By RaeLynn DeFalco
They say when you work with a sex industry ministry, your heart has to break for both parties. Let me be the first to say, that is much harder than it sounds.
I have never hated men more in my life than the week I spent in Pattaya, Thailand. The city was covered with middle aged white men just lurking and waiting for young Thai women to offer their bodies in exchange for money.
Every time I saw a man on the streets or in the bars, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to throw up or punch him in the face…or somewhere else.
As I gazed out the window onto Soi 6, a well known street for bars and prostitution, I watched as a barely dressed Thai girl flirted and lured a hairy, overweight, middle aged, white man into the back room of a bar. My stomach started churning. I couldn’t stop my mind from thinking about what they were about to do.
This woman just sold herself, conceding once again to the idea that she is not worth more than the price a man is willing to pay to have sex with her. I wanted to run outside, rip her away from him, and take her far away from that place.
?But because of him, and all the other men that travel to Pattaya for sex tourism, I knew there would always be more. More sex-obsessed men, more hopeless women, more prostitution, more loss of worth and identity.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only time I witnessed something like this during my short time in Pattaya. Everywhere I looked I saw women seductively approaching men. I overheard conversations negotiating the price of sex. I watched as men evaluated woman after woman deciding which one was “good enough” for his money.
My heart was shattered for the women, and completely hardened for the men. I saw the brokenness and despair in the eyes of the women, but I wasn’t even willing to look in the eyes of the men.
As I reflect on my time in Pattaya, the Lord is making me realize things I don’t want to realize.
The men are not inherently bad
All men, even the ones in Pattaya, are deeply loved by God, and Jesus died for them too
There is a God shaped hole in their hearts they are trying to fill with fake love from women
Instead of wishing Hell upon them, I should be praying for them to know the Lord
The problem with these things is that it forces me to humanize the men. Before, I saw them as sex-crazed monsters. Now, Jesus opened my eyes to see them as He does.
It’s hard to hate someone when they are the beloved of my Father. As much as my heart breaks for the women, God’s heart breaks for the men. He watches as His beautiful gift of sex is twisted and destroyed by the selfishness of His sons. What He wants most is for them to turn from their wickedness and enter into a relationship with their Father.
It’s my job as a beloved daughter to pray for my lost brothers. There is nothing else I can do. My righteous anger will get me nowhere. It will not change hearts. It will not free the men from their bondage to sin. It will not cause every bar on Soi 6 and all around Pattaya to shut down for good.
But my prayers can. Because my prayers are heard by the One who can do all those things.
Your prayers are heard too. I know it’s easy to read stories like this, feel badly for a moment, and then move on with your day. Trust me, I did that too. But I’m here to tell you, this is real. Sex tourism is running rampant in our world.
We need to come together to pray for our enslaved brothers.
Men, pray for your fellow men. Pray for them to experience a revelation of God’s love so huge that they cannot help but turn from their sin.
Women, pray for your brothers. Pray that their hearts would be guarded against the temptation to twist and destroy God’s perfect design for sex.
We serve a God that is so much bigger than the sex industry. He is the only one who can truly change hearts, free men from this bondage, and eradicate sex tourism altogether.
If we come together in prayer for the men, I believe there will be a revelation in our world.
Men will begin to see women as people instead of property. Women will not be forced to dwindle their value down to what a man will pay to have sex with them. Little boys will grow up valuing and respecting women. Little girls will feel safer in a place where men are out to love and protect them.
Doesn’t this sound like a much better world?
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26
In September 2015, RaeLynn left on an 11 month mission trip to 11 different countries called the World Race. She has been spending a month each in Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, partnering with existing ministries to meet the needs of each community while sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Find out more here