Sawadee kah!! (The traditional Thai greeting)
Hello from Thailand!
We are now entering our fourth week of outreach this next Monday, which is hard to believe! How fast time here flies!
We have had a busy schedule since we’ve arrived. Our first two weeks were spent in Bangkok, getting to know the culture, the religion, and how the people live. One of the first things that we did on arrival, was a temple tour. Which I believe I shared in the last email update. But just in case you didn’t get it, we went on a very long temple tour of four temples in Bangkok. One with the largest Buddha in the world, we were told.
The tour really opened my eyes, and the eyes of many others on our team, of the grasp that Buddhism has on Thailand, and India. It is very sad. You can literally feel the oppression somedays, of how lost the people here are. Please pray for us as we are here spreading God’s glory throughout the areas we come to.
A few nights after our arrival, we headed to the Red light district in bangkok. The red light district is a place where women of all ages sell themselves to customers. This is where is got rough on the eyes. To actually see what we have read about and learned about, was horrifying. How young some of the girls are who work in the bars, offering themselves for money that they need and do not have.
The guys on our team mostly did a prayer walk, while the entire group of girls and myself, walked up to different bars to begin relationships with the girls.
The women in those places all are longing for love, a true fulfilling love. Every women that I came in contact with, after a while of talking, would tell me how they are not happy. I heard some very disturbing stories of their lives while we were down there. And to know that it is their reality was very hard.
One group of girls in particular in Bangkok, I really felt led to build relationship with. There were four of them, and three of us. The first night we met them, we went to their bar, ordered some waters (which is required in order for them to talk with us), and then started conversation with one girl. Her name was Jiip, and she was just 19, and very beautiful. She looked so young and innocent.
She didn’t speak much english, so it was hard at first. She didn’t understand why were were there. She every 15 minutes would have to go back inside to work, and then she would come back out. She introduced us to two other girls as well. Elle 25 and Weet 23. Both who were completely outgoing and smiling in your face. We later met Faah who was 31. She was sent out to us by the manager to see why we were there chatting. Faah’s story was so hard once she shared. She had been in the “industry” now for 11 years, and now at 31 years old she is trying to get out and raise enough money for her and her 10 year old daughter to get an apartment.
We told the girls we would be back for the next 4 nights to hang out. And every night we did just that, each night it got a bit harder to communicate more, so we finally brought a translator with us. She was an amazing blessing.
The third night there all of the girls showed their true emotion of what they were doing. EVERY girl told us they were not happy, they did not want to be doing what they were. They told us of how they need to get a certain amount of customers each day and night, and how they had to pretend to be happy in order to do just that. I ached when I saw Elle 25, cry to us as she shared how much she hated dancing and working there. She wanted out.
The awesome thing about building relationship with them was letting them know there WAS a way out. See, during the day our team would work with a place called the Well. Which was a place of refuge for the women who wanted out of prostitution. These women would be working at the Well, making handmade cards, and jewelry. And each of them made money to live off of while working. They also had the opportunity to learn english and have Bible studies and worship each morning.
When the translator with us, shared to the girls about this opportunity, they all leaned in to hear what she had to say. So now that they know, we’ve given them the Well’s cell number as well as taking their numbers to share with the Well and they will continually contact them until they decide to come!
The fourth night we visited them, and this time the manager kicked us out. We knew this was coming, and we were just happy to be able to be with them for three nights. So we said goodbye to the girls and prayed and blessed them.
I have never experienced ANYthing like being with the four of them, learning about their lives, and aching for them to be free. It was a bittersweet thing. Please pray for Elle, Weet, Jiip, and Faah whenever you think of me over here. Because right now that is what is burdening me for prayer, more than anything else.
Well, while in Bangkok we also did kid’s ministries. We went to a slums area and did puppets, and dramas to get children to come out and watch, and SO many of them did from the surrounding areas. We ended the ministry time by face painting and balloon animals which they of course loved.
We also did alot of random prayer walks, and random acts of kindness, as well as intercession times, and worship times. So far this outreach has shown itself to be incredible, and God once again has shown himself faithful.
Well we love you and will see you soon!
Love, Jami & Ted