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Less than 24 hours.

I will be in Thailand.

If there ever was a time that I was magnificently inspired to write and write elaborately, I assume it would be now…
assumptions always fall short in light of the reality and my words dim in comparison to what state my heart resides in.

Tomorrow I will be in Thailand and everything I ever spoke about or prayed about will become a physical experience…I will no longer have mere words, I will have stories.

Abba, you have heard my prayers.


Ruth 1:16
“Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”

There is a woman my heart aches for. I have not seen her or met her. I have only recently heard of her. She hides well, under the weight of statistics in a place I have never been to.

She has a name but I do not know it. Her true beauty is hidden but I desire to see it come forth as the Lord created it to be. Right now she is known as one of the 20,000-2,000,000 women that work on the streets of Pattaya,Thailand selling her body. She works as a prostitute to feed her children, to support herself, to fulfill the request of her family.
Throughout the world, Thailand is the center of the sex trade. Pattaya, a high traffic docking area for boats and ships, has become a large tourist attraction. Prostitution brings in a considerable amount of revenue. So while it is illegal, the government turns a blind eye-that’s what money does. At one point this woman may have realized that she does have worth, that she has more value than the $10 (US) but at some point you need to make a living-and that’s what money does.
The Tamar Center located in Pattaya, Thailand responded to the desperation that littered the streets of this city. They go out into the bars and speak with the women, building relationships with them and telling them of the love of Jesus Christ. They not only tell them there is a better life, they offer it. Once a woman chooses to leave the lifestyle of prostitution they can be trained by the Tamar center. They learn how to bake or how to decorate cards. They can then work and earn a living through their new talent. The Tamar Center also offers free English classes as well as bible studies and bible classes. These women are not only rescued but they are cared for and trained.

On Monday, December 31st a team of 12 girls will leave from Reef to Outback to go and support the Tamar Center, to offer our time and love. Each of us has prayed over this decision and has felt the call of the Lord to go to Thailand and love these women. We have spent weeks praying and preparing for this journey the Lord desires to take us on.

Our desire is simple, to see these women come to the saving knowledge of Christ and experience the fullness of life He offers. The ramifications of this is great, rescuing generations of women from a lifestyle that robs them so personally of their value and beauty.

We have 2 goals to see this happen: an empty bar and to bring forth Naomi and Ruth relationships.

Project “Your God is now my God”:

As our outreach team came together to pray we had the impression of an older woman (working as a prostitute) coming to saving knowledge of Christ and completely abandoning herself to His call. She became a strong advocate against prostitution and served the Lord and the Tamar Center to rescue young women from this lifestyle. As she ministered to the women she used to work alongside they too came to saving knowledge of Christ and left everything agreeing with the older woman, “Your God is now my God.” We pray for Naomi and Ruth relationships to be established.
We desire to see Thai women standing up for their worth and value while serving the Lord.

Project “Empty Bar”:

It is Friday night in Pattaya. The lights are bright and the tourists are loud. People filter in and out of bars. It is early, 7:00PM, and the night ahead is long. There is one bar in particular, this bar is silent. It is empty. All the prostitutes have been bought.
$10 (US) and we can buy a prostitute for a night.
For one night we can each rescue a woman from what lies ahead and show her love and kindness – for just $10.
You can be a pivotal part in helping us save a woman for a night.
Our desire is not to buy just 2 or 3 women but to buy out the WHOLE bar. We could use your help.
Imagine being the reason for a busy bar in the middle of Pattaya empty and shut down by 7:00PM. Imagine the impact.
This truly is partnership in ministry at its best. You contribute $10 and our team will be the hands and feet of Jesus to these women.

To find out more please visit this link and watch the video.

Visit the below link to donate $10 by Wednesday, December 26 to Brianne to rescue a prostitute for a night.

It’s the best feeling. Like when you are looking at one of those 3D picture books and after straining your eyes you finally see the picture. It leaps out at you and you wonder why it took so long for you to notice something, well something so noticeable?!

For me, it is when that perfect phrase or sentence enters my mind and my mood or current state becomes depicted with words. I reach for the little journal that I carry with me (and if not that I reach for a napkin or scrap piece of paper) and write down the small little sentence that brought revelation.

I have many of these little descriptors sprinkled throughout my poetry journal. I have forgotten them over the weeks but they are refreshed within my memory as of recently:

Writing #1 – recorded 20 October 2007
Making full use of her knees, as she cannot see why else she would have them, she braces mind and lowers her body down. Bowing so low that she almost sinks beneath the grassy foundation. And I suspect if the ground would give, she would allow nature to cover her. Though her body, now small and condensed, lay almost parallel to the earth her mind creeps upward wishing it would levitate above this desire she has – to be nothing.
A mere shadow.
An etching in an elaborate oil painting.
A single vein in the leaf of a flower.
A block of ice in the igloo.
Nothing else but the reflection of Abba.

Writing #2 – recorded on the same date while at Juliettes Cafe

Beauty not reproduced or packaged.

The way waves sound when the sand intercedes their rhythmic ripples.
You who created the sun which leaves its evidence on my freckled face and cherry pink skin.
Fall leaves painted burnt shades and hold true to the season as they FALL.
The smell of fresh (which Glade tries to reproduce).
Whisper to me in this salt swept breeze.

Vanilla sand clinging to my toes, rubbing my skin smooth.
A cleansing of the callouses.

Writing #3 – recorded 3 Decebmer 2007

He is heavy upon me.
As aching roots dive deep into the dense ground seeking the food that sustains.
He too pursues past the good cheer I reside in.

And lastly I would like to expose what I wrote the day I returned from camping. All of me ached for the solitutde of the forest once again. The apparent need to rely on Him seemed stolen from me. In many ways society became my cage and I tottered about looking for the key:

Recorded on 3 December 2007

He steadily labors over me, cultivating a once hardened clay which ebbs and flakes.
My warm bed makes me forget You.
My ability to consume coffee at anytime makes me forget You.
Showers, cleanliness, food, make-up, mirrors…
And I forget You.

(My self-condemnation was heavy upon me in this day. True to His name He comforted me and spoke that I may not bear the burden of any self hate)

1 Corinthians 13:12
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now i know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”

I received, by His grace, a glimpse into how close He truly is to me. And many more glimpses will He grant me…but while on this earth only glimpses they shall be…

Thank You Abba.

There is no other way. I have labored over it two days now, wondering how to start off such a letter of explanation, praise, and tears. How is it to take 14 days of residence amongst a rain forest and transfer it with pen, not only so you could know but so I might not forget. Is that not the desire of the Lord? Does He not cease in requesting that His people will not forget His works, His miracles when He delivered them from Egypt? Was it not the sin that entered because of their forgetfulness…their hearts almost welcoming the callouses which breeds, not even a doubt in His works but, a complete inability to recall His faithfulness.

His stories woven in me and my tongue so eager to speak and sing.

Teach me some melodious sonnet and your daughter will write it out…

(and so the feeble rememberer begins the story the Lord gave her):

Driving into the new camp site (new, this site has never been used by Reef to Outback for the camping experience) was most glorious in and of itself. The trees of the rain forest with their length and bright green color stood in canopy fashion littering the pathway into the campsite and I could hear them and I suspect the Psalmist heard such beauty too and wrote in the Spirit Psalm 148.

We quickly unloaded and pitched our tents. Sweat poured down me as I labored. With no warning He came upon me, “Brianne, the way I met Elijah in the wind, I will meet you as that in this place.” He was not quiet about it but strong and reassuring in His words. I knew He had spoken…

The desire for my father to help me quickly became my strong emotion. My dad has been there for many of the times I had needed help and if he were not physically there he was there via telephone, but not this time and every part of my heart and mind felt this weight. Now the desire for my mom, this was of tumultuous awareness within me as well. It came upon me as an avalanche flowing down the side of an unknowing mountain…

We then gathered under a large tent and were given instructions. Watch out for snakes, make sure to stop and back away slowly. Watch out for wildlife, do not go off alone but always in groups of 3 so if someone gets hurt one person can stay and the other go for help. My flesh took hold of me…terror and yearning to leave and seek comfort grabbed my mind (for this is where the battlefield is). No plumbing but a semi port a potty in place and bucket showers or the option to bath in the lake a 10 minute walk away. After instructions I walked to my tent, grabbed my journal and submitted my heart to Him, “Please Abba, help me. My prayer, that I will come to love this place.” What a dangerous prayer I prayed….yet I did not know the weight of what I said.

The first week of lectures, the first week alone, is filled with stories, adventures, and the daily routine of surrendering. Many of you will come to know more intimate details. I see myself 40 years from now sitting down with coffee and starting off with saying, “I remember one time in an Australian rain forest…” but so as to keep this blog shorter (and mostly because of my time constraint) I will skip over these details and move into the 2nd week…

I awake hot and bearing upon my body the feeling of some kind of suffocation (as caused by tents basking in the sun as it rises). “New!” and Lamentations 3:22-25 greet my mind. I change my clothes, grab my Bible, journal, and nalgene (the 3 things which never left my side all 14 days) and set myself in the middle of the makeshift living area. The Lord and I greet each other as old friends and I wait for the Holy Spirit to expose Father’s heart. It is interesting how one learns to lean on the Light in different situations. I remember speaking with Him my 2nd day camping and journaling that I did not even know how to call upon His name in this place. When I have a comfortable bed, with my coffee, my clean skin in the clean air conditioned room I sit with Him and in many ways flippantly say thanks for this day. In a rain forest forged with bugs that attack ruthlessly, i sit down on the dirty ground with my dirty hair and rough skin (which accompanies me to every place) and I move past myself, fight past everything that comes up against me and for the strength of my heart genuinely give thanks.
For those of you who listen to Damien rice and know the power of his words, the melody he composes that can shake my heart and usher a memory into my mind with just one strum…with this intensity I looked unto the Lord….”I can’t take my eyes off of You” becomes my heart’s symphony. It was not a matter of if I wanted to take my eyes off of Him or if I wanted to take my eyes off of Him….I couldn’t. I COULD NOT take my eyes off of HIm. I would have perished (spiritually and emotionally) in a foreign land. My heart bows down as a sign of reverence even as I recall my desperate need for my Savior.
In this time the Lord spoke, “Brianne, I am ushering you into my Tabernacle this week. You are being welcomed as heirs of my Kingdom and as heirs you should walk.” Amazed I questioned the Lord, “Your tabernacle Lord, did I hear you right?” Faithfully He responded, “Yes my tabernacle.” And it was so. That night we all gather under the tent and walk down a path leading into the depths and density of the rain forest. All of a sudden our path greets us with little tea candles and in the middle stands a large fig tree which has grown intricately and elaborate as time has allowed it to. We worship and pray. The next morning we awake to greet the speaker, Mark Parker, who proceeded to teach each day concerning the tabernacle of the Lord. The last day (and forgive me as I rush past details but this analytical mind will not give me rest as to how to present this to you, so I push forward with simple words excluding minor details as if partaking of cherries and spitting out the seeds) we gather around a cross and commit our ways to the Lord coming with peace and sin offerings. We sing, we pray, we worship and all of creation joins us. About half way through we enter back under to the tent to partake of communion and prepare for those people who desired to be baptized in the river. Without warning (and we later found out, without warning from the weathermen as well) winds come rushing in. Amazed I look up to see the intermingled leaves of the rain forest trees part and welcome a clearing forced by the wind. Rain pounds down and I jump out of the tent welcoming the cool rain. I dance. I twirl. I jump up and down. I then retreat into the kitchen to make sure I moved my bag under the canopy, as I turn around my whole school comes rushing into the kitchen. We squeeze to the back and the leaders request we find a buddy as we will have to run into a clearing up the road. Astonished I ask what it happening. The majestic trees (which still had such beauty and majesty) were now displayed in horizontal fashion, they were falling all about. We grab our partner and run outside. Our first obstacle approaches us. A large tree had fallen and blocked our path. Without hesitation two men assemble themselves on either side and help us across. Noticing the rain is reaching past my ankle I remove my sandals knowing I will not be able to run in them. We begin with all tenacity and passion, singing:

Our God is a mighty God
He reigns from heaven above
In mercy, power, and love
Our God is a mighty God

Within minutes the storm breaks and we reassemble. Everyone still singing, still offering up prayers. Not one person harmed, not even my bare-feet which experienced the dirt of the earth as I pounded down with each leap out of the water. Trees surrounded us on each side, fallen from the wind yet not one car was hit and only one tent damaged. Soaked and filled with awe we decide to press forward in ministry. We go back into the tent and praise the Lord. We pray for each other, encourage each other, love each other. Night falls and the stars burst forth as if acknowledging all day what a grand entrance they would have. Rain comes again, we never change out of our wet clothes, we never complain for we have seen the Lord. We then go to the river for baptisms. The baptisms end and we sing, “I am my Lord’s”. We return and take communion with grape juice, biscuits, and honey a feast for such starving children. This was our manna, what was left in the kitchen after the storm. All at once as if we had the same mind (and we did) the speaker plays U2’s song “Beautiful Day”. A dance party breaks forth and the Lord was praised in that tent. My leader comes and greets me afterwards and told me the Lord did in fact meet me in the wind. My forgetful mind is refreshed and I am taken into awe. In the midst of this storm never once did I fear or become downcast. I knew the Lord’s hand was upon us and not in anger but as to rend the Heavens and make Himself known. As we prayed we all agreed (as we were like-minded) the Lord was shaking in this place what could and could not be shaken, for it had just been hours before that we humbled ourselves and exposed sin and brought our small gifts, “Peace Lord, peace we seek.” The night ended, exactly 12 hours of ministry had taken place (from 9am to 9pm).

My mind still collapses when I think upon the two weeks in the rain forest. He is my rock. I feel utterly distraught as I have not even scratched the surface of what had taken place, what honor and glory He deserves that I have not been able to even comprehend.

Now as for my prayer, to leave loving that place, the fondness within my heart is so tender and real when I recall the wilderness the Lord beckoned me to. As far as I am concerned, I have walked on holy ground.

Revelation 2:17
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna…”

Probably not what you expected.

"You are beautiful and it is the least interesting thing about you."

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