LIGHTHOUSE IN ACTION
My name is “A”, this is what my Thai friends have called me for a long time. I am Thai (well actually I have a dual nationality as my dad is Hill tribe and my mom is Thai). I was born into a poor family who lived a simple life in the province.
From birth, I was labelled a curse on the family (because a family’s firstborn child is supposed to be a boy, and not a girl like me). My parents had much better lives before I was born, but the witch doctor said that I was born with bad luck and that I would bring no prosperity to my mum and dad. The witch doctor made my grandparents and all my family believed this.
When I was just 3 years old, my dad came home to find a man in the house . My dad chased the man away then came home, not saying anything and murdered my mom right then and there. Then my uncle came and asked my dad “Do you know what have you done?” That guy was a relative of my mom. He just came back from work but my dad never met him before.
My dad turned himself in and went to prison. After that nobody wanted me since I was only 3 years old. Everyone said I was a bad luck and cursed. My relatives from both sides of my family did not want to take care of me. I looked so much like my dad that my mom’s family could not accept me – he just murdered their daughter, so they did not want me to go and live with them.
Since no one wanted to take me, I ended up in an orphanage. As I reached my teen years, I wanted to have friends, be accepted by the society and accepted by people I was studying with. The party and social atmosphere was a real temptation for me. I was with friends who were not good influences. People in church warned my saying, “Don’t go and spend time with those people, they will lead you astray.” But I wanted to try and be lost. I knew that deep in my heart I was confused and messed up even if I regularly went to church each week because my missionary foster mom had told me that I had to go otherwise she would stop sponsoring me.
I went to church just so my pastor could see my face. Many times I was drunk or hung over. But going to church was one thing that allowed me to listen to the word of God every week.
One Sunday, during my 4th year at the university, my missionary mom ran to me, grabbed my shoulder and said “What have you done? If you don’t repent and turn away from your sins you’ll go to hell and I cannot help you.” They were harsh words for me to hear at that time of my life, but I had never had someone care for me the way she did – whether I did the right thing or not. She was the only one who loved me and showed me mercy.
That got me to think and reflect about my life and about God. If there really is a God, maybe He can help me the way I learned about Him as a child. That night, I lay in bed and cried. I prayed to God for the first time, “If you are real God, help me. I want a better life like others have.” The next day I went to see my pastor and confessed everything to him for about half day, he said “I knew, I knew all along.”
The things that I am doing now spring forth from the love, mercy, grace and hope that only comes from God. If God can change someone like me, someone rotten to be something real, I want to share that and give what I have to others. Through the ministry “Lighthouse In Action” we tell everyone that
“God loves you, He loves you!”
We won’t use a lot of words but we will show that through our actions. We will love through our actions.
I am now involved in a ministry that goes out to the pubs and the bars to spend time with our friends and not ignore them. We will not try to be a nun, monk or holy man. We go with them, encourage them, to be someone they can come to and trust.
We have many short term mission teams that come and go out to the prostitutes and people that society does not want to help and care of. We want to make the Wongen Kafe coffee shop a safe place. Young people like this can come and spend time here and come to know God and make a decision to have a better life before they go out to work and live their lives. We want them to come and meet God, listen and hear and get a new perspective of God.
That our God is true and real. That God is who He is. That God is alive and He can hear us and listen to all the things deep in our hearts. God cares for people like us, each and person. It doesn’t matter whether you are a teenager or and adult, homosexual, lesbian, or lady boys – people whom society looks down upon and want nothing to do with.
We want them to know God, to know true love through the Lord Jesus Christ. We want to lead them to the true love of God that we ourselves have experienced. If God can change my life I believe He can change anyone’s life. God can give everyone a future and He will help us to walk in that future just like God called to do.
Surely there is hope and a future and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18)
“A” is Emmi Khanthana, owner of Wongen Kafe (Zion Café) in JJ Market Chiangmai, Thailand. Her testimony is originally published at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQacdkYccRw