Quick Update: I am in need of 63% of my support to come in over the next two weeks. If this does not happen, I will not meet my goal of joining my team in Thailand by February 17. If you’ve been considering giving, but haven’t yet, please do so today and let me know that you have.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ~ Genesis 1:26-27
In Thailand, there is not just male and female. There is a culturally recognized third gender: the transgendered or “ladyboys.” These men feel they were born with the heart of a woman, either because they were told from childhood that they were or because they feel they are too “feminine.” A young boy who is perceived as having a “feminine spirit” is often pressured or encouraged to dress like a girl, take hormones, and eventually many of these ones begin having operations to appear more feminine with the culmination being a sex change operation. Whether through apparent choice or victimization, the end result is the same: these young men’s true identities are lost.
The ladyboys are one of the the most broken people in Thailand. Their parents often put unrealistic expectations on them to bring in all the ﬁnancial support they need in their old age. It’s difﬁcult for these ones to get a well-paying, legitimate job, which puts them at risk for being prostituted. Those whose families economic structures don’t force them into the trade are often at risk of being trafﬁcked, as Thai ladyboys are known internationally for their beauty. In red light districts in at least nineteen countries spanning four continents there is at least one bar or brothel set aside speciﬁcally for Thai ladyboys (Benji Nolot, Nefarious Documentary project).
God, the Architect of the Universe, is deeply grieved over this. “God set in order the universe by saying first of all that God created man and woman in His image. Male and female He created them. From the foundation of the world, marriage between a man and a woman was a foundational law of creation that cannot be tampered with” (Lou Engle, Onething 2009). Transgender tampers with His intention for men and women to each express a distinct part of His image. Prostitution interferes with God’s ideal for marriage.
God has led me to contend for the deliverance and redemption of the ladyboys, believing that those who have been forgiven much will surely love much (Luke 7:47). Out of this community will arise extravagant lovers of God who will worship Him with creative expression and devotion. As God works in their hearts He will reestablish His image in their lives, restoring them to their true identity and role as men. He will enable them to express the distinct part of His image He intended for them to carry as they begin walking in their callings. Much is at stake: the image of God, the redemption of souls, the establishment of justice in Pattaya and Thailand.
During my first year in Pattaya, Thailand I will be partnering with Bridges to the Nations to disciple those who have been impacted by God’s love, raising a standard of righteousness and contending for their complete restoration. Here’s what that looks like:
- On Dongtan Beach, we will work with gays and ladyboys providing a weekly fellowship time where we will help provide a meal, worship, teaching, and ministry time. I, along with my teammate Lai, will follow up with them to disciple them while meeting practical needs like taking them to their doctors’ appointments. We will help facilitate and fund transitions to rehab, as appropriate Many are HIV positive and need referrals to programs.. Many are looking for alternative jobs, which we will network and help with.
- I will be teaching English classes at our office in a bar area populated with many girls and ladyboys. I will invite them into our office for classes as a means of building relationships trust, deeper discipleship and ministry, and referral to other helping programs.
- I will help lead True Friends Fellowship, which is a safe place for ladyboys and others who come out of the bars to fellowship and be welcomed and loved where they are at in their journey of learning about the Lord’s love for them.
I cannot do this without an army behind me. Will you join in this army, fighting with finances and prayer for the complete restoration of these ones? I need $1128 more monthly in order to reach my goal of $1800 monthly. If you’re one who will fall in behind me with finances, whether it be at $100, $75, $50, $25 or even $5 a month, please let me know today. You can give online at http://www.bridgestothenations.com (I have my own donation button). You can also send checks payable to Bridges to the Nations with a note indicating it’s for me to PO Box 40187, Pasadena, CA 91114-7187.
Please also continue lifting a battle cry in prayer for me, for Bridges, for Pattaya, and for the restoration of the image of God on the earth.