Generally understanding the circumstances of those we meet on the streets is just the first step in combating the exploitation of these individuals. Knowing them personally, where they come from, and their story is critical to developing lasting relationships of trust that foster the healing process. As part of our missional journey to develop resources, networks, and ministries to effectively minister to the Ladies-in-Waiting of Strasbourg, we attended a conference focused on the holistic approach to trauma care in Bulgaria. While there, we were able to more fully understand the Bulgarian culture and mindset that helps shape the reasoning process of women trapped in jobs that are exploiting them sexually.
One of the little ministries that are commonplace for the Ladies-in-Waiting outreach teams is to offer small gifts when talking to the women on the street. Often times it is simply a cup of hot coffee or cold drink, some chocolate, or even some simple fragrant lotions. While in Bulgaria, we had the opportunity to learn of little things that are unique to that country. Rose oil and a specific type of Bulgarian chocolate were two small items we were able to purchase while walking through the street markets. What a privilege it was to offer these remembrances of home to the women from Bulgaria we know on the streets of Strasbourg. It is not often that someone considers them a friend or takes the time and effort to go out of their way to make them feel special. The small gifts that reminded the ladies of “home” did just that. Building beloved community does not always take large amounts of resources; sometimes it just takes time, a willing heart, and something special from home!