By Daisy Peregrino
I am going to tell you what I learned about my faith, while sitting inside a brothel. It was 2013 when I found myself studying abroad in Shanghai, China. The country being one of the top offenders for human trafficking and the cities being one of the most populated cites in the world. After facing culture shock, getting lost without being able to ask where I was (I knew very little Mandarin) and finding out that the most “authentic” food wasn’t the best for my unaccustomed stomach, I found myself wanting to do more.
You know that feeling you get when you think life will be exciting if only… (fill in the blank) and then you do it and its not. That’s how I felt. I wanted to do something that would impact my life and make a dent in the world so that I could say, I went to a foreign country and did something meaningful. This is how I found myself interning at an undercover Christian Ministry disguised as a jewelry company in this communist country. What they did was reach out to girls in brothels to try to get them off the streets, put them in homes and teach them to make jewelry which in turn, they sold to sustain the ministry. The girls also took all sorts of classes from cooking, to dance and art, then of course, learned about the love Christ has for them. The experience did change my life for a different reason than I expected.
I grew up in church, so I knew the moment one starts serving God, the devil wants to hold his ground and stop it. But knowing that didn’t prepare me for the spiritual warfare that was coming. It was right before Christmas time and we had prepared gifts for all the girls in the brothels with our information so they could learn more about God. The entire week before, I reached out to those in my home church and strong Christian friends to pray for this night. I was afraid. The devil was starting to put all sorts of lies in my head, trying to steal my authority in Jesus.
All of a sudden, I started to remember my past. All that Christ had forgiven me started rushing back and I begin to doubt if I was good enough to minister at all. I felt shame that I had made horrible choices in my past and now, who was I to tell these girls about living a holy life? I felt like I could barley pray.
But God does not lie when he says he will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus himself promises to be the one who intercedes on our behalf. I am sure that if I was able to see into the spiritual realm at that moment, I would have seen a jealous father confronting the devil telling him he has no right over me. I remember kneeling in prayer, desperately pouring out my heart to God asking him to give me the strength. And guess what? He did. He reminded me of who I was in him and handed me all the authority the devil deceivingly tried to steal from me. I cursed the devil and prayed over the ministry and the lives who would soon be captured by the love of God. When the day came, it was such a beautiful sight. I was able to walk into several brothels with women my own age and tell them about Jesus. Tell them about Rahab, the prostitute that God honored.
After that experience, I learned that the devil’s dirtiest trick is to tell us that we’re not good enough. That we’re not smart enough, know enough bible verses, not old enough or not spiritual enough. He wants us to think that we’re too broken to be used, but the truth of the matter is, its only in our brokenness that we are able to boast about the greatness of what God has done. The Bible would be the dullest book if it was filled with perfect people. But because it is filled with people who messed up daily like you and I, we are able to stand and say, Christ can use me, even in this. I learned that I am enough. I am exactly who God has called me to be, and because I have been redeemed, I will dare to serve with all that I have. I may not do it perfectly, but watch me change the world one step at a time.
What about you? Have you ever felt so insignificant and unworthy that you wrestled with and even stopped trying to serve God? How did you overcome it?
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