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
2016 for us, has been filled with witnessing lots of great and wonderful things! The one we witnessed recently was no exception, it was an absolute privilege, it was the most humbling baptism we have ever seen!
There were no huge crowds of people, no church building, no projector for worship or songs, no drums, no piano, no microphones. There was no baptism pool, swimming pool or the sea. It was held in a small back room next to a small kitchen and cooking area with a largish black plastic bucket, the kind you use for carting rubble, holding ice for drinks or in our case washing lots of dishes at a time!
A small crowd of us gathered to witness with 1 person playing an acoustic guitar.
The young lady getting baptised *Humble, is a lady we are assisting through our anti-trafficking program along with her children.
Whilst in our care, she had been asking lots of questions about Christ, He became real to her and made Himself known to her in her dreams. We were in the process of assisting to help get her repatriated back to her home country, and she wanted to get baptised before going home (which was due to happen a few days later). With such a short space of time, there was not enough time to arrange a formal baptismal service. The quick preparation and thinking – “What can we use to baptise her in?”turned it into the most humbling baptism ever.
She shared her testimony, made her declaration of faith and expressed her great love for Christ.
As *Humble stepped in to the black bucket, and knelt down. The water was poured over her head…in name of the Father…. in the name of the Son… in the name of the Holy Spirit. Tears of joy rolled down everyones cheeks as we rejoiced with her!
As her children looked on – In the small back room next to a small kitchen and cooking area; in that largish black bucket for carting rumble, holding ice for drinks or in our case washing lots of dishes at a time, an amazing ‘New Life’ was born. Her humble baptism, symbolised her ‘Re-birth’.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7
The way this baptism took place, is a great reminder of how Jesus came into this world. There was no big fanfare, no luxury, no mansion and to parents with very little. We can only but image what the stable was like, there was probably the smell and noise of the animals, the uncomfortableness of the hay and the trough for feeding animals used as His bed. With witnesses that were one of the lowest classes in society – the shepherds. In all the simplicity and humbleness came our wonderful Saviour, Joy & Hope to us and the world. His birth, was the humble beginnings of our new life and re-birth.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:12
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ – John 3:5-7
*Humble and her children’s faces have been blurred and her name has been changed to protect their identity.
For *Humble as we continue to help her get back home. Challenges with corruption, injustice, lack of understanding and sympathy within the system, has made the process very difficult and caused many obstacles that have delayed the process of getting her back home. Please pray for officials hearts to be softened and for understanding. Please pray urgently for a breakthrough.
Hopefully if all goes well *Humble and her children are due to go home shortly after Christmas.
Thank God & Thank you:
Christmas is not celebrated in the same way in Thailand and this year is even more different since the passing of the King, with a very sombre mood. The Christmas decorations went up very late this year. People will still give each other presents, however with no real understanding of what they are celebrating.
- Thank God – This a great time for us to share with the Thais. We have had the opportunity to witness to some of the local Thais we know well near our house and have been able to give them a book about the Nativity of Jesus in Thai.
- Thank God – For a trafficked woman from Uganda that NightLight assisted, was able to return home last week after many years absence and many health challenges. It was such a victory and joy to send her off at the airport and know that she was reunited with her child finally.
- Thank you – For all your support and encouragement throughout the year. We have received Christmas cards, gifts and messages from many of you.
We hope you all have a blessed Christmas and a peaceful New year! May you know Christ’s Joy, Hope, love always.
BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International
The time of our visit to the UK came and went so quickly! We arrived safely back home in Thailand on Wednesday 29 July and now settling back into a routine. We are taking some time off before going back to work at NightLight.
It was good to visit Churches we knew already and see some familiar faces, however it was also wonderful to link with some new churches and build new friendships; and spend time in worship with you all.
We hope that what we shared was encouraging, it is always a blessing for us to share how God is working in people lives, the transformation taking place, the hope and Good News being spread.
We are grateful for your role in bringing freedom to these women as well as the prayers and support which enable them to stay and thrive in freedom.
This is an update of some of the work that was continuing whilst we were in the UK. It is amazing how much happens in your absence.
NightLight’s work with trafficked women continues to bring us face to face with amazing women with horrific stories who are overcoming and walking into freedom. Since April we have assisted 2 Ugandan, 1 Liberian, 1 Uzbek, and 2 Columbians in returning home. These women and their families have been greatly impacted by your prayers and support. We are presently assisting three others from Uganda and Colombia as well.
A young trafficked woman from Morocco is presently in our care. Please pray for her as she suffers from post traumatic stress and tries to walk through a difficult process to return to her country.
A Central Asian woman, in our care who was seriously ill. We were able to get her home safely where she could reunite with her family and receive medical treatment.
One of our women who has struggled to get off the streets and free of addictions for over 10 years agreed to enter a rehab centre in July. NightLight will be visiting with her family in the northeast and then taking her to the centre up north. Please pray for her to have courage for this difficult journey.
The bakery completed their 12 week training course and in June had a graduation ceremony and celebration. They often doubted themselves and their abilities, but persevered and made some incredibly beautiful cakes. In the Autumn they will open for sales locally.
The outreach centre has been very busy with beauty salons twice a week, English class once a week, outreach parties, and a medical clinic. Women from the red light area come for care, conversations, and hope. As the women share their stories with our staff, they ask about Jesus. Four women have come to Christ through these visits.
On the June, 25 women and their children were treated to an outing at Safari World by the Evangelical Church of Bangkok. For their missions service weekend they also partnered with us by playing live music in our coffee shop at night, and joining us on outreach. It was wonderful to have their support and presence.
There is a lot of discouraging news around the world and we face challenges, which often seem impossible. We are so grateful for your prayers and support and we celebrate the goodness of God in bringing freedom and hope to so many.
The Spirt of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)
BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International
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:
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 way 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
Since our last blog Christmas has come and gone so quickly. We hope you all had a very peaceful time and we hope this New Year holds many blessings for you all.
This month is ‘Human Trafficking Awareness/Prevention Month’. In this blog we wanted to remind you of the horrible reality that this modern day form of slavery brings. It is not just a problem that is encountered in certain countries; it is a ‘worldwide issue’ affecting millions of women, children & men everyday. It has become the second largest profitable crime in the world. In the last 10 years, the UK has seen a marked increase in internal/international sex & labour trafficking within the UK. Take a moment to learn what human trafficking looks like and be prepared with information for people at risk. The UK report line is – ‘Crimestoppers: Read The Signs – 0800 555 111’
Please take some time to read about some of the recent cases in the UK and watch the You Tube video on the Metro article and watch the news report on the BBC article. Please click on each heading to take you to the articles:
This is what awareness & prevention can do: This is an account of a conversation on a recent outreach night in Bangkok:
On a recent outreach night we visited a bar in the red light district. The music was loud, blaring as always. The women on the stage were swaying just enough to vie for men’s attention but not enough to wear themselves out. We have many friends in this bar, and it was not long after we arrive several girls come over to us for hugs and a drink. “P” was one of the women who came to sit with us. She was very affectionate and so happy to be with friends who actually care about her life.
“P” chatted away about this and that. We strained to listen but could just about catch it all, against the music blaring loudly in the background, we almost missed her words, “My friend told me I can get a job working in a massage parlour in Korea and make 80,000 baht a month (£1,700).” We were about to do the rhythmic nod of the head (you know the one, where you don’t really know what someone is saying but are trying to look like you do!), when her words set off an alarm. A job offer? In Korea? 80,000 baht? Our passive nods turned into an alarmed reaction. We quickly warned her that these offers are usually just traps leading to slavery or forced prostitution. She was shocked, and of course disappointed. It sounded like such a great opportunity. “P’s” husband left her with over 300,000 baht in debt (£7,000) and because she has been unable to pay, the amount has now grown to 400,000 baht debt. “P” works at an office in the day before coming to work in the bar at night. She sleeps 4 hours a night. At 42, “P” knows she is too old to get many customers and yet the hope of money from a few clients and even from drink tips is enough to reel her in to the scene of sexual exploitation. One job at a massage parlour in Korea, making 4-5 times what she makes through two jobs here sounds like an answer to desperation.
Women in vulnerable situations like “P” are perfect prey. She has enough ambition to work two jobs and to make real attempts at improving her life. She is not sitting around waiting for something to drop from the sky. She has initiative, she is intelligent, and she is desperate – the perfect combination for a trafficking victim. She believes there is an answer out there for her situation and if it is presented just right she will take the bait.
One conversation in a bar may have prevented “P” from being sold into slavery. If the offer is legit, it will prove itself, but one conversation opened “P’s” eyes to the risk and realities. Sometimes, that is all it takes.
Trafficking Prevention Month is almost over, but hopefully trafficking awareness/prevention is not just the “flavour or a gimmick for 1 month” but the beginning of something greater. By making a choice to become aware, you to have the opportunity to prevent trafficking. Someday, you may have a conversation on a bus, at the store, or at the beauty salon. Because you have become aware, an alarm will go off in your head and you will react as we did, informed, and ready to prevent him or her from being trafficked. YOU can prevent trafficking! Choose to know. Listen to the vulnerable. Speak up. You just might save a life!
If you want to support the work of BMS, please click on this link BMS World Mission:
We continue to thank you for all your support, encouragement and prayers.