Brave with Emily Interview

Happy Wednesday friends!

Recently I had an opportunity to be interviewed on a dear friend’s podcast and the show is now live. Please take the time to listen, share with your friends, and comment below any thoughts on this important topic.

Blessings friends, Kristin

My interview on the Brave With Emily podcast went live this morning. Give it a listen to learn more about my brave story. → http://goo.gl/dQuGN6

 

 

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Be Expectant

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For the past few years, at the beginning of each year, I take time to seek God for His word for my life for the new year that is upon us. Each year the “word” is different. It can be one word, two words or a series of words which describe God’s overall theme. This past year, God’s word to me was “Undiscovered Territory” and truth be told this past year was filled with firsts in my family, personally, professionally, in our church and in walking through grief and loss.

As December came to an end, with a little trepidation, my weary soul sought God for His direction and leading for the year 2016. 2015 was filled with change in all aspects of my life and I wondered “is this a new season for me” as I waited for God to speak to me.

I love that the God I serve, we serve, is multidimensional and is likened to a precious gem with many intricate details and facets. When God spoke to me at the end of December for the ‘word’ for this next year it was as if a fresh breathe of life was placed within me. The words found me as I browsed the internet and leapt off the computer screen right into my heart. I experienced a small taste of what Elizabeth must have felt when she was pregnant with John and he leapt within her when she was with Mary who was pregnant with Jesus.

The words to me for 2016 are “Be Expectant.”

Be expectant…..

In the midst of great change, pain, sorrow, shifting, newness, letting go, blessings and so much more, God was speaking life to my weary soul….

It was as if time stood still as I read those words…. “Be Expectant.”

These words were like salve to my soul, much like a wound that has become dry and the salve brings comfort. I didn’t want to rush them, over analyze them, or put my opinion into what I felt the meaning of these words could be. I sat with them and they with me and I allowed the Breathe of God to fill my soul with fresh life, fresh hope, and fresh peace.

I then began to do what I love to do, research. What does expectant mean and what does God’s Word say about being expectant. The Merriam-Webster online website defines expectant as:

“feeling or thinking that something will happen : expecting something


expecting the birth of a child : soon to become a parent”

In the midst of great change, adjustments, loss, shifting, pain, sorrow, God was whispering to my soul to “Be Expectant.”

Romans 8:15 (MSG) encourages us with:

‘This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending
life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s
next, Papa?”’

I could hear the Spirit of God speaking to my heart a word that went beyond the two words I was reading.

Be expectant….

like a mother who is heavy in pregnancy with child;

anticipating a year of joy and abundance of God’s Presence;

waiting with bated breath for what is to occur;

watchful for God’s leading;

anticipating God’s abundant fruitfulness of life within and out;

adjusting and making room, getting into position for all God has;

and seriously preggers with God’s Word of life!

God’s Word for each of us is filled with His breath and His life. When we wait upon Him, seek Him with all our heart, mind and soul, God is faithful to guide and direct our paths. Our conversations with Him change to, “What’s next, Papa?”

My question to you is this,

“What is God’s Word(s) for you for 2016

I encourage you to seek Him, wait upon Him and then when He is done speaking, dig into His Word for a greater understanding of the possibilities which are before you.

I invite you to share with me what your word(s) are for 2016, as I am expectant those words are filled with life for you this year.

Blessings friends,

Kristin

The Second Day

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The morning is covered with a fog of despair as the sun rises over the earth. Feelings of hopelessness, confusion, loss, and pain overwhelm the hearts of those who followed Jesus. So many thoughts are going through their minds such as:

“Where do we go from here?”

“Who do we trust?”

“Jesus, we need you to be here with us.”

“I can’t believe He is gone.”

“I don’t know what to do now.”

This is the second day. The day after Jesus was crucified on the cross.

The second day represents the unknown, the unfamiliar, the in-between day. This day is filled with confusion and fear. Fear of what’s ahead and of the unknown. Fear of how do we move forward, and loss of hope at times.

The second day is about being in a state of uncertainty, it’s a unfamiliar place. The unfamiliar place represents the season, the time when we are in the hallway, between what was and what is to come. Breaking away from what we knew, to where God is leading us.

Walking in the unfamiliar place is where the disciples were on the day in-between when Christ died upon the cross, and the day when Christ was resurrected, the in-between place, transition.

The second day is the winter season. This is the time in our lives when the work being done within each of us is hidden, is being completed underground. Jesus was doing a great work on the second day, but the disciples didn’t see it at the time. All they felt was confusion, uncertainty, pain, heartache and more. Their feelings did not take away the work Jesus was doing.

The beauty of the second day, is the hidden work being done within each of us. Peter would not have become the Peter of Acts without the second day. On the first day Peter denied Jesus and after the third day Peter was filled with boldness and courage to speak with God’s anointing and power the truth of Jesus. The second day was the day the work within, the hidden work inside of Peter took place.

Moses became the Moses of Exodus in his season of hiddenness. This is the time between when he was raised in Pharaoh’s family as a child and when he came back and led God’s people to freedom from slavery and bondage.

King David was a shepherd boy who became King of all of Israel. His second day, his in-between season, was the many years he was in hiding from Saul. The great work God did within him, took place as he hid in the caves with his faithful men of valor.

The second day is vital to each of us in becoming who and what Jesus has called us to be for the next season in our life.

I’m reminded of the song we used to sing around the campfire growing up. The song was about going on lion hunt. Do you remember this song?

Going on a lion hunt,
gonna catch a big one,
I’m not afraid,
what’s that up ahead?
Mud (stick, trees, gate, river, grass, cave)

Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it.

In order for us to become all that Jesus intended us to be, we must go through the second day. We can’t ignore it. We can’t skip over right into the season of celebration of new life without first going through the hidden season of transition. Well, technically we can, but we won’t be walking in the fullness of what God created us to be. Hiddenness is required. The season of winter is important.

Psalms 56:8 (GW) says,
“You have kept a record of my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. They are already in your book.”

I love that God gathers our tears.

Our season of heartache and brokenness is not wasted.

God collects our tears and then He writes them in our book. God understands the seasons we need to walk through. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is with us always.

In Deuteronomy 31:6 (GW) we read:
“Be strong and courageous. Don’t tremble! Don’t be afraid of them! The Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He won’t abandon you or leave you.”

In this season of transition God is with you. Don’t rush this season or try to skip over it. This season is vital to each of us walking in what and who God has ahead for us. If you are in this season know you are not alone. God is with you and many, such as myself, are right there with you as well. Embrace this season. Walk through this season, not skipping ahead, and you, and I, will be amazed at all that God does through us.

Remember, we are in the same company as Peter, Moses and David, who all had to walk through this season as well in order to become what and who God intended. Seasons have beginning and an end. As we lean in to Jesus He will guide us through this season with his amazing grace.

Thailand: Pattaya Evening Part 3

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My heart was beating within my chest…boom boom…boom boom… as we began to walk the final section of our night in Pattaya. My spirit began to pray, joining with my beating heart, “save them…heal them…rescue them…restore them…”

So many thoughts were swirling in my mind, such as,

“What will we see?”

“Lord help me with what I may see.”

“Oh Lord, save these babies.”

Anticipation was rising in my throat like bile as I mentally, emotionally and spiritually was preparing myself for the final part of our night in Thailand. This is the part where some of our group did not go, for various reasons. This part is not for the lighthearted, as for what was ahead of us.

I wondered to myself, how could it be any darker than what we had already seen, but I knew the answer to my question. We were going into the secret district of sex trafficking. This is the area where children are sold. This place is filled with secrecy. At one time, it was more in the open in the purchasing process, but with the many sting operations which have taken place over the last year or so, the world of sex trafficking children has gone underground in many aspects. Where we were walking into was a dangerous place for those who didn’t belong.

We are told what we will probably see is children playing with adults in front of shops and businesses. It gives the appearance of innocence, but in reality it is a very dark world. Connections are made and then sex tourists who are looking for children will meet them in secret locations.

As we walk down the alley to our right we see a woman and a toddler in front of a store. The toddler is a boy and he has no clothes on. The woman is playing with him with a hose and washing him off. The woman is kneeling down next to him and looks up at us laughing. We get the sense that she is “putting on a show for us” and we are right. It’s nine o’clock at night, much too late for this baby to be out in front getting cleaned up, but right on time to show him off to us naked.

Around the corner we see a child, a little girl, about four years old who is sitting on a couch with a man, playing a game. Again, it all appears innocent, however this is the known pedophile district, so there are no coincidences in this place. Most of the children we see are small children in this particular area. We cannot go through the entire pedophile district, as it is known by, because the road dead ends and there is no way to go through this area. It is too dangerous for us to go all the way down into the deepest parts of the district, as the evil is very evident in this place, and there are watchers everywhere.

Underage #4I continue to pray as we walk through, praying for those hidden children inside the buildings, inside the stores and business, inside the bars we do not enter into. We turn off to the left, as this is as far as we can go. I hesitate briefly, as my heart is heavy for the children down the road. I continue on with our group praying as we walk into a new district.

We have now entered into the homosexual district. Everyone in our group but one are females and groups of older men are sitting on chairs on either sides of us. Some are yelling out mocking comments to us as we walk by, some are laughing at us, and others are staring at us as if we are intruders walking into their domain. We continue to press forward, praying, claiming territory everywhere our feet step.

Once again my prayers join with my beating heart….boom boom….boom boom…”save them…heal them…protect them…expose corruption…revive this place…heal this land…”

We round another corner and on the left side there are two boys, probably around fourteen years old up ahead. They are in front of a business, both only dressed in underwear, one is standing and the other is sitting on a stool. They look down, blank stares are on their faces, and my heart breaks for what they are living through.I’ve seen the blank stare everywhere we go. It’s a stare of dissociating, going someplace else in ones thoughts, so to not have to think about what they are going living every day. We smile at them, say hello to them, but as we get closer they look away from us. We don’t fit the profile of those who come to this establishment, so they don’t have to “put on a show” to get us to go in to the bar that advertises male dancers.

482089My heart is heavy for these beautiful children in Thailand who are trapped in a world of sex trafficking. This is not God’s plan for them.

This is not God’s plan for Pattaya. This is not God’s plan for Thailand.

I ask you, once again as I have in previous posts about my journey in Thailand, to search your hearts, to spend time in prayer, and to inquire of God how you can help bring a change to this huge issue of sex trafficking.

free_valentine_bokeh_heart_vector_background_277792If you listen carefully, you to may hear your beating heart joining with my beating heart in prayer for this beautiful place and these beautiful people….boom boom…boom boom…”save them…heal them…restore them…revive them…”

“What do you want me to do for you?”

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“What do you want me to do for you?”

This is the question I was asked to answer for week two of a nine month journey group I am participating in. The question is a simple one, but yet so difficult to answer. The question is the one that Jesus asked the blind man when he cried out to Jesus as Jesus was walking by in Mark 10:46-51. Those around him tried to silence him, but his cries continued as he called out to Jesus. Now he has Jesus’ attention and Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

As I think of the concept of having Jesus’ attention my heart is humbled and overwhelmed. How often have we spent hours, days, weeks, months or even years crying out to Jesus about issues in our lives? I know there are too many for me to count within my own life or family that I’ve been praying for.

How well do we transition from the crying out to Jesus, to answering the question He has put before us? When we are in the Presence of the King of Kings and Lord or Lords, how do you answer this simple question?

Do you open your scroll filled with lists of requests?

Do you present to Him your full list or just a partial list?

How do you answer this question?

For me, my heart is torn. There are so many requests I have for Jesus, however, when it comes to being in the Presence of Jesus what matters most?

What are my deepest needs I would like to present to Jesus?

Do I present my family and ask for Jesus to touch them?

Do I lay myself at the altar and ask for Jesus to transform me?

Do I ask for everything my heart desires? For the needs of the many who I love and care for? For those who are wounded to be delivered, healed and restored?

How do I answer this question?

As I sit here in a hotel room in Cambodia, where I’ve spent the last four days praying for this beautiful nation, the words of a song begin to flow through my heart and mind.

I stand and take my shoes off and take a position, a posture, of reference to Jesus. As I bow before Jesus as He asks me this question, my answer is found in this simple song, Closer, writen by Amanda Cook. These words become a prayer as I kneel before Jesus in complete surrender and adoration.

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Closer (Bethel Live: For the Sake of the World Album)

Verse:
Your love has ravished my heart
And taken me over, taken me over
And all I want is to be
With You forever, with You forever

Chorus 1:
Pull me a little closer
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart
‘Cause Your love is so much sweeter
Than anything I’ve tasted
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart

Bridge:
Ooh, Ooh how great your love is for me
Ooh, Ooh how great is your love

Chorus 2:
Pull me a little closer
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart
‘Cause Your love is so much stronger
Than anything I’ve faced and
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart

My heart is overwhelmed with the love of Jesus, with His heart for me and my family, for all my desires and passions, and for the needs of those I care deeply for. See it’s when I surrender myself, Jesus not only answers my prayer, but He goes above and beyond what I could imagine. As we position ourselves for a deeper relationship with Christ, He moves on our behalf.

My motive is not to position myself to get something from His Hands, although I am always blessed when Christ does something for me. Instead, my motive is to seek His Face, His Presence, and out of this heart cry He moves and blesses me. My heart cry is to know Him more, plain and simple.

So beautiful.

I want to know your heart, that is my answer Jesus.

What is your answer to this question?

Thailand: Pattaya Evening Part 2

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We turned to our left down a side alley leaving the beachfront behind us. Shortly thereafter we turned to our right down another alley and my eyes were immediately over stimulated with all the lights and flare of signs marking the entrance to Walking Street in Pattaya.

There is no way to prepare yourself mentally or emotionally for what is on this street. As far as the eye could see there were bars on each side of us with mostly men out in front with menus trying to get us to go into their establishment. I could see families walking down the middle of the alley with their small children in tow. Tourists groups were being led by tour guides with poles and a flag on the top for them to follow. Hundreds upon hundreds of men, mostly Caucasian, but other races as well, were all around us. I had to close my eyes and open them again thinking to myself “I am not seeing what I think I’m seeing. This can’t be real. Families with small children and tour groups going up and down Walking Street?”

Girls in costumed uniforms, which barely fit their bodies and didn’t leave much to the imagination, stood at each bar waiting for customers to come inside. The men, I mentioned previously with menus, were aggressively trying to get our attention by yelling out to us, blocking our pathways, and some shoved the menu right in our faces as we walked by.

This was no ordinary alley road and these menu were no menus I had seen before. The menus did not consist of drinks or food to be enjoyed. Instead, these menus listed sex acts for a price and girls or boys with numbers on them. Tourist police officers had booths set up at different assigned areas on the road and again I was puzzled at how normal people were acting this all was.

In Thailand, prostitution is illegal. In Thailand, seven out of ten tourist who go there, go as sex tourists. The corruption and control sex trafficking has on this beautiful country was evident and heartbreaking to witness. This problem is too big or profitable to be shut down without help from other countries in our world. Again I was reminded of what I heard earlier in the week which rang true even more so after all I was witnessing, “This is not a Thailand issue, but a world issue.”

What I was seeing before my eyes was not who and what Thailand used to be or was meant to be today. The depth of what it has become, started to a greater degree during and after the Vietnam war, and has grown exponentially over the years.

A few years ago, there was a group of individuals from Ireland on a missions trip to Pattaya, some which were part of a band called Bluetree. They had done similar work to what I was doing in Thailand, however, as a band they were able to get into one of the bars on Walking Street with a gig to play. All they had to do was promise they would bring twenty people with them to buy cokes to drink. They had a few hours to play and after they played their list of worship songs they knew, they began to play spontaneous songs, new songs, to the Lord. Out of this experience the song “God of this City” was created, which was later made popular by Chris Tomlin.

“God Of This City”

You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

The words above are a prophetic proclamation of restoration and life for this beautiful city and nation. Please join me in praying for Thailand, for breakthrough, for changes in the government, for strongholds to be broken and for healing for all who are involved. Truly greater things are still to be done in the city of Pattaya.

#PrayforPattaya #StopSexTrafficking #PrayforThailand #NotForSale

Thailand: Pattaya Evening

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We started our walk along the beachfront in Pattaya around 8:00 pm. This was the beginning of a very heart wrenching and eye opening experience. We are told that Pattaya has improved from a few years ago and immediately my thoughts wonder at how could there be more than what we were seeing.

As far as my eye could see, women were lined up along the beachfront walkway. These women, I am told, for the most part are not “owned” by anyone. These women have found no other alternative to their great need of survival for themselves or their families. A large portion of these women are HIV positive or have STD’s as well. Men of all ages walked along the walkway turning to talk to a young woman when his interest has been perked.

Men, young and old, come to Pattaya as sex tourists. A group of young men, the age of my son and his friends, walked in front of us for a short while. My heart was troubled by what I saw. Were they on vacation with their families and decided to “experience” and “purchase” sex? Were they here specifically as sex tourists? Were they military on leave? I never found out the answers to my questions, but those are the cases for many that are there. It wasn’t long before these young men stopped to talk with some young women who were there selling themselves for a hour, night, or whatever your pleasure is.

As I turned to look at the ocean, I saw a man and young girl about five years old on the beach on a blanket. My hopeful prayer was that this was her father or family member, however, the nagging doubt of what was happening was right beneath those prayers. Rats ran up the trees and some ran across the sand. This was not the same beach that I think fondly of from growing up in the United States.

We stop shortly thereafter to minister to a woman who is holding her side in pain as she sits on the cement curb. Through a translator, our group leader begins to minister to her. We find out that she just had surgery and she is in great pain. She tells of a husband and wife missionaries who visit her every year and pray with her. She allows us to pray with her and we encourage her that Jesus is with her everyday. She is trapped in a ugly cycle and is unable to get out on her own. We give her information on the Tamar Center, the local ministry we visited earlier that day, in hopes that she will contact them.

We have been walking for over thirty minutes and in front of us the walkway continues much further. We stop in front of a statue and to our right we see a group of European women. We are told these women are being controlled by sex traffickers, more than likely mob sex traffickers, as well as their handlers should be nearby. Our hearts are heavy for these women, all of the women we saw along the beachfront. How can you put into words the magnitude of what we are experiencing. Nowhere, in the United States do we have the amount of what we are witnessing in one place.

This night is not over and what is ahead is even far worse than anything we have yet to experience. For now we will stop here as it is so much to absorb within. Please join me in praying for all of these women along the beachfront, for the men of all ages who are there everyday to purchase sex, and for the beautiful city of Pattaya to be restored to what God created it to be.

#PrayForThailand #PrayForPattaya #NotForSale #StopSexTrafficking

Thailand: Day Two Evening

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This was a night of assignments, God assignments to go out into the darkest of dark and be God’s light. This assignment was not a easy one for what we were going to see. The focus of our eyes and attention was not on the actions that we were seeing, but on the hearts of those trapped into this lifestyle.

Prayer covering was of the upmost importance. We gathered at 8:30 pm for an orientation and time of prayer before we headed out into the bars. The women went into the bars and the men stayed back at the meeting site to pray. We were divided into groups of five with one being our leader who had experience with this type of outreach. As we walked through the curtains we saw some men and women sitting around the booths. The room was set up in a U shape with each booth facing the center of the room, the staged dance floor.

Our assignment was to ask God to lead us to the right woman or women to talk with. We were instructed to buy them a coke which would allow them to sit and talk with us. Our group split into two groups, myself and my wonderful new friend from Australia sat down in one of the booths. We scanned the room asking God to lead us to who we were to talk with.

For a moment as I scanned the room my heart wept for the women dancing on the stage as all eyes were on them. This was not their purpose. This was not what they were created to do. Once again I looked into their eyes and I could see the blank stares looking back at me, at all of us. The emptiness, the despair and hopelessness flowed out of the them for all to see. Sadly, most in the bars did not see or care about their hearts. Instead, these women were used for one purpose and that was the entertainment and sexual use by others.

Behind me was a young woman and we turned to her and asked if we could buy her a drink.

She came and joined us and we began a conversation that at times was difficult due to the language barrier. This beautiful girl, number 97, had come from Pattaya where she had worked for six years in a hospital. She had a four year old son who lived with her mother and she only saw him once or twice a month. She had been in Bangkok dancing for one month.

Our assignment was simple. It was an assignment anyone of us could do. It was not to preach at them, to say words that would bring more shame to them for what they were doing, or to judge them. Instead, we were to love these women, to be Christ’s hands and feet to them.

The Thai people are, in general, very loving people and they express their love through touch. This young women kept touching me, not inappropriately, and I would grab her hand with both of mine and tell her that she had a beautiful heart. Jesus saw her beautiful heart.

Can you love those in the midst of their pain and suffering with the pure love of Jesus which does not judge?

We loved on this beautiful woman with a pure love. This love had no motive to use her or to take from her, but instead to give to her a gift of love and acceptance.

This night we were able to minister to two beautiful young women, both who had been dancing for only one month. We gathered as much information as we could from them to give back to the outreach team at the end of the night.

Number 97 and 48 are more than a number. They are beautiful women who are being used for sex trafficking. My heart aches for what they experience on a daily basis. We could not begin to understand or relate to the pain, abuse, and shame they deal with each and every day.

As I have continued to say through these many posts about Thailand, this is not a Thailand issue, but a world issue. Sex tourism is a huge industry in Thailand. Seven out of ten men who travel to Thailand are involved in the sex trade. They pay to have sex with children, women, and lady boys on the streets and in the bars. A large percentage of those in the sex trade have STD’s or AIDS. These are passed to and from those who come to pay for sex.

Would you join me today in praying for this beautiful nation, Thailand?

Would you ask God what is your part in the healing and restoration of Thailand?

#PrayforThailand #PrayforBangkok #NotForSale
#StopSexTrafficking

“Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 Amplified Version

“Incline your ear (submit and consent to the divine will) and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David.” Isaiah 55: 3 Amplified Versionimage

Thailand: Day Two Morning

imageOur morning started with songs of worship. We joined with a local ministry and some rescued women for their daily worship service before they went to work. The beauty in the women was remarkable, truly God’s overcomers. The joy of the Lord was all over them and I felt so honored to join with them in singing songs to our Creator.

Thai and English mingled together and rose up to the heavens as a sweet aroma to our Lord. Beauty, peace and joy filled the room and the Presence of God filled each and every life there. The purity, the love which was showered on Jesus, was remarkable and clean. No other way to describe it. Tears streamed down my face as I soaked in the Presence of God in the presence of these women. We joined hearts in collaboration of worship and it took my breath away!

The beauty of the concept of purity and clean is the fact there was a point in the lives of these women they didn’t feel pure or clean. Shame and unvalued were the labels they carried on themselves daily. Each woman did not understand the concept of being valued or having worth. Many were given a number and not called by their name, which contributed to their feelings of not having worth. Many suffered great abuse that we could never imagine on a daily basis.

My heart is heavy for these women, for the women we saw on the streets, and in the bars. These women have no idea who they are in Christ. Many have not heard of Jesus. They are not treated as human beings, God’s creation. Instead, they are treated as an object to fulfill a hidden desire that partners with perversion and once fed creates a bigger need and desire to fill. It is a sick cycle where all who are involved are caught in.

In the area we were in 15,000 are caught, trapped into sex trafficking. This is not all of Bangkok, just an area of Bangkok. These individuals are both women and men. The majority of who come and pay for sex are foreigners, they are called sex tourist.

Thailand is a nation that is desperate for healing and restoration.

Would you join me today in asking God how and where you can help?

Some of those ways may include: prayer, mission trips, awareness campaigns, government campaigns for our nation to focus on sex trafficking needs and not just child labor issues, or maybe sex trafficking needs in your own state or city.

The need is great and the laborers are few.

John 9:37-38 (Amplified Version) “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.”