I read this verse Friday morning during my time with Jesus, and thoughts of Bangkok came rushing back to me.
The harvest is plentiful there for sure. Besides the many women stuck working in the sex industry to help support their families, the government is corrupt (although less so than before the 2014 riots), children are trafficked for begging, many upper class families are “secretly” polygamous, and the whole city just feels heavy with the enemy’s oppression. I’ve found that the more I’ve talked to friends and journaled through this experience, I felt like I had to hold my breath for most of the trip.
And not just because Bangkok is one ripe-smelling city, either.
The place felt so dark that at times I couldn’t relax, I could barely let the tension go from my shoulders. It wasn’t until we were with Bonita and Ann, or the girls at Beginnings, or in our small prayer sessions with our team that I could really allow myself to exhale the hours and days of defensive tension in my muscles.
The laborers are few there. About 2% of Thais are Christian, and though there are full-time missionaries in the country, they make up a minuscule portion of the population.
After praying for God to continue to bring more laborers for His plentiful harvest in Bangkok and in the rest of Thailand, I realized I hadn’t formally thanked all of the individuals who helped me participate in the experience.
Although the trip was dark, and it was not one of “big wins”, so to speak, it was a life-changing experience. It opened my eyes to the reality of what the sex industry looks like in Bangkok, as well as the experience of Christians in a corrupt country. It has forever changed my gut feeling when I say the word “prostitute”, and it has shown me that there is hope, even in the darkest of places. I have worked alongside some of the bravest young women I have ever met, and I have set at the feet of and listened to a strong, Godly woman not afraid of breaking cultural norms to show Jesus to others.
For all of these things I am grateful
To those of you who contributed financially, I have sent you a “thank you” card. It is the least I could do to express my enormous gratitude that you chose to spend your hard-earned money on my missions trip. I am moved by the generosity of my friends and family to help others fund their missions trips, as well as fund missionaries living overseas.
To those of you who have prayed for this trip, for our local team, for the work in Bangkok, and for me, I thank you. I cannot send you all “thank you” cards because I cannot know how many of my friends and family have prayed for me. I have appreciated this immensely. I have felt the warm embrace of your intercessory prayers before, during and after this trip, and they continue to comfort me as my mind and heart readjust to “normal” life again.