Derek will be sharing with you about his recent trips in this post and in another post (part two) a little later on. Unfortunately he does not have any pictures of his trip to Poland. Our friend Joel Karum, was able to take pictures in Thailand so you will see some of the wonderful photos he took there.
Trip to Gorzów Poland
Three weeks ago I had the incredible privilege of traveling to Gorzów Poland and speaking at a conference. The chosen theme was “The Father’s Heart & the Spirit of Adoption”. It was the second time I have been asked to travel and minister an entire weekend on this subject. This coming weekend I travel to Ft. Wayne Indiana to speak at another “Spirit of Adoption” conference. Have there always been “Adoption” & “Justice for the Orphan” conferences? I sure can’t remember any over the years that I’ve been in the church and in ministry.
The Lord is clearly stirring this truth among His people in a global way. I love going to Poland. I love the Polish people. I love their history, their resilience, their faith, their worship, and their Grzeski’s (chocolate wafers). The Polish believers know how to love God and love people. They know how to worship and pray, but also how to love, eat, and fellowship in a way that is deep and meaningful. Some of the people I feel the most affection for in the world live in Poland, and this conference was a complete joy to do. The believers in Gorzów have such a hunger for the Lord and I believe were deeply stirred regarding the plight of the orphan, the responsibility of the church to care for them, and the need for modern day abolitionists to stand up and fight human trafficking and modern day slavery. The Poles are a people with a rich history of defying the encroachment and oppression of evil, and standing for righteousness. I believe as God raises up modern day abolitionists, and sex slaves in Europe are set free, that the Polish church will rise to be a place of refuge and restoration for the broken and demoralized. Thank you Pastor Bogdan and the saints in Gorzów! I was incredibly blessed to be with you and partake of the Jesus you reflect so beautifully!
Chiang-Mai Thailand Part 1
Three days after arriving home from Poland I led a ministry team to Thailand. Yeah, I know, not the most convenient thing to do right after you adopt three handicapped children, but let me explain (Renee did give me the green light – what an incredible woman!). The Lord has been orchestrating an incredible opportunity for OJC (Orphan Justice Center), to establish an orphanage house of prayer in the northern hill tribes, with the purpose of restoring orphans who have been rescued from sex-slavery. This story will be several years in the making, but the doors are swinging open, and so we are walking through them. I had to take the trip this month for a number of time sensitive reasons and so I unpacked from Poland, ignored jet-lag, played hard with the kids, re-packed and headed back for the airport.
While in Thailand, we split our time between investigating human trafficking in Chiang-Mai, and meeting with pastors and orphanage directors in the north. We spent a couple evenings sitting and interviewing prostitutes that were working the many bars lining the streets of Chiang-Mai. The girls we talked to all wanted to get out, but they felt trapped. Most come from poor families in the northern hill tribes, feel a cultural indebtedness to their parents, and so they move to the city to work as prostitutes, so that they can send money back home to help support their families. They all said that their parents didn’t know they were prostituting themselves and that if they had a legitimate employment opportunity, they would take it. We shared our stories with a few of them, telling them about our wives and families, and sharing the gospel with them. I looked into the eyes of these young girls (18-25) and I felt the grief of the Father’s heart for them. They weren’t dirty hookers, they were precious young women that were hurt and broken and desperately needed to know the love of the Father. I couldn’t hold back, I prophesied the heart of God to them and we told them how precious and valuable they were, and that God’s love wasn’t the kind of love that wanted to use them and then throw them away, but that he had paid the highest price for them and offered them life freely.
While walking these streets, we saw several westerners 50-60 yrs old, who were walking down the street pulling girls as young as 12-14 yrs old behind them. This was so nauseating. I felt the hot anger of the Lord when I saw this kind of abuse and perversion. There are brothels in Thailand where thousands of children are held prisoner and are sold over and over again for sex. Many poor parents sell their children to traffickers in order to buy food and basic supplies. These children are enslaved, raped, and abused 8-10 times a day, most of the time committing suicide or dying from diseases caused by the abuse. The Lord clearly told His church that it was their responsibility to take care of the orphan, and yet in virtually every nation the church has abandoned this role to the government.
We were just given information about some of the horrors that happen in many of the Ukrainian orphanages. Some of the directors themselves will pimp out the prettiest girls on the weekends. In Thailand police are involved in the trafficking and prostitution of children, and in America, children end up in one abusive foster home after another. At the same time, we ask God to end abortion and bring justice to our lands, yet we are unwilling to fulfill the simple and clear definition of true religion set forth by James the brother of Jesus; “to take care of orphans and widows in their distress”. We’ve handed one of the pillars of basic Christianity over to secular governments, and now 270 million orphans in the earth suffer. Beloved, it’s time to rise up, take our place as fathers to the fatherless, and bring justice to the orphan. Maybe then we would begin to enjoy the beauty and joy of pure and undefiled religion.
Just look at that smile
We rented these bikes and took a ride up the beautiful mountainside
A Buddhist temple
Derek joined a group of elderly musicians and added his own music to the band
Daniel Petrilli and a new friend
We had a wonderful time visiting with all of the children from this orphanage!
Mike Harrison and some of the children from one of the orphanages
The Myanmar border
A couple of the beautiful children we got to meet
A precious Thai believer we had the privilege of sharing a cup of tea with
Derek interviewing Pastor Chamnung
Daniel Petrilli and Mike Harrison
Dan Petrilli, Mike Harrison and Derek
A Thai believer who would like to partner with us/Orphan Justice Center in building an orphanage in Thailand
Some of the precious orphans in one of the villages we visited
Joel Karum, Dan Petrilli, Derek, Pastor Tawee, Mike Harrison, Judah Becker, Pastor Chamnung