Thailand was an incredible month. Honestly it was probably my favorite. Not because my team was placed in the breathtakingly beautiful city of Patong Beach, Phuket for the month, but because of our ministry.
Instead of our ministry being done during the day, it was done in the evenings and nights.
We headed out almost every evening to the well known ‘Bangla Road’ and prayed as we walked up and down the chaotic, loud, and disturbing streets where we witnessed women openly dancing on poles for the world to see, trafficked European women miserably holding up signs trying to entice men into the strip clubs, and tourists pushing their 2 year old children in strollers right on by without a second thought.
Bangla Road was heartbreaking, but it also lit my soul on fire. I was pumped to head out every evening wondering who I would encounter.
I loved developing relationships with the women in the bars and the various people on the streets who most people pushed away in annoyance.
As the days swiftly led up to Valentine’s Day, we remembered who we talked to so we could shower them with true, genuine love on that day.
It was not just a normal Valentine’s Day, it was a day that took lots of preparation and prayer. It was more than handing women a rose, it was handing the women a chance to see Jesus in a way they never had before.
What started out as a small little outreach a couple years ago had grown into something big and beautiful where people and churches from all over Thailand and a few from the U.S. united in their mission to end slavery.
A few days leading up to the event my team participated in an international church, did a 24 hour prayer vigil, and helped pack up 1000 bags that contained makeup, a Gospel track, an invitation for free English lessons, and another invitation for free nails and hair services on Fridays.
When the evening finally arrived 1000 bags and flowers lay on the beach with 100 + people in a circle worshiping the Lord a short distance from where we would eventually start handing out everything. We also had beach volleyball set up for those that weren’t handing anything out and for tourists who were up for a game.
As tourists gathered more attention was drawn to us. It was such a cool site seeing people we didn’t even know start to participate.
Out of nowhere, a lady from Australia broke into our circle and started screaming at all of us. We all stopped and stared in shock and amazement as she drunkenly cursed up a storm and yelled ” YOU’RE ALL INSANE. THIS IS 2017………”
Jesus informs us in the Bible that there will be persecution, but it’s always a surprising thing when something like that actually happens.
The leader of the event gently, but boldly spoke back to her about our faith in Jesus and that if she wanted to join she could, but we would continue worshipping our Lord Jesus.
After she stormed off, a couple of girls on my team went up to the friend she had been with and asked if she was okay and if there was anything they could do to help. Her friend explained that she was just drunk and that she had been hurt by religion in the past.
This is a sad but true reality for a lot of people in the world. My heart goes out to them and my biggest prayer is that God will transform their hearts and minds. He longs to know them more than they can fathom.
As our worship/pump up session came to a close and my group headed to Bangla with a fiery determination.
It was a blast handing out the bags and the flowers. The smiles of joy I witnessed that day warms my heart still!
Even a couple owners at some of the big-time bars on Bangla gave us permission to hand them out to all the ladies working. It was powerful watching the men stare as we gave the women flowers.
We quickly ran out of bags and flowers and since I had nothing left to hand out, I headed to beach volleyball where lots of girlfriends and wives sat as their husbands played volleyball. I sat next to a girl who was from Iran. Though there was a slight language barrier, it was still fun to chat with her about sports and see the joy on her face as she watched her husband play.
I ended up joining a game of volleyball and played two and a half hours straight. It was the best! I finally stopped at 1 am when my host bought the few who remained Indian food 🙂 It was so cool getting to know people from all over the world who came to play volleyball.
When I finally got in bed that night it was 2:30 am and it had been the most epic Valentine’s Day ever. All glory to God.