Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love Acts through Andria!

This is an update on the missionary work of Andria Jasper.  It was prepared on Saturday, February 25 for use at Crossroads Community Church of Cokato.  Due to a computer issue we were unable to share it fully at that time.  (On Feb 29 we received an email and newsletter from Andria that you can access by clicking ►here◄ [pdf document]).  (As always, the colored words on this blog are links).

Almost two years ago, in April 2010, God brought a group of young people into our lives.

This group, here pictured the evening we met them—this group was from Bethel College of Missions.

They had been on a faith walk that day and the Lord arranged for them to stay overnight at our house and to come to church the next day. It was truly a blessing for all of us.

We’ve kept in touch since then. One of the group, one you see in the middle of this picture, Andria Jasper, she came back to our area last August.

When she was here she shared her testimony to God’s work in her life and her dream—her dream to go to Thailand as a missionary, to go to Thailand to work with some of the most broken people in the world.

Andria has been in Thailand now for several months. At right is a photo of her with one of the other students from Bethel College of Missions in Thailand—Andria is on your right.

Thanks to donations from many including from Crossroads, she was able to go to Thailand to work even though she does not have a home church to support her.

Since September she has learned the Thai language and the Thai culture and as of this month is working with an organization called “LOVE ACTS.” They city Andria is living and working in is called Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is a sex tourism destination. Many prostitutes work the streets and bars—women, men and children. Some are literally enslaved, others see no other option for their lives.

The LOVE ACTS website says:
"During tourist high season thousands of visitors crowd the city’s bars, nightclubs, massage parlors. If you talk statistics it can seem hopeless."
HOWEVER, with the POWER OF GOD active through the Holy Spirit, touching the flame of love and courage in people like you and me, Andria and others who work through the LOVE ACTS organization and others like it—it’s far from hopeless.

With Jesus, no one is without hope.

So what is Andria doing in Chiang Mai?

Here’s what she wrote earlier this week:
I think the website you found covers a lot about what Love Acts is. But just an overview from my aspect: Love Acts is all about building relationships with the girls in the bars, being there for them when no one else is. Showing them the love of Christ daily. We teach them English in the mornings, a few girls, this gives us opportunities to go one on one with them and really build a deep relationship with them and in time are able to share Jesus with them when they start asking questions. In the evenings we go out to the bars when they are all working and hang out with them, try to build more relationship with them. Usually when we show up they forget their jobs and will play pool with us or just talk with us. It is awesome to see!
Though the red light district may be dark, there is no darkness that can overcome the Light, so that is what LOVE ACTS, and Andria bring to broken people every week.

(By the way, when Andria and others teach English, they teach right where the “girls” are… in bars and massage parlors.  Wow.)

So that’s what Andria is doing these days.

The LOVE ACTS group also works with children. There are little children who work in Chiang Mai selling roses in the red-light district. So the LOVE ACTS organization sends volunteers like Andria to build trusting relationships with those children, to visit them in their slum homes, and then to show them Jesus through their actions and their lives.

You can keep in touch with Andria through her blogs at walkingthepath.tk and andriajasper.blogspot.com.  Another way she shares her ministry with us is through her facebook group.  I'd encourage you to join it... Please let me (Pastor Steve) know you're interested and I'll connect you with "Andria's Journey Ahead."

Here are a couple things she has written recently, in her words:
Feb. 3 - So as I was sitting in a bar last night talking with some of the women, and sharing the gospel with a guy.....I sat there wondering how did I get here? lol! I started thinking how for literally the next 11 months I will be hanging out in bars (of course only ever having orange juice), it is crazy to think this is where the Lord has brought me, but man He is already giving me a deep heart for them so much that it already hurts! The darkest places need to see the light and I now find myself spending most nights in the darkest places here in Chiang Mai. The light will shine forth in these women's lives and the men that go to these bars, pray for them when you think about it! Kap Khun Kha! (Thank you!)
Two days later she wrote this:
Feb. 5 - Darkness is all around, every direction you look you see the influence of Satan. How can one place be so dark, I keep finding myself asking time and time again as I walk the street? Thinking how broken every person is that I am walking by, no matter who they are or why they are there the Lord desires to break through their walls. The darkness does not have to overtake them, no matter the choices they make daily. He still longs for them, His heart is after them. Who am I to judge, who am I to think I have them figured out? I was once lost and broken, confused and searching for something that would fill the hole in my heart. It took me time and many mistakes to find the Lord, and many other mistakes after that to come to the point of fully trusting Him. The love of the Father is so much stronger than anything we could ever face. With His love running through me I can love these women and men and ladyboys in the way that He does, I can see them how He does. If I need love I can only imagine how much more they long for genuine love, the love of the Father who will never hurt them.
I asked Andria what she would have us pray about specifically, she mentioned two things, the first having to do with an opportunity LOVE ACTS has been presented with in Chiang Mai.  In response Andria wrote:
Love Acts is praying for a building on the red light district that they can have for the women to come and hang out and be safe. There is currently one building for sale that is directly in the middle of the red light district. Sadly this building is expensive so we cannot afford it, please pray that the Lord would provide a way for Love Acts to get this building before it is sold to someone else! Thank you!
I wrote to the LOVE ACTS organization and their director (Bethsaida Portalatin) responded by saying:
"This building would be a center for the women and children who work [in the red-light district], a safe place for classes, babysitting, a prayer room, and would give us a safe place to bring the “girls” and spend more quality time with them.
"Other prayer requests that are perpetual:
-continued favor with the bar girls, bar owners, ladyboys, and children who work there.
-continued physical and spiritual protection as the enemy is NOT happy about the presence God is making there.
- long term, full-time volunteers to work alongside us, men and women, who are willing to invest in the Thai people for the long run.
-for our translator to grow in the Lord. She used to work in the bars, but is now working with us, and recently put her faith in Jesus. She has a long road ahead. Her name is Bee."
As for Andria, her second prayer request was for her finances. She is a bit under-funded. I happen to know that is because of specific challenges you can read more about in her testimony. Andria has come out of a difficult time in her life and that means she doesn’t have as much support as others do. Her personal mission work is underfunded about $100 per month, but Andria’s faith is so strong. She says:
I know the Lord will take care of it! Thank you for your prayers and support, The Lord is doing a lot here and it is a blessing to be a part of it.
Here's a video produced by LOVE ACTS that showcases their ministry:
Love Acts | Thailand Outreach Ministry from Susanna April on Vimeo.

I hope you will consider supporting Andira. Go to this link to learn how you might do that - http://equalsharing.blogspot.com/2011/07/send-missionary.html.

In any case PLEASE pray!


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