For The Love of Siam

Posts tagged “Thailand

Pass It On…

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!

The Freedom Bakery ladies wearing the white hats; teaching others from difficult situations, bringing hope & joy.

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.

Bakery team wearing white hats. Giving a guiding hand, practicing how to pipe buttercream. *Face has been blurred to project her identity.

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. 

Pray for:

  • 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 

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5 years!!!

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.

Pray for:

  • 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 – 

‘My Precious Daughter (A love letter from God to His Daughters)’

*Names have been changed to protect their identity

Lots of love

Paul & Sarah

 

BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International

  


God’s Tapestry of Grace

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

NightLight Retreat Team Photo

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.  

Baptism Candidates after their baptism

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.

     Grace upon Grace

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

Pray for:

  • 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


His Birth = Our New Birth

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Baptism in a large black bucket – Just before being baptised

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.

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Baptism in a large black bucket – During the baptism

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.

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Feeling happy and joyful – After the baptism

 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. 

Please pray:

  • 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

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A Great Royal Legacy

We really regard Thailand as home now.  Our love for the Thai people and the country runs very deep.

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Painting of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, showing all the many achievements and royal legacy he has left behind in Thailand.

So on the evening of 13th October 2016 as we prepared to leave to go to our Thursday Life Group.  The news at 7pm came with the announcement that every Thai had feared; King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, Rama IX of the Chakri dynasty, had passed away at the age of 88, in the 70th year of his reign.  He was the world’s longest serving monarch.

The news hit our ears and we both looked at each other in disbelief.   We knew this news would hit Thailand hard; even in that moment in our apartment the stillness from outside was evidence.  As we entered onto the streets of Bangkok, the silence, shock, grief, sobbing was written on every face.

We have 2 Thais in our Life Group and the sense of loss for them was painful.  King Bhumibol Adulyadej was highly revered, he was the King of Thailand but was also the Father of Thailand who has done many great things for the country.   The next day as we comforted, listened and spoke with many of the Thai women at NightLight, the personal loss of losing a Father cut deep.  We are standing with, supporting and mourning with our Thai friends and family and feel their sorrow through this difficult time.

On Friday 14th October,  Thailand a country often associated with bright colours, saw Thais, expats and tourists predominantly dressed in black, white and somber tones as the official national mourning period began.  The initial mourning period will last for 30 days, but the funeral rites will last for one year.  This will then be followed by the royal cremation.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, took his role with great seriousness, travelling through many parts of Thailand to

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Mourners gather in larger numbers at the Grand Palace to show their respect to the late King of Thailand

improve the quality of life for the people of Thailand.  During his 7o year reign he set up many Royal Projects and installed infrastructures to enable Thailand and the people of Thailand – some of these include improving agriculture, farming and the general landscape of Thailand.  He has left a great legacy.

Over 500,000 (according to Thai Public Health Ministry) people lined the route to see the King take his final journey from Siriraj Hospital (where he passed away) to the Grand Palace.  The location surrounding the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang Park has seen huge crowds daily paying their respects to the King and signing the condolence books.  

On Saturday 22nd October a massive crowd of an estimated 170,000+ mourners from all over the country flooded to Sanam Luang Park and nearby side streets as far as the eye could see to sing the royal anthem in a historic assembly in memory of the beloved King.  With an accompaniment of a 200-piece orchestra and a 150-strong choir under the baton of renowned music director Somtow Sucharitkul   A momentous occasion that was also filmed by 1,300-strong production crew, 50 cameras, including two drones and cameras positioned on two cranes, as well as 25 microphones set up in six locations to capture the event.  The film will include added footage of the Kings royal activities, will be shown on TV and cinemas across the country.

As the Thais gather together, they are beginning to look ahead to a hopeful future, following in the footsteps left by – A Great Royal Legacy – King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  This is more than just the unity of Thais loyal to the late, revered King, but a demonstration that the King left an example to follow; they are strong together – serving with love, kindness, friendship and willingness to help each other.

Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Please pray for Thailand, the people of Thailand that they will be comforted by the Lord.  Pray also as they step into this new period of transition.

BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International

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Return Home

welcome-homeIt has been a while since we have written a blog, so we will be spoiling you all with 2 blogs in a very short time frame.  Please keep posted!

It has been nearly 3 months since we returned back from the UK on our 3rd Home Assignment!  We also marked and celebrated several dates in June – Sarah’s Birthday, our 5th wedding anniversary and at the end of June, noted that it has now been over 4 years since we have been serving and living in Thailand! Where has the time gone!

For us coming back to the UK for Home Assignment is always bittersweet, since we really miss the ladies we work with, friends and family we have formed in Thailand and now regard Thailand as home.   However it is always a joy to see family, friends and visit the Churches in the UK.

For Sarah, it was good to see her Mum, since whilst in Thailand she has been very concerned about her health. Unfortunately last year November her Mum fell and broke her hip and coupled with late stage Parkinson’s her mobility has suffered.  Thank God, she looked much healthier than when we saw her last year.  Her mobility is still not great, but she still has all her faculties, she loves to sing even though her voice is sometimes affected by the Parkinson’s and is still a strong prayer warrior.

We would like to say thank you to all of the Churches for your amazing hospitality, support, encouragement and prayers.  It always overwhelms us to know how much support and generosity we receive.

We were warmly welcomed back to NightLight with gifts and hand written notes on our desks.  It was wonderful to see all the women.  While we were away 4 more women joined NightLight.  However 1 of the women unfortunately left and went back to work in the sex industry, we are hoping she will return.  The rise in the number of women coming forward so far this year, is amazing, since this means more women are feeling encouraged to leave the sex industry and walk in freedom.  Please keep these women in your prayers, we will explain more about these women in a future blog.  In the meantime please keep them in your prayers. 

Bakery Miracle

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Bakery women working on a customer order – Minion Cake

A wonderful miracle has happened in the bakery!  Sarah and Julie (who assists in the bakery) had been praying since the end of the last year for extra help.  It was very specific as to who the person needed to be, with Sarah being the only Thai speaking person in the bakery, so she had to do all of the translation.  We didn’t even get round to advertising for the post, we just kept praying!

Here is what we were praying for – Job Spec:- Someone who is a Christian, a Thai national that speaks English well, someone that comes with all the skills and elements of baking and sugar crafting (since there is no time to teach a new teacher, with time taken up teaching the women and completing customer orders), someone who would be able to help Sarah with the admin and marketing, with management abilities and someone willing to accept a very low salary!

At the time our prayer request seemed like a tall order, since there are not many Thai Christians in Bangkok, many of the Thais that speak English well, generally choose to work with bigger companies that pay generous salaries.  Baking and sugar crafting is still fairly new to Thailand, so to find someone with these skills was going to be hard and if they did have these skills they would probably either go to work for a top hotel or open their own business!

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Finished cake by the bakery women – Minion Cake

Well… Our God is the God of impossibilities!  During July whilst we were still in the UK.  A young Thai lady in her early 30’s, walked into the bakery to say that she had been living in the US for the last 15 years; she explained in excellent English that someone at her Church had told her about the work we were doing in the Freedom Bakery at NightLight.  She explained that she is the only Christian in her family and has been a Christian for 6 years.  She then went onto explain, she has just in the last 1-2 years made the transition from being an Accountant to training in bakery (patisserie) and sugar crafting skills and only just arrived back from the US in June to relocate to Thailand.  Would we be able to use her in the bakery?…

Sarah received the information about her whilst in the the UK.  Paul & Sarah begun praying about it and felt a sense of peace about it.  We arranged to meet her when we got back to Thailand.  After 2 lengthy interviews and happy to accept the very low salary that we could offer!  The Freedom Bakery is please to introduce a new member of the team called Panita.  She started on the 1st September and is already becoming a great asset in the bakery and administration.  Having another Thai speaker especially a Thai national is a huge weight off Sarah’s shoulders and a great help.  The women are also warming to her well.  

In September the bakery successfully showcased their cakes at an an expat event.  It was wonderful to see the women at the

One of the bakery women, proudly exhibiting their cakes at the expat event

One of the bakery women, proudly exhibiting their cakes at the expat event

event, interacting with the Thai visitors that were taking an interest in their spectacular cakes; with the women confidently answering their questions.  This year has seen the women skills and abilities climb to a new level and as teachers we are having to assist much less.  They are even now telling us how to do many of the techniques!  Which is a great testimony to how God is working in the bakery.   

On the 21st November, the bakery will welcome a new trainee, she will join the bakery as an apprentice.  She has just recently left the sex industry and is determined to move forward with a new start.  Please keep this in your prayers as we prepare to teach her, walk alongside and help her step into a transformed life

The Freedom Bakery has again this year, been nominated by Entrepreneur Now Asia in the Social Enterprise category.  We have been invited to attend the award night which is due to take place on the 23rd November.  Even if we don’t win an award, we know that the ladies have achieved so much and beyond.

NightLight Ladies Growing in Confidence

Niim playing for the first time in the International Church to a congregation of over 800 people

Niim playing for the first time in the International Church to a congregation of more than 1000 people

We had the wonderful privilege to witness recently one of the NightLight women *Niim play with the band at in the International Church we attend.  The International Church has a congregation of more than 1000 people with about 50+ different nationalities (over 2 morning services).  *Niim plays and leads worship at NightLight’s Church plant, which normally has a congregation of about 30!  So a much lower numbers than she is used to.   This was a first time experience for her playing in front of such a large number of people, but she approached it with such confidence and grace.  God really used her.  It made our hearts smile!

 

Give Thanks For:

  • Our time spent in the UK.  It was a blessing to be with family, visit Churches we already knew and make links with new Churches.

  • The bakery women that coped so well on their own, whilst myself and Julie were away over the summer period.

  • The women that have made the decision to leave the sex industry and come to work at NightLight.
  • The new Thai member of staff that God has provided for the bakery.

  • The Freedom Bakery successfully exhibited their work/cakes at a expat event.

  • The Freedom Bakery being nominated again this year, for the Entrepreneur Now Asia in the Social Enterprise category.

  • God giving *Niim the confidence to play in the International Church.

  • God’s continued guidance in the bakery.  None of what has been achieved has been in our own strength.  The honour and glory goes to God alone for what has been achieved so far.

Please Pray For:

  • The new women that have started at NightLight in the last few months.  Pray that God will provide them with the strength and encouragement to move forward to step into freedom and transformation.  For God to give us the abilities to walk alongside them and support them.  For God to help us love them unconditionally especially when things get challenging or difficult.

  • The new trainee due to start in the bakery on the 21st November, pray against fear or doubt that may creep in for her and that we will be able to support and teach her to the best of our abilities.

  • Sarah, who has been having problems with her left foot and needs to have surgery.  If all goes according to plan the surgery is due to happen on the 19th October.  She will be away from work/bakery for 1 month to rest her foot.  Pray for speedy healing and recovery.

  • Sarah’s Mum – please continue to keep her health in your prayers.

Then he said to me, “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. – Zechariah 4:6


*Niim’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

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BMS World Mission Partnered with NightLight International

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Baking, Cake Decorating, Freedom & The Gospel… What?

“Lord why have you opened my eyes and heart up to such pain & suffering? Thanks for the gift of cake decorating, but how am I supposed to help & win souls with cake decorating?”

I had been earnestly seeking for about 2 years, for God’s guidance on how He wanted to use me and the creative skills He had blessed me with.  Little did I know how the Lord would un-package an amazing new skill; plus the journey & adventure He would take me on.  As they say, when you ask God for something, be prepared for how He will answer it!

I am not formally or professionally trained as a cake decorator, my education & career background was firmly in fashion design, business & production.  

In 2006, whilst working as a Fashion Production Manger, I was randomly asked to make & decorate a baby shower cake. I knew how to bake, but decorating was completely alien to me.  At the baby shower, some people thought the cake I had done came from a specialist cake shop in London! What! I couldn’t see what they could see.

It was not long after that orders began streaming in! About 6 months later, I sensed God’s timing to step out to start my own cake decorating business! Was I crazy? Possibly! Leaving the security of a well-paid job to start a business in something I knew little about or never received training in.

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Bakery team sugar crafting for the gravity defying cupcake tea set.

Reading the bible one morning I stumbled upon Exodus 31:1-5 – “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts”.

It confirmed that God cared about the creative gift He had given me. I discerned that God wanted me to do more than just build up a business empire; it was about something much bigger.

I began to do wedding cakes, sculptured cakes and model full size shoes and handbags out of cakes all with no training. I began to use it as act of worship and prayer time as I found myself reflecting on God and The Word as I created these cakes. Each time I finished a cake, I would stand back in amazement and wonder how I had produced it!

I then spent about 1 year, turning down opportunities to teach individuals and small groups (about 5-10 people at a time) the art of baking, cake decorating & sugar artistry. “Me teach?” Was my instant answer “How can I teach something I haven’t been taught?” I was petrified at the thought of teaching others.

I believe that God got tired of me saying no, and set up a divine appointment, that left me stunned.  I some how managed to agree without realising, to teach cake decorating to 120 people over a 2 day period! Aaaggghh! The first day I was shaking like a leaf, as I tightly gripped the piping bag, microphone strapped over my ears. I began to pray “ Lord, This is not what I do? I’m in the fashion business. How did I get to this point? How Can I teach these people, when I haven’t been taught?   God wasted no time in replying, I heard a small voice respond  “Who say’s you haven’t been taught? I’m your teacher”.   A sense of peace swept over me and I relaxed into teaching cake decorating skills.

Bakery team, modelling flowers for Autumn cakes

Bakery team, sugar crafting flowers for Autumn themed cupcakes

God opened the doors of teaching opportunities; within a month I took on board a 16 year old student with learning difficulties as a 6 month work placement.   The women’s group at Crisis SkyLight homeless organisation heard about the work and asked me to run classes, a women’s hostel housing over 100 women heard about the work I was doing with Crisis invited me to teach.  Each time the 6-8 week courses finished, the women requested for me to come back.  I began working & walking alongside women that were broken – some were prostitutes, suffered physical abuse, were battered, had mental health problems and drug addictions.

“Lord why have you opened my eyes and heart up to such pain & suffering?  Thanks for the gift of cake decorating, but how am I supposed to help & win souls with cake decorating?” This became my hearts prayer.  I now understand that this was my training ground, God setting the foundation, for the work to come.

As time went on the women began to ask about why I came to teach them, and mentioned that they there was something different about me.   This was my ‘Oh’ moment, as I saw God open the doors for me to share my faith story, God’s love, grace & Jesus. Doing this in a creative workshop setting made it less threatening, as they shared their life stories, poured out pain, they were  seeking freedom.

Teaching a skill that I have had no formal training in still seems strange.  Recently I reflected and had to laugh, I was so scared of teaching in English, but fast forward about 7 years and now I am teaching baking & cake decorating in Thai!

Working & walking alongside Thai women that have endured horrific treatment, bound by the sex industry.  I am now watching them walk in freedom as they are given an alternative job opportunity out of the sex industry.

NightLight Bakery team, making & decorating Autumn cookies

Bakery team, making & decorating Autumn themed cookies, using edible food colours.

This is what the newest venture at NightLight will do – ‘Thailand Freedom Bakery’ – the aim is that NightLight, will be able to offer more jobs to women leaving the sex industry, providing them with employment with dignity & a skill.  I began teaching some of NightLight’s women in September 2013, over 1 year later, the women are thriving, their confidence is continually growing and their cake baking & sugar artistry skills are improving.

In mid-September renovations to the kitchen at NightLight began, to provide the bakery team with a professional space.  From February 2015, 5 more women will join and I will begin teaching a full-time training program, covering – hygiene, essential business skills, along with baking, decorating & sugar artistry.  This will enable them to produce beautiful, celebration cakes, wedding cakes, delicious baked goods and run a bakery with dignity.   The name for the bakery will be unveiled soon.

God may not be asking you to leave your job, sell all your possessions or go overseas,  but at some point He may ask you to follow Him into the unknown.  What He will ask of you may stretch you beyond your resources. When He asks, say yes. Your “yes” will prepare you for a later time when you will need greater faith to say yes.  Then, you will find fulfillment in doing His will, laying down your life, and knowing that you are pleasing your Father.

If you would like to support NightLight’s Baking Project, you can do so through BMS’Thailand Freedom Bakery Appeal’. Please call BMS directly on 01235 517700 or click on the image below to take you to the BMS’ website for more details about the appeal, the work of NightLight and how you can donate.

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CMYK logo (2) BMS World Mission partnered with NightLight International.

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