Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Last Night in Thailand

Wow- it's all gone by rather quickly, but I'm on my way home tomorrow evening! It's been an amazing experience and I have no regrets about coming here. I've learned a lot about the Thai culture/customs and, as is usually the case with mission trips, learned a lot about myself in the process.

Yesterday we went to the Nightlight Ministry and had a tour of their facilities and were given an orientation as to what they do in the Bangkok bars. Then we had to sign a release form saying that we wouldn't hold them accountable should anything happen to us... I hate those things. Then we went out and it was to this 3 level plaza filled with bars, Go Go Clubs and the higher up, in level, you go, the more perverted it gets. It goes from simple bars all the way up to, basically, sex shows, S & M, etc. We didn't go into any of those places, but we did do a quick prayer walk before going into our bar and, all I can tell you, was that I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. It's just so dark and you just have this oppressive feeling when walking through there. The girls in the bars in Bangkok wear numbers. They wear numbers so that should a man want to "select" a girl, he can tell the mamasan, "I want girl number 102". They don't even have names. I really think that is all part of the dehumanization process which allows them to justify what they are doing because these girls aren't people just like them. One of the more disturbing things to see was a father bring in his son to the bar. His son couldn't have been more than 12-14 years old. It made me sick. Seriously, how warped is that child going to be as they grow up? What are they going to think of women and how are they going to treat them? On our team, we really didn't have an opportunity to have long conversations with the girls- the music was exceptionally loud and it was hard to hear anyone over it. When we left, I told one of my teammates that I felt completely ineffective in that I don't think I did anything to help. But, then I remembered that I had seen a few men come into the bar, see us, and then leave. And, the father/son team left without taking a girl with them. I know that God can use us even when we don't think we are being used, so maybe we were just there to deter those men from the bar, or from taking a woman back with them. Who knows. I just have to trust that there was a reason and a purpose we were there that evening. I did meet a few girls from England that were staying with the Nightlight Ministry for 1-2 months and they had completely come on there own, without knowing anyone. What courage they have- I really admire that, especially, considering they aren't even 20 years old yet.

I'm going to sign off for now as my time is running out on the computer, but I'll try to update one last time before I get on the plane and let you know about our R & R day today. Please pray for safety and good health and safe travels these next two days.

I have to say that I can definitely say that I feel that I'm leaving Thailand having been given more than I gave and God has truely blessed me.


L said...

Safe travels on your way home Julie!! This blog was a great idea and has been interesting to learn more and has promoted me to do more research on Thailand.