How can I describe to you the things that I’ve see on Bangla Road this past week? How can such a short stretch of pavement house over 200 bars and 1200 girls working there, being bought with BAHT (Thai currency)? The streets are packed with people as we arrive around 10pm. Russian girls are dancing on poles in glass cages high above and out of our grasp, Thai women dancing on tables with everything hanging out, “lady boys” (men dressed and stitched to look like women) clothed in elaborate feathers and wings. It’s so LOUD, lights flashing, men and women standing in lines handing out “boom boom” fliers with naked girls and lists with prices, people inviting us to “ping pong” shows at “closed bars” (where we are not allowed to enter for safety), white men with multiple Thai women on his lap, paying money seeking empty pleasure right before my eyes.
I turn my head to the women bringing us our sprites, and look into their eyes and ask their names…something probably no one has done yet tonight. I ask their story. “Do you have children?” “How long have you worked here?” “Where are you from?” “Do you like it here?” We play checkers as we talk. And my over-priced soda enables me to give dignity to a woman for about 30 minutes. This is just the beginning beautiful friend.
Our first night out, a small group of us met Ale. She’s been at this particular bar for only a few months and her English isn’t too developed yet, but we immediately connect with her. She’s funny and sweet. She’s beautiful. The next night we came back to visit and she greets us by name and with hugs. We find out her birthday is Thursday. The next night we stay back and pray for the teams going out. Thursday comes and we ready one of the journals I brought from home with Thai language: “Happy birthday! We are happy to be your friends!” We arrive, order our drinks and catch up. We give her the gift and she shows us a picture of her little girls. We snap a picture together. She is called by the bar owner to go dance on the table. We ask her if she likes it. She shakes her head and gives us a sad face. We embrace and she kisses us, and turns her cheek for us to do the same.
And as we turn to leave, we see a woman worth more than being bought with BAHT. We see our friend. We see a beautiful creation of God. A woman whom Jesus wants to rescue and redeem.  Pray for us.

More Articles in This Topic