Many people think that working in the red-light district would be incredibly heavy, spiritually dark and really depressing. While those things are true to an extent, each time I do outreach in those areas, I walk away with a little bit of joy restored to me. Let me explain.
In the midst of the darkness, in the midst of all of the terrible things happening, in the midst of people being completely enslaved to their sin, I am able to so humbly rejoice in the salvation I have received through Jesus Christ. Because I was once in darkness, I was once enslaved so completely to my sin. Yet simply, by the grace of God, I am set free.
Do I still sin? Yes. Every day, countless times a day. But I have hope because I know I am forgiven, not because of anything that I have done, but because Jesus died on the cross for my sin and was raised from the dead three days later, proving He is powerful over sin and powerful over death. So in the middle of a red-light district, I have hope, because I know that if God can save me, if God can redeem me, if God can take the terrible things that I have done and somehow turn them into something good, then He is more than able of doing the exact same thing in the people around me. He is bigger than the sin in the red-light district. He is bigger than the fear that engulfs people. My God is bigger.
So we have been doing outreach in the red-light district a couple times a week. We are also helping to teach English to some of the boys who are in the ministry already and to some boys who work in a massage parlor in one of the red-light districts. We have painted and stained furniture, cleaned up after the building flooded from torrential rains, worked on marketing for the cafe that supports the non-profit we are working with and done a lot of, what some would call, "little" things.
But are they little things? I don't think so. Missions and full-time ministry are not glamorous and exciting most of the time. Actually, a lot of the wonderful things, like people hearing and accepting the Gospel, are only made possible through countless hours of being faithful in the "little" things.
We may not come back with the most exciting stories and we may not actually see someone become a believer in Jesus while we are here. But we can walk away at the end of the summer and say that we were obedient to God. No matter what He asked us to do, we gave Him our "yes." So I wrap up this update with a challenge because I believe that growth in the Lord doesn't just happen on mission trips. My prayer is that you are all growing and knowing the Lord better exactly where you are. So here is my challenge and my question: are you giving God your "yes?" Are you giving Him your "yes" before you know what He is asking you to do?
Also. I ate a fish eye ball. So that's cool. I didn't get sick either, which is also cool.
Specific prayer requests would be for our team to remain healthy (Thai food can be hard on the system) and for us to build meaningful relationships with the boys in the ministry and the workers who we meet in the red-light district.
You may feel like you are doing nothing when you pray, but prayer is powerful. So please don't stop. Please do not be discouraged. We are seeing the fruit of your prayers here so please remain faithful in that.
Rachel Martin, a student from Texas Tech University, is serving as a Go Now Missionary in Thailand.