IGo Women’s Ministry

igo-student-sunshine-house-women“These girls slowly become mere shadows of their former selves. If we didn’t become hardened to the job we do, then we couldn’t cope with the emotional toll we inflict on ourselves. We have learned to make light of our situation and laugh about it although we are dying inside.” -Bua, Thai woman

I am in a battle for the lives of women who don’t know they can be free. As I learn more about the culture, I’m realizing that if they knew they had a way out, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t choose it. Prostitution is an accepted part of Thai culture. Foreigners make up a small percentage of customers. Traditional and strong loyalty to family causes women to do all they can for money. The easiest way to make a sizeable amount of money seems to be to sell themselves.

The women don’t know that as I’m walking past the bars, I’m asking God to open up their eyes and rescue them from their emptiness. Would they laugh if they knew that I hold out HOPE for them? Would they laugh if they knew that I believe God created them with value and worth? What will God be able to do with the lives of rescued women who formerly sold themselves to evil? I will hold onto HOPE for them. HOPE is believing that the one who is forgiven much will love much. HOPE is believing that each of them has an unimaginable amount of value and worth. God,’s heart is breaking as He sees the devastation of women in Chiang Mai.

The women we are working with at Sunshine House, and the women we pray for as we walk down the street are like Bua. Bua’s true story is owned by thousands of women in Thailand: She was a broken woman; the remnants of her self-esteem lay shattered on the ground, like miscellaneous pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that no longer made up a complete picture. The sex industry had chewed her up and spat her out.

The last six months in Chiang Mai have brought me to believe that God’s thoughts toward these women are to give them a future and a hope. In your prayer for me, please ask Him to show me how He can use my help in this! I’ve been doing research for six months here, talking with people who have worked in similar women’s ministries, studying the Thai language, prayer walking, and getting some culture experience. I’ve learned a lot in this time. Please pray that God would show us how to put all of this together as we’re seeking God for the future of a ministry to women here in Chiang Mai.

I’ve been blessed to have a support team of at least one, sometimes two or three ladies (IGo students or staff) who go with me every Monday and Friday to teach the class at Sunshine House and go prayer walking. Our class at Sunshine House grew to ten girls, and I’m teaching an English class there every Monday afternoon and a Bible class every Friday afternoon. The Bible class is my favorite, although that takes a lot more preparation time for me than the English class.

I had an amazing three week term of classes at IGo. The whole experience from start to finish was stretching for me. I was able to take four classes: Book of John, Language Acquisition, Missiology, and the Church and Its Foes. Because I’m already involved in mission work here, I was able to directly apply the things I learned to what I’m facing right now. Over this time I took a break from language classes. The break was just what I needed, but I’m glad to be back in classes again. I’m currently learning how to read and write Thai characters. I’ve also been spending some time with Alisa, a university student who is reading a Bible, and has lots of questions. She wants to meet sometime to talk about her questions.

When you pray for me, please remember these points:

1. The battle I fight is to constantly stand on Truth. I face opposition because I care about women that are selling themselves in prostitution.

2. My vision is to work on a street where the women are, which means being in the center of territory that appears to be given over to the enemy. Pray that God would continue to prepare and train me for what He has for me here!

3. Pray for the Thai church to catch a vision for this work. I care a lot about working with Thai believers. Pray for Thai people to partner with long-term staff in this ministry.

4. Pray for direction with new options for the women,’s ministry on Chiang Mai Land St. There seems to be an open door to start English classes with women that are working in the bars. This would be with the goal of sharing Christ and building relationships. We hope to eventually provide them with a place to live and an alternative occupation. Praise God for a contact with three Thai believers who are willing to support and help with this work!

By Becky Stoltzfus, for IGo’s Ransom Ministries (I Witness News/Winter 2008)

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