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Christmas in the Red Light District

12.11.19
in Blog, East Asia, Evangelism, Urban ministry
The story of God’s love comes to a massage shop at Christmas.

EAST ASIA — A group of about 15 people gathered in a small massage shop one afternoon for a Christmas party. The shop manager had come to believe in Jesus at our Christmas party the year before. This year, she wanted to invite her friends — friends who are involved in the activities that operate secretly in the red light district of our city … often in massage shops just like this one.

Our unlikely group caught all sorts of attention from onlookers passing by the shop. Apparently wearing Santa hats, munching on homemade sweets, and singing “Silent Night” on a Tuesday afternoon isn’t so typical here.

I had the privilege of sharing the story of Jesus’ birth and God’s great love — a story that some in the room had never heard!

Several of them drew close as I held out a cheap nativity set. A baby, in a manger, with animals and angels? Just like our out-of-the-box party, this miraculous scene was far from normal. But I sensed God giving me words to communicate it in this new context, and I could feel His love flowing through me.

After I finished the story, one woman asked my teammate to go upstairs and pray with her. The woman had believed in Christ when she was young but wanted to repent and reconnect with Him.

I watched them ascend the ladder-like stairs in the back of the shop, and my heart filled with awe. That second floor had been the concealed space where countless massage customers had paid for “extra favors.” Only God knows how much mistreatment women have endured there.

But as this woman ascended with my teammate, something different happened. Light and love stepped into the room to replace the darkness. As they prayed together, God’s presence entered it, embraced it, and illuminated it.

The message we came to communicate — that our Emmanuel God is with us and nothing can separate from His love in Christ — was happening in real time. Holy ground … right there in a messy massage shop.

Many people have heard seeds of the gospel through Christmas parties like this one. Please pray for God to help them understand and believe in faith.


Crossworld worker Allison lives and makes disciples in East Asia.

The people in this story are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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