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husband’s daycare.

Monday morning, we woke up to go to ministry training. The plan was to eat lunch, take a bus out to Patong and walk down Bangla Road once with an explanation of what was what and then to walk back in prayer asking God what to do about it.

During the day, Bangla Road is full of shops and tourists including a large handful of beautiful Australians, elderly men, bar girls and shop owners, and not to mention families with young children. The first sign we see says

“HUSBAND’S DAY CARE. WANT A NIGHT TO YOURSELF? DROP YOUR HUSBAND OFF HERE, AND WE’LL TAKE CARE OF HIM. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PAY FOR HIS DRINKS.”

As we continued on, we took a stroll down one of the side streets. On our right, we observed dozens of open bars, but on our left, I’m confident in saying we were all pretty taken aback. You can hear about the closed bars, you can see pictures, but nothing can prepare you for the spiritual oppression radiating even from the signs on the doors of those places. With cages for dancers at the ready, we observed a young woman sitting outside while a Thai man, likely the bar owner, stood beside her speaking to her. As tears ran down her face, we couldn’t help but imagine what the source was and how in the world we could help.

That night, I went to “Joy Bar,” which is awesome, because all I could pray for for the day was joy. I met a beautiful young woman named Ming. She is 18 years old, and ridiculously gorgeous on the outside, but it wasn’t until she smiled that she became absolutely captivating. I asked her about her life and where she was from and how long she worked at the bar. I asked her if she liked her job, and she said yes. I told her about my job and how I get to work with young children and meet cool families. I asked her if she meets cool people, and her face went completely blank as she shook her head just slightly. I could tell she was broken. I changed the subject for the moment in hopes to go back to her and form a deeper bond. After playing some bar games (connect 4!) my team said their goodbyes and made a promise to return on Wednesday night.

Next, our leader told us to walk down Soi Tiger. He pointed us in a direction, and I could have sworn that he pointed us down the wrong street. It really wasn’t a street at all. It was an isle between dozens of bars with women dancing on bar-tops and men watching and just acting like everything’s fine and normal. When I finally realized that this was where our leader was sending us, I sat at the bar completely solemn as the other two girls in my group ordered soda. I had to get a water to swallow down the weight on my chest. With about six girls on the bar, two of the bar girls served us drinks. We began speaking with them and asking them about themselves. One of the girls talked to us for about 30 minutes while the other girl ran to an oncoming customer. From the looks of it, he was a regular. As she ran to hug him and sit with him, I could see this guise come over her. Anytime he wasn’t looking at her, her face went completely blank, and as soon as he turned his head toward her, she put on this flirty smile and began to laugh. It killed me, because I knew where the night was headed for them, and it just broke my heart. As I sat there, frustrated and confused, I made eye contact with the 50 year old man sitting with his wife across from me at the bar. He instantly looked down with a face reflecting shame. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had a daughter my age or the age of the girls whose legs were two inches before him.

I don’t know how to handle sitting on one side of the bar while a couple my parents age sit in front of me.
I don’t know how to handle seeing strollers on Bangla.
I don’t know how to handle the heartbreak I experience with the amount of wedding rings I saw in that place.

It’s crazy though, I don’t feel a bit of hate toward these men. I just feel sad. It breaks my heart to think of the state of their hearts. They’re just searching for something to completely satisfy them, and they wake up the next morning realizing that the feeling didn’t last, so they do it again night after night hoping the high will eventually be enough.

I just want to challenge anyone reading this to pray for the girls and the men on the Red Light districts anytime you see a stop light this week… get it? Red light. That would be much more of a blessing than you know.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers on this journey.
Yours truly,
Shelby

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