Welcome to the first installment of Friday Night Feature. It is our intention to use this monthly series as a platform to raise awareness for concerns facing our world today and spotlight organizations working to make a difference.
Anyone who has ever spent any time with us knows we are passionate about challenging systems that oppress or exploit, and we desire to participate in efforts that make this world a more just, fair and equitable place for all people. We do so because we are committed to God’s numerous commands to care for “the poor, orphaned and widow” and because we believe God’s heart is burdened to see justice and mercy granted to the exploited and oppressed.
Our passion for justice and our love for the brokenhearted is rooted in Isaiah 61:1-4:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
Tonight we feature the work of Treasures Ministries, an organization working to rescue adolescents and women from a life in the sex trade, primarily those involved in prostitution and strip clubs.
Taken directly from the I Am A Treasure website, did you know…
• More women are employed by the sex industry than any other time in history
• Between 66-90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children
• Compared to the general population, women in the sex industry experience higher rates of… Substance Abuse Issues, Rape and Violent Assault, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Domestic Violence, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• The women in this industry face a myriad of issues that impact their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. They are a largely unreached population and many feel desperately isolated and alone
• Treasures is the first and only organization of its kind in the Los Angeles area
Treasures Ministries was founded by a courageous young woman named Harmony Dust. Herself a victim of sexual abuse at a young age, Harmony’s life was full of instability, abuse and fear. After a series of traumatic events, as a teenager Harmony ended up involved in prostitution and strip clubs, where the exploitation and abuse continued. Broken, desperate, and alone, the grace and love of God found Harmony through the actions of a local church that made an intentional effort to reach out to her and other girls in the strip clubs. It was through the kindness and love of the church ladies who regularly visited Harmony at the strip club where she worked that she found the strength and courage to leave prostitution, and ultimately find healing through God’s love. Through Treasures Ministries, Harmony works to rescue others from strip clubs and prostitution, reaching out to them through the same acts of love and kindness shown her.
A telling of Harmony’s incredible story can be found in the book, Escaping the Devil’s Bedroom, by Dawn Herzog Jewell (available at Amazon.com).
To learn more about Harmony and the work of Treasures Ministries visit www.iamatreasure.com.