Wednesday, February 10, 2016

SE Asia Update 2: Slums, Teaching English, & Nightlight

Yesterday morning we went over to the English school that Bethlehem's Global Partners run and learned more about their vision and what they do. After that, they had one of the Thai Christians take us to the slum that he lives and does ministry in. It was very interesting getting an inside glimpse into this poverty and learn about the different cultural and social things that go on there. He took us to his apartment, which was one room plus a bathroom and "kitchen" area. Everything was neat and tidy and in it's place. It was really sweet getting to pray for him and his ministry to the community as he leads Bible Studies and kid's programs for the community.

After the slums, we went back to the English school and were each assigned a teacher to assist for the 2-hour class. Many Thai are eager to learn English, as it will provide greater opportunities for them with work and travel. This school has about 50 students, ranging from high schoolers, to middle age business people. It was fun to help the students pronounce words and understand English rules and concepts.

At the end of the night, we went to the night market again and haggled for some different things we had our eyes on. I ended up purchasing a bag from a "ladyboy" (what they call transgender men here), which was an interesting experience.

This morning we headed out to a different part of Bangkok to meet with a ministry called Nightlight. It was such a neat experience! There was an American girl in her twenties who gave us the run-down of the ministry, and it was very eye-opening. There are basically two "arms" of the ministry- one that reaches out to the Thai bar girls, and the other that works with internationally trafficked women. She made the distinction (as did Rahab ministries when we worked with them a couple days ago), that most of the Thai women who work as prostitutes in the bars are not trafficked and are free to come and go as they please. They keep their earnings as well. This was different than what we had thought coming into the trip. What is bringing these women to the bars, and keeping them there, is poverty. More than 90% of the women are from the NE region of Thailand where it is poor farming communities and much pressure is put on the daughter to provide for her parents and siblings. So, it is well-known that the "best" job you can get is at the bars. If women try to work somewhere else that pays less her family often pressures her and the shame she feels is great. So many of the women also have children back home that they provide for by working here in Bangkok. It's what's expected of her. It's such a twisted social norm.

So Nightlight works with these women, loving them, doing outreach, providing free beauty parlor twice a week, and if the women want to get out, providing them with jobs and discipleship. They do jewelry making, clothes sewing, screen-printing, baking, and more. Nightlight also does outreach to the women who have been trafficking into Thailand from all over the world. Many of these women have worked years to "pay their trafficker back" and are now "free" but have no visa, passport, or any way to get back home, so they continue working as a prostitute. It was so heartbreaking to hear about all the different stories they've encountered.

Nightlight also has a coffee shop that they use to employ the women and bring in income, so we got drinks and lunch there, as well as were able to purchase some jewelry and tshirts that their women had made to support them, which has been a neat part of this trip. I love purchasing products from these ministries after I hear about all the good they are doing and more about the plight of the women they are helping.

This afternoon I stayed back at the guest house while the rest of the team went to another English school in another part of Bangkok because I wasn't feeling well (cold/feverish). Right now I'm alright, but you can pray that I would feel 100%. Tomorrow morning we have a wake-up call for 4am to catch our flight for Cambodia where we'll be visiting Agape International Missions. We are all so excited for that! Pray for traveling mercies and for good connections there. Thanks for your support, and I am IMPRESSED if you made it through this whole wordy post! :)


  1. Of course I made it through the whole post...with tears in my eyes and thankfulness in my heart that you're there and experiencing what God is doing there. It's also good to hear you've experienced a measure of healing. Lord, give this team Your eyes and ears and heart. And continue to heal Heather's cold.

  2. Ahhh, Heather, I did not stumble through this post! I read with anticipation about each detail to get a feel for what you are experiencing. May the Lord be the wind beneath your wings as you and your team serve! Praying for all of you while you are on this journey.... and added prayers for good health, especially Heather's cold right now. Much Love from Nana

  3. So good to hear and see details about your trip! You are gaining wisdom and understanding that you will be able to share back home. You are deep into your day by now, so I also pray that you are feeling energetic and able to participate in each day's events.

  4. Are you feeling any better? That really stinks to get sick when away from home. It sounds like you are really getting into the thick of things there. Wow, great opportunity and i am sure you must be left with heavy hearts. Praying often for you!


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