God set my feet on the path towards Thailand a long time before the trip came to be. It was an immediate answer to a prayer prayed during a Sunday sermon. Our pastor had given a powerful message on “going” . He asked us to pray, asking God where He would have us go, being open to be sent. “Father, where are You sending me?” I asked, then remained quiet. “You are going to Thailand.” Never a doubt, never a question except “when?” And “are we there yet?”
We knew we would encounter sex industry workers, exploited and even trafficked women on this trip. One day before the trip I was led to a a particular scripture in my quiet time. It was I Corinthians 6:19, 20. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” This message was burning in my soul as we met women and engaged them in conversation. After several days in Thailand, the right meeting had not occurred. The right person had not crossed my path.
One afternoon three of us went to the massage parlor across from our hotel. We took a seat and paid for a hand, foot or shoulder massage. “Anna” gave me a shoulder and arm massage. We chatted. She was a young widow with a teenage daughter, pretty and kind. Many of the women working in the parlors also work in the “back room” as well as providing out call services to the hotels. It was hard to imagine this sweet woman working as a prostitute. I commented on the gold necklace she wore. She said the figure on it was Buddha. I asked if she went to the temple and she said, yes, nearly every day on the way to work. She said they sing, pray and listen to readings. I mentioned that I did much the same in church but I worshipped Jesus. She had heard of Jesus. I explained that as a believer in Christ, we receive the free gift of salvation. When we do that, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. Anna seemed fascinated by this idea. I told her that our body becomes His temple. She could relate to that because she knew what the temple was for.
I told her how scripture said our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we must care for our bodies. We must use them in a manner that brings glory to God and treat them as a holy vessel. Anna paid very close attention, looking very thoughtful. At that moment I knew the message had been delivered to the one to whom the Lord intended. If I said nothing else, the mission was complete. She thanked me, I thanked her, we hugged and parted ways.