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Green Mountains and Dark Alleys
Lately ministry on the race has been a mix of things. We went to the village in the mountains for 4 days and laid down concrete for a new church. Mixing concrete in Asia is pretty intense because everything is done by hand. We mixed rock, sand, and concrete with hoes and shovels and bent the metal reinforcement for it ourselves. It was a great bonding experience for us guys and the locals. There is something about doing manual labor in the rain for hours on end really forges friendships. The local guys loved to joke with us and asked us frequently, “Are you tired?” Then they taught us how to say, “Boss I’m tired” in Thai and tell it to the pastor in charge. It was a good time.
When the church is finished it with serve as a place for local government to meet and for church services to be held. It was cool being in a new building and imagining what it could be. We showered that building in prayer praying that the local government would feel the presence of God in that place. Besides being a place of meeting the church will serve as a community center in cases of natural disasters. With the amount it rained on us I imagine flooding could be an issue.
Some other perks of village ministry were I got to go on run after work through the mountains, which was absolutely beautiful. We also ate some of the best Thai food we’ve had thus far. The green curry was so good and the pad thai was even better. I could probable write a blog just on Thai food.
Back in Chiang Mai, we did a prayer walk through a street called Loi Cro- a street full of massage parlors, bars, and mui tai fighting arenas. This street is a huge hub for human trafficking and prostitution. We walked down the street praying and listening to the Lord. We prayed that God would break the chains that bind the men and women to this lifestyle and renew this place for his purpose. The street is dark and very spiritually heavy. Since we’re white we were constantly “cat called” by women outside the message parlors. The woman have smiles on their faces but their is no life in their eyes. I’ve been told that, “prostitution is the greatest acting job in the world” – doing something you absolutely hate night after night with a smile on your face. Its probably why substance abuse and addiction follows after being forced into that lifestyle.
You immediately notice that the people in these bars are almost exclusively older white men. Before Thailand and learning what I’ve learned seeing older white guys obviously soliciting prostitution to Asian would have just pissed me off. Now I just feel sorry for everyone involved in that industry. Lonely, broken, and victimized men and women seeking to survive or find love that will never be found there.
There is a Christian organization out there that offers free medical care, food, and a place to stay that is doing some great work for the young men and women down there but its still a really dark industry. Pray that God continues to redeem the men and women of Chiang Mai Trapped in this lifestyle.