Tag Archive | Love

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.

pattaya_city_3
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.

Kingdom of God Fail

A year ago I was deployed in the middle east. I was strategically placed on a base that was helping all the troops transition out of Iraq. We had to double the capacity for barracks on our base in a couple short months and quadruple the capacity for hosting different missions that needed a new place to “set up shop.”

Given my experience leading crews of untrained young men and women (thank you Tree Trust!), I was given charge of a handful of augmentees from an other section who were kind enough to spare some of their folk. A couple of the other guys from my shop, who already knew what they were doing, were put on my team as well. I can’t tell you enough how hard-working, quick-learning and helpful everyone was on that team! Our primary task was to construct wood-framed floors for the SSS (Alaskan Small Shelter System) tents and, when not framing, join the team that was erecting the tents. I think we framed something like 60 different 20′ x 32′ floors and hundreds of tents.

Some of the floors we pre-framed “out of the heat” and moved outside until ready to be assembled.

Now I get to my main point. One day I had a quite lively discussion with a few of my fellow airmen. I was insisting that living life for the sake of building material wealth and possessions was an empty life, void of true substance. In the end, that kind of life would leave them feeling disappointed, as if they wasted their life. Instead they should use their wealth to help the less fortunate and find more satisfaction in that. I was quite firm in my stance, but no one seemed to agree that they had to give up their luxury vehicles and I wasn’t changing anyone’s mind. But, I was convinced I was right and was starting to feel quite good about myself and my moral high ground.

Later that same day we were out assembling some floors for a couple of morale tents that were scheduled to go up in “tent city.” We were hard at work and sweating our butts off. I was partially managing and partially working, but most everyone already knew what they were supposed to do at this point.

There were some TCNs (third country nationals) working nearby, digging a trench for whatever cable, plumbing or power lines they were installing that day. One of them asked, mostly in pointing and gesturing, if he could use my tape measure. I paused for a second, quickly analyzing all my options and ended up saying, “No” since I was busy and needed to be productive. I had a lot of people counting on me to get my mission done and I was in charge of lay-out for the floors, which means that if I fell behind, everyone did.

As I walked away, I knew something wasn’t right. I could feel the eyes of my co-workers drilling me in the back of the head. As I got back to work I saw one of the gentlemen who had engaged me in our previous discussion walk over to the tool chest, dig out a tape measure, and walk it over to the hard-working TCNs.

At this time in my life God is teaching me what it really means to be a part of His kingdom. His kingdom doesn’t seek to be “effective” in the traditional sense, His kingdom seeks to die on behalf of others, showing them their unsurpassed worth through self-sacrificial love. The way of Jesus does not always look effective, but we are called to not follow the patterns of this world (Romans 12), which includes scrambling and fighting to be effective, influential, and powerful. Christianity is a call to love unconditionally at our expense, not for our advancement (or for our ministry’s, or for our church’s?). Isaiah 58 calls this true fasting. Philippians says that this is the way of Christ, the way of humility and death. The end, of course, is that God the Father is able to lift you up. As a side note, the beginning starts with being filled with the fulness of your acceptance through Christ, which has nothing to do with your sacrifices for the sake of others. You need to be filled with life before you lay yourself down as a “seed” to die in order to produce more fruit. Dead seeds just don’t produce fruit no matter now many times you plant them.

I totally missed the mark. I valued effectiveness and self-promotion (in the eyes of my superiors) over self-sacrificial love for the “least of these.” In that regard, the Kingdom of God failed in me that day. Thankfully I have the Spirit who quickly convicted me and I was able to confess my hypocrisy to my co-workers and my humility was restored. In that regard, the Kingdom of God advanced in me that day.

A Psalm

Undisplayed love is no love at all.
What good father would stand at a distance
Calling out his undying love
And not run full speed to draw near,
Catching up his son in his arms?

Undisplayed love is no love at all.
What good father would speak of ancient days,
Reminiscent of the days of my youth
And be content with things of the past
Denying me the pleasure of a face to face encounter, possibly over coffee?

Undisplayed love is no love at all.
What good father would promise magnificent gifts,
Speaking of a Christmas morning unprecedented throughout history,
But when the child awakens to reality that morn
Finds but a note on the tree that reads, This will make you stronger?

Show me your love Father! I want to see it and taste it.
I want to bathe in it and inhale it.
I’m not content to speak of it or read the promises.
Where is my Christmas morning?

Take joy in displaying you undying love for me.
Find pleasure in disproportionate favor.
Excite yourself in giving me gift after gift, new every morning.

I am like a spoiled child, not content with yesterday’s mysteries revealed,
Though I am grateful and will try my best not to forget.
I long for tomorrow. I long to awaken.
What profound lavish truffle awaits me when I open my eyes to a new day with the greatest of Daddies.

When I speak of your love for your child, let it be from a place of real knowledge.
Let me not know of your goodness as a mere concept or theory,
Like a black hole that might exist somewhere, possibly.
Drown me in your love. Let me feel the unrelenting pull of the staggering force of gravity too powerful to resist.
Let me become dizzy with love as I spin round and round this vortex, sucking me deeper into the darkness where nothing exists but you and me.

Display your love as you did in ages past.
Show us a sign, a hint of your love, a glint of your power.
Display the power of your love through wonders and miracles.
I, myself, long to see your passion and the world shares my heart.

Do not remain silent.
Your enemy speaks lies to your children saying,
“Where is this loving God? Where are his miracles?”
Why let your powerful love be an ancient ruin?
Why let the world study it and speak of it like a city long ago destroyed?
Let us never become archeologists of God.

How much greater is my Father among the best of fathers?
And how much more powerful an arm to show it?
He will not allow my longing to go unfulfilled for long.
My anticipation is building and my joy will overflow
As He hears and responds to my cries.

Let it be.

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