“Rak Teh” translates as “love : authentic” evoking feelings of real, lasting, life-changing love that cannot be bought or sold.
It is also the name of a YWAM Thailand ministry that we are pioneering here in Bangkok: “serving and loving our neighbors on the streets of urban Bangkok.”
“Who then is my neighbor?”
Wander just a few blocks away from Bangkok’s Grand Palace and you might bump into some interesting neighbors:
A 17 year old male sex worker, exploring the life of male prostitution as a way to support his video game addiction.
A 37 year old homeless man, on the streets since the Tsunami took his wife, his daughter, his business and the all of the fingers on his right hand.
A 45 year old woman, sick with AIDS, her family won’t take her and she doesn’t know where else to turn.
A 60 year old grandmother, she has been selling sex for money on these streets for decades now, too ashamed to ask her children for help.
The people who sleep on our streets every night, and the men and women who sell sex in our neighborhood (24 hours a day), each have stories – a mother and father, a home that they come from, and a childhood dream of who they hoped to be when they grew up. In each story, there is a sad chain of events that led them to where they find themselves now. Some still readily smile, they have friends on the streets, while others are barely holding it together, struggling with addictions and scrambling for a few coins each day in order to use the bathroom or buy a cup of noodles.
Jesus changes lives.
Jesus transforms communities.
Jesus uses us.
How is Rak Teh loving our neighbors? We are working towards:
Praying for the transformation of the neighborhood, city and nation: Intercession. Introducing the community to Jesus: Evangelism. Encouraging individuals to live a life reflecting who God has created them to be: Discipleship. Connecting neighbors with government services, training, health and employment resources providing for basic needs and long-term opportunities: Networking. Working in partnership with neighbors to meet felt needs within this community: Mercy Ministry. Birthing reproducing simple churches in this neighborhood: Church Planting. Inviting YWAM and the Church to grow experientially in relationship with the poor: Training.