Monthly Archives: July 2011

Clean, unclean, washed in His blood

“I only do massages,” Angie* told me a few months ago.

She told me that she used to work for a “clean” massage parlor.

“Do you know what I mean by that?” she asked me.

I nodded, slowly.

The massage parlor she where she works now isn’t a clean parlor.

Angie said many of the other women she works with do “bad things,” like flirt and arrange to meet with men later for more money. She told me what they do is wrong and she doesn’t like it. She likes the art of massage and isn’t in the business for the “extra stuff.”

“I only get 80 baht, but I am not going to do bad things,” she said.”Do you understand what I mean?”

Yes, I said.

As we drove to church, Angie pointed out the clean and unclean massage parlors.

She said the other girls give her a hard time and try to tell her about all the money she’ll get. I tried to encourage her and told her she is doing the right thing. I shared about how our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and doing “bad things” doesn’t please God.

Angie makes a pittance. Her two children stay with extended family in another city. She’s living in a small room that she shares with several other women that’s above the massage parlor  working to save money for them. She comes from a huge family, I think she has at least 10 siblings.

They are so poor. It breaks my heart.

At church, the speaker talked about struggling with worry and how the Lord answered his prayers and showed him that He is the provider. It was a simple message, but oh so apropos. Angie worries about money and supporting her family and she said the message really encouraged her.

I worry about such small things. I have enough to eat, enough to support myself and enough go see 3D movies. She has so much more to worry about.

During the prayer time at church, Angie asked if I could teach her how to pray. I was ecstatic.

I told her praying is just like talking to a dear friend. I told her I say God or Father usually when I start and share my worries and requests. Then, I told her I thank Him for how He’s answered my prayers and I praise Him for who He is.

She asked if she could hold our hands and pray. Precious. Her prayer was so sweet and simple. It gives me goosebumps, yes, the glorious kind, just thinking about it. She prayed for my grandparents, who I told them had been sick and she prayed for herself to understand who God is.

When she finished praying, her face was radiant. I don’t say that in the cliche way. She was literally radiating.

“That felt so good!” she said.

God heard your prayer, I told her. I told her she can pray wherever and whenever she wanted to.

Angie is one of those people you feel like you’ve known longer than you really have.

I know my friends and coworkers would agree. Three of us have gotten to know Angie and I’d daresay we’ll never be the same.

Stay tuned for more stories of God’s greatness and how He’s moved and worked in Angie’s life.

*name changed

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

washed in the waterfall

“I’m so happy,” John* said, smiling and shivering a little from the waterfall’s cold water.

Angie* emerged from the water with a smile I won’t easily forget.

I’m still recovering from a recurring case of glorious goosebumps.

Today, my two dear friends from the red light district followed Jesus in believer’s baptism. We went to a nearby waterfall to baptize them. We celebrated with roast chicken, papaya salad, sticky rice and brownies.

In the past year, several women I work with started a ministry to reach out to men and women in the red light district here in Thailand.

God has placed on my heart a burden for the women and men in the red light district. As I’ve traveled for work, I’ve encountered stories of redemption, heartbreak and renewal in red light districts across Asia. These are my people, God told me. “They need me, they’ve always needed me, and this is the time,” He said.

For the past several months, I’ve been venturing into Thailand’s nightlife with my coworkers, trying to meet people and share Christ’s message of redemption. It’s been God, all God. Whenever I don’t feel like going or don’t feel like I have anything to say, that’s when God knocks my socks off.

Isn’t it awesome how His power is made perfect in our weakness? It’s so we know that this all-surpassing greatness is from Him and not from us.

Let’s back up a little and I’ll explain how we met Angie and John.

Prior to my busy summer travel schedule, I’d been going out once or twice with other women involved in the ministry to share God’s stories. A friend and I met Angie one night after a door closed with another friend of ours.

Angie approached us and invited us in to sit and talk at the massage parlor where she works. This started a beautiful friendship.

Angie told us she’d been wanting to learn about God and Christianity. This caught me off guard. Not many Thai people say this.

I told her that my friend and I like to talk about God and that we would love to talk with her. She was very excited. I pulled out my Thai-English Bible and started to flip through to the book of John. Just then, a little old man came, asking us to sign a petition. Another man came out of the massage parlor and walked purposely toward us.

“Blast,” I thought, we are going to get her in trouble.

Turns out, he was coming to make sure the man with the petition didn’t bother us. His name is John — and there started another beautiful friendship.

John also showed an interest in learning about God. Let’s study together, we suggested.

“But, where do I read, where do I start?” Angie asked. From there, my coworker and I decided to start studying John with them. We visited weekly, reading a chapter at a time, and studying. Angie’s English is excellent, John is wanting to improve his English. We used our Bible study times to also teach English.

The beginning of June, John trust Christ as his personal Savior. Several weeks later, Angie decided to become a believer.

Today, they were both baptized.

To God be the glory.

There’s much more to the story, so stay tuned to the next installment.

*name changed.

4 Comments

Filed under Life

bag defunct. bugs beware.

Are there any more bags?

I asked this of the Thai man who poked his head in through the flaps that release the bags to the conveyor belt.

Yes, one more, he said.

My bag came out and I turned several different shades of red. The side zipper pocket of my duffel was agape. This wasn’t just any side zipper. This is the zipper that housed my dirty undergarments which were now spilling onto the conveyor belt.

The man asked me if this was the bag I was waiting for. Yes, unfortunately so, I answered. Thankfully, since it was the last flight in and not many people at the international baggage claim, I managed to stealthily cram the unmentionables in elsewhere.

For some unknown reason, it won’t happen again, I decided to throw my dirty clothes in the side zipper. It took several attempts to pack the duffel because I purchased more culturally appropriate clothes and pity gifts to give my friends. (We have a pact among the other guys and gals I work with to buy each other treats when we travel.)

So, let’s be honest. I probably put too much in. But how did the zipper break off? At least the other side zipper didn’t break off, that had my travel French press in it. That’s the best $25 I’ve ever spent.

There’s another interesting component to this story.

My flight was delayed due to a “problem with loading the luggage.” At the time, I took no notice of this. I figured there must be a late bag coming in with a passenger with a close connection. They were probably running over from that flight from Muscat I saw on the arrivals screen.

I am wondering if it is because of my decrepit duffel. Was it? It could have been…

My undergarments, for all I know, where probably spilling out over Suvarnabhumi (the airport in Bangkok) and some poor soul had to collect and mash them in the already obese bag.

As a frequent traveler and for someone who’s grown up in Asia, you never want to be the one who delays an aircraft, holds other travelers up or makes any kind of big scene. You kinda wanna slip in an out, like a ninja, or a pirate ( I told an English class I was in last week my occupation was a pirate, no one laughed).

The horror. My undergarments delayed a 777 full of people. It was also the last domestic flight out too. People were groggily rubbing their eyes and checking their watches. Yep, my fault peeps.

I’m thankful to be back in my apartment.

I was welcomed by the two biggest cockroaches I’ve seen in awhile. I grabbed my Chaco, hesitated a second, do I want to use a $75 shoe to kill this thing? I decided they were already stinky and needed washing anyway.

“Die!” I shrieked as I tried and failed repeatedly to kill the roaches.

I’ve heard roaches can survive a nuclear fall out. Do I really think my Chaco is going to kill them?

After more shrieking and ninja-like-throwing of my sandals, I managed to kill both, amputating their legs (sorry for the graphic detail).

So, needless to say, it’s been an interesting last couple of hours. I have many other topics of the “deeper” variety to share and blog about, but thought I’d share the humor in today for now (I think I can laugh at all this).

1 Comment

Filed under Life