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My daughter, the streetwalker

In the past I’ve written about my suite mate from college, Jim Larson. I love his incarnational ministry. He doesn’t just minister to prostitutes in Bangkok, he invites them into his home as his daughters.  He doesn’t patronize them; he stands in as a father.  Here he shares a story abo…
By Seth Barnes
In the past I’ve written about my suite mate from college, Jim Larson. I love his incarnational ministry. He doesn’t just minister to prostitutes in Bangkok, he invites them into his home as his daughters.  He doesn’t patronize them; he stands in as a father.  Here he shares a story about one of them, Bpuu.  Go to his blog for more stories like this one.

I haven’t been able to do much outreach lately.  Our programs have been
pretty much full, and up until recently others were going out at least
weekly.  The other night I got to go again with a visiting World Race team.

We have known Bpuu, 27, since our family exploratory visit to Thailand
5 years ago.  She still works the same spot on Sukhumvit Road that she
did then–night after night, waiting for a customer.  Bpuu is quite
pretty–we like to say she has a the face of a china doll.  But she is
fairly simple-minded, as best as I can tell the result of environmental
deprivation more than natural unintelligence. 

For a long time, even years, Bpuu seemed convinced that she would one
day land me as a customer or maybe even a boyfriend.  It didn’t help
that being on the street, she didn’t always see me with my wife, and
occasionally when I was out on an errand I would run into her alone.  

A couple of years ago Judy and I enlisted a few students from The
Well to take Bpuu to dinner for her birthday.  Since I spoke better
Thai at the time, I arranged a meeting spot with Bpuu by phone, in
the entry way of a Walmart-like department store.  We all got there
ahead of Bpuu, but since it was crowded, could not sit together on the
waiting benches.  Meanwhile Judy ran in to get a cake and candles. 
Bpuu came in, saw me and beamed, then her face promptly clouded when
our students came over to meet her.  The rest of the night she barely
communicated despite everyone’s best efforts, until we got out the cake
with candles.  “Put them all on,” she requested.

Over time however I began to get through to Bpuu that I loved her
very much, but as a daughter.  She stopped the flirtatious smiles and
whispers in my ear.  Seeing her on Thursday for the first time in a few
months, I felt no qualms about giving her a genuinely warm, one-arm
hug, and offering to treat her at the nearby McDonald’s.  She accepted,
along with a ladyboy friend.  

As usual, Bpuu had little to say so I talked mostly with her
friend.  I simply repeated everything I have said many times to
Bpuu–she is beautiful, lovable, precious, and doesn’t need to be doing
this.  She looked away shyly.

Her ice cream finished, Bpuu tried to get up.  “I’m afraid I will
miss a customer,” she complained.  “You’re not going to spend any more
time with your dad?” I lightly objected.  She hung on for two more
minutes, then made another attempt at escape that I had to allow.  She
made a beeline for the door.  I followed her outside and asked to pray
with her, something she usually accepts, as she did this time.  I kept
it short, asking for her protection, for God to get through to her how
much He loves her.  She bolted for the street on my “amen”, and
immediately ran into a guy she knew.  I didn’t want to stick around.

I have no idea how long it will take Bpuu to give up her lifestyle, but
I plan to be here until she does.  She claims to use protection, but so
does everyone, until they trust you enough to tell the truth.  One way
or another she will stop someday.

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