I was talking with a friend recently about our plans to move to Thailand and minister to the ladyboys when he said something that caught me off-guard. It was an innocent comment that sounded something like, “I can’t imagine anyone who would willingly sign up to do that, except you, Amy.”
It made me laugh. When the Lord first started calling me to the ladyboys, I was less than willing. In fact, Jesus and I had all-out arguments about it that went on for months. I distinctly remember telling God He was crazy and that He had the wrong person for the job. I had only met one ladyboy in my life, a 15-year-old from the Northern part of Thailand who called himself Bang. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to do with him. He didn’t fit into any of the pretty little boxes my then 19-year-old isolated self had sorted the world into up until that point. I had no idea how to respond or how to love him well, but I wanted to. At the same time, I didn’t really want to remember him but the Lord wanted to make sure I didn’t forget.
A few years later, the Lord began vividly reminding me of Bang and began downloading into me His vision for the ladyboys: Restoration. His heart is to restore them to His original intent and design for them. He wants to take the broken pieces of their shattered lives and make something beautiful from them. He wants to raise them out of the ashes into the place where they become whole-hearted lovers of Jesus. It makes me think of the story of the immoral woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and broke an alabaster box of perfume and poured it all on Him. Jesus said of her, “Her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” (Luke 7:47). Just like this woman, the ladyboys have encountered things in their past that brought them to a point of responding out of their brokenness. But they have not gone so far that His love cannot reach them and bring healing and restoration. Out of that place of being forgiven much, they will have a capacity to love much.
It was so beautiful and redemptive that I almost couldn’t believe it. It so thrilled my heart to think about the power of the Gospel bringing such a radical transformation of identity that I wanted to sign up for it. My hesitation was in the HOW. What does it look like, practically, to bring that transformation?