by Briana, DTS student
During the classroom phase of DTS, we learned a lot about women who are forced into prostitution – either because they are sold or tricked into it, or they are so desperate that they see no other way to survive. I wanted to do something to help these women, and looked forward to going to Pattaya, Thailand, where the sex industry thrives.
Clara and I joined Soy, a former prostitute who now helps bring other women out of the lifestyle, and went to a bar together to see if we could share Jesus’ love with one of the waitresses. The waitresses in bars like this one usually double as prostitutes, as the bar owners use them to entice men for their business. Sometimes the women didn’t know about the extra “work” that would be expected of them when they began their jobs.
We ordered Cokes and Soy invited the waitress, Pan, to sit down and talk to us. Pan was eager to practice the little English she knew and happily told us about her family and her life.
Eventually, Soy steered the conversation to Pan’s job and her plans for her future. She shared how she had been a prostitute until someone told her about the Tamar center. At Tamar, Soy learned English and other valuable skills so she could get a better job. It’s also where she learned about Jesus and decided to devote her life to him.
“Jesus loves you, too,” Soy told Pan. “He rescued me from this kind of life and He wants to do the same thing for you.”
While Soy spoke with Pan, Clara and I prayed silently that Pan would be receptive to the things Soy told her. We prayed that her heart would be soft toward Jesus.
Eventually, my attention rested on another young woman who was standing in the corner. I felt a sudden urge to just give her a big hug, like I’d hug my best friend at home. Was she listening in on our conversation? Maybe she was looking for a different way of life, too!
I knew I had to talk to her, but our time was almost up. We paid our bill and were about to leave. But I couldn’t leave without at least learning this woman’s name.
“I am Nid,” she said. “I’m twenty-three.”
She spoke with Soy for a little while, and then asked us to pray for her. It was hard to leave both of these women, but I know I will keep praying for them.
During our walk home, Soy told me that the bar we were at supposed to close in a month.
“If it closes, Nid wants to come to Tamar!” Soy said.
I was so glad we got to meet these two women and tell them about another way of life they could have. I pray that both Nid and Pan will find new jobs and new lives. And most of all, that they would meet Jesus who will restore them.
More about the YWAM Thailand Tamar Center:
In Thailand, when you talk about prostitution, you talk about Pattaya. Known around the world as Thailand’s number one sun, sea and sex destination, it is home to at least 20,000 male, female and child prostitutes. During tourist ‘high season’ every November to March, about one million visitors crowd Pattaya’s bars, nightclubs, massage parlors or steam baths. If you talk statistics, it can seem hopeless. But when you go into Tamar Center, you see people. Lovely ladies who’ve chosen to change the direction of their lives and in doing so, have found dignity, hope and a future.
Tamar Center is a center for help, healing and hope, offering the ladies jobs in their card-making program, hairdressing salon, bakery, restaurant and other income-earning activities, as well as giving courses in life skills, English and knowing God. Many ladies who found new life at Tamar asked them to please go with them to their villages in northeast Thailand (Isaan) so their families can be changed too. Tamar said ‘yes’, and after two years of working with those families and villages to see reconciliation happen, relationships built, and children’s program begun, they have now opened their first Prevention Center in the Isaan. This will initially offer childcare for single mothers, followed by job training, all with a Godly foundation.
Tamar’s healing arms are opened wider in Pattaya now too. In November 2009, they were able to buy property on Soi 6, one of the darkest, saddest, most hopeless bar sections in the city. Through their Tamar Hair Salon, English classes, Counselling and Prayer Rooms, the light of hope is coming to the people on that street. That’s what L.I.F.E. is all about.
(Info from http://www.ywamthai.org/tamar/)