The MST Project: Men and Sex Trade
The MST Project seeks to reach out to the men who frequent the red-light districts of Bangkok looking for intimacy and fulfillment. Unfortunately, this type of intimacy only leaves one more aware of the emptiness. This article shares the vision of the MST Project and shares two blog entries which highlight their work. You can find out more about the MST Project, on theirwebsite. These articles were used by permission.
Some of these men who go to red-light districts looking for sex are hurting and in need and are trying to fill that need and hurt with love and intimacy. Yet, the love and intimacy that they seek in a red-light district is not the answer. When the MST Project first started there were a few people who said that there was no hope for these men, that they were better left alone or ignored. But where is the compassion of God in that? We do not look at these men for where they currently are but rather for where they can be with a transformed heart. How many of us grew up in a broken home, have looked for love and intimacy in all the wrong places, or have struggled with issues that are common to men; yet God has brought about redemption in our lives. The MST Project wants to reach out to these men and be an example of restoration and redemption.
It is our responsibility to go to these men, when very few will, and bring the love of God to them in an area where they least expect it, by those whom they least expect if from. These men are like us, and it is our hope that these men will experience the love and the hope that is found in a relationship with Him. The Father’s love is available to all, in all places and at all times. The hope we have in Him will cause a man to return to his wife and become a husband. Will cause him to return to his children and become a father. Will cause him to return to his community and become an example, not a statistic.
God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. This includes men in red-light districts. Therefore, choose to be one of the few who will stand on the street corner and offer them HOPE.
A BROKEN MARRIAGE
When we met David (not his real name) late on a Wednesday night in Bangkok’s red light district; he was quietly making his way through the crowds of people. We politely asked him if he would be interested in taking our survey to which he quickly answered, “Are you the guys with the black packets?” This was a perfect lead into our second-encounter survey! This began a 20-minute conversation between our group and this wounded man. David is married to a woman back in Europe and the father of a young girl. He has a troubled and distant marriage. This broken marriage has led him to the place where he would rather seek intimacy and affection in all the wrong places; through a vast array of girlfriends all over the world and many brief purchased sexual encounters.
Our conversation with David was mainly focused on him; his needs, desires and disappointments. David seemed to have nothing good to say about his relationship with his wife. He painted a picture of a wife who was over-weight, depressed and rather hard to get along with. In view of these comments and complaints I asked him, “What do you believe are your wife needs from you?” I sought to draw his attention off of the ways in which his wife wasn’t meeting his needs and focus it on her needs as a woman and wife. His reply was short and not very sweet, “sex”. As a man I can hardly believe this is what his lonely and emotionally neglected wife could be longing for.
At the close of our 20-minute conversation we were delighted to find out that David would be open to making an appointment with us. This was nothing short of awesome! Our prayer is that he would pick up his phone and follow through on that desire. It would be a chance for us to listen in greater detail to his story, desires and brokenness. To these words we could answer with “the words of eternal life”. There is such a need in this man’s life and marriage for restoration and redemption. Our goal and driving force is seeing those desires of Christ being formed in his life.
Written by Will S. The above conversation took place on May 5, 2010.
A BROKEN MARRIAGE – FOLLOW UP
Here we were, at least two hours late, waiting to meet a man who seemed persistent to meet us again. Months before he had met us in front of Nana Plaza, and just last week he saw us again. Both times he wanted to stop and talk, and both times he took our survey. Now, he was calling us to arrange a meeting as soon as he could, and with the way things were going that sooner was becoming later.
We started walking down the street; two others and myself. When I called him to tell him that we were on the way, he informed me that he had already returned to his hotel; the good news being he still wanted to meet. We jumped into a tuk-tuk and headed off… to an unkempt and poorly lit hotel. We had a problem. We could not remember his name and had some trouble remembering his appearance. Now, sitting in the lobby of a sketchy hotel, we were beginning to wonder and perhaps even to worry. We called him again, and told him that we were waiting. “I’ll meet you on the eleventh floor,” was the response. His room? We were not going to do that. But then it dawned on us we were at the wrong hotel.
Being late even more we jumped into a taxi, to get us there on the double. This hotel had class, and taking the elevator up we saw that the eleventh floor was a veranda overlooking the Bangkok skyline. If only we could remember who we were supposed to meet. We scanned the populace of the room and saw a man meeting the approximate stature of who we thought we would meet. Looking straight at him we announced a loud, “Hello.” This was our man
We went outside to a candlelit table, and of all the things for a group of guys to talk about in a romantic ambience we talked about love. What is love, how can one have it, would we want to receive it, and what does it look like. It can be said that our group did most of the talking, sharing our testimonies, and explaining Biblical concepts on relationship and love, but there was no bore in the conversation, only attentiveness coupled with much thought. And while our man, David, may not have said much, I think he absorbed a lot, as did his friend who was with him.
Of the men that I have met after taking the survey, I would have to say that his meeting was special. It was heart felt, and it was personal. All of us were on an even playing field, not talking about theory or philosophy, but talking about life and the heart. We prayed deeply that God would protect, water, and grow the seed that He had planted.
And at midnight, after being late, after going to the wrong hotel, after not remembering whom we were meeting, we left after a two-hour conversation on love. If anything is a testimony of the Holy Spirit and His work, this night was. As for David and his friend, I pray that this story not be over, or kept on a dusty shelf, but be a continuation in his life.
Written by Tyler E. This blog post is dated May 18, 2010 and was shortened for this newsletter.