the dark alley we had been stumbling down onto the Red Light District.
Here’s what I experienced. A mass of humanity. A smell of street vendors roasting meat on their charcoal carts. LOUD PUMPING MUSIC that vibrated down the street and into my body. A woman calling out to me “Handsome maaaaaaaan” on one side of the street. Another woman in a stewardess fetish costume on the other side, grabbing me by my arm attempting to pull me into her performance show she is about start. Bright flashing and neon lights thrown up into the skyline. The taste of cigarettes as the street was filled with smoke.
“THROUGH ORDINARY PEOPLE, RESCUE IS COMNG.” I saw this written on the white board in The Exodus Road’s local office. Ordinary people rescuing people. That’s what the Exodus Road does.
Rescue people, plain and simple, but completely not plain nor simple. They know what they are doing with military precision. Their undercover gear is military grade and sadly better than the local police department. The Exodus Road isn’t trying to destroy prostitution. They don’t focus on rehabilitation or reintegration. That’s not their purpose.
The Exodus Road is looking to rescue those who can’t rescue themselves. They go down into what is Hell on Earth where good men and women shouldn’t go. They sit with sons of light and daughters of day who are trapped and cannot free themselves. Then they the leave Hell and come back with the names of those who are trapped and need rescued. They gather evidence, build cases and they rescue people.
850 people in fact since their beginning.
When I first heard we were going ‘undercover’ with the Exodus Road I had visions of grandeur. I saw myself as Clint Eastwood or maybe Bruce Willis. I saw myself wearing a ‘Murica’ t-shirt and kicking some serious butt. But instead of being a hero like I wanted, I just sat with them like Jesus would and shared communion with prostitutes and pimps. We sat at their table and had conversations and secretly prayed that they would be rescued soon.
This organization is making an impact into the lives of the forgotten and buried souls of our world…and NO ONE is looking for them. I feel like we were thrown in the deep end with all this, but the reality is human trafficking is going on here in the states and even in our own city. I look forward to how I might be able to partner with this organization afar or here in my own city.
I can personally vouch for the work this non-government organization is doing and how it is impacting the darkness. This is a partnership that Pulpit Rock can bless and be blessed by….that these stolen, lost and forgotten might have the chance to live happily ever after.
Written by Matt Bates
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing stories from our time with The Exodus Road and talking about how we’re going to partner with them. They will be a big part of this year’s Christmas Offering. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do now:
Like The Exodus Road on Facebook.
They regularly post photos and stories and updates from the work they are doing.
Donate to The Exodus Road
You might not be able to go physically, but you can support those who can.
Share the stories (use the buttons below)
These girls’ stories need to be told and shared. Let’s shine some light into the darkest corners of the world.