At least once a week we spend the better part of an afternoon/evening walking and praying in Bangkok, usually in a neighborhood we know men are working as prostitutes._ One of these afternoons we were in Chinatown (an older neighborhood) and saw a big building with a cross on it, looming above the two-story roof lines._ It was about 4:00 in the afternoon and on the street right in front of the church we saw nearly a half dozen women clearly “working”._On a whim we decided to go in and see what we could learn about the church, and their ministry in the neighborhood._ Ten minutes later, after several broken-Thai conversations with security guards and random people, we found ourselves sitting with the Pastor of the church (who was MUCH more comfortable in English than we are as of yet in Thai)._ Talking with him we learned that we had stumbled into the oldest continuously meeting church in Bangkok – a Chinese Baptist church – which also apparently was the first Chinese Baptist church not in China._ They were preparing to celebrate their 170th anniversary the_following week. For_more than 170_years now, this church (which currently has about 700 members)_had been located in the same spot._ They have seen a lot of changes over the years; as have the Thai-Chinese people who_make up most_of the church membership. When the church first started, Chinese people in Thailand were in general looked down on and lived in poverty; 170 years later the Thai-Chinese tend to be wealthier and more educated than most full Thais._Consequently, the Pastor shared, most of his congregants have moved out of the neighborhood – into wealthier areas areas and suburbs of the city – and now often commute into the neighborhood_only on Sundays. We couldn’t help but think of how much the history of this church seemed to mirror the history of many formerly-urban focused churches in the States._ As the congregants get wealthier and the neighborhood gets “worse”, the people move out, and the church (if it does stay where it is) becomes less and less focused on the needs of the community where it is located._ We asked the pastor about the neighborhood, and the women working on the street right outside their door. He was well aware of the hardships of the people who lived nearby, and he shared about various ways that his congregation has tried to reach out to the neighborhood. Unfortunately, as with many third and fourth generation Christian families, he described what a struggle it_has been_to help his congregation see the role that they could play in reaching out to their not-yet Christian neighbors._ We prayed together and thanked him for his time._ Heading back out on the street, and walking by the women who were looking for mid-afternoon customers, we couldn’t help but_pray that God might someday use this church of more than 700 members to once again reach out to the poor and the needy at their doorstep.__