Without going into too much detail, I received an email with several questions about the outreach experience and I will answer those briefly here.
What were your thoughts? I was surprised to see some young children around – those whose mothers have no where else to take them. The most disturbing part of the evening was watching men “shop” for women. Some of them honestly could have been shopping for cars the way they circled around “eying the merchandise”. I also think it’s weird that some of the guys act as though they really believe the girl they picked actually likes them. You see this more on the sky train or around town – the guy looks so cocky and proud because he’s got a pretty Thai girl on his arm and I’m thinking… you do know she’s only hanging off your arm because you’re paying her, right?
Was it at all scary? No. I wasn’t scared. I don’t know what it’s like on a busy night (it was *relatively* slow that night) but the girls were focused on work, and the guys were focused on the girls. No one was picking fights or intimidating anyone.
What kind of reception do you get from the girls? It varies. We met a very friendly girl and had a nice chat with her. Some nights you may not talk to anyone at all.
Do you go as a group? Yes.
What is the atmosphere like? It’s designed to overwhelm your senses. Lots of flashing lights, pounding music, colours, mirrors…
Is it just a bar with dancers or is it a seedy bar with dancers? Um… ? Well, to me, a ‘seedy’ bar is cheap, dirty, rundown, crowded and full of passed-out drunken fat guys… So I’d say no, it was not ‘seedy’. However, to me, ‘seedy’ is also a place where guys with wonky morals go to break the law… 😛 I guess it depends on your definition. The specific bar we were in was clean and tidy, the men were “well behaved” (as opposed to a drunken brawl or something), but it’s still a place where they are selling a sexual experience and guys are there shopping for girls.
What were your impressions and did you feel okay the next day?
The situation is really complex (something I’ll have to go into another time – it’s getting late) and there is no quick solution. I felt fine the next day. I know that other nights, I may leave more troubled than I did this particular evening. However, I know for a fact that God was with me guarding my heart and guiding my thoughts and He continues to do so. That is what brings peace in the midst of so much wrong, and for that I am thankful.
Additional note: The fact that NightLight actually hires women and pays them a salary is an invaluable part of their ministry, as many of the women can’t leave the bars, even though they may desperately want to, because they need the money to feed their families and send their children to school (so that they can grow up to be something more…). Like any business, NightLight relies on jewelry sales for income to pay the employees. If you would like to play a significant role in helping a woman have a viable alternative to working in the bars, please head over to the NightLight store and look through all of the beautiful items they have available. I’ve actually watched the jewelry being made and it really is all carefully done by the skilled hands of a woman who made the choice to leave the bars (except for the two I made, of course! haha). Your purchase REALLY DOES make a difference in a practical and meaningful way.
A final thought: Girls back home have no clue what it means to be modest and what it means to dress like a prostitute. If people could see fashion and modesty the way they do here (and other places, too), there is no way “good Christian girls” would be caught dead in many of their outfits – even the ones some of them wear to church… This statement includes swim wear and “hottest day of summer dying in the heat” outfits. No excuses! Walking around town here, I’ve seen girls who are obviously working in the sex trade with more ‘covered’ than Christian girls at home on an average day. Oh – and the problem is not that the prostitutes are dressing too modestly…