Massage Parlors + Bars = Modern Day Miracles

First there was one massage parlor= 2 girls

Then there was one massage parlor + one bar = 7 girls

Then there was one massage parlor + two bars =14 girls

Then there was no massage parlor + scattered girls = 4 girls

Today (2 weeks later) there are 2 massage parlors + 2 bars = 20 girls

More and more girls, from the red-light district, are wanting to learn English. I pray that they keep on coming.

This is opening up amazing doors to build relationships, hear their stories, share our stories, and love them with God’s supernatural love.

I’m praying that lives will be transformed, and become modern day miracles!

Oh, and did I mention that a past bar girl is now working with us, through our sponsorship program (that you can be a part of!), and helping us translate as we teach English….

She has quite a long road ahead of her, but she is in a Life-giving environment for 30 hours a week now!  The Light is greater than the darkness. So we’re going to pour into her the light, and truth of Jesus Christ, through living our lives with her.

Yea.. pretty sweet what God is doing here.

Keep praying! (and btw we need more volunteers too =) )

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

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My First Time Buying A Girl

I often see myself doing things, these days, that I would have NEVER seen myself doing. Some examples:

pulling a bug out of my food, and continuing to enjoy the deliciousness

squeezing my bike inbetween cars at the red light

meeting my Christian friends at the bars at night to go work

teaching English next to dog poop

having conversations with ladyboys

buying a prostitute for the night

yup.. that’s right…buying a prostitute.

The beginning of the week, during our nightly outreaches, one of the team members and I met an extraordinary girl who works in the bars. She is from Issan (a region in north eastern Thailand that is basically grooming girls to become prostitutes, and where many of the current bar girls are from)

Her name is *Soy. She told us she is 25. Though, in a separate conversation, her best friend at the bar, said they were the same age, and she said she was 23. C looks more like 19 or 20 to us.

Soy and I had an instant connection.

She found it very easy to open up to us, and shared some very deep and personal hurts that have happened in her life. I knew that she was special.

The next time we went out to do night outreach, I went to Soy’s bar, and we talked more. I asked her if she wanted to have dinner the next night, so that we can just have fun. She was looking forward to it.

Friday came, and we met up early to have dinner, we stuffed our faces at a delicious cafe. It was so great to just laugh with her, and show her how I genuinely love and care for her. During our dinner, I remembered that we were having an open mic at WonGen Kafe.

I mentioned it to her, and she seemed really interested. I asked her if I could pay her bar fee, and take her to the cafe for the night. She felt bad because she said that I was already doing so much, but I told her...”I’m a Christian, giving is a joy to me, because God gives to me, so I want to give to others.

We scooted over to her bar, I walked in, she told the bar owner I wanted to buy her for the night, I paid the fee…and Soy was FREE for the night.

Free to have fun without having to give anything or herself.

Free to be in a safe and loving environment, and not be drunk.

Free to have a night off and be herself.

She LOVED the open mic. We have a very talented team with us right now. I also sang a song for her… “How He Loves”. I told her, next week, I would have a song on the guitar ready. Yup.. next week…

Looks like I’ll be buying her time next Friday evening again.

I’m excited to keep on getting to know Soy. We’ll do whatever it takes to reach her, and show her that there is another option for her life. She’s so full of spunk, and wants to be a programmer some day.

There is Hope for her. The Hope.

Keep Soy in your prayers.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Last Time I Checked…Children Were Human.

There are protests and riots springing up all over the world today. Some are for just and noble causes, others have no specific focus, though they claim to. Regardless of the issue, culture, or country, these groups of individuals are emerging to voice the rights that they are entitled to, or feel entitled to.

A group of individuals who will never be able to congregate and voice their rights to the government are the impoverished and exploited children around the world. Did you know that children have rights too?

Right to Life

Right to Education

Right to Food

Right to Health

Right to Water

Right to Identity

Right to Freedom

Right to Protection

I won’t go into the details of these rights, many of them are self-explanatory, but you can find the definitions, and more resources on children’s rights, at Children’s Rights Portal.

The children that I see at night working in the red-light, selling roses and flower necklaces, are being robbed of these rights… but you won’t see them pitching tents at the gates of the King’s Palace, and demanding their natural born rights. They are an overlooked group of children here, because these children are not orphaned (either they are working for their parents or someone who owns them), and so don’t qualify to get into a preventative orphanage. They are also already exposed to the dark world of sexual exploitation, and so some people feel it is too “late” for them, in regards to mindset.

But SOMEONE needs to fight for them…Someone needs to advocate for them… Someone needs to bring Hope to them… Someone needs to give them, even just 20 minutes, of the innocence and protection that rightfully comes with being a child.

Because God adores these children, He has put this desperation on Love Acts’ heart and on the hearts of some of the Thai people who attend the church we partner with.

Thursday we all went out to the red-light with a very specific goal of rounding up the children and playing with them for 20 minutes, as a break in their evening of “work”.

The Thai volunteers prepared games for the children. One of the Thai volunteers brought over a mother who has three children selling.. the youngest is about 4. 

It was watching heaven unfold on earth as the children played, and laughed, and felt the love of God being poured out on them. Images that will never leave my mind. I didn’t want to take pictures the first night, because..well because I just didn’t feel it was right. But here is one of a boy, 13, who I have become close with. Teenagers…

The mother was watching along, smiling, as her children laughed. Before the children had to go back to work, the mother asked one of the volunteers if they could teach her children English. So we will start to do that in the bar area as well!

We will be doing this consistently, every time we go into the red-light. For our first hour there, we will focus on the children, teaching English and games/songs/stories. Then we hit the bars for the next two hours.

Where did we meet with the children? Right in the heart of the red-light district, outside a closed building…which happens to be FOR SALE.

If there are two things that I know for sure, it is that God does miracles, and God is LOVE. I know He wants us in the center of the red-light.. so please pray that He would do a miracle and give us that building. At the moment, it is out of our price range.

It would be  perfect for teaching the bar girls, and the children. It would be a peaceful, and loving, drop in center for the bar girls during the day, and a safe haven for the children at night. It would also be a place to educate the parents about what their children are really being exposed to.

It will be a place where God’s LIGHT would shine like a diamond “against the jet black sheet of night” of the red-light district there.

And so I’ll leave you with this song that’s been playing in my heart over and over:

“The devil’s dealing dirty
In broken hearts and counterfeit currency 
The living isn’t easy 
When a heart’s regret can tax the air you breathe 

But like diamonds we shine
Up against the sheet of night
The jet-black sheet of night
We overtake the cityscapes
We scale the heights
We break but we don’t die

Whoa we’ve got a blood
We’ve got a love that’ll brave the flood
Whoa we’ve got a blood
We’ve got a love that’ll brave…

The cold will leave you guilty
And the wind will shake you like a tambourine
The dogs will leave you hungry
And your superiors will tax the blood you bleed

But like diamonds we shine
Up against the sheet of night
The jet-black sheet of night
We overtake the cityscapes
We scale the heights
We break but we don’t die”

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

What Happens in Vegas?

Well.. as I’m sure you have seen, or experienced.. a lot.

A lot that probably includes pictures of blackmail…stories of money gained and loss….stories that probably will never be mentioned again.

But here’s something that NEEDS to be addressed.

Police there, have issued a public warning to parents and children about how PIMPS are preying on children, more than ever before.

“They are actively walking through the malls, they are at the movie theaters, they are driving past the high schools, they are looking for the next young lady to charm with all of their smiles and wealth and seeming success to suck into this industry,” 

When I read the above quote in the article, my mind was just blown!

Can you even fathom the thought process that goes on inside of these pimps heads every morning?

I just can’t grasp how a person’s sole purpose every morning is to look for someone they can entrap, abuse, and use to get MONEY

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” 1 Timothy 6:10

This could be the slogan for the issue of human trafficking…well on the pimps, and traffickers end.

But this isn’t just happening in Vegas.. it’s happening in Maine. It’s a problem that is facing the upcoming superbowl in Indianapolis. A sex trafficking ring, using children, recently busted in Seattle.  In San Francisco. ALL underage girls.

Not to mention that it is happening in our own NYC backyard.. story of Nina from Sunset Park. And I met a couple last night, at No Limits Church, who encountered more than they were looking for at an Asian massage parlor in Chelsea.

Let your circle of influence know what’s going on. Create awareness. Use your voice to be a voice to the voiceless.

And most of all PRAY.. Pray that the wrongs will be made right, and that there will be a generation of believers that rise up who say “NOT ON MY WATCH, LORD… NOT ON MY WATCH”

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s.  I just created a new Agenda: Love “fan” page, where I will be posting lots of resources on the issue of human trafficking, and practical ways to ACT out love. Like?

If I Were A Dude

Being a teacher in the inner-city of Brooklyn, was a phenomenal experience. Like any job, there were high points (teaching an exciting lesson, and pay check (holla!), and low points (grading 27 essays), moments of glory (when a child would “get it”), and moments of frustration.

Some of those moments of frustration were when I noticed my students misspelling words that were up in the classroom. I remember telling them, “Hey guys, look around the room, the words you are misspelling are all hung up…you can spell them correctly”

But even after my lectures, only 1/5 of the class grasped the concept of being aware of the words that were plastered on the walls of the room.

It made me think about how unaware our culture is. We rarely pay attention to signs… and even less attention to others. It’s so easy for us to go about our day, and only be focused on what’s in front of us, or only what concerns us.

I was guilty of that, until, like Ace of Base (another 90’s song reference), I saw the sign…and the Holy Spirit opened up my eyes…to the need around me.

I try to make it a point, in the mornings, or when I head out, to say a quick, and sincere prayer…”God, guide my steps today. Let me see how You see.”

Today as I was driving down 3rd ave. in Brooklyn, going to get my jeep (I call it a JEEP! (though my P-squad family says differently)..but it’s a SUV.. I think.. I dunno) inspected, I started to notice a cluster of X-rated dvd stores along the avenue…right near a Costco.

Immediately my thoughts went to the millions of girls and children, around the world, who were probably trafficked, stolen, abused, and manipulated into making those videos…but then from a distance I saw a figure stumbling about on the corner.

Prostitue?

I didn’t want to jump to a conclusion, but something inside of me was confirming that thought. I drove past her, and saw her trying to wave down a man in a truck… thought confirmed.

I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to go back and speak to her.

But what will I say?” “I wonder if her pimp is around.” “WHAT will I say?” “O.K. God.. here I go.

In a series of illegal u-turns, and missed turns, I finally was able to reach her.

God fill my mouth.”

I got out my “jeep”, and walked over to her. She was obviously on some sort of drugs. Her face looked sullen, spaced out, and incoherent. I opened my mouth

“Hi, I was driving by, and I felt God wanted me to stop and ask you if you needed help with anything.”  “What’s your name?”

She looked shocked! She incoherently shook her head, and said “My name is Nina…No.” And she started walking away… as if I was going to ger her in trouble.

I walked with her a little bit, and opened my mouth again.

I just want you to know that God loves you, it doesn’t matter what you have done in your life, He loves you, and wants to give you another chance at life. You don’t have to live this way.”

She kept walking.

I felt like just crying there for her.. I turned around despondent, and walked to my car on the remote corner… A light blue BMW with dark tinted windows pulled up right behind me..basically kissing the bumper of my car!

I locked the doors to my car,

Her pimp“..

I put the key in the ignition, and pulled away.

As I was driving, I saw  a bandwagon of police cars. I pulled over and was contemplating telling them about Nina. But how could I prove she was a prostitute? They would just lock her up, and she’d rot in jail, or get released and head back into “the life” (as prostitution is called in that world) again. Her pimp would see the cops coming, and drive away…never to be caught.

What if I were a dude?

Would I have had a longer time to speak to Nina?” “Would Nina have given me more time to speak to her?” “Would her pimp have thought I was another john, and let me then tell Nina about the extent of the Savior’s love for her, and how she can be saved from the prison she calls life?

 I was aware… I saw Nina…I will pray for her.

I wonder if sometimes we choose to be unaware, subconsciously, so that we don’t have to deal with responsibility, or don’t want our “to do” list to get interrupted.

Believers… can we open our eyes?… can we see how God sees? can we? can our hearts break for what His heart breaks for?

“When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, “Don’t cry.” Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, “Young man, I tell you: Get up.” The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother.” -Luke 7:13-15 (MSG)

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s. the Thai for Thai campaign is still in full effect. Would you be willing to give up a Thai meal, and donate the cost towards helping rescue a girl in the sex-trade in Thailand? Click HERE to donate. Also visit the FB Thai for Thai event page. SHARE SHARE SHARE <333

$ouls for $ale (Screening)

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” -William Wilberforce (British abolitionist 18th-19th century)

Another one of my dear friends from my old World Race squad, Sara, posted a link on my wall and said “Go Bethsa, Go!”. At first I thought she was cheering me on, because she is a master at encouragement… but then I clicked the link, and it led me into an alternate world… A world I would like for you to step into as well.

Nefarious Merchant of Souls is a documentary on the horror of the global sex trade… from a new viewpoint. It is possibly the first documentary, on this issue, done by a Christian organization. Exodus Cry. “The prayer movement to end slavery

I’m going to see the documentary in a couple weeks, here in NYC. The Incurable Fanatics Screening tour is nationwide, so perhaps it’s playing in your city and state. Here is the schedule of screenings that began from the beginning of September, and goes till mid November.

The movie trailer says “from a holy perspective”. “Christianity” today has made the word HOLY to seem unattainable, scary, and religious. But did you know that the Hebrew word simply means “to be set apart, different”?

I’m ready for a documentary from a “different” perspective… one that not only dives into the dark abyss of human trafficking, but brings the bright Light along.

I’m ready for a documentary that shows the whole truth.

Are you?

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

“The Price of Sex” Documentary Screening This Weekend

This morning, my sweet friend Amanda linked me to this website, The Price of Sex.

There is a Human Rights Watch film festival that has been going on, in NYC, since June 16. It ends June 30th. You may find some other documentaries of interest here.

The screening for the “The Price of Sex” (with a focus on Middle East, Europe)  is taking place June 24th- June 26th. You can book your ticket online ($13.25 including tax). The location of the theater is at 165 West 65th Street, upper level, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

Here’s the trailer:

The link to book the tickets is HERE.

Hope to see you there!

Agenda:Love,

Bethsaida