Charisma went to the streets to report on Christians who are using innovative ways to make Jesus real to atheists. This story is about Peg de Alminana, who leads Open Door, a ministry for prostitutes on an Orlando, Fla., street known for its sex workers.

She says she is 26, but she looks younger. Tattoos cover her arms, a ladybug among them. A sales tag hangs from her purse. Sunglasses—big, cheap and gaudy—are perched on her head. She is small, feminine, attractive. Immediately she bursts into tears.

The details of her appearance do little to convey who she is. But the moment she hears that God loves her, tears well up in her eyes and run down her cheeks. She wipes them from her face, her dark eyes darting around to see whether she is being watched.

“I believe He’s with me,” she says, not giving her name. “I’ve been in situations with guns going off in houses, and He’s taken me out of situations. He’s blessed me.”

Tearfully she tells what happened just the day before. A man pulled up and asked whether she wanted a date. She asked whether he was a cop, because undercover officers in Florida cannot lawfully misrepresent themselves when asked directly for their identities. The man reached for a Bible and placed it beneath her hands.

“He said, ‘Jesus loves you,’ and he gave me $20,” she relates, sobbing.

Peg de Alminana embraces the young woman, telling her she looks like her daughter, and prays for her. “You are God’s daughter,” she told her. “He loves you, and I love you,” as she gives the woman a white rose.

It is how de Alminana spends most Saturday evenings with volunteers for her ministry, Open Door Healing and Renewal Center for Women. The ministry is for prostitutes like this one—the battered, broken people of a thriving sex and drug trade along Orange Blossom Trail, which snakes through Orlando, Florida, minutes from the city’s prized theme parks.

Here, the rape rate is six times the national rate, and the murder rate is nearly seven times higher. When you consider how many rapes go unreported here you begin to understand just how rife the crime really is.

Bustling big box stores such as Barnes & Noble, Best Buy and Publix supermarkets co-mingle with immigrant-owned eateries, crack motels and strip clubs. Prostitutes walk the Trail day and night.

This is where de Alminana has located her ministry, and on Saturday evenings she and her volunteers cruise the Trail. When they spot a prostitute they stop, give her a white rose, pray for her and invite her to Sunday services.

“For a woman who’s been used and abused, giving a white rose to them is just so unexpected,” de Alminana says. “If you really hear [a woman] speak about her heart, she really wants to be free, but there are all those issues, all those challenges, all those addictions, all those bondages.”

De Alminana established the ministry in February after working five years as senior chaplain at the Orange County Jail. Her mission now is to reach women on the other side of the revolving door. So many experience Christianity inside jail. Then their pimps bail them out, and they are back on the Trail.

Operating on a small budget of donations de Alminana offers crisis counseling and mentoring from a center right on the Trail. She offers Sunday services, Bible studies and prayers. Some of her volunteers are former prostitutes, and together they help women access basic needs such as food, housing and health care.

Perhaps most important they tell them they love them. It is a frequent refrain. De Alminana and her volunteers say it constantly to one another and the women they meet on the Trail.

They say it to a woman named Kat immediately as she opens the door to her motel room, where she has lived for seven years. Kat is not feeling well, and as she accepts her white rose she pulls aside her shirt to reveal a swollen, silver dollar-size sore on her shoulder, covered by a bandage.

It’s a spider bite, Kat says, but de Alminana warns it could be MRSA, an infection that can be fatal. De Alminana talks to Kat about whether she could take her to get it checked. Then she and her volunteers pray for Kat.

Kat knows de Alminana well. Her motel abuts the Open Door center. For 10 years Kat has walked the Trail. She is here every day, earning money to pay rent, buy food, smoke crack. She says she is 49, but the creases in her face make her look older.

She lives in a motel where the pool is filled with dirt and weeds. Her room is cramped and musty smelling but meticulously kept—her knick-knacks arranged just so. Among them is a statue of the Virgin Mary. Her posture is slumped, her manner matter-of-fact.

“I’m a prostitute, and I do drugs. I’m not going to lie,” Kat says. “I pray every day and every night that He’s going to bring me up out of this bondage. And I just sit and wait for Him to do it. I have faith in Him. I think it will happen. I don’t know how.”

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Hillary Clinton

    What if Hillary Clinton Wins the White House?

    Polls have Mrs. Clinton leading by 11 points. The church must be prepared.

  • Holy Spirit prophetic

    7 Ways to Cultivate Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

    Too many of God's people are led by fear, doubt, man-pleasing, presumption, assumption, idols ...

  • Jezebel puppets

    10 Ways to Spot Jezebel's Spiritually Slick Undercover Con Artists

    It's time to stop tolerating Jezebel in all its many manifestations.

  • Highway exit signs

    Prophetic Word: Watch for the Exit Signs to Light Up This Season

    Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty in the harvest fields. The "barnyard anointing" ...

  • Finger pointing

    The Accuser vs. Donald Trump—and Us All

    This isn't a political persuasion piece, but a current-event case study in the strategies of ...

  • Lance Wallnau

    Lance Wallnau Is on Fire and on Target With His Insights on the Culture and This Election

    I'm sickened by the self-righteous, weak-kneed "evangelicals" who want to be liked by ...

  • Daily scripture reading, meditation and prayer can seem elusive with your busy schedule.

    10 Small Steps to Deeper Intimacy With Holy Spirit in Your Quiet Times

    If deep quiet times seem just out of your reach with your busy schedule, try one of these ...

  • In October, many things will be realigned in your life, including your vision.

    5 Prophetic Revelations About God's October Surprise

    "The winds of apostolic change are blowing across the land and realigning you."

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit