In the post “How Can the Church Reach Out (Part 4): Encouragement For Church Leaders”, I suggested initiating (or supporting) a HIV/AIDS ministry (organization) as a way to soften hearts and build relationships. Here’s an excerpt. . .
“Start by making your church a safe place. Remove the stigma. Present lessons on God’s compassion for the sick or start a HIV ministry. Start one or two services that require personal interaction with people who have HIV disease. In a word: help. Help with testing and counseling. Help deliver meals. Help with errands.Help with trips to the doctor. Visit on a regular basis. Donate food, money, time and/or your talents. Offer assistance to caregivers.
Before a church gets passionate about going to another country to work with HIV, they need to care about it first in their own community. And more importantly, we really need to get a passion and a compassion for people regardless of how they became infected. Are we prepared to go the extra mile?”
In another post (“If You Are Struggling With Same-Sex Attractions. . .”), I shared that much of my work history has been with individuals whose everyday lives were a struggle socially, emotionally and economically. In today’s post I want to take the opportunity to spotlight the work and service of two organizations I have supported over the years.
Links to their websites are given below. As Christians, let us acknowledge the needs of these teenagers and young adults. Let us increase awareness. If you can, become involved with similar outreach opportunities in your community. They need our prayers and hands-on support.
Please help stop the abuse, exploitation, and violence.
(Click title to visit site in a new window)
Emmaus Ministries reaches out to men in prostitution on the streets of Chicago, Illinois and Houston, Texas. Through nightly outreach teams and a daytime Ministry Center, Emmaus staff and volunteers build relationships of trust with these men, working together to help them get off the streets and to cultivate a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Male prostitutes account for roughly 20% of the prostitute population in the United States.
- The average age at which a male teen becomes a prostitute is 14 years old.
- Many (if not most) male prostitutes are heterosexual. They engage in survival sex to do just that – survive. A variety of factors severely limit their employment options.
- Male prostitutes usually work independently (with no pimp) and are vulnerable to unbelievable dangers and abuse. (Source: “Prostitution’s Pernicious Reach Grows In the US”, Christian Science Monitor, 23 October 1996)
Seeing these teens and young men embracing hope and taking advantages of life-transforming opportunities is heart-breaking, heart-warming and inspiring. Check out these three links that feature the work of Emmaus Ministries (Chicago):
- The Men of Boystown: A Glimpse Into the World of Male Prostitution (by Jeremy Schneider)
- Hope For Men In Survival Prostitution (Chicago): Emmaus Ministries (by Victoria Priest)
- Streetwalking With Jesus
(Click title to visit site in a new window)
The GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project is a grassroots, non-profit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their mission is to assist and support victims and survivors of domestic violence (focusing on the LGBT community), to bring about responsive public policy, and to increase access to culturally competent services. Their 24-hour emergency hotline number is 1-800-832-1901.
- Society doesn’t consider men as “victims”.
- Men are less likely to be supported or validated.
- Men who report abuse are often seen as wimpy, weak, passive or stupid, thus making it much more likely that they won’t report.
- Men have fewer resources to help them. The only national toll-free help line for men is the Domestic Abuse Help Line (1-888-743-5754).
Domestic violence is not a woman’s problem or a man’s problem – it is a human problem. It’s a sin problem and it’s a tragedy.
Why haven’t we (as Christians) taken a more proactive role in helping both men and women address and heal the violence in their hearts and in their homes? Or offer a safe refuge for homeless youth who are rejected by family or who runaway from home?
We must use our hands, feet, mind, heart, voice, time, resources and attention to show our unconditional concern and love. It doesn’t matter if their straight, gay, bi, questioning or whatever. These men and boys need real love that doesn’t demand anything in return.
Do you or someone you care about need help? The links below are resources for men who are survivors of abuse and violence (either as a child or as an adult):
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2012.
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