Preparedness, Perfume & Prostitutes
Germans love Christmas! Christmas markets abound, and honestly, it’s like a month long party with shopping, drinking, eating and music. The Christmas music Dawn Yoder and I have recorded has opened doors in this rather cold and spiritually dark culture.
My husband, Bob, and I sensed God was granting supernatural favor and opportunity to become more connected to German culture when I was invited to visit four of the largest radio stations in the country to discuss It’s Christmas Time and the current radio single, Night Before Christmas. I also had the opportunity to be filmed singing Berlin Sunrise, a song we wrote back in 2012, when I first felt called to Germany, for the production team of an international documentary, Worldwide Berlin.
IMB missionaries Dr. Wendell and Carrie (Blackaby) Webb have become incredible friends, and as they’ve served in Germany for over a decade, Carrie has reached out to women and done the hard work of building relationships one woman at a time. Carrie invited women in the community, the majority of them unsaved, to concerts and house parties where I would sing and connect with them. It’s an interesting dynamic! Because of Carrie’s influence in the cities where God has placed them, I was even invited to sing Christmas songs at a Starbucks in one of the largest shopping malls in the Nuremberg area. The store manager is not a believer, but again, supernatural favor was granted and hundreds of people were reached with the true message of Christmas.
After seeing God move in that Starbucks, I thought my work for the day was complete. I returned to my hotel tired, thankful and resting in what God had done that Friday evening. It was truly an incredible time of Macchiato Moments!
NOW, ABOUT THE PROSTITUTES! The Holiday Inn Express in Nuremberg is located in a historical neighborhood by the city wall in a nice metropolitan area. (My business partner and sister, LeeAnne, generously donated travel points that allowed me to stay in the hotel! Our record label offers distribution support in Germany, but the expense to travel and promote is the artist’s responsibility.) I wasn’t aware that at the end of the block is the Red Light District. It’s all very clean, well patrolled by the police, and seems rather ‘acceptable.’ Prostitution is legal in several European countries, Germany included. The prostitutes even take credit cards and pay sales tax for their services. It’s all so ‘proper’ – it’s all so heartbreaking.
In October, when I knew I would be visiting Germany in December, I started praying specifically, “What now, God?” I knew I had work scheduled, but I knew there was something more. I sensed that I was to take a gift of remembrance to share with those whom God would bring to my attention.
Anyone who knows me is well aware that I wear Coco Chanel Mademoiselle perfume. I have worn this scent since my daughter, Jillian, was a baby—and she’s now in college! Many women in the United States have commented about my signature scent, and on several occasions the Lord has directed me to give away the travel size bottle I carry in my purse. It’s amazing how surprised, touched and blessed many have been from a small token like perfume. My prayer is always, “When they smell the fragrance, God, please help them remember that You see them, know them and that they are special in Your sight.”
Just when I thought I was settled in for the evening, I saw the vials of Chanel in my hotel room. I had gathered twelve vials based on what I sensed as I prayed two months before. I was still waiting for God to reveal the ladies I was supposed give them to; of course, I was thinking of the ladies I would meet at the house concerts or ministry events.
BUT JESUS HAD OTHER IDEAS! As I saw the perfume in my hotel room, God reminded me of the “ladies of the night” at the end of the block. I felt a sweeping sense of nausea flow through me as I prayed, “Are You kidding me?”
Well, God wasn’t kidding. I sent a text to my ladies Roundtable group telling them what I was sensing and fully expecting them to respond with caution. Well, Beth, Amy, Kim, Missy, Grace and LeeAnne all replied, “Yes! …Amen! …Be bold and courageous! …God is with you! …and even a photo of Aslan with the sentiment ‘Listen to the Lion!’” My excuses were gone. So, I grabbed the perfume and Christmas CD’s and headed down the block.
Usually I’m pretty quick to respond when God says go. But friends, I walked up and down that street three times! I vacillated over a half an hour before I had the courage to turn the corner and approach the windows where these young women display themselves like merchandise for the men who are shopping. How would I approach the women? What would I say? It was one of those moments when I knew I was totally inadequate for the task, and God was going to have to show up just to move me off the starting line. I WAS INTIMIDATED!
Finally, I simply went up to one of the windows and tapped on it. The young woman behind the glass looked totally confused. I was the only woman ‘out front’ – I think the cops were curious, too. I tapped again and signaled to her to open the window. I said to her in German, “Merry Christmas” – (Frohe Weihnachten, which isn’t the easiest for me to pronounce!) I told her I don’t speak German very well and she responded in broken English – about as broken as my German, I’m sure.
I gave her the gift and told her, “Every lady needs Coco Chanel.” She replied, “For me?” I smiled and said, “Jah.” She smelled the perfume and a bright smile came upon her young face. It was as if her youth just rose from within. She was a pretty girl.
Her window mate looked with suspicion and surprise, taken aback by the other girl’s reaction. I said, “Ich haben eins fur sie”—I don’t know if that was correct, but she understood. She didn’t respond like the first girl. She didn’t smile, but she quietly said, “Danke” which means thank you. I went down the row of windows until the perfume and CD’s were gone. I wish I had dozens more—yes, there were that many prostitutes in the windows of that street.
I have a challenging, mysterious, and ever-present burden to reach out to women in Germany—the young, the mature, the proper and the prostitutes. When one embarks on a journey to Germany, the environment is not like going to Asia, Haiti or Africa. There are not large crowds waiting to be evangelized. There are not masses coming together for crusades. There are not crowds of starving, naked children that need water wells and nutrition. Instead, there is a spiritual dismissiveness, a post-modern secular humanism that causes defenses to be high when spiritual issues are introduced. But at Christmas, tradition and sentimentality create an opportunity to outwardly share Jesus Christ. In Germany, it is indeed The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
God has opened doors through music, social interaction, and interest in an American woman. I know it’s Him—I just walk through them and trust Him to bring the result He desires.
There are many ways you can help:
• Introduce me to your German connections and share your wisdom about European missions
• Donate travel or credit card points to offset travel and lodging expenses
• Accompany me to Germany!
• Make a tax-deductible contribution at www.ourcircleoffriends.org
ABOVE ALL, YOUR PRAYERS WILL ALWAYS BE THE MOST EFFECTUAL TOOL. Will you join me in this calling? Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for listening, praying and supporting me in this outreach to win back Germany for the Kingdom of God.
This song is titled What You Say – it’s a song that I think of often when I encounter women that have struggled with understanding their value to God. I had the opportunity to co-write it with Dawn Yoder and Missy Horsfall.