Have you ever found yourself on the other side of the world with your eyes popping out of your
sockets and your heart flung wide open for people you have never met before? I had this life changing experience travelling with Linwood's Thailand team for the last two years to connect with Home of New Beginnings in Bangkok, and both trips have been rich and challenging. Once you've gone on a trip with Linwood House, you realize that the trip was not just about going to witness the injustice to women and children, or to stand with women who are exploited, but that deep things within you emerge and unfold like they never would at home. My internationl Journeys have been a mission of my heart, a times to examine the state of my sould, and get right with my wrongs. It's a time to deepen relationships with one another, with women across the world, with God.
Our team spent days weaving in and out of red light districts doing outreach in GoGo Bars, and
teaching English with the 16 young women at the home. It soon became evident to me that these
trips were teaching me what you don’t learn in church, school, or at work. Naivete was washed
away as I learned of the estimated 2 million women and children who are trafficked in Thailand
each year and the millions worldwide. There is a difference between standing by and standing
with. A new understanding unravelled in a messy sort of way that paved the way for new
possibilities. It gave permission to ask the tough questions. I found new courage to have
conversations and instead of being a bystander in these important issues, I was able to stand
with those worldwide whose voices are silenced. Whether I was talking about Jesus with a
naked woman with a cross dangling from her boots (read the whole story here), or holding little
ones in an orphanage whose mothers had died of HIV, I found God was so very present in His
love for each person I encountered. And as I witnessed young women open their hearts, my
cold, numb heart melted. Returning from Bangkok twice now, I feel like I’ve had a heart
transplant. The words from Ezekiel 36 come to mind. ”I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in
you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God willed, not
self-willed” Ezk 36:26 MSG.
The Home of New Beginnings offers freedom from exploitation and sex slavery in Bangkok
providing opportunities for young women to leave the bars and live in a real home where they are
nurtured and cared for. Learning English could be a lifeline for many of them, and they can
complete their high school education and go to university through the scholarships offered.
These 16 girls need your prayers, as do the loving team that runs the home, Bonita, Anne, and
Leena. For more information on the home visit http//homeofnewbeginings.com.