Tonight I have been thinking about love verses exploitation. As I walk into the horseshoe plaza and sit on a coushioned bench in a windowless room, with women, holding onto a pole and dancing in front of me, I think, and feel so many things. When I have a girl sitting beside me, who seems more interested in getting a customer that night than talking with me, and yet in her eyes is something, a hidden longing for something more, and a little girl then throws herself into my arms, I catch a glimpse of why I am there. When I get a text message from a girl whose family expects her to pay off their debt because she is their daughter, and not only to pay off their family debt but the motorcycles her uncle bought and then to pay for her baby's formula, and in her text she says she cries every night but she doesn't see how she can leave this job and make the same amount of money, I wonder what hope there is. When I unexpectedly meet a girl on the streets who only a month ago looked like a little girl and now is dressed all up, wanting to meet just the perfect man, I think of my little sister and feel this ache, this longing, when, when will they see? When will they see that there is so much more to life than money? When will the economic structure of Thailand shift so that families no longer pressure their daughter to go to the city and then justify their work because of the money she can send home? When will bars where it seems Satan is getting the upper hand at exploiting God's most beautiful creation, stop being frequented by men from around the globe? When will the women really value themselves for who they are?
As I sit in a bar, talk with a girl on the street, I sometimes wonder if it is worth it. It hurts. It hurts to get close, to embrace and then to see them continuing down the same destructive path. But when a woman, I met in the bar only once, calls me and tells me that she wants to learn to speak English, she wants to take me and my friend to see the city of over 400 ruined wats and then she comes to our Christmas party and says to me, "I see that Christians think..." and "I want to become Christian too..." I see that somehow it is worth it. As I think about the thousands of women who are prostituting here in Thailand and it seems overwhelming, I have to focus on love. I want the world to know, to see, to realize that in the midst of darkness, in the midst of situations that seem hopeless, there is a God who loves and sees and He sets up divine encounters so that one by one, people can encounter Him.
Honestly, the only way that we who are a part of the ministry in Thailand can keep going into those bars, can keep meeting those girls time and time again, is because of love. It is because as we have those encounters on the streets or in the bar and are able to exchange even just a look, heaven just touched earth. I think that sometimes we as Christians don't realize the power and love that we carry. Our lense is too narrow. God is a God of the impossible. Each time I meet a girl, I see it as a gift. Knowing a girl's name, getting to talk with her, put an arm around her, look into her eyes and know that the God of the universe sees her, that is a beautiful thing. When I start to question and feel overwhelmed, instead of looking through the lense of the world that says this is the way it is and will always be, I look up and see that God is holding keys of freedom and He is passing them out. As we are talking, the words that we say to someone, may be the very key that God uses to bring them out of darkness. Sometimes we may not see how the key is used, but it is His business, to set the captives free. Will you join in being a part of this? In being a part of the revolution of God's love? Of His love even in the darkness, even when things seem hopeless and the world gets tired of hearing and seeing the needs, will you still let love carry you and move you to action? Will you be a part of seeing the revolution of love overcome the exploits of darkness, will you carry keys to the captives? Will you let heaven touch earth through you?