From the Home of Ricky and Karen Sanchez, MB Missionaries in Thailand.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
One of the ministries we started under ALH is called ‘Project Standing Strong’ (PSS). We started this seven years ago in response to the many women in poverty who were coming to the Abundant Life Home to drop off their children. Our policy is not to take in children who have living relatives, and yet these women were desperate. Our response was to create Project Standing Strong where we offer women in crisis a safe and loving home to get out of the sex trade, keep their children with them and rebuild their lives. Here are the stories of 3 women who have come through our lives and ministry recently.
It was December 2017, and our two daughters were home from college for Christmas. We decided to get our Zion Church women and Katie and Casidi, fellow missionaries, and go downtown to do evangelism in the red light district. After handing out tracts and praying for a few girls, Taay, suggested we offer to buy 2 hours of ‘Bomb’s’ time, the girl she had connected with. Bomb agreed and we went to a coffee shop.
For about 18 USD, Bomb gave us 2 hours to present the gospel and share our testimonies with her. Near the end, Bomb asked to receive Christ. She was not ready to leave her life on the streets, but she could not turn down this ‘Good News.’ We hugged and celebrated, but at the end, sadly, Bomb would not give us her phone number to follow up with her.
For the next few months, I went downtown to look for her at night, but could never find her. Our hearts were anxious to see Bomb walk in the fullness of her new salvation. Fast forward to May… One of our ALH girls, Duan, was arriving home in Chonburi from a 12 hour bus ride, late at night. As she stepped off the bus, a girl rode up and said she would give Duan a ride home. When Duan arrived at our house, she asked for some money to pay the kind stranger. As I walked out to see who this person was, I was shocked to see it was Bomb! We stared at each other in disbelief!
I had looked for Bomb unsuccessfully for 4 months, and in a city of about 700,000 people, all of a sudden Bomb was on my doorstep. She brought Duan home safely, and admitted this could only be a miracle! Ricky and I prayed for Bomb, and this time she gladly gave us her phone number.
Pray for Bomb. She is not yet ready to leave the sex trade, but she trusts us more now and we are trusting God for her rescue soon!
Mel grew up in a Christian family in the Issan. Her grandmother was an evangelist and her uncle was a pastor. At 16, Mel began to rebel so her family sent her to bible school. One night, Mel ran away to Pattaya. Once there, she was soon in debt and began to sell her body to survive. She became pregnant at 16, and gave her baby to her parents so she could rush back to Pattaya. After that, she became a mistress to a Turkish man when he came to Thailand on his business trips. Soon she became pregnant again, and the man’s wife found out and they cut her off. Mel was too ashamed to tell her family, so she ended up at a Christian Home for Unwed Women in Bangkok.
My Thai friend, Oiy, works at this home. After Mel had her baby, Oiy asked me if they could come live at ALH. We took Mel and her baby in, and bonded with them. Mel came to Zion Church, and the Holy Spirit came over her and she gave a powerful testimony that God had given her everything, and she had squandered it all away. We thought there was breakthrough, but the next morning she told us she was returning to Pattaya with her baby in tow no matter how much help we offered her.
Taa’s parents died when she was 10. To help her siblings, she ran away to Pattaya when she was 14. She quickly had a baby, and her aunt took the baby in. Since 14, Taa was raped, beaten, kidnapped and finally trafficked to Malaysia. There, a Nigerian man bought her, and forced her into unpaid prostitution. Taa got pregnant, and after a particularly brutal beating, she decided to run away. She met a Christian lady in the Malaysian city nearby, who paid for a plane ticket back to Thailand for Taa.
Back in Bangkok, Taa ended up at the Grace Home for unwed women, where she continued to hear about Christ. Many volunteers built on the testimony of the woman in Malaysia and Taa watched and listened attentively. Oiy sent Taa and her baby to live with us at ALH. Again she heard many testimonies from our staff and believers about God’s love and power to rescue.
One day, Taa told me she wanted to accept Christ with everyone present…all the moms, the children, the babies and the church members. We had a team from MEI high school there as well, and everyone joined Taa as she gave her life to Christ. Taa was crying with joy! Then she shared how she had a spirit that prevented her from having a peaceful night’s sleep. This spirit had taken up residence in Taa when she was little and went everywhere she went. We had Taa pray a prayer of breaking all ties and generational sin casting out this spirit. As the spirit fought to stay, Taa began to scream. Many people in the room were praying for Taa, and some were scared. Finally, Taa began to weep and the screaming stopped. She said, “It’s gone! It’s finally left me! I’m free at last!”
That night, Taa slept through the night for the first time since she was a young girl. The joy and change in Taa evident in her face, yet she still was convinced she was going to leave her baby at an orphanage in Pattaya. We had secured a spot for her at Tamar Ministries in Pattaya, and they were happy to have her baby too, but Taa was not willing to keep her baby.
We left for Pattaya. The plan was to stop at the orphanage, and Taa would leave her baby there for adoption. Then we would carry on to Tamar where Taa had a job waiting for her. At the orphanage, the social worker asked for the documents for the baby, and I looked at Taa. She looked at me. I thought she had them. I quickly called Tamar, and they said she could bring the baby, no problem. Taa made me promise I’d mail the documents the next day. But as I was leaving Taa at Tamar, the director of Tamar whispered to me to wait a few days…’you never know what God might do’. Sure enough, 3 days later, Taa called me to say she was keeping her baby because she felt loved and accepted by the believers at Tamar and it gave her the courage to forge ahead with her little one.
For the next couple of weeks, I called Mel off and on and prayed for her over the phone. She was miserable, back selling her body in Pattaya. And then one day Taa sent me a picture of her with Mel at Tamar. ‘Mel joined me at Tamar! I told her how loving everyone is and now we are both here and so happy!’
It’s a good world and we serve a good God…look around and see all the pieces and people God puts into place to rescue and transform His precious children and jump into the story!
“…who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4
Please pray for Bomb, Taa and Mel.
Karen and Ricky and girls