I am part of a team in Bangkok working with a ministry that reaches out to exploited men and transgender individuals working in the red-light district. This ministry also does preventative work in the slums around Bangkok with boys who potentially would be targeted for the sex industry.
Many people think working in the red-light district would be incredibly heavy, spiritually dark and really depressing. That is true to an extent, but each time I do outreach in those areas, I walk away with a little bit of joy restored to me.
In the midst of the darkness, in the midst of all of the terrible things that are happening and people being completely enslaved to their sin, I am able to humbly rejoice in the salvation I have received through Jesus Christ.
I was once in darkness myself. I was once enslaved completely to my sin. By the grace of God, I am set free. Do I still sin? Yes. Every day, countless times a day. But I have hope, because I know that I am forgiven. It’s not because of anything I have done, but because Jesus died on the cross for my sin and was raised from the dead three days later, proving he is powerful over sin and powerful over death.
So, in the middle of a red-light district, I have hope, because I know that if God can save me, redeem me, take the terrible things that I have done and somehow turn them into something good, then God is more than able to do exactly the same thing in the people around me. He is bigger than the sin in the red-light district. He is bigger than the fear that engulfs people. My God is bigger.
We have been doing outreach in the red-light district a couple times a week. We also are helping to teach English to some of the boys who are in the ministry already and to some boys that work in a massage parlor in one of the red-light districts. We have painted and stained furniture, cleaned up after a building flooded from torrential rains, worked on marketing for the cafe that supports the nonprofit we are working with and done a lot of what some would call “little” things.
But are they little things? I don’t think so. Missions and full-time ministry are not glamorous and exciting most of the time. Actually, a lot of the wonderful things, like people hearing and accepting the gospel, are only made possible through countless hours of being faithful in the “little” things. We may not come back with the most exciting stories and we may not actually see someone become a believer in Jesus while we are here. But we can walk away at the end of the summer and say that we were obedient to God. No matter what God asked us to do, we gave him our “yes.”
Rachel Martin, a student at Texas Tech University, is serving in Thailand through Go Now Missions in a ministry to victims of human trafficking.