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I was given this opportunity and you’ll never guess what happened next…

By Michelle Banker:

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I know you’ve heard about the global sex trafficking crisis, but how often do we get a chance to actually connect with and love those who are in the middle of it? I have an opportunity to do just that. I have a chance to meet face to face with those who are exploited and hurting. I believe that true healing and life-change happens when you can look someone in the eye and show her how valuable she is.

Thinking about writing this post made me a bit sweaty (TMI?). Multiple reasons. First, it’s always somewhat awkward to ask people for any type of help, financial or otherwise. Second, when I find myself thinking about this trip, the predominant feelings I have are excitement and nervousness…AND pukey-ness…that’s a feeling. This could be due to the fact that this trip is venturing outside of my comfort bubble, or perhaps I am having an adverse reaction to gluten.

The country of Thailand is highlighted in this map. Bangkok, the capital, is shown as a call-out.

So, here we go! There’s definitely something that draws me to Thailand, even though I’ve never been there. When I first heard about the trip I had this intense excitement rise up in me. Then, every time that I thought about it, that same feeling would come back. As far as dream mission trips are concerned, this is mine.

Can’t ignore it.

In order for me to go to Thailand and to participate in this adventurous mission, I need your help!

Because you don’t have a lot of time, here are the brass tacks of the trip:

  • I’d love prayer support, like, seriously pray for me and tell me about it
  • If you don’t believe in prayer, I’d appreciate your love and support
  • This trip is through Arise! Women
  • Dates: September 8-20 2015
  • Destination: Pattaya and Bangkok, Thailand
  • I need your financial support. The trip costs $2216 + and I plan on raising all of those funds through donations.

Here’s an overview/background info that Ali (one of the trip leaders) sent to me about the trip:

Pattaya:
In Thailand, when you talk about prostitution, you talk about Pattaya. Known around the world as Thailand’s number one sun, sea and sex destination, it is home to at least 20,000 male, female and child prostitutes. During their high season, about one million visitors crowd Pattaya’s bars, nightclubs, massage parlors or steam baths.

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We will be working with an established ministry that is a center for help, healing and hope. This ministry offers the ladies jobs in their card-making program, hairdressing salon, bakery, restaurant and other income-earning activities. They also give courses in life skills, English and how to connect with God. We will be going into the red-light districts in Pattya for outreach and connection, teaching English, sharing testimonies, as well as teaching vocational skills with women that have been rescued, and offering ministry appointments for the girls and staff.

Bangkok:

We are partnering with a ministry that has been around since 2005. It is a registered jewelry business offering holistic employment; and the non-profit branch focuses on holistic intervention for women, families and communities affected by the global sex industry.

We will be meeting with rescued girls and ministering to them through private prayer appointments. We will pray for each girl individually and love on her. We will be sharing in chapel, doing outreach in the brothels, and hosting a red-light district party. This party will be a chance to invite the girls and kids to come in for food, make-up, prayer and games. We will be helping with their beauty shop as an outreach tool and offer any training skills that we have.

A question that haunts me (in a good way, friends) is, what does love look like? I believe that God made love to be practical. I can’t wait to love on these beautiful people in a practical way.

I know that this is a life-changing opportunity for me.

If you are able to respond with financial support, please send checks payable to “Arise! Women.” to:

Michelle Banker
1236 Upton Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55411

For tax deductible purposes, my name cannot appear anywhere on the check. Please mail the checks to me for collection and then I will forward them to Arise! Women’s Ministry. All donations made to Arise! Women are tax-deductible.

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Silas Anax

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Ever since our first son was growing (Women are amazing! How do they do that?!), I’ve had it in my mind that childbirth is an act of war against death.

Life vs. death. Life wins.

Let me introduce to you the newest aggressor against death: Silas Anax Banker. His very existence and presence is a statement to the forces of death and destruction that Life has not lost its power. Born during a time where the world is in turmoil. When death, war and disease are flexing their muscles this seemingly weak child lets out his war-cry, “I’m here!”

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. -Acts 16:25-26

Silas, a leader of the early church who was imprisoned with the Apostle Paul, is often depicted holding broken chains. Silas is a powerful name, declaring freedom and life in the face of shackles and death-sentences.

I might as well admit it. I’m a crier. It’s on video anyway, so there’s no use in denying it. As soon as little Silas let out that first screech the tears flowed unhindered. Child birth is an amazing thing. It’s also a scary thing.

Silas’ birth was quick, but not without complication. Where Isaac’s labor dragged on for 68hrs, Silas’ only took 5hrs from beginning to end. It happened so quickly that we didn’t have a chance to get Michelle into the birthing tub. “Baby’s coming!” No time. Get the midwives up here, quick!

We were excited. Baby was on the way…

Then something happened. The atmosphere changed. Our midwives suddenly switched to business mode. Something was wrong. Fear was begging for a hearing.

Silas was stuck. His head was out, why wasn’t the rest of him following? I saw our midwife unwrap the umbilical cord from his neck (it was actually wrapped around him three times). He was still stuck. Things started happening fast. They flipped Michelle onto her hands and knees. Something was wrong. Our midwives were calm, but acting quick. (click here to read about why he was stuck)

Then, he was out. We didn’t know he was a he yet, but there he was! He was grey and not moving. Most people don’t realize how inhuman a newborn can look in those first few moments. He’s not breathing. He looks limp. He’s okay, right? Don’t let the scary thoughts in.

I had been prepped, so I knew that it could take a few seconds to a minute before the child takes its first breath. The perception of time becomes erratic in situations like that. You have no idea how fast or slow things are happening.

“Talk to your baby.” The midwife says as she picks him up and starts vigorously rubbing his back.

“Baby! You made it! You’re here! Let it out little one. Go ahead. Cry.”

Then it happened. It was a piercing, high-pitched screech that made everything okay in the world. Tears.

Silas means “of the forest.”

Strong roots.

Wild.

Untamable.

Serene.

Anax is an archaic greek term meaning, “king.”

Royalty.

Powerful.

Leader.

Servant.

Honorable.

 

Anax is a reminder of is identity. His value is in his blood. It’s unearned. He was created with unlimited, enduring worth. He is acceptable because he is in the image of the Great King.

Welcome Silas Anax. You’re amazing and there is an amazing future ahead of you.

Supporting a work of God

Tomorrow, we leave.

25 hours of travel time expected over the next two days.

15 month toddler and one on the way.

This is going to fun!

I started this journey back in December while I was in Beijing chatting with my dad. I had just spent three weeks helping hurting ones become healed ones and we were already talking about a return trip.

I did some sessions with a few men from a Chinese worship school in Beijing. They are now back in session and I plan on doing more sessions with them this time around.

Doing 3-hour prayer sessions dealing with the deepest, most painful parts of people’s lives is difficult. Doing that through a translator is something altogether different!

Holy Spirit dependency.

I also worked with a few english-speaking folk. I am hoping to finish the life of one woman with whom I did about 5 sessions last time.

This is a ground-breaking trip for me. I have a dream of a Prayer Resolution special forces squad that is highly trained, highly experienced and highly mobile who can deploy all over the world helping burned out missionaries, fallen pastors and other hurting ones (trafficked women, those escaping cults, etc).

This trip is the first step toward that dream.

Five of us will be doing sessions over the course of five weeks. Michelle (my wife), Amy, Bob, Ted and myself will be helping the existing and thriving work that is already happening in China. Their biggest need is to work with Chinese men and English speakers.

Almost all of those in China who have been trained in Prayer Resolution are Chinese women.

We aren’t going there to bring them God.

God is already there.

Active. Present. Powerful.

We’re going to support and help a healthy work of God.

To learn more about our trip Click Here.

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