I got reacquainted with a missionary friend of mine this past summer, Jeff Dieselberg of Nightlight-Bangkok. (nightlightbangkok.org) Jeff had been a student of mine in a class on prayer that I taught at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. I had not seen Jeff until then. It was so good to reacquaint with him and meet his wife Annie.
Annie and Jeff made presentations at a conference I was at (hsrm.org) about what God has called them to do in Bangkok. I was greatly moved as I heard about this incredible Kingdom of God thing that rescues young women out of the sex-trafficking industry and gives them jobs in a factory that makes jewelry. I felt God tell me “John, you have to do something about this and help in any way you can.” A number of people who were there from my church felt the same way.
I presented this to our HSRM Service Committee that was putting on this conference. We all seemed to recognize the heart of God regarding what Jeff and Annie are doing. They have a waiting list of women who want to leave prostitution, but they have no more room in their current factory. Their need was: another, bigger building.
We agreed that we wanted to support this, so at our next all-conference meeting I told the 400 people there about this. Jeff and Annie’s ministry, Night Light Bangkok, needs another building. Let’s help them get it!
Shortly after the Dieselberg’s returned to Bangkok they communicated with me that, not one, but two buildings had become available. The cost for both: 1.3 million dollars. And it was needed soon, otherwise these buildings would no longer be available. The next four months proved, for me, to be very adventurous and faith-building. We at HSRM raised $1.3 million, and sent it off in increments to Night Light Bangkok. The two buildings now are secured, debt-free! God provided. I stand amazed.
My church, Redeemer Fellowship Church, then raised several thousand dollars and sent two of our “extreme makeover” home experts to Bangkok. How pumped we were when, on a Sunday morning last October, we prayed for Joe Laroy and Dan Boylan as they prepared to fly from Detroit to Bangkok. The Dieselberg’s welcomed them, and Joe and Dan spent the next week evaluating the two buildings, drawing up blueprints, estimating renovation costs, and lining up contractors to do the work. Plus, they came up with a game plan for any teams of volunteers who felt Godcalled to go to Bangkok and help do some work.
When the week of their labor was over, they were packed and ready to fly back home. Minutes before they were to arrive at the Bangkok airport they found out that 5000 Thai protestors had taken it over. All flights had been cancelled. The protestors were demanding that Thailand’s president step down. Joe and Dan were caught in the middle of a coup! When I heard the news my heart sank. My good friends were over there, and now it’s out of control and I don’t know what is going to happen. They remained there for another 15 days until, finally, the coup was completed and the protestors left the airport.
While they were there they spent their time doing personal work on the two buildings. And, they got an education about life and trusting in God that’s proven valuable to the both them and us. During that time I could not help but wonder if this was going to be one of those stories that ended in something tragic.
On March 22 my church is doing one of what is going to be a number of fund-raisers for Night Light Bangkok. Jeff & Annie need funds to renovate the buildings. They need it now. Once funds are secured, we have the game plan re. the steps of renovation, in order of priority.
Part of me sometimes thinks how absurd this is in a time of economic decline. But all of me saw God provide 1.3 million dollars in just 4 months. I conclude the following:
· God is not in some panic room over the economic situation
· God has not stopped being God
· There are thousands of young girls being sold daily to sex-addicted men every
day in Bangkok
· They need to be rescued – now
I hear God saying – “Let’s go for it!”
Priority #1 – Jewelry Shop
1. Glass walls – $2000
2. Air conditioner – $1500
3. Electrical – $1000
4. Showcase – $2700
5. Total – $8200
This will open up a showroom store which is needed for display and sales.
Priority #2 – Kitchen and Coffee Area for Customers
1. Remove existing kitchen
2. Replace with new cabinets and countertops
3. Snack bar area with chairs
4. Labor and materials approx. $6000
If you want to donate to this please contact me at Redeemer Fellowship Church – 734-242-5277.
And, come to our fund-raiser worship night Sun. night, March 22, 6:30 PM. Redeemer Fellowship church, 5305 Evergreen, Monroe, MI.