I am currently at the Bangkok YWAM base in transit from Chiang Mai to Phuket and just wanted to give you a brief overview of the ministry and experiences I've had in the last month here in Thailand!
In this past month on outreach I have had the privilege of building a relationship with the kids at Abba House Foundation and the guys in New Life Annex/Freedom Christian Center and have truly come to love them as a sister, friend and daughter to some. Each one of them have come to these ministries and are learning the joy of living in the grace of God while experiencing His healing and restoration. Their hunger and passion for God's word and relationship with Him has been so humbling, especially after learning many of their stories. It has been such an incredible time and we all have become family in Christ with each other over the last month.
While staying there God opened the doors for my team and I to minister to places such as the men's prison, HIV/AIDS orphanage, men's drug rehab, crippled children's home, and the girl's drug rehab! We have heard how hard it is to get approved to enter these places and we can only give credit to the Lord for paving the way for us to go preach the gospel and testify of His love and mercy to these incredible people! At each place our team went in with prayer, not knowing what to expect, but leaving with hearts full of love and compassion for every soul we met.
Last night we had a going away party with NewLife and Abba House, and I can honestly say it was one the hardest goodbye's I've ever had to do. We treated everyone with a new food, introducing them to tacos, chunky tomato salsa, Mexican rice, and then concluding with brownies and ice-cream later in the night. After dinner, however we wanted to bless our NewLife brothers/fathers and give them one last example of Jesus' love for us. We explained the event in the Bible where Jesus puts himself lower than that of a household servant and washes the feet of the disciples. This is something that indeed resonates with their culture, the feet being the least of the body and by pointing your foot at someone it is considered a huge insult. So after telling the story we got down with tubs of soapy water and towels and asked to wash their feet, each of them being stunned and overwhelmed by the act. It was an honor to wash these men's feet.
By the time we'd finished most all of them were in tears, as were we, and the Abba House girls who were there watching. As we were wrapping up I put our team leader, Jaque, up and was preparing to wash her feet - the youngest of the NewLife guys, came running up with tears streaming down his face and literally pushed me away- taking her feet to the water himself. It was at this point that if anyone wasn't crying, they sure were then as the men, with their overwhelmed hearts took us and washed our feet in return, many of them going beyond what we had shown them and drying our feet with their shirts. They understand, and this overwhelmed us with emotion as brothers and sisters honored each other in the presence of God and of the young children watching the example set before them. Afterwards one of the young men got up and shared with great emotion how He'd never seen Jesus' exampled in that way and that it made a huge impact on his life; nearly all of the men followed and thanked us for pouring out everything we had for them. Watching a slide show to end the night I had one of the precious girls I taught English to on my lap and I couldn't help but praise God for allowing me to serve these incredible people.
This past month has taught me so much about God and His purpose for my life, through times of encouragement, challenge, exhaustion, and of walking with no other light than His hope. I truly can say that I have grown more into the person He created me to be, though I know it is a never ending process. What an honor it is to serve Him and share His love with people all around the world from all sorts of different backgrounds and life experiences! I am so overwhelmed with how much He loves me and can only praise Him for His unchanging love!
Now my team is on it's way to Phuket where we will be working with a ministry called SHE (Self Help and Empowerment) for the next month. SHE is a Christian charity committed to helping women and children at risk in Thailand, many of whom are trapped in the commercial sex trade. They help by providing employment, vocational training and counseling for women who want to help themselves out of this industry. We know this is going to be much different ministry than that of Abba House, and we are all entering into this next season in prayer, knowing it is going to be much more of a battle. In light of that I covet your prayers to cover our team of nine women as we allow God to shine through us as we build relationships and in some of the most spiritually oppressed places in Thailand.
I am so thankful to have such an incredible body of Christ following me through prayer and cannot tell you how much of a blessing it was to have all my outreach funds come in so miraculously! Thank you so much for your support as the Lord leads me around the world, spreading His Love to the unreached and the hard-hearted. It is such an honor to be used by the God of all as a vessel for His truth and I am so thankful for how you have helped me get here! May the Lord bless you and keep you!