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.
God called Moses to rescue His people from slavery in Egypt. But Moses felt his lack of speaking skills disqualified him from pursuing God’s plan.
God saw it another way.
Called to Rescue
There have been many times, during our time serving in Thailand when we have questioned God, about if we are qualified to do what He is calling us to do? We often see many of the NightLight ladies who often feel that they are incapable of completing or doing tasks for the same reason.
God has been faithful in His reminders, that He has shown us. He generally choses people who have nothing to bring to the table. He doesn’t need perfect vessels to carry out His will, He uses broken ones!
God does not hire based on qualifications, He doesn’t care what credentials you hold, how many times you have failed, how little you have to offer or how much you make. What He cares about is your willingness to do what He asks. He chooses people based on their inabilities. If we could do everything He asked on our own, where would faith come in? If we were confident enough to say what He tells us to say, we would think we were doing it in our own strength. If we had the credentials and expertise, pride would swell up in us. Instead, He finds broken and chipped vessels to put together to do His will so He can get the glory.
Let us tell you about one of the beautiful ladies at NightLight, who was once broken; but she allowed God to work in and through her life –
*Yim – Is still very young in age (24), however she has been through a battlefield, suffering what many may not experience in a lifetime. Armed with little education, a child to support at 16 years old, a mother to look after and no money. Yim’s prospects seemed bleak. Leaving her son with her Mother, she arrived in Bangkok, with the hope of earning enough money to support her family, she took a job in a massage parlour in Bangkok. It was a massage parlour with a difference and unfortunately she found herself working in the sex industry. Very quickly it stripped away at her dignity, self worth and confidence. Leaving her with shame, anguish and pain, she began to self-harm to cope with her situation. Feeling there was no way out, she accepted what she though was her portion. One day she met a lady, that told her about God. She had heard about Him, but coming from a Buddhist background, what could God do for her?
On a particularly low day Yim decided to call out to God and asked Him to take her out of that massage parlour. She wasn’t even sure if God had heard her desperate cries for help. A few day later invited by the same lady, she found herself in Church, a new experience that made her feel loved and over whelming joy. It was made even better by the fact that, someone asked her if she wanted a way out of the massage parlour; an opportunity to do an alternative job that she could do with dignity. Yim accepted the job at NightLight and has never looked back!
Almost 4 years on and even though she was diagnosed with HIV, Yim is walking in hope, confidence, growing in Christ, has her son living with her, leading Praise & Worship, has learned to play the guitar, is currently learning to play the bass guitar, has a heart for serving in Africa! She now regularly goes on outreach nights to the bars; building friendships, offering hope, a hug and a smile of love to women who are still on the path she once trod.
What the enemy meant for bad, God has turned around for good. Yim once believed that she had nothing to offer was unqualified, poor, weak, lacked courage, and was afraid. With God’s help Yim is now pouring love, forgiveness, grace and mercy into other’s just as Christ has shown her. Joining Him in rescuing those, who are unable to speak up for themselves.
Just as God equip Moses; even today God provides us with exactly what we need to accomplish great things.
If you don’t feel qualified, remember: When God calls, you can because it’s not about you. It’s about what He can do through you. All you need to do is make yourself available.
God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
* Yim’s name has been changed to protect her identity. The word ‘Yim’ is Thai for ‘smile’.
Please click on the ‘dignity’ image below to find out more information from the BMS website about the new Dignity initiative.
BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International
We have had various events that have happened over the last month. In mid- January, we had the wonderful privilege of welcoming 2 new BMS mission workers to Bangkok from the UK. They are living in the same apartment building as us and will be staying in Bangkok until about mid-May to study Thai. They will then move onto to Mae Sot to work with an organisation called Compasio. It has been great having them around and has enabled us to see Bangkok again through fresh eyes.
On Sunday 2nd February Peter Dunn BMS Director for Missions visited and stayed with us for a few days; we greeted him at the airport and with no time to spare whisked him straight off to a wedding! The wedding was for one of our NightLight ladies who got married at NightLight’s church plant ‘Song Sawng’. It was a lovely wedding and we were very happy to have been invited to be part of her special day. As a gift Sarah made and decorated the wedding cake, the day before, it was a full weekend! Sarah is very hopeful that by the next NightLight wedding coming up on 3 May 2014, the wedding cake will be completed by the baking team. Teaching the ladies cake baking/decorating is going well, please continue to watch this space.
On that same Sunday the long awaited General Election in Thailand took place. The run up to the Thai election has been surround by lots of activity; on the 13 January, Bangkok was shutdown! 7 major intersections in Bangkok were closed off and are still to date closed. At this stage both sides seem to be at stalemate and unfortunately since the election took place there is still no resolution. We are near one of the closed down intersections, however we are safe, we do have to do detours on a daily basis to get around. This is an area where your prayers are still greatly appreciated.
At NightLight we have had much to thank God for. We welcome you to join us in praising God and ask for your continued prayers for the work, women and staff at NightLight:
- Praise God that we have been able to hire back 2 women to work at NightLight.
- Praise God that one of our Thai staff got married at Song Sawang Church on 2 February. Both of them are believers, please pray the Lord keeps them committed to Him and one another in their future together.
- Praise God that the coffee shop is nearing completion. There have been many challenges in getting this project operational, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
- Praise God for on going partnerships with other organisations here in Bangkok. We are grateful that MST (Men and the Sex Trade) has begun their outreaches again to the men, based out of our outreach centre in the red light area.
- Praise God for skill-specific volunteers who have come to regularly offer and be part of the cake baking/decorating classes, sessions to equip NightLight women to be good mothers, prayer ministry, and English classes.
- Praise God for a great team of volunteers ready to serve at NightLight’s transition house for trafficked women.
- Praise God that we are currently assisting 2 trafficked women from Eastern Europe and 2 from Africa back to their home countries.
- Praise God for how He has been taking care of a total of 87 employees, staff & volunteers lives at NightLight.
- One of our full-time volunteers at NightLight has recently had major surgery. Please pray for a speedy recovery and healing to her body.
- Please continue to pray for the political situation in Thailand. Since November, there has been lots of political division, which has led to city-wide protests in Bangkok and some violence. Pray for resolution to this tense situation, the protection of lives, and for God’s Kingdom purposes to be fulfilled in Thailand.
- Many of the single mothers at NightLight have been tired and discouraged lately. In Thailand, it is not uncommon for mothers to leave their children with relatives in the village while they work in the city, but this trend has led to family breakdown over generations in Thailand. Pray that these women at NightLight will be encouraged as they care for their children. Pray that they understand the importance of their role in their children’s lives, and that God will give them perseverance to mother their children.
- Pray for the ministry of CityLight Coffee – construction is just about complete, and we are praying to be able to have our grand opening at the beginning of March. Please pray for the construction to be fully finalised soon and for responsible Thai staff to come alongside this shop and ministry.
- Pray for orders for the various business projects at NightLight (jewellery, screen printing t-shirts, and paper flowers). Since the New Year, 7 women have requested to return to work at NightLight, but we could only afford to take 2 back. Pray for orders to come in so we can provide work for these women.
- Sarah along with another volunteer has begun the process of writing grants and doing general fund raising for the baking project. Pray that God will provide them with the wisdom to know which grants to apply for and what to write.
- Pray for Paul as he takes on a new financial project at NightLight. Pray that God will provide him with knowledge and guidance.
- From 19 February – 21 February all NightLight’s employees & volunteers will go on a spiritual retreat. Pray for God to do a lasting work in each of our hearts.
We thank you greatly for your continued support, encouragement and prayers. We appreciate all your emails and love hearing from you.
We are so blessed by the amazing ways that we are seeing God at work here in Bangkok & Thailand in NightLight and other projects around the city; Lives being transformed, open doors of opportunities – new projects, outreach and God’s justice prevailing.
We are so grateful for all your prayers for us and the work of NightLight. Knowing we are being lifted up by brothers and sisters in others parts of the world sustains and lifts our spirits. Please know we are truly thankful.
- A piece of land in the northeast of Thailand (Issan) has been offered. We hope we will be able to set a prevention program there. Many of the Thai women that work in the bars in Bangkok come from this area. Please pray for favour from the government.
- For funding for several trafficked women that NightLight is assisting to return home.
- For NightLight shelter staff as they begin to care for the women who have recently moved in.
- Three women recently left NightLight for family reasons or work elsewhere. Please pray for protection over them in their new communities.
- For funding for the Baking Project, for equipment i.e ovens etc. & all the training involved in teaching the women.
- The continued construction of the CityLight Coffee shop, that all plans will run smoothly. For the right staff & volunteers to come forward to work in the coffee shop.
- A Business Manager to assist with the operations at NightLight.
- God has opened up a door for deepening relationships with women trafficked from Central Asia. Please pray for continued favour with them and their manager.
- For the Jewellery sales to increase, this provides more opportunity for more women to be employed by NightLight. Giving the women a chance of a new life and transformation. All sales from NightLight jewellery contributes to the women’s salaries.
Praise God for:
- Three African women have recently moved into NightLight’s aftercare shelter.
- NIghtLight assisted with the repatriation of some of the trafficked women in our care – 1 Central Asian women, two African women and one baby back home.
- NightLight’s newest empolyee recently accepted Christ.
- The Baking Project – Some to the women are learning to make bread, cakes & sugarcrafting skills. We have been the opportunity to sell our baked goods at an International School in Bangkok.
- 16 staff and volunteers were recently able to attend a training course on trauma.
- Construction of CityLight Coffee shop is continuing smoothly. NightLight is hoping it will be ready to open in late January 2014.
- NightLight has been given the opportunity to partner with World Vision and sell NightLight products at several of the local Bangkok shopping malls every month.
- We hosted a party for the trafficked African woman we are assisting. It was a joy to see them laughing and dancing to songs from their home countries.
We greatly appreciate your prayers, support, encouragement and emails. Unfortunately we don’t always have the chance to reply to all the emails we receive, but we do love hearing from you. Thank you.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. – Philippians 4:6 (NLT)