As people gather, plastic and metal scrape lightly against the floor. Chairs are arranged, and people get settled. Some in the room are regulars, while some step in for the first time; newcomers who've chosen this event feel welcome. Voices are at a hum - some laughing and eager, others speaking less and lower, with intention - and the night air begins to settle in, anticipation gently building. It's almost time. Someone has a guitar, and tonight it looks to be just them leading worship - but once the songs start, theirs will hardly be the only voice singing. They may begin to pray, but they won't be the only ones who speak. Tonight, a small team is heading out to "the track" to continue the regular commitment to relationship and ministry among those in the commercial sex industry. Still, everyone who's come together tonight is here to pray and to worship, with this specific evening of outreach in mind - tonight's specific team, tonight's specific encounters - and together, we will honor God's character, empty ourselves once again to hear God's voice and be obedient to God's leading, and surrender to his heart of love toward the women and men we meet. This time of prayer and worship is not "pre-outreach" - it is one of its most critically significant components. There may be specific words, phrases, or images given for someone tonight; there may be particular names that God highlights who we may be on the lookout for; or we may be differently prepared to be led by the sacred heart of God in Christ because we have come first to reorient ourselves around who He is, what He sees.
Recife, Brasil - 2017. Seattle, USA - 2022. Welcome to outreach.