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
The year is 2559! The Temperature is 40+ degrees Celsius and on the 13th – 15th April, was the start of Thai New Year! So Happy New Year 2559!
13th – 15th April is when Thai New Year is celebrated, it is called Songkran, also known as the Water Festival. When the temperature hits 40 degrees Celsius and above, it is the perfect time for Thailand’s Songkran Water Festival, to cool down! The festival starts off on a serious note, importantly by honouring the elders, pouring fragrant water & flowers in their hands…and then… It’s time for the largest water fight across the whole of Thailand for 3 days!
There are are 543 years difference between the Buddhist calendar and the Gregorian calendar. With Songkran being the start of the New Year. So 2016 in Thailand the year is 2559!
There have been many highs and some lows along the way, but through it all, we are still Thanking God for His continued guidance.
At the beginning of February, the Freedom Bakery, welcomed on board a new trainee. The new trainee wanted to have a trial period in the bakery to find out if, it was an area that she would like to work in. It was great for the ladies that graduated last year, to have the opportunity of helping to teach the new trainee.
It made the graduates realise how much they had learned since joining the bakery last year and how much they were capable of doing and teaching. At the beginning of April, the trainee took the decision to not continue in the bakery. This is sad, however it was wonderful to see the graduates from last year step up and see how much they have grown in confidence, ability and skills. Orders for this year are gradually coming in. Since the start of the year the bakery team have completed, over 400 cupcakes, a 2 tier character birthday cake, royal iced fruit cakes, a gravity defying noodle cake, cookies, cakes done as presents, amazing realistic sugar flowers, several wedding cakes and a jewellery box cake with edible jewellery to name a few!
In March, NightLight had its annual retreat. 62 adults and 17 children travelled to a beach location about 3 hours outside of Bangkok. It was a time for the women to escape from the busy bustle of Bangkok, spending quality time with their children, work colleagues, to worship, team build and have fun! The women use much of their finances to support their families, therefore many of them don’t get the opportunity to travel out of Bangkok apart from returning home over the holiday periods, such as Songkran. So the NightLight retreat is really important to them.
The theme for this years retreat was ‘Breakthrough’; this is the same subject that we have been following in NightLight’s morning devotions for the last 5 months. The guest speaker was from Scotland, she was not initially in Thailand for our retreat but God orchestrated for her plans to be changed, an answer to prayer since up until about 1-2 weeks before the retreat we had no speaker!
The speaker had no planned message, but God impressed it on her heart to speak to the women about
‘Breakthrough in Forgiveness’. The message touched many of the women and on the last day of the retreat many of them share the impact the message had on them. *Yim shared about her years of unresolved forgiveness with her Dad, she thought she had forgiven him, but on hearing the message realised she hadn’t. She felt encouraged to make the move to contact him.
A lesson for us all to remember: When you reach forgiveness, you break through. The order is forgive, then break through, because the forgiveness itself is the breakthrough.
Another wonderful breakthrough that happened during the retreat – 2 women gave their lives to Christ on the second day of the retreat! We rejoiced so much!
There has also been breakthrough in other areas at NighLight:
2 more women (sisters) accepted Christ in mid-April. One of the women shared that a man dressed in white came to her twice in her dreams!
NightLight has assisted with repatriating trafficked women back home. One woman, who was from Liberia was repatriated after a long journey of loss including losing family to Ebola. Returning home for her was bittersweet, but the reunion with her children brought her much joy.
The outreach centre with the weekly beauty shop, has had a real impact and breakthrough, with women making the decision to leave the sex industry. Some of the women have come to work at NightLight – since January this year, 6 new women have joined NightLight. The outreach centre has also helped other women to get job roles with dignity outside of NightLight.
The Freedom bakery team, have been given the opportunity to attend 2 day training programme at the beginning of May. The training programme is geared towards reaching emerging entrepreneurs from vulnerable backgrounds. Enabling them to become trainers and leaders of others. When I (Sarah) shared the information with them, they jumped at the opportunity and were really excited! This for me (Sarah) is an amazing breakthrough as they are beginning to take initiative and steps towards self development. Please keep this in your prayers.
* Yim (not her real name) Name has been changed to protect identity.
Please continue to keep the many ministry areas of NightLight in your prayers – Jewellery, t-shirts, sewing, bakery, coffee shop, outreach centre and the transition home assisting trafficked women.
We will be in the UK from mid-June – end July 2016. We will be visiting Churches from the end of June – end July 2016, our schedule is as follows:
27th June – Our Home Church – Aylesbury
29th June – Chipping Sodbury BC
3rd July – Epsom BC & West Watford BC
10th July – Kensal Rise BC
17th July – Cheltenham, Gas Green & Swindon, Gorse Hill
24th July – Hainault, Franklyn Gardens & Bromley Park Road
For the Churches we will be visiting we will be aiming to contact you all, nearer to our time of visit to the UK.
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.