Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Prostitute's Prayer

A Prostitute's Prayer My family in Costa Rica had no money, and so when I was four years old my mother sold me into sexual slavery. Men pay a lot of money to have their way with children. So while other kids my age went to school, I worked in a brothel, turning over all the earnings to my mother. All my life I felt ugly and dirty, ashamed. I learned to drink alcohol and use cocaine very early, as a way to dull the pain. When I was a teenager I had two children of my own. My mother took them from me, saying a filthy person like me could not raise children. From then on I worked harder to earn money to support my children. It was the only way I could show my love for them. Eventually the pimps started demanding more and more from us prostitutes. I sometimes worked a double shift, seeing a hundred men in a day. The men lined up outside the door and I had only ten minutes with each one. One day a customer got furious when I wouldn't do what he asked. He pulled a knife on me, then hit me with a baseball bat, splitting my head open. They took me to the hospital and I lay in that bed plotting to kill myself. Maybe if I just pulled out all the tubes they had attached to me... Finally I got down on my knees beside the bed and pleaded with God. I wanted somehow to escape prostitution, to become a real mother to my children. And God answered that prayer with a miracle. He gave me a vision. I actually saw the words, 'Look for Rahab Foundation'. I was barely literate and didn't know the word Rahab. It's not a Spanish word. One of the nurses helped me find their phone number, though, and I called. The phone rang and rang, and I prayed, 'Lord, if you really exist, make somebody answer that phone.' At last a woman named Mariliana answered. Turns out, she was the director of Rahab, which was closed for the day, but she had stopped by to pick up some papers. 'I need help,' I told Mariliana. 'I'm dying. I can't take it anymore.' She told me that God loved me and would not leave me alone. She would help me get away from prostitution and start a new life. A few days later she brought me to her home, bruised and bandaged, fresh from the hospital. She welcomed me with a huge hug and said, 'You're safe here, Hilda.' she told me Rahab was named for a prostitute in the Bible, one who became a heroine. I couldn't believe the hope on Mariliana's face. It felt like a dream. She gave me a clean bed, flowers in the room and a promise that no men would harass me. She introduced me to other women who had left prostitution. She taught me how to be a real mother, and now I am studying a trade to live for the glory of God. Hilda I wept when I read the story... Yancey is trying to elaborate about the unanswered prayers... miracles do still happen but not always. He also wrote about his own unanswered prayers...
The week before Christmas a friend wrote a farewell note, stepped in the shower, pushed the barrel of a pistol inside her mouth, and pulled the trigger. For years I had prayed for her fight against alcoholism ... Now I pray for her husband who fights the same addiction, with her support no longer and thus all the more tempted to surrender. One relative in my extended family died of AIDS after an excruciating, decade-long struggle. Another died of diabetes before reaching the age of forty. An uncle lost his leg to the same disease and at this moment lies in a hospital bed recovering from a fall (he was found unconscious after five days). A cousin valianty strives to oversome drug addiction. A dear friend's daughter cannot expunge the memories of sexual abuse that took place overseas where her parents served as missionaries. Philip Yancey, "Prayer -- Does It Make Any Difference?"

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