During the week days we go out to the bars every other night, buy drinks (don't worry, we're doing ministry-no alcohol), mingle with the women, men, and ones in between. Those days we spend all day in prayer/rest to prep for the night because after dinner we start up. Everyone at the ministry (3 teams: YWAM, WorldRace, and RealLife) gather for worship every night and then who ever is on bar ministry loads up for a 30 min songtao ride in asia traffic. We prayer walk the streets a bit before they go dark and explode into red lights and sultry moods, because as the bars open and the girls start cat calling everyone into their bar, we also start.
Starting up the ministry in this area our ministry now is just going into the bars, getting a feel of the spiritual atmosphere and building pure-intentioned relationships with these women. If someone we are connecting with wants out we tell them about our friends who can help them and then invite them to lunch the following day where they learn more about SHE ministry. Here at SHE they train in skills, empower and encourage self-help building to give these women a way to support themselves rather than working in bars and prostituting themselves to support not just themselves, but their parents, siblings and children. Just beginning ministry in this area, the founders have asked us to be careful in actual "ministerING" to the those there and rather getting them out and letting the discipleship happen at SHE- rather than scaring the owners/ppl running these bars into closing the doors for these girls to talk with us at all (as they've seen happen before). So we're not so much teaching the gospel through words as we are in actions by showing His love.
It's a great ministry opportunity, but already a very rough one. Spending hours in extremely spiritually oppressed bars, surrounded by lust, vanity, hopelessness, fear and selfishness is tough on the whole (body, mind and soul). The first night out was a little nerve wracking as we got adjusted to being "cat called" into bars by Women who would flock you, and "ladyboys" (drag-queen-esk) who dote upon you, while all the men at the bar size you up trying to figure out why you're there.
There is no real way to explain just how different this place is in comparison to other bars and party areas, but I pray that God gives you a greater understanding of the depth of spiritual warfare, political corruption, and injustice we are facing. This ministry is much different and the amount of prayer needed to enter those places with a physical presence of God and confidence in His light shining through is Essential! Pray that we have the confidence of the Spirit of God within us; for eyes that are open and vigilant and for the strength to truly see what we're in; for unity and wholeness amongst the teams; for protection! and for God to do a great many works in these places as we make ourselves vessels for His love to destroy the strongholds of these streets!
The verse spoken over us at this time is Matt 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
God has placed me here in this ministry for a month and while it's definitely trying, it has already proven rewarding and I praise Him for allowing me the opportunity to minister as His Son did - to those considered the lowest and the prostitutes. It's an honor to be apart of His Kingdom and I can hardly wait to see what this is training me up for at such a young age- actually it rather freaks me out in a good way!