Family Style

       The days in the village of Khon Kaen in Isan Thailand were all about experiences. In life, people can collect things, collect money, or collect people. The key to a great life journey is a journey with Jesus and a life of collecting experiences. 

        Being in the village was an opportunity to collect experiences. The experience of adapting to a village bathroom. The experience of cheering su su (Go! Fight!) at the village boys soccer tournament. The experience of observing and cheering for little girls dancing at the championship game. The experience of eating together in a Thai family style meal. The experience of great Thai hospitality. The experience of baking cakes and cupcakes for amazing Thai children and young girls. The experience of decorating and throwing a birthday party for the village children. 
          All these experiences, creates memories that cannot be forgotten and remain memorable. 

Things can be lost. 
Money can be stolen. 
People can disappoint you. 
But journeying life with Jesus and collecting experiences – those will not fail you. 
Collect experiences. With Jesus.

– Kahlida 

Broken in Bangkok

          We’re called to be the hands and feet of Christ, but do we really know what that means? Do we fully understand what kind of heartache that opens us up to? Do we really know what it means to have our hearts broken for the things that break God’s? Over the last three evenings, our team has had the privilege of doing outreach in the red light districts of Bangkok. I have come to realize over the last few days that I thought my heart was already broken for the things of God, but it wasn’t until I got into the red light district and started talking to some of the girls that I really understood, that I fully allowed my heart to be completely broken. When you are trying to build a relationship with someone, you can’t have those walls around your heart; you can’t have those safeguards set up.

            My prayer as we entered the first time was that God would show me what He wanted me to see, that I would learn what He wanted me to learn, and that He would give me a new perspective on the lives of the people we were going to talk to. Those prayers were answered for me tenfold. To allow your heart to be broken is the first step in really seeing what God wants you to see, and seeing how He can and does work every single day. I didn’t pray that I would be broken in those words exactly, but opening myself up to allow God’s will, opened me up to a whole lot of heartache, and I’ve never been more happy to have a broken heart.
– Angela 

Lessons from Day 2

As I prepared for this trip, I consistently prayed for God to change my heart so that I would see the red light district as He sees it. Admittedly, God’s response to that prayer was embarrassingly simple-Jesus Christ died for all. And Scripture confirms this truth, “The Lord is …patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

Personally, the reality of this biblical truth has redefined my understanding of the scope of the mission. God is patient towards us-very few, if anyone, will meet us and feel compelled to accept Christ while we are here. We are planting seeds, but it is God who causes the growth and we may never have the pleasure of seeing the fruits of our labor.

Second, the Lord does not want anyone to perish, but he wants all of us to come to repentance. The “all” puts us on notice that Jesus Christ loves and died for you, dear readers, and me, just as much as he loves and died for the sex workers, the Johns, the ladyboys, etc. During our short stay, we have had the pleasure of meeting Thai missionaries who put this scripture into practice-Cori and Jub at Breakthrough Thailand have a ministry for youth at risk of joining the sex industry, Jim and Judy at The Well assist women transitioning out of the sex industry, Celeste at Dton Naam counsels and encourages ladyboys. We have learned that as Christians we have a responsibility to meet people where they are, and to love them even if their sin looks different from our sin. We thank these ministries for hosting us, and we thank God for their faithfulness and obedience.

– Tasha 

Pad Thai and Sticky Rice

Well we have finally hit the streets of Bangkok! We were blessed to start off our day by listening to the amazing Cori and Jub share more about their stories and give us an overview of The Well.

We then loaded all 13 of us into one pickup and headed to meet Judy and Jim, the founders of The Well. We heard about their story and their vision and then spent a few hours helping them paint a classroom in the recovery center. We broke off into groups and were able to see other parts of the ministry. We were finally able meet and have wonderful conversations with these anointed people that we have been praying for.

As the missionaries and staff members here shared their testimonies we were reminded that while we are surrounded by darkness in this industry we serve a mighty God. A God who can use factory workers and moms and meth addicts to do His work.

Hearing about what He has done in their lives gave us such hope for restoration as we headed into the red light district tonight. We broke up into pairs and prayed circles around the block. Some of us focused on prayer, some were led to speak to sex workers, and some were led to speak to consumers. As our night went on, we were reminded that He has gone before us and prepared a path. We are so excited to submit to His will and be vessels of His love this week. More updates to come! 

Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice,

A1:8 Thailand 2015

12 Days of Social Justice: Day 12

As we wrap up this series on social justice, I would like to leave you with this. You are not alone. Not only has God given you his Spirit, he has also given you his church. The oppression and injustice in this world can be overwhelming, and there are times we may feel burnt out, but remember that you are not called to fight this battle alone.   
Isaiah 61:1 NIV 

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners.

  • As you reflect on this past year and the facts that you have learned about trafficking and injustice through this series, how is God calling you to respond?
  • It is not your responsibility to right every wrong in this world, but it is important for you to speak out for those that are oppressed. How will you be a voice for those that are oppressed by traffickers?
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is an amazing resource provided by Polaris. Please consider saving the hotline number (1-888-373-7888) on your phone and using it to report tips, request training, and to connect with anti-trafficking services in your area. 
Dear Lord, thank you for sending your son to die for me. Thank you for your strength, your love, and your patience. Without You, I would be overcome by this world and its trouble. I pray that you guide me to a place of renewal and that you would lead me to the places and people you want me to serve. Amen.

12 Days of Social Justice: Day 11

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Luke 18: 1-8
Seeking justice begins with seeking the God of justice (Bethany Hoang, director of IJM Institute for International Justice Mission). Perhaps one reason for this is that we don’t necessarily see justice the way God does. If gunman enters a classroom and opens fire, killing all the children and the teacher, doesn’t he deserve to die? Maybe so. In God’s system of justice, however, our gossip, envy, lust, and other ‘smaller sins’ are equal to that man’s murder. And they are all deserving of death (Romans 6:23). God indeed released his judgement upon our sin, yet we did not receive the wrath of that judgement. Jesus endured hell for us and in exchange offered us grace and mercy. That is how justice was served, the appropriation of our punishment for our rebellion on Himself.
How are we to begin seeking justice without first grasping this unfathomable act of love? As believers in Jesus we have access to the Creator of the universe, the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent One – the One who defines justice. This God desires that we model him in acting justly and defending the rights of the poor and needy. But what is perhaps more interesting is that he invites us into the conversation about justice. He desires for us to call on him, to seek him in prayer and fact, he says that this chosen ones who cry out to him day and night will receive justice – quickly! To connect with this God who radically defines justice and intercede on behalf of those who are suffering is to call down the Kingdom of God on earth.

Examine Questions:
What does biblical justice look like?
What role does prayer play as you seek justice?
How do you think you are viewing justice that may be different than how God sees it?
How are justice and worship connected in Scripture?
What do you think is the relevance of the sentence in the passage? “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
How do you grapple with the passage in Luke when sometimes we see people who cry out to God yet do not see their justice

We often think of prayer being passive and sometimes weak, especially in the urgent fight against human trafficking. However, Jesus shows us in Luke 18 the power of our prayers. Consider attending NCC ASE Prayer meetings. This group meets every other Thursday to pray over issues related to modern day slavery in D.C. For more information contact Tegan Hare at
Pick up Bethany Hoang’s Deepening the Soul for Justice. It’s a quick read that describes the foundation of prayer in the work of justice and gives practical steps to stay rooted and grounded as you seek justice.

Father, I come before you in gratitude and humility. My heart is overflowing and overwhelmed by your great act of love, giving me life when my sinful nature is deserving of death. Your love for me is vast beyond all measure and abundantly greater than I can ever imagine. Teach me, God to demonstrate that love to others and to fight for justice, the way you do. Turn my heart to yours and help me to first seek you, to desire you above all. Teach me to pray. Show me how you long to hear from me, show me the magnitude of my prayers and how they move your heart. Remind me that I struggle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world. And, more importantly remind me that you are the One who came to rescue me so that I may call on your name to rescue others.


12 Days of Social Justice: Day 10


Trafficking in DC


We can easily become overwhelmed by harsh and seemingly sterile statistics. By providing the following information we do not want to cause any emotional disconnect or number blur. Pastor Perry Noble says, “Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God.” By reading, learning and digesting these statistics we see trends and patterns that are happening in our very own city. These numbers equip us with knowledge on how to strategically address the issues and bring about change. While you read these do not let them be a distant concept – this is happening in our very own city: along K St. NW, in Columbia Heights, in Baltimore City, outside the Youth Service Center, just to name a few. Remember that there are individual stories, families and children behind each one. Let’s see some numbers:

  • In 2011, approximately 125 child victims of sex trafficking were identified by local NGOs and law enforcement in the D.C. area.
  • More than 50% of D.C. school children live in sing-headed (predominantly single-mother) households
  • 32% of D.C. children live below the poverty line, which is twice the national average (according to local service provider FAIR Girls).
  • The National Runaway Safeline estimates that 1.6 million children run away from home every year in the United States.
  • The average time it takes before a runaway is approached by a trafficker or solicitor is 48 hours, making runaway youth an extremely vulnerable group.
  • All of these factors show that children in the D.C. area are at a much higher and dangerous risk for being trafficked. D.C. is also one of the largest hubs of human trafficking in the United States due to it being the nation’s capital that draws both tourists and international leaders as well as being one of the largest cities on the east coast.

“Isn’t it noteworthy in the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus does not give a straightforward answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). Surely he could have provided a catalog of those whom the scribe could love as himself as the law required. He does not. Instead, he tells a story. It is as if Jesus wanted among other things to point out that life is a bit more complex; it has too many ambivalences and ambiguities to allow always for a straightforward and simplistic answer.

This is a great mercy, because in times such as our own — times of change when many familiar landmarks have shifted or disappeared — people are bewildered; they hanker after unambiguous, straightforward answers. We appear to be scared of diversity in ethnicities, in religious faiths, in political and ideological points of view. We have an impatience with anything and anyone that suggests there might just be another perspective, another way of looking at the same thing, another answer worth exploring. There is a nostalgia for the security in the womb of a safe sameness, and so we shut out the stranger and the alien; we look for security in those who can provide answers that must be unassailable because no one is permitted to dissent, to question. There is a longing for the homogeneous and an allergy against the different, the other.
Now Jesus seems to say to the scribe, “Hey, life is more exhilarating as you try to work out the implications of your faith rather than living by rote, with ready-made second-hand answers, fitting an unchanging paradigm to a shifting, changing, perplexing, and yet fascinating world.” Our faith, our knowledge that God is in charge, must make us ready to take risks, to be venturesome and innovative; yes, to dare to walk where angels might fear to tread.” – Desmond Tutu, God Is Not A Christian

“Dear Child of God, I write these words because we all experience sadness, we all come at times to despair, and we all lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in the world will ever end. I want to share with you my faith and my understanding that this suffering can be transformed and redeemed. There is no such thing as a totally hopeless case. Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, and God can do so always, can do so now–in our personal lives and in our lives as nations, globally. … Indeed, God is transforming the world now–through us–because God loves us.”
― Desmond Tutu, God Has A Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time


  • Do these statistics overwhelm, discourage or disengage you? Why?
  • How does God feel about these numbers?
  • What should the church do about them?
  • What risks is God nudging you to take to serve your neighbor?


  • Open Table: Open Table is a unique opportunity to be directly involved in the life of an individual who is coming out of trafficking or an individual who is living with HIV/AIDS. Essentially, you will be a part of a missional community that mentors an individual to help implement a customized life plan to empower them. With one hour a week you will assist in guiding the individual towards stability and independence. Tables generally meet once a week for 6 months and then at a lesser intensity as the work progresses. You don’t need to be an expert at anything – just the ability to use Google. For more information or to sign up contact Amanda Baker at


  • Pray that God would make these numbers real and personable to us.
  • Pray that God would open our eyes to what is happening in our own communities, as painful as it may be.
  • Pray that we would learn what makes individuals vulnerable to traffickers and exploiters so that we may engage at all levels.
  • Pray that we would not be overwhelmed by the sadness and brokenness around us – let God show us that while we may not be able to do everything, we can still do something.
  • Pray that God would reveal what that something