You see, each year thousands of women and girls from poorer towns and villages in Thailand flock to cities like Bangkok and Pattaya to work in bars, gogo bars, brothels and massage parlors. Some are sold outright by their families as slaves, where they may end up locked in closed brothels. Others are sent by their families to work in the lucrative tourist sex trade and return the majority of their incomes back home. Some have children of their own that they are hoping to give a better life. But in far too many cases, that dream never comes true.
In the New Testament book of John, Jesus met a woman who, according to the tradition of his culture, was worthless. Not only was she an outcast Samaritan, but she was in a sense the town prostitute, moving from man to man. Jesus showed this woman her true value. He spoke with her with respect, and offered freedom from the inner emptiness that drove and was fed by her behavior. She was so excited to meet someone who brought her past to light in an affirming, non-condemning way that she went and told her whole village about him.
The Well is a Christian ministry in Thailand under Servantworks and other partner organizations. Its purpose is to love Thai bar girls and sex workers in the same way that Jesus loved that woman and others like her; to help her see and experience her true value as a creation by God, and to help her, her family and village indeed find their dream of a better life. The Well provides counseling, training, job development and other services to women and their family members.
I also found this poem on their website that really spoke to my heart:
The Streets I Feared to See
I said: "Let me walk in the field."
God said: "Nay, walk in the town."
I said: "There are no flowers there."
He said: "No flowers but a crown."
I said: "but the sky is black,
There is nothing but noise and din."
But He wept as he sent me back,
"There is more," he said, "there is sin."
And fog is veiling the sun."
He answered: "Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone."
I said: "I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me, they say."
He answered me: "Choose tonight
If I am to miss you, or they."
I pleaded for time to be given.
He said: "Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide."
Then set my face to the town.
He said: "My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?"
Then into His hand went mine,
And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light Divine
The streets I had feared to see.
George MacDonald (1824-1905)