FEAST: Serving Soup in Amsterdam’s Red Light District

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“In eating the soup made by survivors of slavery, it says to the woman in the kitchen she has something good to offer.”

By Saskia Wishart | Twitter: @saskiacw

I was once invited to someone’s house for lunch and it changed my life. I was poor in spirit, crippled in heart, spiritually blind and emotionally lame, when someone gathered me up and brought me to her house for a meal. I could hardly eat, but lunch turned into dinner and dinner turned into living life side-by-side.

I always remember that meal as being given a seat at a table and an invitation to participate in family. I’d been running from the idea of family, denying my need to be cared for, but in finding my place at that table, I found a place of acceptance.

There’s a reason we are told to taste and see that the Lord is good. There’s something in the physical act of being served a meal, I believe, that tastes like the goodness of the Lord.

It’s something I pray each time we spoon warm soup (full of goodness and nutrition) into a cup and carry it to the windows of women working in prostitution. Lord, may these women taste and see Your goodness.

These days I eat with the poor a lot. In the mornings, women who are survivors of human trafficking come to our simple kitchenand  work alongside a chef to learn how to make gourmet soup.

These women may be poor financially, but it is the poverty of their spirit to which we hope to offer something healing. They learn to make soup and then we all sit down to lunch and eat together. We praise their efforts, laugh through the language barriers and cry over the unanswered questions.

Our Not For Sale volunteers and I then take the soup that was made by these women–women who have traveled from all over the world in search of a better life, women who found themselves in hell, taking slow steps towards healing, women who are learning what it means to live life on the other side of slavery … We take the soup they made, and we carry it to the windows of women in prostitution in Amsterdam’s red light district. There we sell something delicious, something nutritious, something that tastes good.

It may not be a typical feast, but it is an invitation. In eating the soup made by survivors of slavery, it says to the woman in the kitchen that she has something good to offer. In selling the soup to those working in prostitution, it says that we have something good to offer. And she is worth the effort and time it takes to offer it.

I don’t often get to eat with those who are considered prominent in our society, but rather with those who are discarded and disgraced, but I am blessed by it.

Walls come down when we sit to eat together as a family, everyone taking an equal seat at the table. Windows open for us, when a girl’s face changes from seduction to joy as she sees us coming with the soup.

I am reminded that it is through a meal that Jesus communicated the mystery of what was to come: his death and resurrection.

It is through a meal that I found a place at heaven’s banqueting table.

It is through a meal that I see women whose identities have been stripped away start to be restored.

And it is through a meal that we serve up an invitation to those who are not yet free, that they can taste and see the goodness of the Lord. This is an invitation to enter into the grand feast, where they can find their place at the table.

“Then Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,  and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’” – Luke 14:12-14

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About Saskia:

My name is Saskia. Pronounced (sus-key-a). Cool Fact: Saskia means “valley of light.” The coolest part about that fact is that I have the greatest job, bringing light into some of the darkest places in our society. Exposing modern slavery on the streets of South Africa, in the brothels of Europe and anywhere else I am sent.

My passion-–abolition. My calling–Freedom.

My equipping-–A crazy love rescue

I am not organised, not a good sleeper and not a multi-tasker; thank goodness I am a problem solver.

I love my country–Canada, drinking coffee, creating beautiful things and Cape Town (which was my home for three years). I miss the mountains, snowboarding, surfing and all things natural as I make my way in the city of Amsterdam (my new home).

Image credit: Amsterdam Red Light, by BJaglin

 

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Saskia Wishart
My name is Saskia. Pronounced (sus-key-a).Cool Fact: Saskia means "valley of light." The coolest part about that fact is that I have the greatest job, bringing light into some of the darkest places in our society. Exposing modern slavery on the streets of South Africa, in the brothels of Europe and anywhere else I am sent. My passion – Abolition. My calling - Freedom. My equipping – A crazy love rescue I am not organised, not a good sleeper, and not a multi-tasker, thank goodness I am a problem solver. I love my country – Canada, drinking coffee, creating beautiful things, and Cape Town (which was my home for the last three years). I miss the mountains, snowboarding, surfing, and all things natural as I make my way in the city of Amsterdam (my new home).
Saskia Wishart
Saskia Wishart

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