Ahhhhhh… What a full and rich day. I am trying to find an even journal/blog to life ratio to find the balance between being present AND not forgetting about the incredible things God continues to do all around me. ALL the time. Send me an e-mail about what God is doing in your life—I LOVE hearing about our amazing God! From the depth of my heart I thank you fellow journeyers for your prayers, encouragement, and support. Thank you for your commitment to fulfill God’s Great Commission by linking arms together!
Can I share with you something that has taken me aback? We have been in Pattaya approximately one week now. Only one week. During our outreach time? When we visit bars and speak to the women who work there—we tell them about Jesus and free English classes they can come too. A woman called out yesterday to me “chan” which I later found out means teacher. About a block from our apartment is the restaurant we frequent (lovingly nicknamed ‘Jimmys’)—here we see people we know too. Walking home a woman enrolled in the Tamar program says hello! In the supermarket, a staff member from Tamar Center visits us and tells us the papaya has just been marked down for the night. These women are so beautiful, kind, generous, and I am so blessed to meet them. Blessed to hear their stories. Already in this week I have MUCH more of a neighborhood feel than I had in East Nashville. I say this only to revel about when we are in God’s Will and the way things come together.
I have begun visiting the card center in the mornings at the Tamar Center’s Coffee shop. On the second floor the women make cards. We talk about English words and Thai words. We are all teachers and all students in this room! Wee, Nee, and Bo. The stories I hear are painful and so similar. Most often the bar girls marry at a young age, the husband leaves/is abusive-drunk/finds another woman. Without other options they move to Pattaya from some other town to make money working as a bar girl. They are just trying to survive. Most have children, and a lot send money back to their parents too. Their stories also typically involve a farang (foreigner) who lied to them about a future together. They hang onto these empty promises and photographs so tightly.
Prayer meeting Wednesday morning. Opening with wonderful worship by Jessica, the woman leading Pattaya House of Prayer. She lead us into a time of worship and being open to receiving images from God. Crayons and paper were provided to facilitate communication of these images. I LOVE when God gives 2 (or more!) different people the same images. While we prayed for the city of Pattaya several people received tornadoes, children, and living water—waterfalls. Time of change, new beginnings, and deeper dependency on God.
Holland Reality TV show was also filming at the building where the prayer meeting takes place—isn’t that wild? God brought two non-Christian women into the Tamar Center for two weeks. The prayer is that this film would be a platform to communicate the severity and existence of the prostitution happening in Pattaya and also to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. While the film crew was filming one of the girls in the kitchen got nervous and dropped the soup she was making!
Wednesday I went with Nom Waa (took me a LONG time to memorize her name—she was so patient) as the interpreter and we went to some of the bars around the area. We went to a bar and met Wannapha. She is TINY and beautiful—her parents were from Thailand and Taiwan. One parent was Christian and one was Buddhist, so she prays to each. The bars on two of the roads are closing down—Praise God!! Partially because of the slower tourist season, but if business does not pick up they may stay closed. She is 44 and not sure what she is going to do, her future scares her and understandably so. Her English was good—she spoke easily to us in Thai and a little English. She has a ‘husband’ who lives in Scotland. She showed me a small passport photo she carries around in her pocketbook of an older man. I asked her about her dreams, and if she liked what she was doing—and I asked her these questions because I felt her heart ache through the smile and the entertainment she provides. She said that she had a friend who owned a salon once, but the money was not enough. Wannaphra has a 18 year old and 13 year old son she has to provide for. I told her I had come along way to be speaking with her, and that God wanted her to know that He loves her so much. That He is jealous for her. Nom Waa and I prayed for her before we left the open air bar.
I’m learning that God isn’t as interested in what I can do for Him as He is with a relationship with me. Though we are busy and I am ABSOLUTELY delighted to be a part of what my Heavenly Father is doing? What I do doesn’t change the way He loves me. The things that you do, or don’t do? Yes, they are important, but not as important as your personal relationship with God. You are a child of God, and He is CRAZY about you.
How can you pray?
Please pray for our teams continued focus on God, health, unity, creativity in ministry planning, and relationships we are making with local people. We will be leaving for Cambodia on June 02. PRAISE we are reading together and out loud the entire New Testament during outreach!
Please pray for the hearts of the women that we are meeting. For softening of their hearts, and they would come to English classes, and join training programs offered through Tamar Center.
Big blessings and lots of love from Thailand!
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