Chiang Mai, known as Thailand’s rose of the north, and a prominent sex tourism destination, is home to at least 5,000 male, female and child prostitutes. During tourist ‘high season’ every November to March, about so many visitors crowd Chiang Mai’s bars, nightclubs, massage parlors or karaoke bars. If you talk statistics, it can seem hopeless.
Though the red-light district may be dark, there is no darkness that can overcome the Light, and so that is what we bring on a weekly basis. We venture out daily into the red-light district to bring the Light, and Love of Jesus Christ. We build relationships with the girls, ladyboys, and children who work there, both in the bar, and by making dates outside the bar environment. We love them, listen to them, and share our lives with them. We know that there is a Hope for them.
We teach English in bars, and massage parlors as yet another way to build relationships. We also build trusting relationships with children selling flowers in the red-light district, and they view us as “safe places” while they are working throughout the night.
Ministering in slums
Many of these children live in nearby “slums”. Four times a week we visit the slums, to teach English, play games, love them, and show them Jesus through our actions and lives. We pray they will come to know the Creator who has plans to prosper them, to give them a hope and a future.
In Love Acts, we don’t just SAY ” I love you”, we DO “I love you”. We walk alongside the outcasts, let them see the transformation Christ has done in us, and let them know it can be done in them as well.
CHANGE (Butterfly Project)
CHANGE is a Biblical and vocational 12 week training, community-centered program for women who have chosen to leave the commercial sex trade of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This initial pilot program is called the Butterﬂy Project.
Morning training follows the model of YWAM’s Discipleship Training School and will utilize YWAM training materials, which will help the women understand who God is, who they are, and how they can impact their circle of inﬂuence and beyond.
In the afternoons, they receive training skills for careers as translators/tour guides, baristas/cooks, and salon specialists. These three vocations were selected because they are consistent with the many women whom we have asked what their dream job is. They will be given the ability to choose which of these careers they would like to pursue. During the evenings they will be able to engage in arts focused classes and community discussions.
Home of Refuge
In 2012 we opened a Home of Refuge for women and children at risk. The exploited lady who worked on Loy Kroh Rd. and studied English with Love Acts appeared at WonGen and said, “I’m ready to get out of ‘the work.’ Can you help me?” Emmi offered her a job at Wongen Kafe’… And then the lady’s children showed up – 3 boys ages 4, 8, and 12. By God’s grace and in faith, Emmi signed a lease on Home of Refuge to care for them. The home now needs everything you could possibly need for an unfurnished home.
Please pray that she ﬁnd supplies for the home, as well as a couple or male staff to father the fatherless.