The music is pumping and the lights are flashing. 8 girls are climbing the stairs to the stage in a single file. Some are in bikinis, some are topless, while some are totally naked, but they have one thing in common, they have numbers pinned on their clothing or garter. As I sat there my heart broke. They weren’t women, they were now property to be auctioned off. They move to the music hoping someone would choose them, or perhaps hoping someone won’t.
I have spent the last week focusing on getting over jet lag and getting ready for the show in Columbia South Carolina today. If I can just tick off things on my list, I don’t have to think about what I saw. Except today, I am speaking to a woman’s group about my trip. The wall I built around my heart to get through all of this is having to be chiseled away. Am I ready? Is anyone ever ready for this?
2 days ago I shared some feelings of walking down Soi Cowboy in the Red Light District in Bangkok to 2 customers. I didn’t last 1 minute before breaking down. Every time I think about what I saw, I sob. What God would create as something so beautiful between a husband and wife, man would pervert. We are selling people because we can. There is no humanity present as I walk down the street and look at the customers interacting with the girls. The motto, “Everything is for sale,” is true here. But what no one thinks about is that it comes at a high cost.
I am not sure if I will ever fully share on social media what I saw because my stories might be banned. But one thing I know is, I am responsible to do something with what I know. Someone asked me the other day why I don’t just quit The Marketplace since it grieves my heart so much. Why do I put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable? The next morning I reflected on this. As Christians, we aren’t called to be comfortable. We are called to speak the truth and that is usually uncomfortable. What many wouldn’t know is directing The Marketplace is anything but comfortable. It’s long hours, emotional upheaval, dysfunctional relationships, doing a lot with little, watching artisans try to manage life with incredible trauma,... One thing I have learned is this, God doesn’t need me to run The Marketplace. He can get someone else to do that. He would like me to do it. Directing The Marketplace allows me to have a front row seat to the miracles of what God is doing. Is it uncomfortable? Absolutely! It also comes at a high cost. Uncomfortable as it is, I can’t sit back and watch women being sold. I have to stand up and fight for her. I have to tell her story. As you read the stories of my trip in the Red Light District, I hope you get uncomfortable. And then join me in affecting change.