When you go on the World Race, it is such an honor to come alongside incredible men and women of God in each country. It’s month nine and we’re in Thailand this month – I’d like to pass on a few words of wisdom our host Emmi had for us which I think will be helpful for current and future World Racers:
1. Pray that God would give you all of your heart back for each country.
Traveling from country to country is amazing – getting to see new places and meeting incredible people – but what no one tells you is in turn how many goodbyes you will have. It can be painful to separate from people you’ve come to know and love throughout the month, and without realizing it, you may begin to guard your heart to protect yourself from the pain.
At the beginning of the month, Emmi told us to ask God to give all of our heart back for Thailand so that we can give 100% to this ministry. We did, and it was amazing to see our love for Thailand and the Thai people grow by just coming to God with this simple prayer.
2. Ask for God to show you the one person he wants you to cultivate a friendship with each month
When you enter a new country, it can be overwhelming. You arrive to a new language, new culture, and new friendships. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the need that you see around you, so much so that you become “stuck.”
Emmi challenged us to ask God to show us the one person He wanted us to meet this month – the one person you can connect with, love on, and pray for. And when God points this person out to you, it makes ministry manageable. You can’t solve the country’s injustices in one month. But you may be able to make a difference in one person’s life. And by doing that, you will change the world.
God answered this prayer for me by cultivating a friendship with a woman named Blue (read her story here). The beauty of these friendships with your “one person” is that with today’s technology you can keep in contact far beyond when you leave. I plan to keep calling Blue and checking on what is happening with her and her daughters, well…forever!
3. When you leave the country, ask God to provide someone to continue the work He has started through you
Short-term mission trips are great learning experiences, but I’m even more convinced as to the necessity of long-term staff to provide continuity to the work that God has started in each place. Despite this, when you are on the World Race, we have to trust that the work that we have started and the seeds we have planted will continue to be watered after we leave.
At the end of our month together, Emmi said: “You are a tiny puzzle piece in the midst of God’s great image for this place. When you leave, pray that God would connect someone else to your puzzle piece to continue the work He is doing here.” I’d also suggest that whenever possible, try to introduce your new friends to people within the local church or ministry to provide stability and continuity to the seeds that you have planted.
During last week in Thailand, we had the pleasure of overlapping with a YWAM team from Kansas City which will be here for the next three months. To conclude our 24-hour prayer burn, we washed their feet as a symbol of empowering them to continue the work that God had started through us:
4. Vision without Action is a dead dream
Emmi said this all the time – she is honestly the epitomy of this statement. Emmi runs a ministry in Chiang Mai, Thailand called Lighthouse in Action, which works to combat the injustices related to the sex industry. Not only is she working to fight the sex industry on the frontlines by ministering in the bars, she is also combating it at the root by working to change the mindset that causes people to sell their children in the villages and slums. I really appreciate the holistic approach of her ministry.
Emmi says “Vision without action is a dead dream” because asking God to guide you when you are standing still is like trying to guide a bicycle that isn’t moving. It’s a whole lot easier for God to guide a vision that is in action. And we have seen that – Emmi is a woman of vision but also action.
Lighthouse in Action is only three years old, but it already encompasses a five-story coffee shop which hosts English classes, open mic nights, and employs women who have come out of the sex industry. Lighthouse in Action also runs a discipleship training program to teach women biblical principles and give them job training to prepare them for life outside the bars. Currently, Emmi is building a training center for this program away from the distractions of the city as a refuge for women.
God has continually opened doors for Emmi, and we saw this happen firsthand when two weeks ago, a man offered to give Emmi a new coffeehouse building perfectly located just a few blocks from the women we minister to – for free. She lives by faith, and somehow at the end of the month just the right amount of money seems to come in. We’ve spent the past two weeks cleaning, preparing, and moving her old coffeehouse near the university campus to its new buliding downtown. Check out how loaded this pick-up truck is:
If you believe in the work that God is doing here, you can take part through prayer and finances. Emmi is currently doing a campaign to obtain monthly supporters to get this new coffeehouse up and running. If 60 people gave only $50/month for the next year, this would be cover the costs of rent, the utility bill, and the operating costs (read her blog about this campaign here).
Future World Racers: You’re truly entering a journey of a lifetime. May God lead you deeper in His love every day of your Race!