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Ten years ago
Exactly ten years ago this month it’s been ten years since Jacqueline and I visited Blood-n-Fire in Atlanta (GA) to see their work and to hear how they were active among the homeless and addicts. They were feeding over three hundred and gave them shelter. Children were educated and those that were counted worthless through the eyes of this world were taken along and made into valued ones by those people in
developed and professionals didn’t only share their expertise but also their
hearts and time. It touched us deeply that Blood-n-Fire wasn’t just a church or
a well-meaning organisation but also a dynamic family happening. One didn’t
travel the road by one’s own, but went further shoulder-to-shoulder. Atlanta
During those days in
God spoke very clearly to us about a work among the prostitutes. As a board
member and speaker we were already involved in a shelter for women who got out
the prostitution sector and through the many conversations we had had with
these ladies we were deeply touched by their pain and sadness. As a man, I was
also hit by the disappointments they had – especially in men.God spoke about a
building and prostitutes that would come there. Women who would reach their
destiny, receiving healing and restoration in their emotions and families. Atlanta
Alone behind the window
Back to The
On the way back, in the airplane, our minds were filled with all the impressions. We wondered how everything we’d seen and heard would fit into the church and government structures, protocols and consultations. All around us, we saw how everyone wanted to be professional. Private lives and work should be kept separate. When someone calls you at night, let alone knocks your home door is usually unmentionable. Within the Christian culture, we often have taken this attitude as our own. And now we had experienced such a different attitude.
It’s so hard to bend a system and let people take a different turn. And we realised that God had said this to us and that we were to do our job. Thus, Blood-n-Fire
to be. The very evening after our return, we gathered as a group of friends,
ideas developed and we pulled our fingers out. May 2005, Blood-n-Fire
officially became a foundation. Nederland
|Photo: Ruben Timman|
Somewhere in 2006, Svetlana from
appeared. She loved to reach out to Russian and Ukrainian speaking prostitutes
and asked me to initiate contacts with organisations and churches that were
active in the Amsterdam Red Light District. None of the organisations were
interested, so at one point Jacqueline told me “God spoke to you about
prostitutes, perhaps you should go out on the streets with Svetlana.”
And so, a few days later, I walked on the “Wallen”, very naturally. Not knowing
if the women would accept me there as a man. No experience nor knowledge, only
a single-mindedness, a heart filled with compassion and still thinking this
would be a single time. Russia
From the first day onwards, it turned out that many prostitutes didn’t find it hard at all to talk with me as a man. And through the years, what I heard is exactly that they see and experience is that I, as a man, truly am interested in themselves and not in their bodies or in having sex with them. What I often heard saying was: “Frits, you’re always concentrated on our faces and not on the rest of my body.” After that first time with Svetlana on the streets, a whole team came into being that visits the women daily and in the evenings.
Soon women started to get out, but unfortunately, existing organisations turned out unwilling to cooperate because we were – according to their protocols - not professional because of our ‘involvement with a client”. After a few incidents in which we got stuck with the government and organisations that included reaching rock bottom when a young girl that had just stepped out, committed suicide, because professionalism counted more than involvement, we decided to set up Bright Fame for the help after stepping out. Next week I will write about the origins of this work that we dedicated to this young woman.
Ten years of Blood-n-Fire
In the past years, as a foundation we were able to help many people, at first in a broad sense and the last eight years specifically the women behind the windows. Over a hundred women were made able to step out and build up a new life. We helped finding a new job or with the applying for benefits. We went through many administrations and helped getting finances straight. We stood along in psychological processes and saw a lot of healing and restoration for the women themselves and their families. We are still in touch with many of them.
On January 12, we sang from our office for the birthday of a lady in her home country. She stepped out a few years ago. For someone else, we were able to get in touch with an employer in a positive sense. Yesterday, we discussed the options for a shared project with a young Eastern European woman and another one shared in our meal at home and we had a good conversation. But I also had a good talk on the phone with a woman working in the prostitution sector in a different town who didn’t receive the help she needed. In her loneliness, she attempted suicide twice. She’s calling out for help that doesn’t come.
Johanneke on the streets of
Antwerp ( ),
I was given the opportunity to be involved in the development of the Cherut
Foundation, a work of Johanneke van Slooten. Five years ago, she faced a beautiful
vision by her own. For several years, I was there every fortnight, starting
with a street outreach in the afternoons and evenings and, later on, to be
involved obliquely with the development of the beautiful organisation which it
has become to this day. Even though the initiative is Johanneke’s, we do work
shoulder-to-shoulder. Presently, Johanneke is building teams in Belgium Brussels and
out of the Cherut Foundation. Ghent
Living your dream
Friendship, relating to the women and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them are central in the help we offer them. Important elements everyone needs and have therefore an elementary role in our work and foundation. in the years that went by, we heard many sad and difficult stories, but they’re contrasted by such beautiful turning points in the life of that single soul. And this is what compels us towards the future. All these wonderful people that were able to find their real place in this society, not dreaming their dream while standing behind a window, but who live their dreams.
In case you would like to congratulate us with our tenth anniversary, of course we would appreciate this and especially if you want to surprise us with a present.
A Euro for every year of our existence. €10,= per person. Through Twitter, Facebook and e-mail, I can reach 5500 people and this x 10 is an amount we could make use of very well.
Gifts may go to
NL53 INGB 0004 1039 12
in name of STICHTING BLOOD-N-FIRE
in name of STICHTING BLOOD-N-FIRE
|Uw gift is aftrekbaar voor de belasting|
Look next Tuesday "Jojanneke in de prostitutie"
|Jacqueline en Frits Rouvoet|
1100 AG Amsterdam
+31 6 54985459
+31 20 2602118