Wednesday, February 17, 2016


A Moot Choice

I have heard many people tell me that women who work in brothels in SE Asia choose to be there.  I completely disagree.  When your family, community, and culture expect you to work in a brothel once you turn a certain age so you can provide for the family, and that is the only choice you have available to make, it is not a choice at all.  The definition of choice is: an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.  Even if they seem happy to be there, are they really!?  People are good at faking their feelings.  Look at your Facebook newsfeed!

Some people have told me, “well these ladies are providing for their family.” My reply to that is “why don’t these men just give them money and leave it at that instead of taking advantage of the socioeconomic status of these women?” 

You tell me “they got to work for it.  They can’t just go through life expecting hand outs.” Well my response to that is, why don’t these men invest in programs that can better the lives and communities these women come from?  If the demand for prostitution and pornography was non-existent then they would earn an income some other way.  Prostitution, pornography, and human trafficking would cease to exist if there was no demand for it!  But because these selfish men who visit brothels “need” to have their selfish sexual desires fulfilled, and prostitution is a quick and easy way to earn some money, then other options do not exist for these women. So we are back to the question of this really being their choice.

(If you want to know more about why I feel this way check out this past blog I wrote titled Supply and Demand go Hand in Hand.)

My Visit to the Red Light District

On Valentines Day I went to a Red Light District in CM to hand out flowers, candy, and free hugs.  This is not my first exposure to Red Light District outreach.  I spent many weekends in Korea doing this as well as some time in Brazil.  I even had some brief exposure during my time in Orlando.  But this time it was so different from any other time. 

There were foreign men EVERYWHERE, from all over the world!  There were wasted foreign men soliciting me for sex. There were foreign men asking me what we were doing and why. One guy even walked up to me and gave me money.  When I asked him what it was for he said, “I’m returning an act of kindness.”  I wanted to tell him his kindness would be better spent outside of that place but I let it go. 

I found myself getting so extremely angry at these men!  “Don’t they know what they are doing!!!!?" I kept saying to myself! The gratification of their desires is fueling an industry of slavery!  On top of that I know some of those men had to be married!!!  How could they do this to their wives and family!!!?

But then God reminded me stop judging because they need Jesus love too! They are slaves too! Those men that were there that night were searching for something to fill the emptiness in their lives.  They thought they could find it in a brothel, and that night they were right.  I had the answer but kept it from them because I was so pissed off at them. God reminded me that He loves them and wants them to know Him too!  It was then I forced myself to be kind to them, and answer their questions with all love and humility, treating them with the same kindness as the women I intended to reach out to that night.

I saw girls who looked like they enjoyed what they were doing and I saw girls who looked hopelessly lost, desperate to be somewhere else and terrified at what the rest of the night would have in store for them.  Some of the ladies seemed shy to receive the gifts and others received them with open arms!  Some of the ladies even gave me a gift for giving them something.

One girl begged me not to leave asking me to stay and keep talking to her.  Another girl started pouring out her heart to me about how her boyfriend recently broke up with her. While she shared her “customer” sitting at the bar next to her, pretended like he cared with his fake sympathy and she was falling for it.  I watched another girl who looked very sick and fragile shake her head lightly as her boss told her to get upstairs, change, and get ready to work. I saw many forced smiles on the faces of gorgeous women and despair in their deep, dark, beautiful eyes. 

I saw one young, despondent teenage girl sitting in a tuk-tuk, with a look of dread on her face. I have worked with some girls who have been rescued from this type of situation.  When I went to give her a gift she forced a smile and my heart broke thinking about how this was probably what the life of one of the girls I have grown to love so much looked like. I prayed for her rescue to come quickly!  I prayed for her to keep hope that one day she can be saved! I prayed that she would have freedom that night!  

I saw more lady-boys than I have ever seen in my life!  And most of them were prettier than me!!  Some of them you could tell were men but a lot of them I had no idea until they spoke! They were some of the chattiest of all the people I met that night.  It seemed like a lot of the ones I spoke to just wanted to be known, wanted to be accepted, wanted to be listened to, wanted to be loved for being themselves.  This people group is a part of Thailand I have not had much exposure to yet.  I wasn’t really sure how to respond to them in that situation so I just listened to them and danced with them!

The night was great! I hope to go back again, with a different attitude and a more open heart.  I hope to make more friends there and love everyone like Jesus himself would if he were walking through that place.  I realized Sunday how much I miss this type of outreach and look forward to going back!  
The sign says "free hugs" in Thai (gaud free)

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Sword of the Spirit

Upon my arrival to Korea in December I was trying to decide what to study next.  I felt lead to read through the Psalms and so I began reading them my first day in Korea.  Little did I know they would bring me great reassurance during a sorrowful, hurtful, and depressing time in my life. 

I am only about ¾ of the way through the Psalms but I feel this darkness beginning to lift.  These scriptures have helped me deal with sorrow caused from an obstacle that seems to have defeated me! They were the light that has gotten me through each day.

While praying this past Friday at F418 House of Prayer, I decided to type out all the scriptures that I wrote in my journal which have spoken deeply to me these past 2 months of struggle.  After typing them I read through them to see how the Lord spoke to me during this time. What a powerful message!

 There are also other scriptures that God has given me from friends, mini devotionals, or corporate worship times.  Here is my “collage” of scripture I have journaled from the past 2 months!  May the name of the Lord be glorified!!!

God Said….

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.  But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.  I cried aloud to the Lord and He answered me from His holy hill. “  ~Psalm 1:2, 2:12, 3:3-4

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.  The LORD has heard my plea: the Lord accepts my prayer.  I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord the Most High.” ~Psalm 4:7, 6:9, 7:17

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.” ~Psalm 13:5-6

“The Lord is my refuge.  The Lord is my support.  This God-His way is perfect the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” ~Psalm 18:18, 30

“None who wait for You shall be put to shame…He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his way.  Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.  The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.  Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.  Oh guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame for I take refuge in You.” ~Psalm 25:3, 9, 16-18, 20

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults and with my song I give thanks to Him.  The Lord is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His anointed.” ~Psalm 28:7-8

“Let love be genuine.  Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Out do one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourself, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.  To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be over come by evil, but over come evil with good.” ~Romans 12:9-21

“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my moth.  My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.  Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together! I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him.  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them.  Oh taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!  Oh fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear the LORD have no lack!  The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.  Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good:  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.  Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.  The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.  When the righteous cry for help, The Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.  Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.  The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.“ ~Psalm 34

“Be pleased O Lord to deliver me; Make haste, O Lord, to help me.” ~Psalm 40:13

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.“ ~Psalm 42:11

“For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” ~Psalm 51:16-17

“Save me O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your power.  Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my soul.  I said, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.  As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me.  Cast Your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” ~Psalm 54:1, 4, Psalm 55:6, 16, 18, 22

“All day long they distort my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil.  I will cry to God Most High to God who accomplishes all things for me.” ~Psalm 56:5, 57:2

“But as for me, I shall sing of your strength; yes I shall joyfully sing of Your loving-kindness in the morning.  For You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress.  O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me loving-kindness.” ~Psalm 59:16-17

“O give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain.  How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You.  To dwell in Your courts.  We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.” ~Psalm 60:11, 65:4

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation.  God to us is a God of deliverances. O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary, The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people.  Blessed be God! Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick.  And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.  But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high. I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.  When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.  For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people, who are prisoners.” ~Psalm 68:19-20, 35, Psalm 69:20, 29-33

“Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified.’ For You are my Rock and my Fortress. For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from youth.  O God do not be far from me. O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation O God who is like You? You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the Earth.  My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; and my soul which You have redeemed.” ~Psalm 70:4, 71:3, 5, 12, 18-20, 23

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. Do not fear, for I am with you. Before me there was no God formed, and there will be none after me. I even I am the Lord, and there is no savior besides Me.  And there is none who can deliver out of my hand; I act and who can reverse it? Behold I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. I even I am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.  I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides me. Who is like Me? A deceived heart has turned Him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?’” ~Isaiah 43:1-2, 5, 10, 13, 19, 25, Isaiah 44:6-7, 20

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on Earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  For behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.” ~Psalm 73:25-28

“In my day of trouble I sought the Lord; in the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; my soul refused to be comforted.” ~Psalm 77:2

“We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generations to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.  But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; and often He restrained His anger and did not arouse all His wrath. Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and does not return.” ~Psalm 78:4, 38-39

“How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord: My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.  How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Behold our shield, O God, and look upon the force of your anointed.  For the day in your courts is better than a thousand outside.  I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God, then dwell in the tents of wickedness.  For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man that trust in You.”~ Psalm 84: 1, 2, 5, 8-12

“But you beloved building yourself up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourself in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” ~Jude 20-21

“Then Job answered the Lord and said, ‘I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me which I did not know.  Hear, now and I will speak: I will ask You and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract and I repent in dust and ashes.’” ~Job 42:1-6

“Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. Abide in My love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” ~John 15:2, 5, 9

“O Lord, the God of my salvation. I have cried out by day and in the night before You. Let my prayer come before You; incline Your ear to my cry! For my soul has had enough troubles. I have become like a man without strength.” ~Psalm 88:1-4

“I will sing of the loving-kindness of the LORD forever; For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD? Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; loving-kindness and truth go before You.  Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes! Establish the work of our hands!” ~Psalm 90:17