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God is moving in Miami! The Lord is near and He is here. I can’t really explain all that He is doing, because words can’t describe our indescribable God. Nevertheless, I’m writing this on our second visit to Miami to record God’s faithfulness and provision throughout our efforts to launch Scarlet Hope in Miami!

God gave us a territory.

In the greater Miami area, there are over six million people. Miami is rich with Cuban, Asian, Haitian, African American, Caribbean, and Hispanic cultures.

Each one of these people created in the image of God, created with a purpose and a plan.

It amazes me that in the midst of this big diverse city, God is calling the ministry of Scarlet Hope to dwell here. Over a decade ago, my husband and I started vacationing on this side of the coast of Florida, not as far south as Miami but close. I am from Florida and my husband and I actually got married in Clearwater Beach and lived here for the first year of our marriage. During vacations, I would notice women at resorts or on the streets working in the life of prostitution. Each time I would pray for God to find a way for me to help her or talk to her. Vacationing down here over the years turned into praying for this place that God would raise up someone to meet these women and offer His hope and love.

God gave us a woman in mind. 

A young woman I had known for years was trafficked from Louisville to Miami three years ago. She was like a daughter to me. I was in the delivery room when she gave birth to her children, I baptized her at church and over time she began to call me mom. So for the last three years, I have been fervently praying for God to make a way down here for ministry. Everyone had told me it’s too hard to do ministry in this area, it’s too hard to raise money, it’s too hard to get churches involved, it’s just too hard.

But my heart couldn’t help but trust that if God was calling us to this then no matter how hard it would be He would make a way, and then I heard the voice…vacationing here in May of 2020 I clearly heard God say, “Why are you waiting for someone else to raise up? I’m sending you.”

God gave us a church.

Through prayer and research and sharing what God was calling us to, we met Pastor Eric Bancroft of Grace Church Miami. Eric was our first official contact in Miami. He was overwhelmingly supportive and eager to see this ministry come to Miami. His young church plant is on fire for Jesus and wants to partner in our mission. Their church is located within miles of two local strip clubs, so they had been asking the Lord for a way to reach the people in this industry, and then we called him to share we were coming to Miami.

Eric graciously opened his home to our ministry to hold a launch meeting on September 25th. Over twenty men and women, pastors, and key leaders showed up at our first meeting. We made great connections and were blessed by Eric and the people he invited and shared our ministry with.

God gave us partners.

One of the major aspects of planting our ministry in a new city is finding gospel-centered resources in the city to partner with. So we held several meetings and received an overwhelming Miami Welcome to join them in the fight for women’s lives and hearts in this industry. We were even offered office space in downtown Miami to set up and use for women to come to! The ministry that we will partner with will help us provide services for the women we will meet and help us get started offering resources.

On December 4th, a Thursday evening, we piled into a classroom of a nostalgic 1940’s Florida church. It brought back memories of old when Scarlet Hope first formed in Louisville, KY and we would meet in church basements, restaurant parking lots, and office spaces. God provided a place. One of the first signs of God’s provision and grace was to lead us to a specific place in this overwhelmingly large city. This kick-off meeting was attended with enthusiasm and eagerness that was refreshing to my soul. To see men and women, pastors and lay leaders that have such a desire to see women know Christ and to find a way to reach them was exciting!

During this meeting, a woman who had attended raised her hand at the very end and I listened carefully as she shared her story.

“This is me. I’m this woman you are talking about. This ministry is for me. I was molested at age 4,  my son died when he was 5-years-old, I’ve been in the life of the industry because I don’t know how to make money any other way.  But I love God so much and I want to serve Him with my life.”

Tears began to fill my eyes and I felt the Holy Spirit say, “See, Rachelle, you are here for this one.” A few weeks prior, this sweet woman had felt the Lord tell her to go to Grace Church again and she went. That Sunday Pastor Eric was preaching in the book of Matthew and mentioned the kick-off meeting and mission of Scarlet Hope. She sat in the pew and knew that this was for her; that we were coming to start this for her and women like her. She stated to everyone that she waited all week for this kick-off meeting and made every effort to make sure she wouldn’t miss it. She was desperate to be free, to find hope and a community that cares for her. We laid hands on her and prayed for her at the end.

This was a perfect picture to the people at the meeting and to myself that God cares about the ONE. He calls the one and that He redeems each one. As Miami has the third largest sex industry per capita in America, we have already met two women in this area that God is sending us to and He is pursuing with His love.

Volunteers signed up and the Lord is moving here. He is preparing the hearts of people to participate and provide for the work that must be done here. This is God’s timing for Scarlet Hope Miami.

 

 

Rachelle Starr
Founder & President