I went to Richmond’s First Baptist Church yesterday for the International Missions Prayer Breakfast, and to hear missionary Ann Lovell speak about her ministry among women working in the sex trade in Thailand. What I loved about her presentation was the simplicity of it: how one thing simply led to another and then another.
It started when she began to drive through the red-light district in Chiang Mai and pray that the brothels and massage parlors there would be closed down, but then her heart was broken by the plight of the women themselves, and she began to feel led to talk to them and pray with them. She found a brave friend or two to go with her and soon she was striking up conversations with prostitutes on the streets, asking them about their lives, and offering the possibility of another kind of life altogether—the abundant life found in Jesus.
The work has been slow, the results have been small, and yet you could see the joy on her face, you could hear it in her voice, as she talked about the lives that have been changed dramatically through her efforts and the help of the Holy Spirit.
When I came out of the Dining Hall I bumped into seven or eight of our members coming out of the Adams Room pushing a cart full of cookies. It was the “Bake and Take” group, which is exactly what it sounds like: a group of people who bake cookies and then take them to nearby homes in a little bag they hang on the doorknob with a friendly message from First Baptist Church inside. It’s not really evangelism; just a “sweet” way of loving our neighbors.
And as I walked across the parking lot to my car I saw Rick and Kim Peters unloading the food they had cooked for our homeless neighbors the night before, getting ready to serve it up for lunch in our Community Missions suite on the basement level. If you haven’t seen the video about their ministry you should see it now by clicking HERE.
I drove away from First Baptist yesterday thinking I had been in a beehive of mission activity, from learning about this ministry in Thailand, to loving our neighbors here in the Fan, to feeding the hungry and homeless among us, First Baptist was busy!
And I couldn’t have been prouder.
This year-long, every-member mission trip is gaining momentum, and there are some days, like yesterday, when the Kingdom comes as God’s will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.