We made it to Thailand! Woohoo! Our first week here was filled with a lot of ministry work. We jumped right into work with an organization called Pattaya Slum Ministries. We got to work with so many children. It was absolutely wonderful. Though there was a language barrier, it made no difference to how much they played with us. It was the most rewarding thing in the world seeing these kids' faces light up when we came to play with them.
We've had to put on many dramas and songs and crafty things for the children. We did a brief over view of the gospel, the story of Daniel in the lion’s den and we did a few songs with exaggerated motions. And though the kids appreciated this all from us, I think their favorite part was just hanging out with us. These kids just want love and attention and our team was more than willing to provide that.
Our translator, Pia, has become like family to us already. She's been so helpful and encouraging to us. Some of us are learning more and more of the language every day. She's been such a blessing to us.
Not all of our work has been sweet and dandy. Thailand is known for its main export: the sex industry. The ladies on our team worked with a ministry called the Tamar Center and taught English to some women who had come out of the sex industry. It went really well, the women were great. But the street the Center is on is a street filled with bars. There were so many, I don't know that I could've counted them all even if I wanted to. These were no ordinary bars like the ones we see in Vancouver. There are no doors, everything is just out in the open and there are women selling themselves to any man willing to pay. It was difficult to be on that street.
On Friday, the ladies went on a prayer walk down that street, Soi 6, and also down "The Walking Street" and saw so much of the same things. It hurt all of our hearts. We were enraged at watching these men, these foreigners, come into these bars and ask for sex. It really hit us. This is not a Thai problem. This is a world problem and one that is completely unacceptable. If there was no demand for sex, there would be no women supplying it. The women here, they start so young. There were girls who could not have been older than 15 years old. We were told by the Pattaya Slum Ministry that a lot of the women who are forced into the sex industry are facing extreme poverty and doing it only to feed their families.
It's been a hard adjustment for some of us, but we all are loving Thailand. We want to see God's redemption work over this land. We want to be the light in the darkest parts of Thailand. Thank you for your prayers and your support and help getting us here safely.