Monday, February 8, 2016

SE Asia Update 1: Bangkok

Greetings from Bangkok, friends! Today is our third day here (it's Tuesday morning here), and we've had wonderful adventures each day.

A view from the house church on the 10th floor of a building in Bangkok.

Brian giving his testimony at house church. The women left of him translated.

There were many Chinese New Year celebrations at the Night Market. Drums, gongs, dancers, and dragons!

Day one we arrived, got settled, and then attended Bethlehem's Global Partners' house church. There were about 5 Thai and 9 foreigners. Even amidst the jet lag, it was a sweet time of worshipping together in Thai and English. After the house church we went to a night market near the guest house we are staying at that is known for bars (brothels). Every night hundreds of vendors set up their shops on the street (that is empty during the day) and sell their goods while the bars behind them on either side of the street are in full swing. It was surreal walking past these bars and seeing young girls inside dancing. I've seen similar scenes in documentaries about sex trafficking, but it was another thing to actually see it. There were men outside the bars with price lists that they shove in your face asking if you want to see the shows (or do more). Yesterday was Chinese New year, so the night that we went to the market there were also a lot of parades and celebrations going on. Everything was very busy and overwhelming, but also very interesting to see.

There were many shanties along the river, and many children and families waved as we passed by.

This woman pulled up with a boat of goodies to sell to us.

We also saw many temples and statues along the way.

We had coloring books and bracelet making time.

Yesterday we got to visit Rahab Ministries, which is a Thai-run organization that ministers to girls who work in the bars. They want to see these women leave a life of prostitution and come to know Jesus as Savior and get their income in healthy ways. They do this through outreach, English classes, and career-skills classes. We spent the morning learning about them and they served us a delicious authentic lunch. Then we set out to explore Bangkok for a few hours before we needed to be back to help host a party for the prostitutes they are working with. So we took the train to the river and did a boat tour which was incredible! Seeing the shanties right next to the elaborate temples was shocking, and we all felt like we got a good glimpse of the city during the tour. However, the boat driver dropped us off at a different dock than we got on at, which left us very lost and confused. We were already running late for our party, so all four of us climbed on a tuk tuk (a small open-air vehicle) and prayed for our lives as our driver weaved in and out of the rush-hour traffic. It was quite the adventure! We got to the party in time (barely!) and Kristin (the other female on the trip) and I had a wonderful couple hours with 17 women that work in the bars playing games, doing crafts, and sharing a testimony. Please pray that this party had an impact on the women and that they would come to Jesus! After the party our team went to McDonalds for icecream and debriefed our day. We are blessed to have such an amazing team!

This morning we're getting ready to go teach English with our Global Partners. So far our stomachs have held up, however I woke up with a sore throat and Brian's cold is hanging on so you can pray for our health that way. Pray that we will be a blessing to the Global Partners and that our team will be the sweet aroma of Christ. We love you all and appreciate your prayers! I'll hopefully be able to post some pictures on the blog, but otherwise you can go to my instagram to see some and of course my snapchat (blockhl) has lots of fun videos!

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