I wish the title of this article were merely a ploy to get you to click the link and read our precious blog. Alas, it isn’t. I, Joy Johnson (that’s not really my surname) was approached and recruited into the sex industry.
My fear of strangers is a very recent phobia that can be dated back to 2013. I started watching a show called the Following, a show that follows masses of people who kill, well, for no reason at all. They walk up to passers-by, people in cafés, in homes, in CHURCHES and stab them through the chest with absolutely no remorse. As I watched this show, I realised that I wasn’t safe and I began to question my innate trust of human beings. How did I know who was a killer and who wasn’t? What stopped you, yes YOU, from stabbing me through the heart on any given day? Absolutely nothing.
My trust in humans was restored in March when I lost my ipad and a woman who I had never met stayed with me, reassured me, sought help on my behalf and hugged me when I found it. I realised that not all strangers were evil serial killers and perhaps Hebrews 13:2 could be something to live by:
Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
Since then I begun to open my heart to strangers but this newly found trust was almost ruined last Wednesday. I was sitting down, waiting for a friend when a man walked past me. He paused and then turned around to speak to me. I was literally thinking ew, rolls eyes but then I remembered my new mantra:
LOVING JESUS MEANS LOVING PEOPLE.
He said I was beautiful. I thanked him and looked away because compliments are pretty awkward things to receive from anyone, particularly strangers. He then asked me where I was from and I responded that I was from Nigeria and he looked shocked; he had just flown in from Nigeria THAT morning. He asked if he could sit down and of course, I obliged. He introduced himself as Michael; he owned various hotels in Lagos which meant he travelled there quite frequently. This knowledge made me happy to engage with him.
Does that make me a goldigger? Let me be clear – he wasn’t hot, he was older than me (by about 40 years), I was just genuinely interested in this Caucasian man who was doing the most, talking about palm oil this and plantain that. I was impressed. He said he also owned businesses in LDN and although today was his birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL, I said), he was on his way to a meeting.
Sidebar: I know I am giving you a lot of details here but I want you to know that although I am naïve, his story was (kinda) plausible at the time. I didn’t just get up and follow a stranger. Well, I did actually.
The famous Michael (apparently that was his nickname) asked if I was available to join him for coffee. I was once again obliged; it was his birthday after all and my friend was nowhere to be seen. He told me he was turning 42 and small alarm bells started ringing (I know, I know, why did they take so long to go off?) because he looked just a few days older than 62. We went into the McDs across the road, we sat down and he asked what I did. I told him I was looking for a new job; his eyes lit up and he began to explain what his employees did. ‘His’ women gave massages and facials to supermodels in order to firm up their bodies (particularly their breasts), in preparation for any upcoming photo shoots.
Yikes. Ok. Another alarm bell. I didn’t ever want to touch anyone else’s breasts but my own.
But still I engaged with the famous Michael. He told me to take his number and as I was taking it, his phone rang again, and he said it was an Igbo woman called Titi.
RING RING RING RING RING. The alarm bells went crazy in my naive little mind.
I’m Igbo and have enough Nigerian friends to know that Titi is actually a Yoruba name. It took this subtle mistake for me to freak out internally and realise that this man was actually a psycho. But what could I do? He was about to give me his number; we were in the middle of Mcds and running away felt a little drastic. I told myself I had to get away. I painted my im-so-interested-i-care-what-you-think face on, nodded and took his number. Then he asked me to call him so he could have mine and my heart sank. I wanted to say no but of course, you guessed it, I obliged.
He asked me to work for him; training would be free because it was his birthday and I was Nigerian and he just loved my energy. You know what training included? A full body massage from him, which would require me to be naked. YAY. He told me I would enjoy it and if I worked for him, I could make up to £500 a day. Eventually he had to go to his ‘meeting’ and we parted ways.
(I blocked his number as I walked away and prayed I never saw him again)
Why am I telling you this story? It only shows how naïve and trusting I am, to so stupidly follow a stranger. But would I do it again? Perhaps. Let me tell you why:
1)The importance of evangelism
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Yes, those Christians who shout on the high street can be a little extreme but I think they have got it right in some ways. Jesus’ last instructions on earth were basically RUN AND TELL THAT but how many of us are ashamed of our belief in Jesus or afraid that people will mock us if we speak of him? When was the last time you shared something about him on your Facebook/Twitter page or to a friend who you know does not believe? Jesus can’t just be Lord of our rooms when we pray daily, he should be Lord of our lives and that includes declaration of his great works. If we are truly following Jesus, speaking about him at every given opportunity is part of it.
2) It’s nice to be nice
It always amuses me when I see Christians who read their bibles on the tube but simultaneously give passers-by the dirtiest looks if they accidentally step on their feet. How do we treat the people we don’t know? I for one, don’t even like sitting next to people on public transport. Do you know how much that conflicts with the Jesus in me that sought out the marginalised, the dirty, the infected, the broken and befriended them? Meanwhile we won’t even make eye contact with people on the tube and if someone pushes past us and we are ready to attack. It’s either we are like Jesus, or we are not.
3)Letting God interrupt my day
The main reason I spoke to Michael is because I decided a month ago that I wanted to let God interrupt my day. Even though I make daily plans, I want to be available and I want to used by him. I spend my day looking and waiting for ways to help people I don’t know. Let me be clear, it’s not because I’m a nice person, it’s because I want to look like Christ. I don’t think we should have to tell people we are Christians, they should feel his light from us radiating as soon as they interact with us.
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
One my best friends threatened to lock me up after I told her this story, but I would do it all again. I will keep talking to strangers and I will do my very best to be open because I want to look Jesus, my best friend, the one that saved me. If that means talking to the Michaels of this world, then so be it.
Now run and tell that!
All my love,
Ps: by the way, I realised Michael is probably a pimp and may report him to the police.