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
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
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
“It doesn’t take much to make someone feel good about themselves!”
11 December 2012
It is another night in the week for most people; It is Tuesday night in Bangkok, the night air is hot & humid, people are rushing to get home from daytime jobs and the roads are blocked with traffic. The streets of Sukhumvit are transforming from the bustle of the daytime to nightclubs & bars switching on their array of neon coloured lights, women, children and men position themselves on the streets to beg for the night; the scent of Thai food permeates the air, foreign, Thai & Asian men mingle together exploring which bars take their fancy.
For NightLight this is not just another night; Tuesday night is one of the nights (including Friday’s), we take to the bars in the red light district to be bring light, love and hope to the women who work in the bars and on the streets in the sex industry.
We gather in the prayer room before heading out, calling upon the Lord for His protection, guidance, praying for the women who work in the bars, the men who come to the bars, for God’s light & love to push through the darkness, for God to fill us with great love & compassion, thanking God for the opportunity to go into the bars, for friendships already built – for friendships to come, for God to set divine appointments and most of all remembering God’s grace and love for each person in this world no matter who they are or where they come from. This night is even more special as it is ‘Christmas – International Women’s Day – well for NightLight it is! We split into 4 teams of 4 people, hoping to reach as many bars and ladies as possible.
In the walk to the bars all of us are mindful of our surroundings, stilling praying as we walk. A hunched elderly lady sat on an old flattened cardboard box on the floor, with sunglasses, say’s “Sawadee kh (hello)”. We take the time to stop and speak with her, she then explains she is having eye problems; she agrees to allow us to pray for her, she firmly clasps her hands as we touch each eye as we pray for her.
Our team approaches the first bar with, lady’s dressed in small bikinis, lounged either side of the doorway, luring people to enter. A heavy thick black curtain covers the doorway, the Mamasan (the person who manages the female workers in the bar), opens the curtain for us and greets us warmly. It is strange what you can end up thanking God for; NightLight are ‘Thanking God’ for the good friendship that has grown with this Mamasan, which has opened the opportunity to come to this bar and spend time speaking with the women.
We enter into the darkly lit bar, the heavy beat of loud western music fills the air, a podium to the left and a central podium with dancing poles fills most of the room. We are armed with bags filled with red pouches containing earrings made by the ladies at NightLight, Christian tracks and Christmas cards written in Thai. As we began to hand out the gifts the atmosphere changes – giggling, laughing, joy, disbelief – “Is this for me…?” “How do I look?” I hear some ladies ask. “Khun suay (you are beautiful)”, I state clearly.
We visit about 3-5 bars and received the same response in all, including giving the these gifts out to the club owners as well – God’s love is for everyone.
In a red light district in Bangkok on Tuesday 11 December women and men alike were sat in bars quietly reading Christian tracks and discovering God’s truth. I must admit it brought tears to my eyes to watch them!
We headed onto the streets to spend some time with the street walkers, again giving gifts to each one we met. We spoke to and handed gifts out to ladies from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa and also providing them with Christmas cards written in their own language.
Seeing their smiles, thankfulness and eagerness to wear their new earrings, looking in mirrors is etched in my mind. Some of the best quotes from the ladies:
“For me…but why?”, “This card is written in my own language” (staring at the card and then speechlessness),”I don’t have to give anything?…”
We judged no-one, but accepted everyone; I remembered 3 bible verses Romans 15:7, Genesis 1:27 and I Corinthians 8:13
- Accept one another, then just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” – Romans 15:7
- “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Gensis 1:27
- An accepting Christian values the other person so highly that he would rather sacrifice a personal preference, even a right, than risk losing a relationship or being a stumbling block to that person. – 1 Corinthians 8:13
We cannot forget that Jesus died for us even when we were still sinners, he accepted us with all our faults. It is therefore important for us to have acceptance towards others, making them feel valued, respected and loved. Learning to accept others just as Jesus did, it brings glory to God and display’s the unity and power of God’s love. Every person bears Christ image, since we bear God’s image no-one is insignificant, no-one is worthless, seeing others as God sees them and treating them as He would. It is just not possible to honour God, and at the same time treat another person in a dehumanising, disrespectful way.
Each lady I met, I stared into their faces and said “Lord if you are using me to make her feel valued, respected and loved, then let your will be done, I have faith in you that you will do the rest”. I accepted each one as God’s children and saw His face in them all. See it doesn’t take much to make someone feel good about themselves!
“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.” ― Corrie Ten Boom
If you want to support the work of NightLight, please click on the link to take you to: www.nightlightinternational.com
You can support by purchasing either the jewellery made by the ladies we help at NightLight or by giving a donation. Your prayers are also greatly appreciated.
We continue to thank you for your support, encouragement and prayers.