Wednesday, November 23, 2005

De Cleft

De Cleft is a ministry of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Amsterdam. Tuesday afternoon we went with one of the pastors from the Zolder to work with De Cleft and do outreach in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. We definitely weren't in Morgantown anymore.

The Red Light District is sadly what comes to mind when many westerners think of the city. It is the home of prostitution in the city, and it is also the center for drug activity.

Seven of us stood on a bridge that spanned across Voorburgwal. One block away from us was Oude Kerke (old church). It is the oldest church in amsterdam. I think it is several hundred years old. (By the way, the place where we are staying is over 500 years old).

One of the guys from the cleft started playing guitar. He put a sign out saying that he was playing for free and to not give money. The sign also said Jesus loves me!

Before we went out, we spent some time praying for the prostitutes and the dealers, the junkies and the homeless. Then, we entered their world. In two other posts I will tell more specific stories. In a sense, this will need to serve as a preface (even though it is farther down the page than the other posts will appear.)

Hundreds of people walked by us on the small bridge. Police walked by. Dealers walked by. Junkies walked by. The homeless and the tourists were intermixed. Across from the Oude Kerke there were a number of tall windows. Nearly naked women made gestures to entice men to enter. Some laughed and mocked them. Some looked away. Others entered and the curtain on the window would be drawn close for a period. Sex Shops were also abounding around the Oude Kerke. It was 2 in the afternoon, and the heart of the city pulsed with dark business.

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