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.
BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International
Time has flown past so quickly, that we can’t even believe it! It has crept up on us, without us even realising! On the 29th June we noted that we have been living and serving in Bangkok, Thailand for 5 years!
We have been looking back and recapping the last 5 years. It has been a time that has been filled with crazy moments, challenges, confusion, spirit filled, hot, humid, rainy, flooding, stormy, emotionally driven – fun, happy, sad, tearful and fearful journey that God has led us on!….but we wouldn’t change it for the world! We have had the honour of working with many amazing people of God, who are serving, loving, learning and teaching others outside of their comfort zone.
In 5 years we have walked alongside and worked with woman coming out of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, it has been super hard, but in this time we have been so blessed and privileged to have met, some of the most strongest and courageous women in the world! Women that have stood tall and taken brave steps into freedom and transformation.
In the areas of the sex industry and trafficking that are dark and spiritually heavy. In 5 years, we have had the joy of seeing God’s light and hope break through the darkness and seen God’s hand at work – as women have gained their self-worth, value, dignity, a new life, and their God given purposes unfold, breakthrough’s of women delivered from evil spirits, brothel owners asking for prayer, listened to men confess that were about to use the sex industry for the night – but felt compelled to come into the coffee shop and share their heart, watched some of these same men give their lives to Christ, witnessed some of the most amazing baptism’s ever, watched God’s power of love and grace help trafficked & exploited women overcome extreme trauma and God’s justice break down walls of corruption!…. Phew!!!… this is the short list! There is so much more we could add!
In 5 years, we have embraced Thailand – the people, rich culture, food, heritage, language and seen God’s face in every single Thai person or other nationalities we have met. We have built strong relationships with many Thais that speak little to no English, a true testimony to how God has enabled us to embrace and learn the Thai language. We have been welcomed by Thai families that shows a bond of trust including Buddhist families allowing us to pray for them.
Most importantly, even before arriving to Thailand, during our time in Thailand and now, God has been with us ALWAYS, providing us with the strength, encouragement, giving us nudges to take steps into the unknown, providing us with the words to support others, providing us with the wisdom to make the right decisions. God’s hand has been unchanging, we have relied on His guidance throughout this whole journey and this will not stop. We are reassured that He will be with us always.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8
We want to say a ‘big thank you’ for all your support, prayers and encouragement you have given us over the last 5 years. A ‘huge thank you’ for all your letters, cards and presents that have surprised us for New Year’s, Easter’s, Birthday’s & Christmas’. Thank you to our Church Partners for the great relationships and friendships that we have formed with you, your warm welcomes, kind hospitality, food and cakes whenever we come to visit your Churches. Some of you have been with us, before we left the UK 5 years ago and that support from you has been greatly appreciated.
We don’t always get the time to answer every single email or letter, but please know that each one has been up lifting. Many have come right on time, when we have needed a boost of encouragement.
Thank God for:
The number of transformed lives that have happened during this time – those that have made the decision to leave the sex industry, trafficked woman that have been reunited with families in their home countries and men that have had their hearts transformed and touched by God.
For our 5 years in Thailand, the people we have encountered, the lives that God has allowed us to make an impact on.
The growth in our journey and walk with God.
Please continue to pray for the all those, that recently got baptised. As new believers, the enemy uses many situations to pull them back. Pray that they will stay strong and remain close to God.
Us, as we continue to live and serve in Thailand – God’s guidance, direction and wisdom for serving others and our personal lives.
*Noon & *Ma – 2 Ladies that were working at NightLight but left recently. Ma has sadly gone back to work in the sex industry and Noon has got caught up in a bad situation and has been contemplating suicide. Please pray that God’s truth will break through the lies they are been fed. That with God’s help they will have enough courage to come back to NightLight. That they will understand that they are beautiful, precious daughter’s and princess’.
To help you understand how much God loves and cares for us, here is a poem that some of you may know or have read already. Please click on the poem title to take you to the poem link –
*Names have been changed to protect their identity
Lots of love
Paul & Sarah
BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International
Unfortunately we haven’t managed to update our blog as often as we would have liked. However both of us have been extremely busy setting up the Freedom Bakery, the budget, business plan & business strategy. Setting up and overseeing a new project takes up a lot of time, coupled with setting it up in another language and cultural differences that adds to the many challenges. Sarah also had to come to terms with seeing 2 women leave about half way through the training, however it is hoped they will take the opportunity to come back.
Paul has been busy beavering away on the budget for the bakery and over seeing the financial aspects of the project on a daily basis. He is also still budget monitoring for the jewellery & t-shirt area and doing statistical monthly reports for outreach, childcare, transition home/trafficking in persons, song sawing church, the coffee shop, playing in morning worship and still teaching some of the women how to play bass guitar every week.
Sarah has also been wearing many hats; Handling marketing, material & ingredients sourcing, teaching the 12-week intensive bakery course that she also had to prepare as well, including a Food & Hygiene and Health & Safety course that all had to be delivered in Thai. She has been teaching the course every day (Mon -Fri) from 10.30 – 17.00. It would be tiring teaching it in English, so teaching it Thai has been very tiring indeed. At the end of the working day, her brain is frazzled! Quite amazingly during the training we were also taking in customer orders as well; for the month of May we had 2 orders every week! The word about the bakery is starting to spread. The last day of the bakery training course was on the 29 May.
Sarah organised their final training project and all of the elements for their graduation ceremony and celebration. On 5 June we saw the ladies graduate in a full graduation ceremony in gowns & hats with their final training project cake the centrepiece of the ceremony. All of them accomplished so much whilst training. When they first started in February this year, they were so scared. They were unsure of the techniques, not confident, even the oven produced fear and fear sometimes pushed them to complain about the new techniques they were going to learn for the week or the crazy cake design/flavour order we had undertaken for a customer. However they always managed to learn what was being taught and far exceeded their own expectations. They are all so proud of their work and overjoyed with their new skills and abilities, which has opened new opportunities for them.
It was a wonderful, precious and proud moment seeing them graduate. There were tears of joy all round!
They worked hard during the 12-weeks and achieved standards of excellence which we are confident will continue. Sarah has been privileged to watch their confidence, courage and skills grow. She has enjoyed every moment of teaching and working with them.
The bakery team and the ladies at NightLight have so much potential to achieve so much. The graduation gowns and sashes were made by the NightLight sewing department and the flowers arrangements and bouquets by a very talented lady that works in the jewellery department. Amazing abilities from the ladies at NightLight!
During our time in the UK the bakery team will be taking the time to improve on all the skills & techniques they have learnt on their own and then go onto work into the feeder/partner bakery linked with the project in August/September.
Thank you so much to everyone that has sent us emails of support and has supported this project financially through BMS & NightLight. Your support is making a tremendous difference of transformation in in the lives of these women.
We are really excited how God will use and move this project forward.
BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International
The last few weeks and months have been an amazing journey for us. We began the process of preparing for our first Home Assignment to the UK, pulling together everything we had done over the last 2 years; photos, memories and stories.
As we reflected back and remembered what it was first like when we first entered Bangkok, the strange sights, sounds, adapting to the culture, the people, and the countless hours of language learning!
There was one thing that we kept seeing and remembering over and over and it gave us great encouragement and hope in Christ. It was… the courageous women that we have had the opportunity and honour to work alongside at NightLight and the trafficked women we have had the privilege to meet.
I (Sarah) have listened as these women, who have been sexually exploited, have shared & poured out their hearts. Held their hands or held them close as another women in the bar, whispers in my ear “I really don’t want to do this anymore”, “what else can I do?”, “How do I survive to support my family?” Giving the reply there is an alternative, this does not have to be how your life is. There is a way out! I have in my presence a courageous woman!
I have seen when a trafficked woman takes her first steps of courage to seek assistance from NightLight. As she enters the room, her body language & face shows the pain, emptiness, brokenness, low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, every ounce of dignity stripped away. As she first shares her story and for a moment, it seems like she is talking about someone else, until the realisation hits her that she played the lead part; it was her that suffered the trauma NOT someone else. The tears streaming down her face as weeks, months, years of pain and abuse release from her body. I have before me a courageous woman!
The gradual progress as a Thai woman (who works at NightLight) moves forward, through her pain, memories of the past, each step a huge stride towards a new future and transformation. This in turn does not just have an effect on her life but the lives of her child/children or even wider family. As she steps into a job with dignity, she then becomes a strong role model for her own child/children, peers and even community; she gains strength, is able to stand tall. She becomes confident and steps into a role, even leadership, that she did not think she would be capable of doing or leading praise & worship. Armed with a new lease of freedom she begins reaching out with love to others who have fallen prey to a similar fate. Before my eyes I see a woman sharing her courage and transformed life with others!
Each woman has her own story of:- tragedy, pain, struggles, hardship & disappointments. However they have 2 things in common: – 1) Courage and 2) Freedom.
They have all found ‘the courage to step into freedom’. Moving through their pain, growing in self-worth, dignity, confidence, hope and walking tall as courageous & free women.
The Definition of Courage:
Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. It is also having “heart,” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength.
The most profound thing about women, is that we display courage without even knowing we’ve had it in us all along. If you can rise and face another day in the midst of all your struggles and difficulties, and have not given up… then that’s the most COURAGEOUS thing you can do.
“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future” – Proverbs 31:25
If you are an individual and would like like to support us financially, you can do so through BMS 24:7 Partners. Clicking on our BMS 24:7 Partner link page.
If you are a church and you would like to support us financially, you can do so through BMS Church Partners. Click this link to take you to the BMS Church Partners page