Team at the TBBC
There was a bit of mystery surrounding what we were going to be doing today. Our X-file was Matthew 25:34-40. Our first stop was a short walk to the TBBC (Thailand Burma Border Consortium). There we met with Jack Dunford, the executive director, who gave us an in-depth presentation on the history and oppression inside Burma in the past 25 years. This wasn't just a history lesson, Jack and the TBBC is the leading authority on the Burma refugee situation. He was able to share a lot of "off the record" info that is not able to be published. One of the tasks Jack is responsible for is raising the $40 million every year to provide the approximately 160,000 Karen refugees with food, bamboo for shelter, and other basic necessities for life. This is getting harder every year, especially this year with rice prices jumping to as high as 250% at times and donor frustration after the 24 years that the Karen have been living in refugee camps.
Next we grabbed a bite to eat, some at Burger King... and the rest at a busy street vendor for some rice and assortments to go. After a quick lunch it was off to the sky train across town. We ended up at NightLight. NightLight is a business/program designed to enable women and children to escape sexual exploitation and empower them to live and work in a community. They build relationships with people involved in the sex industry, offer alternative employment, vocational and life-skill training, and provide physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking a way out of the sex industry. NightLight provides these women leaving prostitution with counseling and a job making jewelry. The jewelry they make is not the cheap stuff you can find on street corners, but high quality items made from semi-precious stone, pearls, crystals, etc. We were able to tour NightLight to see and talk with these women about their struggle and the amazing ways NightLight has been able to turn their lives around. Later that evening we would return to NightLight to meet up with the staff and go out to the mission field that is the streets and back alleys of Bangkok.
Tonight we all experienced all sorts of different emotions for what we might expect as we split up. The five girls left with seven staff from NightLife and headed up to a prayer room above a travel agency for a while before going out to some of the near-by bars. Us guys had some dinner at a Lebanese street restaurant before going up to the prayer room. There we prayed for the girls going out to help the women in need, we prayed for the prostitutes in need of the love of Christ, and the men who are so broken by their own desire. Susan then led us around town and to one of the hotels known as the main hub for trafficked women from all over the world to pray for them. It was truly an Xtreme Xperience.
For more info on the TBBC visit www.TBBC.org
For more info on Nightlight and their jewelry visit www.nightlightbangkok.com