Sounds of thunder roar with an intensity of power and strength. Flashes of light fill the sky, and buckets of rain fall down upon the earth. The roads and walkways have become wet with tears from heaven as I believe the rain is a sign of God’s heartbreaking.
Ladyboys are lined up along the buildings. Yes, this is the name they have been given. Young women are lounging eating their dinner on the bars’ steps or sitting on seats in the many bars lining the streets we traveled upon. A man leans over and kisses a teen girl’s neck, probably around 14 or 15 years old. She has a smile upon her face, but her eyes give me insight into her soul. Her eyes are blank, no sparkle, no life, no hope. It is all an act to please the man who purchased her.
What I am witnessing, is not love.
This simple act of love and adoration that I and others do shows our love and joy of being with our loved ones. The joy of holding the hand of my children as they grew up. Going shopping with my husband and we affectionately hold hands as we walk down the aisle. As a child holding the hands of my friends as we played together. A ladyboy and an older man are walking down the sidewalk in front of us. They are holding hands.
The man holding the ladyboy’s hand, this was not love.
The man and ladyboy turn to the right after we crossed the road. As we turned to the left, the man and ladyboy watched us walk by. They could not take their eyes off of us. I could see both of their eyes as we walked by. The ladyboy had a blank stare, you know the kind where all hope is gone? Yes, that was the look. The older man watched us, and I saw fear in his eyes. Did we represent something or someone to him? I believe we did.
We represented the creator of love, Jesus.
We walk into a hotel called the Grace Hotel. Its name is deceiving, for what lies inside is not what its title proclaims. Grace is nowhere to be found in this place. This hotel is known for the cruel and torturous acts that European girls and women experience day after day. These women are brought to the hub of human trafficking, Thailand, and are sold into slavery, which is built around the pain, abuse, exploitation, and perversion of the innocent. It is too early in the evening for the girls to be in the lobby. As we walk through the large lounge area, I sense the spirit of fear and control that lives in that place. My heart breaks for the many who are in shackles and chains of fear and control.
No love was to be found in this place.
With each step I prayed, we prayed, for we were out on our first night of ministry for a prayer walk. I looked at as many people as I could while we were walking that night. Acknowledging their humanity by the simple act of looking them in their eyes, smiling, and saying hello. Many never take the time just to smile and say hello. These girls, these women, and ladyboys are treated as sex objects and are expected to be void of feelings.
Hopelessness and helplessness fill the air everywhere we go. It is dripping off of those we saw and running into the streets with the rain. The despair is filling every nook and cranny of one’s soul. You could feel it. You could sense it. Lack of life, or humanity, and respect for others is all but gone. Everywhere my eyes look, I see the blank stares looking at me.
I hear the call of God asking, “Will you love them? Will you care for my people?”
My heart says, “Yes.”
I was reminded today that this is not a Thailand issue, but a world issue. The perversion, the pornography industry, sex addiction, sex tourists, and sin have birthed the worst slave industry in our world’s history. Thailand can not fight this alone. This is a spiritual issue that is fought through prayer, through practical acts of ministry, and through activists and advocates.
Do you hear God calling you to make a difference and to be a part of the change? What actions do you hear God calling you to do?
Will you join me in prayer, asking, seeking God’s direction? Friends, if all of us do our part, we can make a difference, but it takes a mighty army to do just that.