Monique’s reflections about training at ISM and internship at NightLight. Re-blogged with permission
MOMENTS OF IMPACT
March 25, 2014
“The moment of impact provides potential for change. It has ripple effects far beyond what we can predict.” – The Vow
A single moment has the power to change your life. It can change your future, your present, and even your outlook on the past. I have been so blessed to have had many moments like these over the past seven months. I thank God for opening the doors for these moments, moments that I will cherish in my heart for years to come. As my time in South East Asia is coming to an end, I thought I would share a few of my most cherished moments.
Prison Ministry, September (ISM)
Doing prison ministry at Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre was one of the most powerful experiences of my entire life. It was humbling, challenging, eye opening, and made me question my faith. I walked towards the fence lined with refugees, the fence separating freedom from captivity, with an attitude of superiority. Superiority in the sense that I was expecting these refugees to be hopeless and alone, in need of my help and encouragement. I was going to walk up to that fence and share the love of Jesus with people who needed it the most. God had other plans. As I walked away from the fence an hour later, my attitude of superiority had been replaced with humility, respect, and amazement. I was left speechless. For the duration of the entire visiting hour I did not serve, but was being served and ministered to by the prisoners. From spontaneous worship to prophetic words and prayer, it was one of the most impactful experiences of my life. All of the refugees were full of such joy and happiness. They had an unwavering faith that I was envious of. They had nothing. They were separated from family, persecuted for their faith, indefinitely imprisoned in a foreign country, yet were more trusting in God than most people in North America, including myself. I will never forget the faith of the IDC refugees.
Christmas at NightLight, December
Christmas. It was a time of sadness, but also a time of joy. I was missing my family, our traditions, the snow, singing Christmas carols in church, and the holiday spirit at home. There was Christmas music playing in the malls downtown Bangkok, some Christmas trees and lights hung around the parts of the city where most Westerners and tourists flock to, but other than that it was as if it was mid August, 30 degrees and all. However, being away from the consumer centred holiday in North America allowed me to experience the true meaning of Christmas. Instead of shopping for gifts for my friends and family, I helped put together hundreds of gift bags which we later handed out to the women working in the go-go bars of the red light district. Instead of singing Christmas carols in church, we sang Christmas carols inside of a brothel, and then walked across the street and sang on the steps of another. Instead of giving gifts to my family, we went into slums throughout Bangkok and handed out gifts with the Thai women employed by NightLight. Instead of celebrating Christmas with family and friends, I celebrated Christmas Thai style with the NightLight family. December was a month of many blessings and joy.
The Critical Shift, January 2014
7 months living in South East Asia seems like a long time. That turned into what I thought was an eternity during my first 3 months in Bangkok. I went through my daily routine dragging my heals, being irritated by cultural differences, and complaining about the heat. But then there was a shift. I didn’t realize it for a while, but when I did it was one of the most important moments of my time here. I had stopped checking the weather in Ontario, I had stopped looking at the weekly worship schedule at my home church, I had stopped wishing I could eat Western food. Instead of counting down the days until I was home, I was counting the days before I had to leave, not wanting my internship to be over and shocked at how fast the time was flying by. This shift in thinking changed everything. The things I had done before with a poor attitude now gave me joy, new doors began to open with new opportunities, I began building deeper relationships. I stopped mentally living at home, and instead I began to feel at home here. And what a difference that made. I am so thankful that I was able to discover the joy that God had for me here.
I will never forget my first night on outreach. My past experience walking through the red light district was full of anger and a feeling of defeat, but walking into the bar and coming face to face with Bangkok’s notorious sex industry for the first time on outreach I was surprisingly filled with joy and hope. Joy and hope that could only come from God. I have seen and experienced so many things on outreach that I will never forget. Every week I have the privilege of going into the go-go bars and talking with women, women who wear numbers and are chosen by men as an item for sale. We have handed out invitations to medical clinics, given roses to women on Valentine’s Day, and given gifts to women on Christmas. I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of NightLight’s outreach team for the past seven months.
Art & Worship
I brought my violin with me to SEA thinking that I would need it for my first month of school, and then it would collect dust under my bed for the remaining six months. I am so happy to say that that has not been the case. Twice a week I have the privilege of being a part of “The NightLight Band” in morning chapel. I watch women worshipping God, women whose lives have been completely transformed, rescued and set free by Jesus. For the past six months I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to serve NightLight through art as well. From painting a wall mural to designing an eight panel chalk board menu, and all kinds of small projects in between, it has given me so much joy to be able to use the gifts God has given me for His Kingdom. What has given me the most joy though, has been teaching an art class to a handful of the NightLight women. Our Friday afternoon class is the perfect end to the week. Being able to share art with them, paint together, and see their creativity flourish is such a beautiful thing.