For The Love of Siam

Baking, Cake Decorating, Freedom & The Gospel… What?

“Lord why have you opened my eyes and heart up to such pain & suffering? Thanks for the gift of cake decorating, but how am I supposed to help & win souls with cake decorating?”

I had been earnestly seeking for about 2 years, for God’s guidance on how He wanted to use me and the creative skills He had blessed me with.  Little did I know how the Lord would un-package an amazing new skill; plus the journey & adventure He would take me on.  As they say, when you ask God for something, be prepared for how He will answer it!

I am not formally or professionally trained as a cake decorator, my education & career background was firmly in fashion design, business & production.  

In 2006, whilst working as a Fashion Production Manger, I was randomly asked to make & decorate a baby shower cake. I knew how to bake, but decorating was completely alien to me.  At the baby shower, some people thought the cake I had done came from a specialist cake shop in London! What! I couldn’t see what they could see.

It was not long after that orders began streaming in! About 6 months later, I sensed God’s timing to step out to start my own cake decorating business! Was I crazy? Possibly! Leaving the security of a well-paid job to start a business in something I knew little about or never received training in.

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Bakery team sugar crafting for the gravity defying cupcake tea set.

Reading the bible one morning I stumbled upon Exodus 31:1-5 – “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts”.

It confirmed that God cared about the creative gift He had given me. I discerned that God wanted me to do more than just build up a business empire; it was about something much bigger.

I began to do wedding cakes, sculptured cakes and model full size shoes and handbags out of cakes all with no training. I began to use it as act of worship and prayer time as I found myself reflecting on God and The Word as I created these cakes. Each time I finished a cake, I would stand back in amazement and wonder how I had produced it!

I then spent about 1 year, turning down opportunities to teach individuals and small groups (about 5-10 people at a time) the art of baking, cake decorating & sugar artistry. “Me teach?” Was my instant answer “How can I teach something I haven’t been taught?” I was petrified at the thought of teaching others.

I believe that God got tired of me saying no, and set up a divine appointment, that left me stunned.  I some how managed to agree without realising, to teach cake decorating to 120 people over a 2 day period! Aaaggghh! The first day I was shaking like a leaf, as I tightly gripped the piping bag, microphone strapped over my ears. I began to pray “ Lord, This is not what I do? I’m in the fashion business. How did I get to this point? How Can I teach these people, when I haven’t been taught?   God wasted no time in replying, I heard a small voice respond  “Who say’s you haven’t been taught? I’m your teacher”.   A sense of peace swept over me and I relaxed into teaching cake decorating skills.

Bakery team, modelling flowers for Autumn cakes

Bakery team, sugar crafting flowers for Autumn themed cupcakes

God opened the doors of teaching opportunities; within a month I took on board a 16 year old student with learning difficulties as a 6 month work placement.   The women’s group at Crisis SkyLight homeless organisation heard about the work and asked me to run classes, a women’s hostel housing over 100 women heard about the work I was doing with Crisis invited me to teach.  Each time the 6-8 week courses finished, the women requested for me to come back.  I began working & walking alongside women that were broken – some were prostitutes, suffered physical abuse, were battered, had mental health problems and drug addictions.

“Lord why have you opened my eyes and heart up to such pain & suffering?  Thanks for the gift of cake decorating, but how am I supposed to help & win souls with cake decorating?” This became my hearts prayer.  I now understand that this was my training ground, God setting the foundation, for the work to come.

As time went on the women began to ask about why I came to teach them, and mentioned that they there was something different about me.   This was my ‘Oh’ moment, as I saw God open the doors for me to share my faith story, God’s love, grace & Jesus. Doing this in a creative workshop setting made it less threatening, as they shared their life stories, poured out pain, they were  seeking freedom.

Teaching a skill that I have had no formal training in still seems strange.  Recently I reflected and had to laugh, I was so scared of teaching in English, but fast forward about 7 years and now I am teaching baking & cake decorating in Thai!

Working & walking alongside Thai women that have endured horrific treatment, bound by the sex industry.  I am now watching them walk in freedom as they are given an alternative job opportunity out of the sex industry.

NightLight Bakery team, making & decorating Autumn cookies

Bakery team, making & decorating Autumn themed cookies, using edible food colours.

This is what the newest venture at NightLight will do – ‘Thailand Freedom Bakery’ – the aim is that NightLight, will be able to offer more jobs to women leaving the sex industry, providing them with employment with dignity & a skill.  I began teaching some of NightLight’s women in September 2013, over 1 year later, the women are thriving, their confidence is continually growing and their cake baking & sugar artistry skills are improving.

In mid-September renovations to the kitchen at NightLight began, to provide the bakery team with a professional space.  From February 2015, 5 more women will join and I will begin teaching a full-time training program, covering – hygiene, essential business skills, along with baking, decorating & sugar artistry.  This will enable them to produce beautiful, celebration cakes, wedding cakes, delicious baked goods and run a bakery with dignity.   The name for the bakery will be unveiled soon.

God may not be asking you to leave your job, sell all your possessions or go overseas,  but at some point He may ask you to follow Him into the unknown.  What He will ask of you may stretch you beyond your resources. When He asks, say yes. Your “yes” will prepare you for a later time when you will need greater faith to say yes.  Then, you will find fulfillment in doing His will, laying down your life, and knowing that you are pleasing your Father.

If you would like to support NightLight’s Baking Project, you can do so through BMS’Thailand Freedom Bakery Appeal’. Please call BMS directly on 01235 517700 or click on the image below to take you to the BMS’ website for more details about the appeal, the work of NightLight and how you can donate.

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Dignity image - BMS

CMYK logo (2) BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International.

Nightlight logo

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One response

  1. Anthony Tyler

    Hi Paul and Sarah, We hope you had a good Christmas! We did with having some friends who would be on their own. I also drove two of my tenants to a church for the day so they could enjoy Christmas. I work for a housing Association that provide housing for people with a disability in Hainault.

    I’m leading Intercessory prayer this morning. We will praying for you both. Thank for keeping us informed of all the work you and Paul are involved in. How is your mother? I think you did mention some time ago she was not well? Sorry if I got that wrong.

    Church is moving forward. We have just elected new deacons. We hopefully in the new year will do our church profile and start looking for a new minister.

    Do you have any other contact from the church? It would be good if other people are interested in your ministry. We print off your prayer news letter and encourage people to take an interest. We have just had some snow in England but not in London which I’m pleased about. I don’t like driving in snow!

    Please could you also share a bit more about Paul and what he is doing with the men’s ministry? Thank you

    Keep well Love and prayers Tony & Gillian Tyler Ilford High Road

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    28/12/2014 at 2:13 pm

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