Christine’s Place by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

We are blessed so that we will bless others.”

Jenn, a mutual fund expert, teared up when sharing that phrase that she had heard from a Colorado pastor. “Which is why we are here.”

I was in Kansas City for a workday to begin cleaning up a strip of buildings being converted to a shelter for prostitutes/trafficked women. For several months, my son, Adam, and his family have been involved with others like Jenn and her husband, Jared, in procuring a house to serve as a safe home for these women to be “loved on.” Just when they thought they had found the perfect place, doors would close and they would start searching again.

That’s when Jenn and Jared begin driving around Kansas City’s roughest neighborhoods where they observed prostitutes working. They wanted their facility to be in the heart of that area, so when they saw a “For Sale” sign on a group of dilapidated buildings, they got excited. A tour of the stores and apartments above reeked of danger, as floors were falling in and little was salvageable. To the trafficking team, it was loaded with potential, an opportunity for God to work.

Jenn spoke to me of the time when she and Jared were in front of their new purchase and watched a decked-out truck pull up to the curb; the driver kicked (literally) a woman onto the sidewalk, her pants around her ankles. A twelve-year old neighbor boy saw her lying there, battered and bruised, and ran inside his house to grab a blanket to cover her. She became one of the first people tended to and loved on by the young couple–confirmation to Jenn that God was blessing their dream and they were in the right neighborhood.

To Jenn, even Covid was a blessing. Normally she spends her weeks on a plane, flying around the country, but when she no longer could do that, she had time to spend on this endeavor. Jenn continued, “God did what only He does best.”

Volunteers began lining up to help, a church made a donation, a medical team signed on, and soon a “Christine’s Place” banner hung between two upstairs, painted windows. Literally, painted windows. When the glass broke years ago, instead of replacing it, the owner covered the holes with plywood and had windows painted on.

I met Christine yesterday. A recovering prostitute, she showed up, decked out in her Sunday finest and escorted by an elderly gentleman, her arm linked in his. Christine used to “work” that street until she was beaten so badly that she quit. She became pregnant, and her sight began failing. The doctor gave her a choice: use the medicine, save the eye but lose the baby, or lose the eye and save the baby. She chose the latter and gave her baby daughter up for adoption. Her second pregnancy offered her the same choice. Again, she chose blindness over abortion and today is completely blind. Her fourteen-year old son lives with her.

Some news stations were there to do a story on “Christine’s Place” and were amazed to see the number of men and women giving up their Saturdays to use their expertise to make this dream a reality. Christine was an instant hit, as were the carpenters, back-hoe drivers, donated clothes’ folders, and clean-up crew. From 10 years old to 84, people were there to help.

During this Christmas season, I pray that we all recognize that Jenn’s words are the formula for how we are to live our lives: “We are blessed so that we will bless others.”

May we all find a way to put those words into action.

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