There were 3 of them. All Thais.
The question was simple. The answers heartbreaking.
“When was the last time someone complimented you?”
20 year old Mac: “never”
38 year old Bee: “in grade 6”
28 year old Rose: “about 10 years ago”
For Bee and Rose, for sure they had received compliments – they had worked as bargirls in Phuket’s sleaze strip for years. But they know empty words when they hear them.
I started to cry when I heard these students’ replies as I was teaching on ‘self value’ at a mini Discipleship Training School. Oh, how could I make these heart hungry children of God, all believers, know how valuable they are?
But God could. And did.
Tears, healing, deep deep peace. God did something different with each one –something special, just like they are. I love watching God love people! It is such a privilege to be able to speak, teach, care, love, touch lives , and God is letting me do it in so many ways:
1) Mercy Ministries Network Coordinator – praise God and His strength and grace! In 2012, from Feb-Dec, I ‘networked’ every location in YWAM Thailand doing mercy ministries – from the mountains and hilltribes in the north to the terrorist villages of the Muslim south. 12 provinces, 18 ministries. My goal was to advise, encourage, lift up, research, and connect them all together. And you know me – it also means praying for every one of them, and usually, every one of the team members J These are the YWAM ministries that are not part of Project L.I.F.E. – these minister to migrant workers, prostitutes, children-at-risk, terrorist-affected villages, convicts, and more.
2) Leadership Development Team – this year will be a radical year of learning from, and ministering with, the other 3 members of our team. Besides doing regular teaching both within and outside YWAM on various leadership issues, our LDT is putting on a 6 week YWAM Leadership Development Course in Oct-Nov, focused on YWAM leaders in Southeast Asia. Add to that, facilitating the CMI one year online Coaching Course for Southeast Asia, including a one week Intensive Workshop in Bangkok, and you know I will be doing a lot of streeeetttching. 63 and still growing!
3) Coaching/consulting/mentoring – last year from Feb-Dec, saw me coaching and being asked to consult with over 150 people..anywhere from an hour to 2 days. This year, it looks like the same or more. I so enjoy it, helping people get to the destiny God created them for!
4) Speaking – already I know I get to go to prison again JThis time the Discipleship Training School will be in the women’s prison. Joy!! I have already spoken at a meeting, a mini-DTS, and been invited back to speak to the Hong Kong DTS, as well as 4 other places before October. You KNOW I need prayer for this – each time I spend hours and days to prepare, but usually God the Holy Spirit changes things mid-way though the speaking. Like in the prison last year, when He told me to have the 50 guys make a line and go past Noiy and I, so we could pray for each one – oh, how God touched them! Even 40 year old hardened rough convicts, cried – it was the first time they had ever felt loved.
OK..what is happening NOW? Well, the usual weird and wonderful, sad and funny things that make Thailand, amazing Thailand. Like getting in a taxi to go to immigration. I stepped into it and the older, cleanshaven taxi-driver looked at me and said ‘you are beautiful!’ As he didn’t seem threatening, I laughed and asked what made him say that. He told me his wife had died of cancer 2 years earlier, and when he was young, a fortune teller told him when he was older, he would marry a foreigner. As I had a smile like his mother and was beautiful, would I marry him? I thanked him for the compliment but told him God had already filled my heart. He let me pray for him and bless him. Life isn’t boring, eh?
And last night, 10pm, driving home on a quiet, dark, deserted side street, I saw a woman sitting on the sidewalk holding a child..alone, huddled, hidden next to a pile of garbage. How could I pass her by? So I parked and sat down next to her. She was rocking a quietly sobbing young boy about a year and a half old. ‘What’s happening?’ ‘Oh nothing, I am fine’. ‘I’m worried about you – how can I help you?’..and she starts to cry. Her husband was beating her, so she grabbed the child and ran. He had never done it before, and she doesn’t know what to do. All she knew was she needed to run while she still could. So she’s sitting in the dark on a lonely empty sidestreet, huddled next to a pile of garbage – no money, no phone, no family nearby. I keep asking and finally she remembers a friend who might take her in. I tell her my car is here, I will take her. But every time she starts to stand up, her little son gets hysterical, crying out ‘Don’t go! Don’t go!’ I think he’s scared his mom is going back to the father.
What would you do? What could you do? I stayed for awhile, just listening..just being with her. She let me pray for her. How I wanted to get her to a safe place! But the boy was frantic every time his mother tried to stand up, crying and hysterical. All I could do in the end is give her money for a taxi to her friend’s, if and when her little boy would let her stand up and go. But oh, it was hard, so hard to leave her! 20+ years of trying to help women like her – hiding in the dark, ashamed because their husbands beat them, not knowing where to run. Statistics here say that 80% of wives are beaten by their husbands. From my first year here, to now, I hear Thai women tell a beaten wife she just has to have patience and bear it.
Amazing Thailand. It makes me cry. And yet, it is such an honor to serve Jesus here, to love the Thais He loves so much. Thank YOU for being my friends, for your care and prayers. I need them! And joy of joys, in June I will be back in BC for a month, then July 2-14, in Alberta..a fill-the-loving-cup time with family and friends, like YOU J
In Christ Jesus, our joy and strength, Isaiah 61: 1-4
Linda March 5, 2013