The city of Bangkok in the country of Thailand has a reputation in America and probably other places as a place of rampant prostitution. Although prostitution is illegal here, authorities mostly turn the other way. One of the red light districts in Bangkok is called Nana. The center of that district is Nana Place – the entrance to which is pictured below.
As I understand it, the bars and “massage parlors” along this strip employ women who sit and talk with men who come in and let things flow from there. The bars all have rows of tables with stools along the front near the street and these tables are often filled with men having drinks. Other women who are not working in a particular establishment are called “freelancers” and stand along the street aggressively soliciting men who walk by. The environment is a monument to unrestrained debauchery.
We had an opportunity to prayer walk down this street in late afternoon before many of the bars had opened. Even at that early hour, the evidence of the lostness of that street was so palpable it seemed to hang in the air with a heaviness. We saw the large Buddhist shrine just inside Nana Plaza where women would give offerings in the hopes that they would have good business that evening.
Trying to pray while walking down this street was difficult. I wasn’t sure what words to even begin with – this seemed like a place totally devoid of God’s presence. It was a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah and it seemed that the people here were brazenly defying anyone to tell them that what they were doing was wrong. It was hard not to weep at the pain these women must live through. Even the men must be so dissatisfied with the cold temporary companionship they would find here.
But even in this dark, dark place, I saw evidence that God does not abandon any of his people. In the midst of all of the activity going on, there stands a coffee shop owned by a Christian called CityLight Coffee. This shop is a beacon of light in the darkness – a place where some of these lost men and women might escape and simply be loved and shown compassion. I also saw our friend Kelly, who has a heart to minister to the women caught up in this system, speak to a few of them with such kindness and gentleness. I was so blessed by the hope seen in these believers as they sought to be an image of Christ in a place of evil and idolatry. Pray for Kelly as she is hoping to start a job training site that might help some of these women escape Nana and the other similar districts.
John 1:1: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.