We’ve had some exciting ministry in Chiangmai over the past few days. Our primary activity here is working in the Red Light District, where all the bars are. One of the main things we’ve learned through orientation by our ministry partner, Emmi, is that the girls who work here end up in this industry for a wide variety of reasons… Poverty, abuse, neglect, trafficking. Our compassion grew as we began to understand the back stories.
While we’re here, we partner with Emmi’s ministry and go into the bars at night. We seek to build relationships with the girls while they’re not with other customers. This can look like buying cokes and sitting around a card table playing Jenga or Connect Four (there are lots of games available) with them and chatting about life. Sometimes we just stand there and chat.
Ultimately, we try to build enough of a bridge that they’ll meet with us outside of work hours. Emmi has a cafe that serves coffee, dessert, salad, soup and other light meals. It’s part of a program/ministry she runs to develop job skills for people who leave their work in the bars. However, it also makes an ideal spot for us to meet with girls during the daytime.
Over the last few days, we’ve built solid connections with several girls. Saturday afternoon three girls who work in the bars met two of our girls at Zion, and Emmi met them.
Then Sunday at Starbucks, four of our girls met a different set of three girls who work in the bars, along with one girl’s baby. Both scenes seemed powerful with what appeared to be lots of genuine interest and openness to Christ.
On Friday, we also visited a ministry that provides serious help in the child trafficking scene. We can’t take pictures there as it is at a secret location, but we were so privileged to learn more about what is being done and to serve alongside of them for a few hours!