We are a group of Jesus followers who are fully devoted to taking the Good News to the whole world. One of our young adults just reported in with the following:
Thailand is commonly known as “the land of smiles”. Here in Pattaya I think it should be more specifically the land of smiling faces because for many here, perhaps even most, that’s where the smile ends. For so many their heart hasn’t smiled in a very long time. It is the hope and desperate prayer of every bar girl (some thirty thousand here alone) to meet a foreign man who will pull them out from this place and and take care of them, and bring enough money into their families so that they can survive. In the West, prostitution is most often attractive to those who have an addiction to pay for, a desire for the “darker side”, here it is literally the only option for girls who have no education, no job training, and starving families- usually in the smaller villages in the north. They have themselves and little if not nothing else, waste not want not…
I could tell specific stories from the very lips of these precious women that would flood your eyes with tears and make your blood run cold but it’s not until you’re staring at their scars and bruises inflicted by their clientele (the very ones they place every hope in to literally be their saviors) that you can get any real idea of what their hearts must look like.
There are long-term mixed couples just often enough the hope remains alive but not often enough where any more than a few are ever satisfied. I can’t deny them the right to hope, I have the same one, that someday Mr. Right will step into my life and sweep me off my feet. I can’t deny their needs either, past experience recalls me getting pretty fussy without a couple of squares a day. And it’s here that the “two handed gospel” is so clearly necessary. How could I justify saying “Jesus loves you, bye , good luck with the guys tonight hope you find the one…”? Is it really the gospel if I don’t do anything to address their physical need? This isn’t necessarily theology here just musing, the thoughts are so much different when see in the true colors of life. But James said as much didn’t he? ” You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.(James 2:22, you can read James 2:14- 3 for the context, bold italics mine)”.
That’s why as I looked around the dinner table last night and saw the eight beautiful seemingly ageless Thai women scattered among the twelve of us I was overjoyed in the knowledge that they knew their bar fees were payed in the name of Jesus, their dinner from this classy restaurant was on His tab, their massages or pedicures later on were a treat from God the Father. They were eating the gospel, pampered by the hands of grace and the hope of salvation, a hope that will never disappoint or find them in want. Praise God, in the midst of deep darkness the light of His love brightly shines.
Jessica, we love you and are praying for you.