I just got back from our second week at the bars with Sophia. Annette, Rebekah, and I have started to develop relationships with some of the dancers at a bar in one of Bangkok’s red light districts. Three of the girls actually came out to Newsong on Sunday and were so blessed to take them to lunch and bowling. I think its been great to just give these girls, an opportunity to just have fun and to know that we see them as people, beautiful and worthy. I think someone already wrote about Lak’s story on the blog. It was the first time she got to tell her story. I can’t imagine going through so much pain in her life, and still having to raise four kids on her own. Even if she wanted to get out of the bar, she needs the money, and there doesn’t seem to be any other options. So many dilemmas like this have started to haunt me. I know we are leaving in a week, and can’t promise these girls that we can save them from their situations. Most of them work two jobs, have multiple kids to feed; Lak says she only gets 2-3 hours of sleep every night. I want more than anything to rescue them from this life. Tonight I felt so overwhelmed knowing the industry is spreading to other streets in Bangkok. More demand means more supply, which means more trafficking. There is so much to be done.
It’s kind of a slow process, but this entire trip I’ve been learning to seriously just lean into God and quiet all my worried thoughts, and just try to bless people by loving them. In short, I have to focus on my heart and make sure its right with God in order to love all these beautiful people we meet. Tonight Annette and I were talking to a girl named Noi. It was our second week calling her over to our table. She was sick this week. It was kind of awkward to pray in the bar, but I prayed for her throat. After I gave her the flower clip that was in my hair. She always wears hair accessories. It looked so appropriate on her. Annette told her that she was beautiful on the outside (pointing to her face) and “in here” pointing to her heart. I know she felt something in that moment. Something about her is just so sweet and innocent, even in the occupation she works. In that bar, trying to just take in the situation before us with a humble posture, it’s so much easier to see how much God loves her. I feel like that was all God wanted from us--- to just tell her that. I think we will probably see her Sunday.
Yesterday we went with the Strombecks to the largest slum in Bangkok. They go to the slums every Wednesday night, feed and play with the kids, and teach English to the adults. Brenda and James were explaining that one of the boys used to be one of their greatest challenges. He used to trample over all the crafts and interrupt all the lessons. One week James decided to set aside Thai mores and hug and encourage him. On Wednesday he was part of a group of boys working on b-boy moves. I think I saw this boy do 3 back-hand springs in a row, in his shoes, on the concrete of the temple. All he needed was someone to believe in him, and something to strive for (in this case break-dancing), and now, he’s more or less thriving. We only have one more week here. I know I’m going to be heartbroken to leave. Pray that God teaches us so much does a lot with us and with the people around us in this last week. See you guys soon!