Three years ago when I was still living at my parents house, I bumped into an old schoolmate of mine whom I haven’t seen since grade 11. She had a friend with her and they too were on their way home. Surprisingly we got off at the same stop and as we were catching up while walking, it turns out they both lived just across from my house!
I invited them to come to my mom’s birthday party BBQ we were having and we thought how crazy was this connection??
This was the only time we had a chance to hang out before I left for my missionary schooling in New Zealand. The commonality between us was personal issues we were all facing and learning how to cope. How fortunate that I found a purposeful life on the journey of finding my identity in Christ. I was tired of serving two masters. I felt like I couldn’t trust either.. Yet it was I who was the betrayer. You can’t love the world and God at the same time. We must choose what or who will govern your life.
Anyway it was like fate when we all met and then it was sad to depart but after 3 years I got in touch with my high schoolmate’s friend again. Her nickname is Nang.
I remember her being very open to sharing with me even though we just met. we kept in touch only for a short bit through email. Then the last thing I read from her about 2 years ago is that she started attending an elderly coworker who invited her to his place to study the bible together. But finally after 3 years I emailed her and she happened to be coming back from Thailand. so we decided to get together. I thought I’d never see her again!
We went for pho aka beef noodle soup at a Vietnamese restaurant and sat in the furtherest booth since I knew what she had to tell me would open up to the deepest part of her life. I wasn’t prepared for it, but I knew when she said, “let’s eat first and then we can talk..” that she has had a rough few years.
We had just started eating when I told her what I was doing in the Philippines, somehow I sensed somewhere in her upbringing she had similar experiences as the girls in my ministry. We forgot about our meals for the most part and I started opening up about what led me to leave home in the first place. Nang was overwhelmed by gratitude and thanked me for being so willing to be part of this journey in helping others. She came around the table and sat beside me.
She emotionally but willingly shared with me her upbringing as a child in Thailand with 2 brothers. Her mother was a prostitute to provide for her family and her father was part of a gang and would do horrible things like raping girls and stealing. While her mom would do what she could to keep the family sheltered and fed.. the father would go out with other women and even would get arrested for his crimes. Her mother got fed up with it and wanted to keep Nangbut the father used her as a way to keep the mother from leaving. Nang was 4 years old at the time.The father took Nang and ended up sleeping on the streets. This was the only memory she had of with her father. As she woke up she remembers a nun dressed all in white looking at her. Then she recalled her uncle who happened to pass by, was shocked to find his niece on the streets so he took her back to her mother. Nang was so grateful that she was rescued and did not end up with her father. She wouldn’t have known what kind of life she would have if she hadn’t been saved from him.
She and I both knew that Someone had a plan for her life and was watching over her.
The story doesn’t end there. Her mother met a Canadian so they got married and flew over to Canada, their new home.
Her stepfather from when Nang was 11 years old had started molesting her until 18 years old. She explained that she didn’t know it was wrong until she got older, which led to feelings of shame. Her mother knew of it but did nothing to stop it. Nang would confront her stepdad, but he would just dismiss it and deny responsibility.
Her mother moved in with another man and because Nang grew up with her stepfather she felt saver with him rather than live with her mom and the strange man.
I asked her when the last time she got molested and she said tearfully that it was a year and a half ago when she last visited him and slept over. She is now 28 years old. When it occurred, she awoke to him caught in the act and asked him why he would do such a thing.. same response as usual.
I was stunned that she still had compassion for this poor excuse of a man whom she still regarded as her father. This woman blew me away. I started to wonder who was ministering to who at this point. I then asked if she had forgiven both of her fathers and she said she had. Amidst all the pain she experienced she was willing to offer grace to the people that hurt her. She even prays that they would turn from their evil ways.
She never considered herself a Christian but from what she was telling me.. she already had a relationship with God and understood that life is not perfect but its what you learn and take from it.
I told her that she had the qualities of a Christian. She was shocked.. I told her I was shocked that’s she was shocked! She would even say that she felt sorry for her 2 fathers and would pray that they would change before its too late..
Wow.. are you kidding me! she must know Jesus already!
Her mother’s belief was Buddhist and get this.. Catholic as well. And her stepfather considered himself Catholic but not devoted. She would pray for our mutual friend and I told her I was praying for her and our friend as well. Nang then told me that when she attended bible study at her friend’s place, she didn’t understand the scripturesbut she “felt something she couldn’t describe” and I explained it was the Holy Spirit stirring in her.
She had broken up with her boyfriend a couple of months ago after being together for about 8 months. Nang basically caught him on the phone with another girl arranging a trip to Thailand. When she confronted him he dismissed it and said she was crazy, which made her decision easier. Before she caught him talking to this girl, Nang had already felt something about him. she calls this a “bad energy” and after hearing her use that term before with a friend of hers I told her that I think she meant an “evil spirit”. She was given a gift of discernment without knowing the term for it. It was God’s doing to put a stop to this relationship and draw her to Him instead. This girl just wanted to be respected and loved equally by the men she cared for in her life. I told her that God wanted her to know that He is her first love. She told me to repeat that again.. “I am your first love.”
She wept knowing that the Lord would satisfy her deepest longings. I saw the power of God’s love penetrate her tender heart. It was so beautiful to witness a daughter knowing she’s adored and chased after the unrelenting jealous love of the Prince of Peace. He would be everything and more than she has ever wished for.
Nang then took out her mp3 and together we listened to Lauryn Hill – “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind” Click to Listen
If you listen to the lyrics it talks of a bad breakup and how she has found The Lord as the source of peace. Is this girl awesome or what? God’s presence has been so evident in her life from the start. I’m just part of the chain of influence of others that have sowed seeds into her life.
AfterwardsI asked if she wanted to receive salvation. She didn’t feel like she deserved to be loved by Him because of the bad things she’s done, but I explained that we just need to ask forgiveness and believe that he died for our sins. He came to reconcile us to God, but its our choice to have a relationship with Him. We don’t need to be perfect to come before Christ and no one is without fault except Jesus Himself. But through the Holy Spirit working in our lives we can be on our way to perfection.
I led her to ask for forgiveness and receiving Christ into her heart and giving her whole life to The Lord. Then we ended with her own personal prayer.. Her sweet and genuine response to Him was, “Thank you for loving me.”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
She was so honoured to still be in touch and have me in her life and I was like “Are you kidding me!? I’M honoured to meet with you hear your story!” She’s already impacted me with her testimony and she will encourage many more because of her solidified faith! Nang already has a heart for the children in Africa and wants to be a missionary.. God is gonna use this amazing girl! My faith has greatly increased and I was so blessed to witness the confession of faith from an overcomer.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It was time to celebrate! We were both still hungry probably cause of the emotionally stimulating conversation.. so we went to Whole Foods and had some dessert. She began opening up to me about how her mother was with the other man now and her stepdad is in Thailand living with another woman. Her cousin’s daughter was given over to her stepdad to take care of and she is just 3 years old. Nang’s fear is that the same thing would happen with her by her stepdad. When Nang went to visit her family in Thailand a few months ago that girl came up to her asking if she could be her mother. Ever since then thatgirl has been close to her heart. I prayed for Nang to be a light to her family and for God to break all the bondage of evil attacking them. Please pray for protection and reconciliation between the parents so that the girl would be safe In a loving home.
The Lord had answered my prayer to be used in Canada. If I was sent to do YWAM and be part of the prostitution ministry the Philippines so that I could talk with Nang, it’s worth the 3 years of preparation. Her Thai background was also similar to the Filipino culture and I knew it was no coincidence to have met her just before I went to YWAM.
And get this… On the 7th I will behouse sitting on the same street where Nang lives. I hope to help her get connected to a church where she can be part of a family of believers that care for her. She has similarities with my mom of loving free food samples and Whole Foods Stores so maybe my mother can help disciple her and just have a friend to hang with! Not to mention, all the sleepovers and baking dates we are going to have before I leave!
I had to lay down my presumptions of how it would happen and let God take over. He showed me it was none of my doing cause I was so tired from hanging out the night before and didn’t think I would be ministering that very day. Usually I would be in prayer before we met up and had an expectation of how the Holy Spirit would use me. God needed me to rely and trust in His confidence. It was nothing out of my own doing.. It was just my availability and God giving me the ability. Just like my meeting with the girl at McDonald’s in the Philippines 3 posts ago. Out of submitting my weak human strength Christ is made all the more powerful. Are we willing to surrender everything and everybody we hold dear to The Lord?
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10