Thursday, May 30, 2013

What Happens In Vegas...

Last night, I was walking down the Las Vegas Strip alone with just our 2 youngest children.  I held Jayden on my backpack and Juliana walked by my side.   The rest of the family was watching a show where no babies were allowed.  As I walked along, I felt spiritually attacked as I saw WAY more parts of people’s bodies than I ever wanted to see.

I prayed to God asking HIM to show me one of HIS miracles in the midst of all that I was witnessing.  Immediately, I noticed the friendliness of people more than I had before.  I even tried to be patient with the women in thongs and big feathers waving at Juliana.

SEVERAL women and men were scantily dressed waiting for a tip just for the “honor” of looking at their bodies, but the ones who bothered me the most were the scores of men and women passing out business cards with naked women on them. These cards end up all over the street, so it’s VERY difficult to even look on the ground without being accosted by pornography.  (However, the amount of cards on the street is slightly better than it used to be; in years passed, the cards blanketed the sidewalk in a certain section of town.)

Every time I’ve been to Las Vegas, the people who pass out these cards are the ones who make me the angriest. From my understanding, these cards are actually advertising prostitution under the legal premise of it being a “massage.” I try hard to just ignore these people because they make me so mad. In turn, they don’t usually even come near me because I have so many small children hanging on me.  They don’t try to sell anything to the people at that moment- they just hand out the cards hoping people will make the phone call to their “business.”

I was relieved to see a musician on the street playing clean music.  I stopped to listen and tipped him because I appreciated him trying to make an honest living. 

As I stopped to listen to this musician, one of these men who passed out the cards stood kind of close to us and kept waving, smiling, and winking at my little Juliana- he obviously thought she was beautiful.  My first thought towards him was, “At what point does the value of a woman change for you?  She’s adorable to you now but soon you’ll consider her as meat just as you do all these other women.”  I wondered again, “When does that change for you?”  I ignored his gestures at first and wanted him and his scum to leave us alone.  Then he came over and gave her an unopened can of soda. 

Being civil, I told him thank you; and in Spanish, I asked him where that drink was from.  He told me he bought it and wanted to give it to her because she looked thirsty.  Then he leaned down to kiss her on her cheek.  I pulled her away because I certainly was not going to let a stranger kiss my precious daughter… ESPECIALLY not THIS stranger!!

I asked him not to kiss her.  He sincerely apologized explaining that he had children too.  He pulled out his wallet to show me the picture of one of his children.  That disgusted me even more because I thought he should be setting a better example for them.  I reluctantly looked at the picture and felt embarrassed even talking to this man who was advertising such a crass thing- I didn’t want to be associated with “his kind.”

He further explained the reason he couldn’t stop looking at my daughter was because she looked like his wife.  As he showed me a picture of his wife, he began to tremble and to cry right there on the Las Vegas Strip.  His said his wife had died just 6 months ago.  I looked at the picture of his wife.  I couldn’t believe it!  Juliana really did actually look like his wife!  I could see the pain and sincerity in his face.  This man was not trying to get any money from me…. He was a real person with a real story behind why he ended up doing one of the ugliest jobs.  He was trying to find a way to support his family in a foreign country.
I explained to him that he didn’t need to do a job like this.  I told him that his wife’s spirit still lives on and would help him.

 I asked him if he would like to know a better way. 
He said he would. 

We had just spent the previous evening with our wonderful friends who live in Las Vegas, and the husband happened to be a Mormon Bishop.  I promised this stranger that our bishop friend would be calling him to help him find a better way to make it in this life.

For a moment, I was slightly embarrassed to be putting the name and phone number of a man advertising sexual massages (prostitution) into my phone, but that embarrassment only lasted a moment because I KNEW that THIS was the miracle God was showing me…

Less than 5 minutes after my prayer to see a miracle, this man showed up by daughter’s side. (By law, these men have to stay FAR away from even appearing as if they are trying to solicit to children.)

God could have helped me to see a miracle in any of the other friendly people walking along the street.  No… God wanted me to know that HE loved and is working in the lives of even the ones who seem to be the most lost.

What a BEAUTIFUL love I felt from our Savior!  We know well the story of the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned to death for her sins.  Christ defended not her sin… but her.  He was criticized for even associating with her; and in John 8:7, he simply stated, “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

I have no idea if this man will change his occupation.  I hope he does, but I have learned that everyone has a story... they are real people with a Heavenly Father and a Savior who love them.   I am not the one to judge a person’s circumstance… I have an opportunity to make better choices in my own life according to my own understanding and pray for forgiveness for my own sins.  I am also more confident in the love that God has for me.  No matter how many mistakes I make, HE is neither giving up on me nor my ability to become more like HIM.

I thank God for opening my eyes to the greater love and charity I still have the opportunity to foster within my own soul.  I thank God for HIS great love for ALL of HIS children.