For The Love of Siam

Archive for March, 2013

Transformation

For those of you that receive the BMS prayer guide this week 3 – 9 March is taking the time to pray for those, who remain vulnerable to abuse, sexual violence and exploitation.   

If you don’t receive the prayer guide please click on the below link to take you to the BMS website:

Praying against sexual violence – 3 – 9 March 2013 – BMS Prayer Guide

Please know that your prayers do make a difference.  Please read this account witnessed from one of the women currently working at NightLight:

How do we cope with the sad stories we hear so often?  This is question that is repeatedly asked.  We do encounter tragic stories, but we are also receiving the privilege of hearing and seeing lives transformed by God’s persistent love.  This is what compels us to reach out into the darkness over and over.

On Valentines Day we had a party in the NightLight outreach centre in the heart of the red light area (similar to the party held at Christmas time).  Eleven Nightlight women joined to help with the party.  Some painted nails, some taught women how to make jewellery, some did artwork with children, others played the guitar and sang, one gave facials, and others served food and greeted people as they entered.

We was sitting near to where *Minni  (a NightLight worker) was doing the nails of a young streetwalker.  We noticed the woman wiping tears so leaned closer to hear what Minnie was telling her. “Most people don’t care about women like us.  How many do you know who love streetwalkers?”  *Minni began to share – “But God loves us.  God doesn’t care about what we have done.  My life has totally been changed by God’s love.”  *Minnie was sharing her story of transformation from the streets into God’s family. She paused her nail painting to give the woman a hug and told her, “I didn’t used to care about other people. I was selfish, but now I find I really care about other people and when I see them hurting, I just want to hug them.”

*Minnie told the woman that if she needed prayer for anything we would be happy to pray for her. The woman said she had never felt this kind of love and when *Minnie spoke about Jesus she felt something warm that spoke to her heart.  We prayed for her and she cried. She said she felt lighter and more at peace.

*Minnie’s testimony comes from her life experience.  She was orphaned at a young age. She ended up on the streets when she had no Slide1way to provide for her child and grandmother.  As a streetwalker, *Minnie sought pleasure and significance through the men and the pleasures that their money can buy.  As she became addicted to a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and sex, *Minnie began to feel desperate.   Someone told her about Jesus. She prayed to Jesus asking him to get her out of this lifestyle and soon after she was directed to ‘NightLight’.   Now *Minnie is passionate about Jesus and longs to share Him with the women who are still on the street.  Watching *Minnie’s face light up as she shared about Jesus brought joy to our hearts.  Hearing her passion and vulnerability in sharing her life transformation spoke deeply to our hearts.

It’s women like *Minnie that make it all worth it. *Minnie was once one of these young girls at risk on the street but now she is a powerful witness for Christ.  Eleven women whose lives have been transformed came to the outreach party to serve and be a light to the very darkness that once exploited them.  The love they now know compels them.  The same love compels us and not only helps us cope but fills us with joy in the journey.

*Minnie – Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

Please remember that your prayers into these situations makes a difference.

“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice and received what God has promised them” – Hebrews 11:33 (NLT)

BMS partnered with NightLight International / NightLight Design

CMYK logo (2)  Prayer Guide Jan_Mar 2013 cover for webhttp://www.bmsworldmission.org

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Language Tests…

We hope that the cold weather in England does not last to much longer and warmer spring weather is just around the corner.  Here in Bangkok it is still supposed to be winter, but with the average daily temperature between 32 – 36 degrees (last week it topped 37 degrees!) it is far from feeling like winter.  The temperature during the night drops to 24 – 27 degrees and sometimes we do actually feel cold!  Pulling on an extra blanket while we sleep!

Thank God we have now finally received our work permit and also have a 1 year visa stamped in our passports.  It has been a complex process, but NightLight has been great with helping us getting this all arranged.  This now means we no longer have to leave Thailand to a neighbouring country every 90 days to extend our visa.  We just need to present our passports at the Thai Embassy in Bangkok every 90 days.

We have come a long way with the language study, but each stage gets harder and harder.

We have just completed our 6th written language test on Thursday 28 February.

Language study - Our teacher and other students.  Page from part of our written Thai test.

Language study – Our teacher and other students. Page from part of our written Thai test.

At the moment we have 2 tests per month, including written dictation every day in the lesson and homework every day, we are studying like crazy.  It is definitely testing our patience.    We would love to say that writing Thai is getting easier…  but with 44 letters, 12 short vowels, 12 long vowels, 8 special letters and no spaces between the words when you read or write and a whole range of rules on how to read it!  It is really stretching and challenging us.  We are thanking God, in each test I (Paul) am getting on average 60% – 70% and Sarah is doing slightly better with 80% – 90%, which we guess is not bad!  The plus side is that learning to read and write the language is improving our speaking skills.

We still have at least another 3 months of language learning to go and once we start work full-time may have 1 lesson for a couple of hours per week including learning Christian Thai terminologies.  We have been encouraged that putting the time put into learning the language/culture, sets the foundation for us as we prepare to go into full-time work, live in Thailand long term and operate on a daily basis.

J (worker at NightLigh) & Sarah in the sample room.  Having fun trying the samples they have made.

Jay (worker at NightLigh) & Sarah in the sample room. Having fun trying the samples they have made.

Although we have not started at NightLight full-time, we are continuing to get involved with the outreach and gradually getting involved in projects; such as leading bible study as a couple in Life Group.  Sarah has been working on 2 jewellery projects for NightLight, together we are working on understanding the spiritual aspects of Thailand and creating an inventory for NightLight on this and I (Paul) am currently on the men’s ministry team organising a men’s retreat for May.

We are thank God for bringing us this far and look forward for all that is to come.  Please keep us in your prayers as we continue with language study, begin to take on work and create a work/life balance.