Katherine prayed in her room at the Red Light District
Vanity Wijnhamer 22 juni 2023 www.revive.nl
“Katherine prayed in her room at the Red Light District with a man carrying a gun, after which he said, “I let you live because God loves you and gives you a mission.”
39-year-old Katherine* enjoys the life she currently leads and sees it as a gift from God. Yet her life looked very different not so long ago. For three and a half years she worked at the Red Light District in Amsterdam, where she saw terrible things. In those circumstances she cried out to God. Her story bears witness to faith, courage and extraordinary events; guided by God.
Katherine grew up in a Gypsy family in Bulgaria. Her parents argued daily and eventually divorced. From then on, Katherine continued to live with her father. However, this did not last too long, because she got married at the age of 15. She experienced life as a gypsy as difficult because of the strict rules that come with it. She also had to deal with this in her marriage. After 11 years, they decided to divorce, after which she raised their son alone. Meanwhile, her mother became so ill that Katherine also had to take care of her.
It put her in difficult financial circumstances. In her hometown she was surrounded by many people who were pimps or who were in prostitution, and she saw that they were making a lot of money. Her neighbors had even become millionaires through their work in that world. Her own mother also earned a lot of money until recently, not in prostitution, but by entertaining men. One of the pimps in her neighborhood described Amsterdam as the ‘pimp’s paradise’ where you can earn good money and where the government allows you to do so. She finally decided to go there to solve her financial problems.
Dream about God
As is the case for the vast majority of women in prostitution, Katherine also never dreamed of a life at the Red Light District. What she found there overwhelmed her so much that she immediately started using marijuana and hard drugs such as cocaine for the first two days. She felt bad about it, went to bed and felt herself sinking. “I had a kind of dream where it was like I was going to die,” she says. “I can remember going to God and it was so nice and beautiful. God personally told me about His love for us and then I woke up. I said, “God, why are you bringing me back to this hell?”
“I can remember going to God and it was so nice and beautiful. God personally told me about His love for us and then I woke up.
I said, “God, why are you bringing me back to this hell?”
Katherine grew up with faith, although from the orthodox religion. In all the misery she saw around her in Amsterdam, she clung to God again. “All the beautiful things that the pimps, my mother and others showed were at odds with reality. In that world I saw so many women in intense pain. There were women who had been victims of incest, women who were imprisoned with their children in very difficult situations and I also saw women like me. In a way, the government is taking advantage of the situation and turning it into an attraction.”
Talking about God
Katherine cried every day, but also prayed to God and read the Bible. She befriended another woman and shared a house with her. The friend had nothing to do with religion, but Katherine continued to pray every day. One day, the friend came home and said: ‘I found a grandpa who is as crazy as you! He also prays and reads the bible. He told me about God. Let’s have coffee with him this week.” Katherine says: “She called him crazy, but I thought: ‘if he talks about God, I’m going with it’.”
Push in the back
They met Frits Rouvoet of Bright Fame for the first time in ‘Dwaze Zaken’; a Christian restaurant on the corner of Amsterdam Central. “On the one hand, he often angered me in our contact, because he brought up the things that I was hiding. At the same time, I loved him exactly because he brought the truth. He advised me in the things of God, tried to help my friend and me, and showed us the way to go. Sometimes he didn’t know how to help us, but then he prayed. I prayed and read the Bible myself, but I needed someone to give me a push. Because I trusted in God, after 3.5 years I finally made the decision to leave the job.”
Frits tells how he experienced the contact: “I saw in her a hunger to learn more. If we walked past her window, we would sometimes end up being inside for half an hour. We would talk about the Bible, pray together, and she would always have a question. In a way I discipeled her, but it was always based on her questions about faith, God, the truth and how to understand things. I often received all kinds of pictures of Bible passages. They were in Bulgarian, so I usually didn’t know what they said. I would find out or ask someone and we would talk about it. It was sometimes difficult to explain, because neither of us speak English very well. I then wondered: ‘does she really understand me?’, but in her mind she took in the correct texts and the correct explanation. That was really the Holy Spirit leading her into it. And it didn’t just stay with hearing, she also put what she heard into practice.”
I felt like this would be the moment I was going to die. I took his hands and said, ‘Let’s just pray first and then do what you want’.
Her faith in God continued to grow. This is also evident from a special event from that period and the way in which she reacted in that situation. One day when she was standing in the window, she saw a man dressed in dark on the street. She asked him if he wanted to come in. “Everything was normal until he took off his jacket and I saw a holster with two pistols on his back. I asked him about it, but he said it was his wallet. “It doesn’t look like that,” I said. He took off his cap and his mohawk became visible. I also noticed more and more that everything about him was black: his nails, his clothes, even around his eyes it was black. I was shocked and said: ‘Hello, black angel’. I felt like this would be the moment I was going to die. I took his hands and said, ‘Let’s just pray first and then do what you want’. He agreed. While he closed his eyes, I looked at him and believed that he would let me live. After opening his eyes again, he asked me why I was here. I told him this was just my situation. He responded, “God loves you and you have a mission. That’s why I let you live. Tell me again what you see in me.” I said I saw in him a black angel. “That’s right,” he said. “I almost feel like you. Thank you for your time’. He gave me some money and left. I saw in him that he wanted to see God. He was in a similar situation as me and wanted out. He understood me.”
God loves you and you have a mission. That’s why I let you live.
Frits elaborates on this: “She made a decision at that moment and that also has to do with faith. She is an example for many Christians. When we are in a dangerous situation where we can be afraid, we must stand up and realize that God is around us with His angels. About this work: I hear a lot of stories from women; stories of danger and fear. When the curtains are closed, people on the outside don’t know what is happening. Then she is alone. Katherine realized, despite the real danger, that she was not alone.
She is an example for many Christians. When we are in a dangerous situation where we can be afraid, we must stand up and realize that God is around us with His angels.
In a coming article, Katherine will share how God personally led her out of the Red Light District and how God is using her now.
*For privacy reasons we use a pseudonym