Earlier this summer, on the eve of an exploratory trip to Thailand, I found myself asking the Lord again if we were supposed to go. The purpose of our trip was to meet with ministries, churches, missionaries, non-government organizations, etc. who were working with children, youth, and parents in some capacity or another, and see how GOV might serve them. The only thing more intimidating than going to an unfamiliar nation to see how you might teach on the issue of sexual integrity is going to that nation after you’d been repeatedly warned it was going to be very hard (perhaps even impossible) to do what you were setting out to do.
I had been to Bangkok several years ago to learn about the sex trafficking industry, so I had somewhat of an idea of what we were in for, but what I didn’t know was how we were going to “sell” the idea of proactively equipping individuals and families to pursue a lifestyle of sexual integrity in the midst of a culture that, in many ways, embraces things like prostitution. Would it even work?
I prayed again the night before we left Singapore. “Lord, are you sure?” The answer I got left me speechless. Straight from Matthew 21:31: “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
Once we were in Thailand, the main response we heard from ministry workers (precious people doing some very difficult work) after explaining the type of proactive and preventative work we’d like to do went something along the lines of “This is such a big need here” and “When can you come back?” Courage stirred in my heart as I realized I had heard correctly from the Lord. Yes, He did want us to come minister in Thailand.
As we met with orphanages and safe houses, the picture started becoming clearer. These children had almost all been sexually abused, or at the very least were at risk for being trafficked because of their families’ extreme poverty situations.
I quickly began to realize that I didn’t know what to do when faced with a child struggling to make sense of the abuse he or she had experienced. I asked the Lord, “Father, if we tell them how good it is to wait for sex until you’re married, and we tell them how to protect themselves from sexual predators, what are they going to think about what has already happened to them? There is a lot of pain here. They need your healing, Lord.”
Again the answer came from Matthew: “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (19:14) After reading that verse, I came to the conclusion that I would rather teach a child about sexual purity and guide them to the healer of any trauma they may have experienced than consider them “too badly wounded” to receive such teaching. Isn’t it the Lord’s will to heal us instead of just helping us cope with our wounds?
Our team certainly has a lot of work to do (and a lot to learn!) as we prepare to minister more extensively in places like Thailand, but I am convinced that this kind of ministry is something the Lord is very keen to have us do. I know we don’t have all the answers, but I do know the One who does. I am encouraged when I realize we do not labor in vain when we partner with Him to bring about His Kingdom.
To read about our upcoming trip in October, please click here.
– Megan Briggs