Thailand, Asia

THA03 - Rahab Ministries: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: June 1, 2008

Recent events


On Valentine ’s Day, we visited most of the bars in Patpong. In the past we have given out roses, but this year, sadly we had to cut down our expenses. We bought sweets and made little cards on the computer saying God loves you in Thai and expressing the pleasure in giving. On the other side of the card we offered a 50% discount on a shampoo and blow dry. The salon remains very quiet following the new salon opening downstairs so we needed to do some kind of promotion.

Rahab house is a lot more homely now thanks to some generous donations. The home was almost emptied
out last year to provide for those moving to Phortaram and we have had to nearly refit the whole house. Four of the new women who have left the bars have moved into the Rahab Home. One of them burst into tears
when she saw her room—it only had a mattress on the floor and some old faded sheets, but to her it was special. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, her room now has a bed and new bedding, bright curtains at her window and a small Japanese style table where she can read her Bible and study. Another couple gave money which we used to purchase bibles for Rahab which all the Christians have on loan and it is exciting to hear them all going off to their rooms at night to read their Bibles. They are hungry to know more of God.
Maniwan is our Thai speaking House Mum and she lives there with her daughter Nang. As well as being busy
helping the girls settle in, Maniwan is an important part of the Outreach team and is another strong prayer
warrior for Rahab. Nang makes jewellery and has helped at the Thai craft fair where we sell and promote our jewellery each month with other local artisans. She speaks good English and is always cheerful.

New profiles

Introducing Eff... Eff helps Prai with the running of Rahab Bazaar. If you receive jewellery from Rahab, Eff will have packaged it up, taken it to the Post Office and sent it. She collects orders from Sarah (who checks the emails each day) and is responsible for checking them off. She is as particular as Prai with quality control. Eff often helps with selling our jewellery at the Thai craft fair we attend once a month and can be found the day before preparing everything for the sale. She has a 10 year old daughter named Gluay. Gluay used to live at Rahab House, but now lives with her grandparents in Isaan as she likes the country lifestyle. Gluay is a bright, energetic girl who loves school and dancing.

Personal stories

A woman Yaw we spoke to at the salon recently, phoned her the next day to tell her of how a customer had tried to strangle her. She got away when he slept but was frightened and traumatised by the experience. Sadly when we Yaw and spoke to her about leaving the bars and coming to Rahab, the pull of money was too strong. She wants to buy a house and other things.

Partnership influence within the community

Paul the husband of Margaret also works at Rahab. Paul is a vital part of the team as he is responsible for promoting Rahab and looking after all our visitors who come to visit from overseas. Paul’s powerpoint on Rahab reflects the many hours he has spent researching the history of Rahab, Thailand, Thai culture and prostitution in both Patpong and Nana. Paul along with Margaret look after short term volunteers at Rahab and are responsible for all visitors. Paul also designed and made a banner we use to promote Rahab Bazaar at the Thai craft fair and other places we sell our jewellery. Before coming to Rahab, Paul worked in local government until entering the Presbyterian Ministry in 1985. His pastoral heart remains evident in his caring for all at Rahab. Paul is available to speak at Church services or groups within Thailand.

Current issues and challenges

Many of the girls we spoke to were touched by someone taking the time to visit them and I think “saw” the love we had for them. We were struck by the contrast of Patpong’s attempt to promote love for Valentine’s day amongst the darkness and squalor and what God’s love really is. Many of these women have been abused in so many ways by so many people as they keep the sex trade going in Thailand.

These women are victimised by the bar owners who employ them, the men and women who pay for them and often by the families who through Buddhist tradition which speaks of gaining merit by providing for family. Husbands who desert them and their children as if they were a disposable item and money lenders who charge families huge amounts they may struggle with for the rest of their lives all play their part in keeping the women trapped in prostitution. In Thailand this is a huge problem that is fully accepted on one hand and on the other, it‘s existence is denied by many. Although prostitution is illegal in Thailand, it makes too much money for the law to be enforced with any sincerity. In Thai culture what is not nice, “does not exist.” It is estimated that a significant number of men arriving in Thailand on their own are here for a “sex holiday.” When praying for these women pray against the spirit of Mammon that has a huge hold over prostitution.

Prayer and praise points

Rahab is an outreach into a difficult and sometimes dangerous community. Please continue to pray for the Rahab staff and for the women trapped in a cycle of struggle, poverty and violence in the prostitution industry in this area. Pray for the Rahab House and for the Hair Dressing Salon. Pray that more women come to the Salon and are able to hear about Jesus and his love for them.