It's finally feeling like winter with last night falling to around 50 degrees up close to Doi Kom (mountain). This helps a little for us to feel like a new season has started, which it has.
HUG Project gained 3 new grants last year AND the extension of work with our largest grantor. With the new location we moved into on Feb of 2020 and some great work being don't despite COVID, I'm proud to be a part of HUG Project.
Ashley Lee continues work with Bread for Life. Recently many locations have been shutdown because of a nationwide resurgence of COVID. This is necessary but makes it difficult for those that are on the edge of the workforce and easily replaced or laid during difficult times.
Mostly, we're just excited about what the new year has to offer. We have begun working with a weekly continuum of 6-10 individuals focused on the bar ministry. Together we worship, pray and share input on those we connect with in order to coordinate our efforts and send needs to those most specialized/able (food, counselling, housing, alcohol kids, etc.).
This past week has been hard for those we minister to at the Loi Kroh region of town where the "lady bars" are located. Because of COVID, these locations are all shut down. Although this sounds great ('these girls will be out of the bars....yeah') in reality the girls still need work so it forces them to look for work underground where conditions are often worse than a bar visible from the street.
On Sunday, we lost a 22 year old girl who was "freelancing" at an area north of Chiang Mai. Not much is known other than it was a private party. A sad ending to someone who likely simply wanted to feed her child/children.
Our prayers are for the expansion of the ministry this year where we can meet more people where they are, befriend them, build trust and hopefully start a new paradigm of a Christ-filled and economically viable life outside the bars. This is no easy feat. It takes trust built over time, counseling for self worth, financial literacy, continuing education, food resources and often drug/alcohol abuse treatment. It's a big and difficult task but one we are excited to be a part of.
Below is a picture of the continuum as we pray and worship over those who work in the bars.