The last few weeks and months have been an amazing journey for us. We began the process of preparing for our first Home Assignment to the UK, pulling together everything we had done over the last 2 years; photos, memories and stories.
As we reflected back and remembered what it was first like when we first entered Bangkok, the strange sights, sounds, adapting to the culture, the people, and the countless hours of language learning!
There was one thing that we kept seeing and remembering over and over and it gave us great encouragement and hope in Christ. It was… the courageous women that we have had the opportunity and honour to work alongside at NightLight and the trafficked women we have had the privilege to meet.
I (Sarah) have listened as these women, who have been sexually exploited, have shared & poured out their hearts. Held their hands or held them close as another women in the bar, whispers in my ear “I really don’t want to do this anymore”, “what else can I do?”, “How do I survive to support my family?” Giving the reply there is an alternative, this does not have to be how your life is. There is a way out! I have in my presence a courageous woman!
I have seen when a trafficked woman takes her first steps of courage to seek assistance from NightLight. As she enters the room, her body language & face shows the pain, emptiness, brokenness, low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, every ounce of dignity stripped away. As she first shares her story and for a moment, it seems like she is talking about someone else, until the realisation hits her that she played the lead part; it was her that suffered the trauma NOT someone else. The tears streaming down her face as weeks, months, years of pain and abuse release from her body. I have before me a courageous woman!
The gradual progress as a Thai woman (who works at NightLight) moves forward, through her pain, memories of the past, each step a huge stride towards a new future and transformation. This in turn does not just have an effect on her life but the lives of her child/children or even wider family. As she steps into a job with dignity, she then becomes a strong role model for her own child/children, peers and even community; she gains strength, is able to stand tall. She becomes confident and steps into a role, even leadership, that she did not think she would be capable of doing or leading praise & worship. Armed with a new lease of freedom she begins reaching out with love to others who have fallen prey to a similar fate. Before my eyes I see a woman sharing her courage and transformed life with others!
Each woman has her own story of:- tragedy, pain, struggles, hardship & disappointments. However they have 2 things in common: – 1) Courage and 2) Freedom.
They have all found ‘the courage to step into freedom’. Moving through their pain, growing in self-worth, dignity, confidence, hope and walking tall as courageous & free women.
The Definition of Courage:
Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. It is also having “heart,” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength.
The most profound thing about women, is that we display courage without even knowing we’ve had it in us all along. If you can rise and face another day in the midst of all your struggles and difficulties, and have not given up… then that’s the most COURAGEOUS thing you can do.
“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future” – Proverbs 31:25
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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)