Tony Campolo, Disney, and Three Child Prostitutes

Some of the young people I work with and have recruited for ministry are working right now in Haiti. They've been there for many years. I went down and visited them. They dropped me off at the Holiday Inn right there in the middle of Port-au-Prince. I was walking across the pavement to the entrance when I was intercepted by three girls. I call them girls because the oldest one was seventeen.

The one in the middle said, "Mister, for ten dollars you can have me all night long."

I was stunned.

I looked at the girl next to her and said, "I'm an old guy. Would you sleep with me all night long for ten dollars?" She said, "Yes."I looked at the third one. She tried to conceal her contempt with a smile. But it's hard to look sexy when you're seventeen and you're hungry. Your mother and father are dead. And you got a brother and a sister to feed. And there's nothing you have that can earn money except your body.

I said, "You're in luck. I've got thirty dollars. I'm in room 210. You be up there in a half hour. Not before."

I rushed up to the room. I called down to the concierge desk and said, "I want every Walt Disney video that you got in stock. How many you got?" He said, "Eight." "All eight of them."

I called down to the restaurant. "I want banana splits. I will pay you extra, but I want extra ice cream, whipped cream, cherries, nuts, syrup - I want four of them."

Then the girls came. The videos came. And the banana splits came. We sat on the edge of the bed and watched Disney til about one o'clock in the morning. That's when the last of them fell asleep across the bed. 

As I sat there in that stuffed chair, looking at their little bodies strewn across the bed. I thought to myself, "Nothing's changed. Nothing's changed. Tomorrow they will be back on the street selling themselves to dirty, filthy men. And there will always be men like that who for ten dollars will destroy a girl. Nothing's changed. Nothing's changed."

And then something welled up inside of me. I don't know if it was the voice of God or what, but I just felt these words come to me.

"But For one night, Tony. For one night you gave them back their childhood. For one night you let them be kids again. For one night you let them be children once more. You didn't solve the problems of their lives. But you did what you could. You did what you could." 

That's all Jesus wants of you. To make a commitment today. A commitment to do what you could.

We talk about your hope. I want to know this. I want to know Christ's hope for you. Jesus does have hope for you. He looks at you, and he has hopes. He has expectations. He has plans for you. And He's hoping you will become the kind of person he wants you to be. And the question here this morning is are you willing to say, "I give in to you. I want to actualize your hopes for me. I want to become the person you hope I will become. I will do the good you are calling me to do." 

Excerpted from Tony Campolo's message at Christ United Methodist in Jackson, MS on February 26, 2012.