Pattaya has managed to unleash an anger in me that I have never experienced in my life. It’s an anger that sees pain, and injustice, and cries out in response. I have never been so heartbroken and disgusted in my entire life.
On a Thursday night we walked through the Red Light District. I had begun priming my heart for the weight of the night since I had woken up. And from the moment I knew I was going to the Justice School, I had been trying to prepare myself for the experience. But nothing could have prepared me for the emptiness in the faces of the women lined in front of the bars. I tried desperately to make eye contact with them, hoping that my eyes could communicate some sense of hope to them… but none of them would look back at me. Looking at someone when they’re intently staring at you is a basic human instinct, what type of pain did they have to endure to be able to ignore a reflex?
Walking Street (the name of the Red Light District we were at) was full of tourists who stared at the women as if they were objects, men with a carnal look in their eyes, and CHILDREN who didn’t know how to process the chaos around them. My memories of Walking Street come in flashes.
I see a smirking foreign man with two women on his arms.
I see massage parlors full of women catering to men reclined in overstuffed chairs.
I see Russian women (who were obviously hard trafficked) staring blankly at the crowd.
I see women on the second story window dancing at a pole, and I see groups of men raising their iPhones to take videos of them.
And I didn’t see with my own eyes, vut the story my teammates shared is burned into my mind. I see the man who was dragging three young girls with him… the youngest of whom had to be around 5-7 years old. I see the look of terror in their eyes.
Pattaya. Pattaya, you disgust me. You are the number one sex capitol in the WORLD. People come here with the sole purpose of exploiting people in order to fulfill some sick, unrestrained sexual hunger that they cannot control. But Pattaya, you have not won. There are people here who are beacons in this desolation. Restoration is sweeping through this city. Thrive Rescue is doing a good and godly work here, and they have partnered with other people and organizations here who are also fighting the injustice that litters this country.
I wish I could tell you all what I am doing here. I wish I could fill you in on every detail and celebrate the good things I have seen and learned. But due to the nature of what we are doing here, I can’t. There are people’s lives we have to watch out for, children we have to protect. Our name here in Pattaya is different so that we abide by the country’s laws, and there are times we have to turn off our location on our phones so that we can protect certain people.
Just know that I am safe. The enemy is working SOOOO hard to fight against us, but we are constantly being littered with prayer. Also know that I am learning so much. It has only been one week, but God has spoken to me SO CLEARLY about my future every day. We’ve been in training this week; learning how to navigate this city and its culture as well as bond together as a team. We start outreach next week. I ask that you keep us in your prayers, that we would be one of those burning candles in the darkness. I ask that you pray for our protection, and that God’s will would be done in this place.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God -Micah 6:8