Have you ever had one of those days when God makes it loud and clear everything is going to be okay? When you gain a sense ‘He is thinking of you’, with you and sending people to stand in the gap to pray for and encourage you.
Paul & I had one such day on the 9th of May. As we continue to push forward with setting up the Business as Mission company, we have many days when we feel like things are making sense, then either in a heartbeat or the next day, it then starts to feel like the plan is crumbling and we are back at square one. We are truly being humbled by the process, being taught great patience and stepping into this unknown is make us trust God with every breath and step we take. We have have had days when we feel that the task is too big for us, days when we feel overwhelmed by what God is calling us to do, days when we ask God “Why is it all moving so slowly?”
Spending time in God’s Word as individuals and as a couple, God keeps bringing us to the same lesson “Trust Me, that’s all you need to do Just Trust Me“, “I have called you into this, I will equip and provide… Just Trust me!” It is a daily reminder for us.
So… on the day in question, we were feeling discouraged thinking about the day head, praying about the financial budget for the BAM company that seems to be increasing, Paul feeling frustrated working on the budget and Sarah feeling overwhelmed working on the draft business plan. As we prayed through the requests, it felt like a mountain and we were at the bottom of it looking up wondering how we were going to climb it or if we would we ever be able to climb it?
During our time of prayer, both our phones pinged just after 7.30am alerting us to a message that had come through. 1-2 hours after we had finished praying we decided to look at the message. It was a message from a couple in Bangkok, that used to be in our Life Group and also given us advice on the BAM company, letting us know that they were thinking of us and praying for us. It lifted our spirits to know that we had friends standing in the gap interceeding for us.
After 1pm Sarah heard her phone ping again, but not wanting to stop straight away as she ploughed on with the business plan, she looked at her phone about 30 minutes later. We received a surprise message from our friend Na, whom we had taught in the bakery at NightLight. She was visiting family in a neighbouring province to Chiang Mai and wanted to come and see us on Monday 13th of May. With excitement, Sarah immediately called Na and said “Yes, please come. We are really missing you”. It again lifted our spirits to know that our Thai friend from Bangkok was also thinking of and reaching out to us.
Yet again another ping from Sarah’s phone just before 3pm. This time Sarah opened it at once to see who and what it was. Some more Thai friends and a foreign friend we had volunteered with at NightLight, that are now working together at another NGO. The message via Facebook messenger yet again explained how missed we are in Bangkok, and that our Thai friends have been thinking of us and wanted to see us when they come to Chaing Mai for a training course mid-June.
As I (Sarah) shared the last message with Paul we looked at each other and said in stereo “What’s happening?” There was now a clear pattern forming. It just seemed to be too much of a coincidence to be contacted by so many people in one day with similar messages for us. Paul let out an exhale and said, “Okay God, you’ve got our attention!”.
Just when we thought all the messages for the day had finished, Sarah checked her phone at about 5.30pm and saw an email in her inbox. Again another surprise message from someone that used to be in our Bangkok Life Group, but moved back to the USA last year. We hadn’t heard from her in a number of months, so it was very out of the blue. Her message aptly titled ‘Thinking of you’, once again explain that we had popped into her thoughts that morning while she was praying and she had prayed 2 scriptures for us – Psalm 90: 17 & Psalm 20:4.
May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.- Psalm 90:17
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. – Psalm 20:4
God definitely had our full attention by the last message. We felt a sense of peace of how much He was ‘Thinking of us’, walking alongside us even in what we initially thought was a discouraging day. The Lord had used our friends to remind us that He is in full control of what He is calling us to do and we just need to ‘Trust Him’.
The events of the day also led us to think of Zephaniah 3:17. A wonderful reminder that not only is God with us, thinking of us, but He also rejoices over us with singing. Amazing!
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of packing, that seemed to go on forever. Anyone who has ever moved knows how stressful it can be. We were surrounded by a sea of boxes and suitcases and living out of them was not much fun either. Fortunately, we were relatively organised, even if it did look chaotic. It was a very strong reminder of when we moved to Thailand almost 7 years ago.
In the process of moving, we did not get much done on business planning. Working from home was not possible, due to the array of packing boxes building up in our apartment and working in coffee shops became quite a pinch on our pockets.
Our Bangkok Visitor
We also in the last few weeks before leaving Bangkok, had an unexpected visitor in the form of a RAT!… A problem that we had never experienced in almost 7 years of living in the same apartment. The landlord started some building work and it must have disturbed the rat to enter our apartment on the 3rd floor! We spent the last 2-3 weeks doing everything in our power to get rid of it (giving it rat poison that it seemed to eat like sweeties and come back for more) and also ensuring that it didn’t get into any of the boxes we had packed. So we held it hostage in our bedroom, by keeping the door closed as much as possible and putting up with the racket it made in the early hours of each morning. It did work since thankfully we saw no rat (dead or alive) upon unpacking the boxes in our new home.
Friends & Goodbyes
One of the hardest things we had to do was saying goodbye to friends (Thai & expat). Although we are still in Thailand, the distance from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is 9 – 12 hours by road and flight only about 70 minutes but more expensive. Therefore, we will not get to see them as often. We hope they will come to visit us or any time we are in Bangkok, we will make time to see them. Our friends have poured into us and us into them, we have grown together, encouraged each other, laughed, cried and prayed together. We thank God for those friendships. Our prayers and hopes are that we will be able to build strong friendships and be part of a Christ centred community in Chiang Mai.
A few days before leaving Bangkok, we had an encouraging conversation with Pee a Thai taxi driver that we have got to know over the years. We noticed that he had an ‘Amazing Love Festival’ key ring dangling from his keys. We asked if he attended, to which he proudly and happily replied that he attended over the 2 days. He said that he was very moved by the worship and message. It is encouraging to see the impact that the ‘Amazing Love Festival’ has left on the people of Bangkok. We hope and pray that the seed that has been planted in Pee will grow.
Our move to Chiang Mai went relatively smoothly with no major problems. Our belongings were driven up on 27th February by a removal company, and we flew up on the 28th February. We arrived at our new home about 5-10 minutes before the removal van turned up. It was amazing timing considering the driving distance! We thank God that it went well.
We have begun seeking out a Church and have been attending Safari Church, it is only a 10 -15-minute drive from our home. The Church is set in a safari/zoo! The services are held in a conference room which is part of Chiang Mai Night Safari. It is a very unique place to have Church, walking from the car park you can see the giraffes eating their breakfast, free-roaming deer and an array of colourful birds. Attending the Church gives you free access to wander around the rest of the safari after service. We have been warmly welcomed and everyone is very friendly. So far, we have attended the International Service and Thai Service at Safari Church. Over the coming weeks, we will have the opportunity to visit other Churches. We are praying about which Church God wants us to attend.
Some information about Chiang Mai: – Chiang Mai is ranked in the top 10 (about no. 4-7) of the largest (populated) cities in Thailand. It is a mix of rural misty mountains meets urban – a juxtapose of two contrasting environments and ecosystems. Chiang Main is based in the northern hemisphere of Thailand and it hosts 6 indigenous Hill Tribes called the – Karen, Hmong, Akha, Lisu, Lahu & Yao, all tribes have their own distinct languages, culture, traditions and colourful costumes. Chiang Mai is known as the ‘Rose of the North’.
Our New Home & Surroundings
We do love our new home. It is much quieter than Bangkok. Living behind a University in Bangkok, on many occasions for 1-2 solid weeks (throughout the year), the students would be practising very loudly for events until 12am – 1am in the morning. So one of the first things we noticed in our new home was the sound level… it is so quiet and serene, we can hear the birds chirping and wildlife chatting away more clearly. We are not far from a flight path to Chiang Mai airport, but the noise level and frequency from that is still no match to the noise levels we had become accustomed to in Bangkok.
Speaking of wildlife… We thought we had said a fond farewell to the rat in Bangkok, only to be greeted by frogs that happily hang out in the bathroom adjoining our bedroom. The species are Asian Painted Frogs, they are less scary than the rat as long as they are not jumping! Paul has become a dab hand at catching them and setting them free back into the wild.
We have a mix of Thai and foreign neighbours. Our neighbour on our right-hand side is Thai. Upon meeting him for the first time, we tried to have conversations with him, unfortunately, we thought he did not understand us but was still very friendly. We began to wonder if our Thai was really bad or if he spoke a northern dialect we didn’t understand. We have just recently discovered that he does speak central Thai, but he has hearing problems. We pray that we can find creative ways of how we can communicate and get to know him.
Prayer & Praise
Thank God for our smooth move to Chiang Mai.
Thank God that we are settling in well and getting to know our neighbours.
Pray for creative ways of how we can get to know our new Thai neighbour who has hearing problems.
Pray we will build good relationships and friendships.
Pray that we find the Church God wants us to attend.
Pray as we work through the next stages of business planning and finances.
This definitely feels like a new season for us, with lots of new beginnings. We continue to thank you all for your continued support and prayers.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”. – Isaiah 18-19
Yours in Christ Paul & Sarah
On Monday 8 October we went to Phuket, in the south of Thailand for 5 days. We were there to have meetings and see if this is where God wants us to be. We will soon write more on what is happening behind the scenes as we following God’s leading on our next steps.
Even though we have been in Thailand for over 6 years, there is still so much we continue to learn along the way. We know that part of the month of October Thailand celebrates an event called the ‘Vegetarian Festival’… Sounds harmless doesn’t it! For all these years living in Bangkok, it seemed to have a harmless vibe to it.
The festival has it roots in Chinese Taoism and is a celebration to the nine emperor gods and happens during the ninth Chinese lunar month every year. There are many Chinese and Chinese Thai, in Thailand, so the festival has become a fixed event in the Thai calendar. It is now a mix of Taoism and Buddhism. In Bangkok’s China Town and many stalls around the city, they switch to only selling vegetable/vegan based dishes (ahaan jay – อาหารเจ); those that are participating in the Vegetarian Festival will abstain from eating meat, following a very strict vegan diet for 9 days as a way to cleanse their bodies. Many wear white from head to toe. The air is filled with the sound of loud fire crackers, beating drums, clashing symbols, the temples are dressed with lanterns, candles and filled with people making merit. The smell of incense fills the air, Chinese dancers and dancing dragon costumes parade past in a flurry of bright colours.
In Phuket we saw a different side to this festival. Phuket is the where the Vegetarian Festival is thought to have originated
from, since over 30 percent of the population have Chinese ancestry. The festival starts with the lantern pole raising ceremony, which happens across many temples around the island. The lantern pole is supposed to attract the 36,000 gods of the Chinese pantheon.
Then there are rituals held to invoke the gods along with fire walking, bladed ladder climbing and the nail bridge crossing. The ceremonies also take on a more gruesome twist with parades around Phuket. Spirit mediums walk with knives, saws, fish hooks or any other items capable of piercing the bodies and faces of those that are possessed. Those that are possessed believe they are acting as mediums of the gods and will puncture their faces and bodies believing that the Chinese gods will protect them for harm and little blood scarring from the self mutilation.
As we walked around Phuket one afternoon, we could hear the pounding of the drums, symbols, raised voices and loud fire crackers popping in the distance. It was heading towards us, we caught sight of row upon row and group upon group, of people dressed in white and spirit mediums dressed in brightly coloured and highly embroidered and patterned aprons, holding swords and knives. The police appeared from no-where to stop the traffic at the intersection to allow the parade to pass though, we stood on the corner, not wanting to cross the path of the parade. The cacophony of sounds became louder, more confusing, as each group stopped in the centre of the intersection and began yelling and beating themselves with the swords and knives they were holding. We could see where some of them had already used large sharp objects to pierce their faces, as deep marks and fresh scars marred their skin. Many of them looked possessed, their eyes bulged, entranced and bewitched, with each strike some of them drew blood from their bodies.
I could hear Paul quoting the verse “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind…” The verse that came to my mind was “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” I could feel the tears stinging my eyes not from fear, but as I looked on as each group did the same act, my heart broke. I began to think if this is breaking my heart, how much more much is it breaking God’s heart to see His Children so far from Him, yielding to gods and spirit that they believe are calling them to self mutilate and appease them in this way.
From a western prospective it would be easy to think that in the UK, an event like the ‘vegetarian festival’ would never happen. However, how different is this from halloween? As Christians in the west, we are quite sheltered, and because we do not see the rituals or ceremonies that happen alongside halloween, we see it as harmless… It is just about costumes and trick or treating right?. Wrong! Halloween is effectively no different from the vegetarian festival – It is a time of evil, darkness, witchcraft, fear, death, honours the devil and darkness and more than likely has many rituals that go alongside, but we just don’t see.
Wherever you are in the world or whatever your understanding is of spiritual warfare. As Christian, when confronted with evil or the enemy in any shape or form, we don’t need to hide away, or shake with fear. We do as Christians need to be aware of the battle that is happening and know that it is very real. Sometimes it hard for us to understand, because as humans we think if we can’t see it or feel it then it is not real or true. God clearly reminds us of the spiritual warfare happening – Ephesians 6:10-19 The powers of darkness does not have the final say ever. When we place our faith in Jesus, we are in a position of VICTORY always!
I like the way that Priscilla Shirer explains it from her Bible study series The Armour of God: “The enemy’s approach is not just aimed at individuals. He has a collective cultural and global methods designed to derail entire nations and people groups from God’s intended plan. He carefully crafts and proliferates philosophies, doctrines and moral perspectives across entire demographics in order to steer whole societies away from God.”
For God to open our spiritual eyes to the spiritual warfare we can not see in the natural.
For us not fear or be afraid of the enemy, because God has already overcome the devil, darkness and death. We are victorious ALWAYS!
To be able to discern what is from the enemy and not just think it is just ‘harmless’.
Pray against the enemies deception, lies and the ways he tries to deceive us.
To be in a position to share God’s truth, light and love, with those who have not yet encountered Christ.
It has been a long time since we wrote an entry to our blog. We do have good reasons and we will be sharing them with you over the coming months. Since there has been a time lapse, we feel we need to go back before coming forward.
“And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.” Acts 20: 37 – 38
When God says it time to move… You’ve got to move! We shared with the churches we visited during our Home Assignment in the UK between June – July, that we have now left NightLight. It was a decision that was very hard for us to make, we prayed, we shared with our Life Group (Small Group), we listened for God and His perfect timing. When God’s clear answer came, it was a bitter pill for us to swallow…
The ladies at NightLight have become our family, and God was telling us it was time to leave them. Over the 5-6 years we were there, we witnessed God’s transformation in many of the women lives, seeing them step into freedom, accepting Jesus, getting baptised, moving forward with confidence, self worth and stepping into leadership roles.
Just like a family we had many joyous occasions, where we would laugh together to the point of happy tears, barely able to catch our breath. When the times of sorrow came, we cried together baring each others pain.
Whilst we were there, God taught us so much about ourselves. We had the great honour of pouring into the women, however without realising it, many of the ladies also poured into us. God has an amazing way of surrounding you with people, when you need it most. We counselled and prayed for each other, sharing deep and personal areas of our lives that could only be shared when an amazing family bond had been formed.
A few days before our last day at NightLight, they prepared a leaving gathering for us. It was the day we had been dreading, the day when the reality that we were actually leaving kicked in. Nothing could have prepared us for wave of emotions that we felt. Many of the ladies shared how we had impacted their lives, what we meant to them and how much they were going to miss us.
There was not a dry eye to be seen; another but final moment when we would all weep together. I (Sarah) was a blubbering mess with tears and snot everywhere (sorry, it was not a pretty sight!). I don’t think I have ever cried so much when leaving a place of work…even Paul shed a tear! The women have left a huge stamp on our hearts, which we will never forget. We will miss them dearly.
Since leaving we have been able to keep in contact with some of the ladies and those we know really well, have invited us to their homes.
So, God says it time for us to move on… So in obedience to Him, move on we will do. We do not know all the plans for our next stage, but God is revealing the puzzle to us a little at a time. We sense that God is calling us to start up a Business as Mission company, of which we are completely looking to God for guidance. We will still be with BMS, and they are supporting us through this next stage. We are not sure if we will remain in Bangkok or if it will be another location in Thailand. As we step into this unknown and a new journey, we do know that it is all in God’s hands and by His grace, he will reveal all to us in His perfect timing.
We will be sharing with you how God’s plans have been unfolding over the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime can you please pray for us, as we seek His will with all the preparation, business planning, the location in Thailand, finances, our visas, our Thai business partner and finding a retail space.
Thank you for all of the cards and emails we receive from so many of you. They always arrive, when we need a boost of encouragement.
In many of our blogs over the last year, we have mentioned about the many baptisms we have seen and the many lives we have seen transformed. God has been at work in the lives of those that were at the brink of despair, those that felt helpless, bound, not able to walk in freedom, where the enemies lies had blurred the truth, those that felt all hope was gone, those that didn’t feel they had any ability or worth.
NightLight is known as NightLight ‘International’. This years retreat, definitely lived up to the ‘International’ status . A total of about 90 – 100 staff, volunteers, employees, survivours of trafficking from all corners of the world – USA, Australia, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Brazil, Thailand and the United Kingdom came together, to fellowship, worship, rejoice together at the baptisms and unite.
We have now lost count of the number of baptisms we have seen, whilst in Thailand. They have been a true testimony to God’s power and all that He is doing. Every baptism we have seen has been as beautiful and as precious as the first.
The most recent baptism at the retreat were made even more special, with 11 women from different countries in Africa attending from NightLight’s International Anti-trafficking programme.
Over the months the Thai women of NightLight have welcomed and embraced these African women with such great unconditional love, compassion, acceptance and understanding. We have watched as the Thai women took care of the babies of the African women, allowing them to enjoy and have time for themselves during the retreat. There was definitely no shortage of babysitters! As the babies were passed around and lovingly cared for.
Number of women baptised 6 African women & 1 Thai woman. We rejoiced with the angels as each life was set free in Christ.
All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name. Psalm 86:9 (NLT)
It is an amazing moment when you watch those you have been teaching and working with over the years, rise like phoenix’s from the ashes. When God uses people and situations that were broken and brings them to restoration, fullness, hope that brings Glory to His name.
We have shared in several of our last blogs, about some of the bakery women who had become confident enough to enter into business training. It was a breakthrough, because they requested they were ready for this type of training. I (Sarah), didn’t feel I had the Thai business language skills to train the bakery women to the standard they deserved. So after months of praying (over 1 year to be exact!), and searching for a professional Thai company that could run the business skills course, I almost gave up since we didn’t have a large budget to pay for the training either. Thank God, He never gives up on us, just when I thought all was lost, Paul & I were introduced to a Thai Christian Business Coach, that completely ticked all our boxes.
The Thai business teacher was fantastic and was able to teach the women with such grace, patience and understanding. The women had nothing but praise for the teacher and the information they were learning.
2 of the women after completing the first 2 modules of the business training, decided to take it to the next level and wanted to be enrolled on the individual business mentoring programme.
I was over joyed, especially since 1 of the women in 2016 was adamant, she never wanted to do any form of business skills training EVER! I am not sure what changed her mind, but I watched her flourish with each session as she come up with the most original ideas… I could see that she was even shocked at some of the ideas she was coming out with. They learnt all aspects that will enable them, to start up their own business in the future, should they wish to do so – business planning, financial planning, designing their own logo/brand, marketing and presenting their businesses on video.
The bakery has been a foundation for these women to step out, grow and realise their own potential, to let them know that God has a plan and purpose for their lives and that they have great ability to put their minds to anything not just baking/sugar crafting but anything.
Paul & I was proud to witness these women, who once didn’t think they could achieve much. Successfully complete the Individual Business Mentoring Programme .
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10 (NLT)
We truly thank God for these many precious moments.
Here is an account from the Founder & CEO of NightLight – Annie Dieselberg
“Recently, my laptop was stolen at the airport.
I had left it accidentally at the security gate, and someone decided to help themselves to it. Thankfully, airport security personnel immediately checked the cameras and were able to locate the man who stole it. Within a half hour—and with only two minutes to spare—I got my laptop back and caught my plane.
I recently shared this story on Facebook and was struck by how many people “liked” the post. I realized that the fear of having something stolen or lost is a feeling most people can easily relate to. Hearing that my laptop was returned so efficiently gave people just a little bit of hope.
Maybe that’s why Jesus told the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son. The theme of losing something valuable and searching to find it resonates with people around the world, in every era. When what was lost is not just a coin but something of our very own, the intensity and emotional connection with this experience grows. It’s a fear every parent understands.
It’s not as easy to relate to victims of human trafficking and exploitation. Yet every night in Bangkok (and around the world), lost daughters walk the streets in hopes of being found. Their parents do not know where they are and sometimes have not yet even realized that they are lost. These daughters cannot find their way home from this foreign land. They stumble around in the dark; their vulnerability being exploited night after night. The immediate terror and panic of being truly lost eventually gets pushed down beneath layers of coping strategies, but it doesn’t take much to trigger the fear, the trauma, and the alienation. Their dignity, their freedom, their lives have been stolen from them.
**Anna was hired to work as a maid for a family in the Middle East. Once there, however, she was enslaved and forced to work for no pay under a cruel boss. Her employer brought her to Bangkok, where she was beaten and thrown out on the streets with no documents and no means of taking care of herself. Suddenly on the streets, alone in a foreign land, Anna realized she was hungry, desperate, and very lost. Anna had to turn to prostitution for survival. Soon after, she was picked up by the police and thrown in the immigration detention center, where she stayed for 4 months and had no way to access help or family. She did not know if she would ever find her way home.
One day, however, our help line number was given to Anna. Calling us from the pay phone inside the detention center, she begged us for help. Recently, Anna was finally delivered from the jail with a ticket to go home. The immigration truck brought her to the airport the night of her departure, and we were waiting there to celebrate with her. Anna could not stop thanking us, though she said she had no words to adequately express what she was feeling. She had been lost and was found. She was now on her way home.
“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way,” wrote St. Francis of Assisi. When a child, mother, sister, or daughter is found and returned, even the angels celebrate. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. We celebrate this love which compels us to join in the search, to set the captives free, and to help those who have lost their way to find their way back home. For these women, this is a demonstration of love they will never forget”.
**Anna’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
Praise God for:
The number of women that NightLight has assisted and repatriated back to their home countries, through the anti-trafficking programme.
The amazing restoration, transformation, confidence building and counselling, to help women walk in freedom, that come into the NightLight International Programme Centre.
The many women that are still lost hoping to be found. Pray that NightLight’s help line number makes it’s way safely to the women who need us to help them.
Pray for NightLight to be in the right places at the right time, to reach out and help those that have been trafficked.
We are looking forward to seeing many of you, when we are in the UK during May – July 2018.
I watched as the bakery ladies buzzed around the bakery, with *P Mon giving gentle directions “…*Noon have you checked that the following items are packed in the case, from the check list – weighing scales, mixing bowl, recipes, cupcake tin, cupcake cases, buttercream, palette knife, piping nozzles, piping bags… We don’t want to forget anything for the workshop!…”
I (Sarah) could hear the excitement in their voices, and sense the tension and nervousness in their body language as 3 ladies of the bakery team, prepared all the equipment needed to take with them to teach their first ever external bakery workshop!
I took a moment to remember how far they have all come from, not just learning in the Freedom Bakery, but the total transformation that has and is continuing to happen in their lives – they are definitely not being defined by their past. God is an amazing miracle worker!
I was further reminded about the gifts & talents that God has given to all of us. When God blesses us with gifts and talents they are never just for our own benefit. He doesn’t bless us with talents and skills so we can look brilliant or be selfish with it! God wants us to steward those gifts for Him! To bless others and build His kingdom.
When we unwrap what God has given us, use it well and remember that even though the gift has our name on it, it doesn’t mean it is all for us. God uses our obedience and stewardship in wonderful and spectacular ways to bless others, with hope and joy in a way that we just can not do in our own strength.
As I watched the beautiful bakery ladies that 2 years ago had no bakery skills (many Thai homes still do not have an oven), that were fearful of the oven, frightened of the mixers and insisted the microwave was going to blow up… move so confidently around the kitchen. I thanked God for providing me with the privilege of using me to be part of their lives; yes teaching them baking and cake decorating has been part of it, but most of all God has given me the opportunity to pray into their lives, for trust to be built so they are able to share some of their most deepest life experiences, to pray with them when they feel all hope is lost, to laugh and cry with them and tell they can, when their confidence takes a knock.
On many occasions I questioned God, what am I doing this for? I can’t do this, my brain is exploding from trying to teach in Thai, can I give up now Lord? How am I supposed to win souls with baking & cake decorating? When my own confidence took a blow, life and spiritual struggles caused me to be discouraged or forgetting that I don’t need to do this all in my own strength.
To hold onto God, and remain obedient with the gifts and talents He has given me has been well worth it! On Friday 6th October, I witness 3 ladies of the bakery team confidently lead and teach their first external workshop (outside of NightLight at another organisation), teaching ladies making the decision to leave the sex industry.
When we got to the workshop, I had a brief wobbly moment, that they couldn’t do it and would need my help, so I proceeded to put on my hat and apron ready to help! I immediately heard *Noon say to me in a firm voice… “What are you doing? Take it off! We can do this!” That’s when the tears of joy began to sting my eyes, when I gained further understanding of how God is using me and the gifts His has given me to fulfil His purpose in their lives.
I am soooooooo proud of the bakery ladies, on their first workshop I cried with joy and smiled so hard (my cheeks hurt!), I even jumped up and down praising God! I watched them teach with such professionalism, giving advice and answering all the questions. They taught all of it by themselves with very, very, very very… did I say ‘very’ minimal assistance! I just stood in the background and took pictures, feeling like a spare part… Which was fantastic!!! They are all teachers in their own right!
God receives the praise and the glory since none of this has been done in my own strength… Trust me, I would have given up ages ago if it was left down to me!
Jesus gives us two commandments: to love the Lord and to love others as we love ourselves. – Matthew 22:37–40. So when we steward our talents to honour Him and to bless others, we are doing just that.
Pass it on… God wants to use your unique role in the body of Christ. So, if like me it is baking, then bake, singing, then sing. If your talent is a little less conventional—maybe you’re good with numbers, computers or play the bass like Paul (who teaches bass lessons, advises on computers and computer skills) — then find a way to translate that into a job to glorify God. Use your God-given abilities to reach those who don’t know Him—and give God the praise for all He has given. Pass it on…
* Names have been changed to protect their identities
Thank God for:
The bakery ladies confidence and courage to lead independently a bakery workshop to reach out to others.
The bakery team taking ownership of the Freedom Bakery.
There are 5 extra external workshops lined up for the month of October, that the team will be running.
For conditioned confidence, growth and development of the bakery ladies.
For the extra 5 external workshops being held in October at 2 different organisations.
Pray for the women that will attend these workshops, that they will be impacted by them and good conversations and relationships can be made.