Postcards of bare, provocatively posed sex workers dot the sidewalks of the city. Men and women, toting children or backpacks kick them nonchalantly as they tour the streets. It's hot. 105 degrees today. The homeless tuck themselves into patches of shade, their meager belongings scattered around the concrete. Billboards flash and horns honk, no attention paid to the clock dial. To escape the heat means an immersion into the world of slot machines and shopping sprees. There are no breaks, from the sun or the noise.
The Vegas strip.
Bored and nearing the end of a long shift, the taxi drivers tell the best stories. They range from young to old, female and male. Few were actually born in the States. We meet a retired football player who picked up the extra job to support his three college kids. Another is a Romanian man who taxis to fund his frequent trips to the beaches of Thailand. A twenty-four hour plane ride, he assures us that the young women who work in the karaoke bars are of no interest to him. We never asked in the first place.
Most of the taxi drivers, casino workers, and performers live as far from Las Vegas Boulevard as possible. The rest seem numb to the chaos.
The architecture is interesting and the food is good, but there's no hiding the dark undertones of the city. Trucks drive by with advertisements stating, "we deliver girls directly to you." Females are no more precious here than a pepperoni pizza. People sit in front of the slots, glassy looks in their eyes. Club promoters stand around common areas, attempting to seduce loose bills from peoples' pockets and into their own.
There were plenty of visitors just trying to have a little bit of fun. We were there for a wedding so I tried too. But:
What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas. The experience rides around on the heart, heavy and simmering until pain becomes love and love becomes an action.
So now what?
This is what Jesus had to say:
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26, NIV)
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:7-11)
We have an advocate!! Mirriam-Webster defines the position as this:
Most of us don't live in a Vegas type of place, but every single one of us is positioned to help others who are hurting and unseen. Every one of us has an ability to advocate based on God's prompting. He puts a heaviness on our hearts so that we'll be moved into action. My burden is for those of you who don't understand how precious you are to God and to serve women who have been exploited and abused. So I ask:
What is your burden?
What is your purpose for walking and breathing here on earth?
Who have you been called to serve?
For those us who are grappling with the answers to these questions, here are some steps we can take.
1. Pray! Pray! Pray! Think back to times when we were utterly heartsick about an issue and ask that God would reveal the best ways to help.
2. Live lives that don't exploit the mistreatment of others. Make wise choices in regard to entertainment and material purchases.
3. Research issues that are important to us!
4. Get involved locally.
5. Tell others all about it and invite them to join the cause!
We all have power through the Holy Spirit, standing strong one cause at a time, until our determinations unite to give voice to those who have none. As our Advocate goes before the throne to plead help for each and every one of us, so might we do the same for others.
I'd love to hear about the causes you all support! Please share below so that we can inform and invite new friends to the fight.
Standing with you!
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
(most commonly credited to Edmund Burke)
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.