One woman’s love for sexually exploited women
Recounts personal stories from London’s red-light district
Inspiration and encouragement to reach out beyond where you are
Includes Heidi’s personal story of being set free
For decades, Soho has been synonymous with prostitution in the UK, and across the country some 100,000 people engage in this ‘trade’. But who are the women behind the brothel doors and on the street corners? What are their stories and what could the gospel mean for them?
In Love Beyond, Heidi Baumgartner shares from her thirty years of visiting and ministering to women who work in prostitution in London’s red-light districts of Soho and Mayfair. Challenging our preconceptions, she quickly exposes shameful stereotypes and naïve, romantic notions as we come face to face with the women and their complex lives. Heidi says, ‘I share how Jesus envisioned and inspired me to reach out to women whose lives I knew little about, the different ways Jesus revealed Himself to some of the women I was reaching out to and how He used the work in Soho to help me grow in faith and intimacy with Him.’
Heidi’s own ‘Jesus moment’ came when she received the gift of salvation and instant freedom from an addictive relationship – a dramatic encounter with grace that perfectly prepared her to take God’s love to the women of Soho and Mayfair.
In Love Beyond, Heidi records her relationship with these women, how she first met them and for a time even lived above a brothel as part of her ministry to the women. She recounts Soho’s many vices and sorrows, but also the incredible ways Jesus has intervened to reveal His unconditional love in the lives of the stigmatised and abused.
To continually ‘love beyond’ in this challenging and sometimes dangerous environment, Jesus has taught Heidi to pray, worship and trust in a way few do.
The book contains helpful insights and advice for people who work with or would like to reach out to women working in prostitution. The testimonies of God’s faithfulness will inspire you to love beyond wherever He has called you.
The book also seeks to encourage believers that God is faithful to his promises, to never give up on people but to continue reaching out not only to the people we know but also, especially to those we would not normally connect or associate with. It teaches us that God’s kingdom is not instant but inherited through faith and patience, and that trusting in Jesus, loving Him and being faithful are what really count!
Roger Forster, founder and leader of Ichthus Christian Fellowship network of churches, says, ‘As Heidi takes us into this world, filled so often by lovelessness, emptiness, pain and enslavement, you will be touched, if not shocked. As she leads you behind shut doors of privation and often fear, you will be challenged. The words of the apostle Paul, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10), will be squeezed from your lips. If you don’t want disturbance to your life, stop reading now.’
What reviewers say:
‘Love Beyond is the extraordinary tale of a woman who doesn’t like door-to-door visiting, but who has done so for the past thirty years, befriending hundreds of women working as maids and models in Soho, London. Heidi writes with wry humour and disarming honesty about her own story, and through this book we meet the kindness of Jesus; amazing, persevering, non-judgemental kindness, which sees and cares for each one. Thank you, Heidi, for your perseverance in loving, and for encouraging us with the telling of your story.’
Dawn Pointing, Spiritual Director
‘Love Beyond is a compelling read that I highly recommend to anyone who desires to overcome the obstacles they face in the pursuit of the call of God on their life. It will hold your interest, challenge your faith, engender compassion and encourage you to endure in whatever work the Lord Jesus has graciously committed into your hands.’
Rev Ray Michael Djan, ministry development mentor, Bible school lecturer and General Director of True Vine International Mission
‘No hype, no exaggeration and no hubris. The honest story of the compassion of God towards women wrapped in the world of prostitution in London’s red-light area. Told through the eyes of one lady, inspired by her faith to carry the message of grace and forgiveness to the brothels of Soho. Heidi tells it like it is; she doesn’t pretend that it’s easy. But what shines from the pages is the simple and powerful reality that God really cares for every person, whoever they are.’
Matt Frost, senior pastor at Cirencester Baptist Church and former pastor of City Gates Church, Soho
‘Written with honesty, thoughtfulness and humour, Love Beyond shines a light on the lives of women who would otherwise be hidden and forgotten in the shadows of London’s Soho district. Heidi’s own life story and the stories of the women she has encountered over the last thirty years provide a compelling reminder that Jesus longs to be gracious to us and to pour out His love on us, if only we would let Him.’
Keziah Bowers, friend