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
We always feel like we are saying Happy New Year, but when you live in a country that actively celebrates 3 new years per year it is hard not to get involved. So again… Happy New Year 2560! You can visit our blog from April 2016 for an explanation about why it is New Year in April & the year is 2560! – click here
NightLight Retreat 2017 & Baptisms
The NightLight Annual retreat took place in Rachaburi, Thailand on 30th March – 1st April. There was a total of 95 people, with 14 nationalities represented across women, children, staff and volunteers. It was a great time for everyone to be together in worship, being encouraged and renewed in God’s word, there was a guest speaker sharing on our continued theme of ‘Breakthrough’. Everyone wore t-shirts with the Thai words ‘Step Into Victory’ printed across the front
In our December 2016 blog & March 2017 prayer letter we shared about an amazing baptism that took place at NightLight.
God is continually at work and the ‘Breakthrough’s & ‘Steps Into Victory’, keep coming. At the retreat we witnessed another 7 women get baptised! The candidates consisted of Thais, and one woman from our International anti-trafficking program from the Ukraine!
We all rose early for the 7am baptismal service, to beat the heat of the blazing sun.
7 beautiful women, stood in the early morning sunlight looking nervous, but joyful wearing satin burgundy robes. We all congregated around the resort swimming pool, to rejoice with the angels. Each candidate stepped forward to give their testimony, then stepped into the pool; each baptismal was just as amazing! Each receiving a crown of flowers after they stepped out of the pool.
One of the candidates called Grace*, stood in the pool her palms clasped together; after she confessed her belief in Christ, her commitment to follow Christ and that she had made the decision on her own.
She then let out a loud cry of joy, that came from deep within, that echo’d around the resort. Even one of the hotel Thai staff could no longer hold back the tears!
Her loud cry of joy held so much – it was her release from time held bound by idols and idol worship, the release from time held in bondage working in the sex industry just to make enough money to make ends meet, the release from the feelings of worthless with no purpose and the release from feeling ashamed.
Her loud cry of joy – was her entering into God’s freedom and truth, it was God’s grace, mercy and transformation in her life, it was God restoring her worth, purpose, her identity, her dignity taking away her shame and most of all her allowing God to be master and ruler over her life.
Like God has done many times over, He has handed these 7 beautiful women, the gift of ‘Grace’ that is undeserved and unmerited, it is the gift of salvation that is available for all people through faith. God has taken all their good and bad – the sad and glad and woven it into a ‘Tapestry of Grace & Praise’. Giving them Grace upon grace
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1: 16
*Grace’s name has been changed
* One of the women’s faces has been blurred to protect her identity
The 7 women that have been recently been baptised. That we will be able to support them as they grow in their faith.
For strength and wisdom whenever they go home to visit their families. Sometimes when visiting families they are asked to participate in Buddhist ceremonies and rituals.
That more women will experience God’s love, grace, mercy and choose to except and walk in His freedom and truth.
Thank God for:
The NightLight retreat, the fellowship time and renewal in God’s word.
The lives of the 7 women that have made the decision to walk in freedom and truth.
BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International
It is amazing the difference a few weeks makes. Many of you may have read Sarah’s previous blog titled ‘Far Away From Home’ or on the BMS website titled ‘Trapped in Thailand’s Sex Trade’ about *Blessing a young lady stranded in Thailand that Sarah had been befriending. Not long after writing about her situation, NightLight International received enough funding to be able to send Blessing home. It was made even more amazing by the fact that we received enough funding not only to send Blessing home but with the help of IOM (International Office of Migration), we were able to send 4 other ladies back to Uganda at the same time.
Week commencing 22 July 2013 was filled with lots of final preparation for their journey home, packing, arranging for them to have some belongings sent via cargo, contacting their love ones and of cause final goodbyes from us. The goodbyes were filled with many emotions- sadness, but also a great overwhelming power of hope and joy. It was amazing at the airport to see these ladies who had experienced so much pain, trauma and some who had been away for so long; were finally going home. The smiles on their faces were priceless! In a huddle we prayed with them before waving goodbye, to strong and courageous young ladies, with amazing futures filled with hope for themselves, their children and their families. They were heading back home to Uganda with powerful voices, to help others who may fall prey to a similar fate.
Blessings final words to me “I will never forget you or what NIghtLight has done for me, I will call you when I get home”. True to her words Blessing called to let me know she had arrived safely. I spoke with her sister, aunty, daughter, uncle and of course Blessing! They were so overjoyed to have her back home, the telephone line was filled with the sound of laughter and so many expressions of thank you.
We are currently assisting other women from Uganda and a lady from Uzbekistan, hopefully next week (w/c 19 August 2013) there will be another 3 going back home. Amazing!
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does – Psalm 96:3 (NLT)
Join us in thanking God:
- For the 5 ladies that NightLight was able to send back home to Uganda in July. For their safe return home and being reunited with their families.
- That NightLight have 3 further ladies that we are hoping to send home w/c 19 August 2013
Join us in praying:
- For the women who have gained the courage to step forward to receive help from NightLight.
- For the women waiting for interviews with IOM (International Office of Migration).
- For wisdom for NightLight in the best way to support and care for each of the ladies we help; that have either been trafficked or exploited by the sex industry.
- That all the ladies that NightLight has sent (sending) home, receives the best appropriate aftercare with the various organisations we have made contact with in their home countries.
- For the relationships and transitions back with their families and communities to be smooth.
- That Blessing will gain the courage to tell her family that she has HIV. Pray that her family will support her.
*Blessing’s name has been changed to protect her identity.