Originally Posted By ykim1993 on 7/2/2015
20 hours, 1 layover, and many delicious airplane meals later, our team finally arrived in Bangkok safely and healthily. We are so grateful that God protected us and was with us the entire time. We are also so thankful for you guys for praying for us and thinking of us! It was a very smooth and easy flight, and couldn’t have asked for a better experience!
We started the day with a team meeting in Pastor Woogie’s room, and you could tell from our faces how excited and curious we were to finally begin ministry. The thought of exploring Bangkok and meeting Sophia felt like a distant dream until it hit us today that we are actually in Thailand. During mission trainings, all we could do was talk about what we would do and see pictures of what we would expect, so finally coming to Thailand felt surreal yet familiar.
In this gray area of the unknown and our expectations, we anticipated God’s surprises for the day. In our morning devotional we learned that God works in us through surprises, whether they may be surprises of joy or surprises of sorrow. With this truth in mind and faith in our hearts, we ventured out to the city to meet Sophia.
As some of you may already know, Sophia is an incredible woman who lives to share God’s love to the community around her. Her passion is for the women in the Red Light District, and she focuses on building relationships with them, walking beside them through the ups and downs of their lives. Hence, her ministry is appropriately called, Walk With Love. As we were sitting in the living room of the Walk With Love house, with the walls covered in pictures of the many lives she has touched, we could feel nothing but joy for Sophia and her heart, and for God who is clearly working in her. When she talked about her husband Sam, her face would light up and she would laugh as she teased him, calling him her “computer guy”. When she talked about the different children she’s been taking care of, and telling us how much they’ve grown not just physically but spiritually and emotionally, there was a spark in her eyes that caught our team’s attention. Her passion for serving the marginalized and loving God was so contagious and we could tangibly see the joy she has from fulfilling God’s calling for her.
But as Sophia began sharing more and more of her story, there was a certain cloud of sadness and heaviness as we learned about the cruelty and brokenness of mankind. She shared with us her story of being a victim of the sex industry, being sold at a very young age to men she didn’t know. She shared with us the excruciating years she spent as a child slave, being exploited and punished for her work. She shared with us the confusion, anger and despair she felt and wondering who she was and why these things were happening to her. Our hearts felt heavy, filled with sorrow, as we heard about the suffering Sophia went through; a suffering we could never imagine.
Joy and sorrow are inseparable, and God uses them both to reveal Himself in our lives. What we learned from Sophia today is that joy and sorrow can co-exist perfectly in our lives just as God designed them to. We cannot focus only on the joys or only on the sorrows, but we must recognize both to clearly see God’s fingerprints. Sophia’s story is an incredible one not because of the things she’s experienced, but because of her acceptance and recognition that God had created her uniquely, with all of the joys and all of the sorrows, to bring glory to Him. As Sophia continues to touches lives and makes impact in her community, we hope that the people around her may see this truth as well.
We are continually being reminded of this as we share with our teammates the different joys and sorrows in our lives. We would also love to hear from you guys. If you feel challenged to share with us some of the ways God has been using the joys and sorrows in your lives, feel free to comment below! We would definitely be encouraged by your stories, the stories God had created uniquely, just for you.