International Ministries

Dieselberg - International Ministries The latest from Annie and Jeff Dieselberg https://internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg.rss Thank You for Ending the Night <h2>Thank you for your partnership!<br></h2><p>We would like to thank you for your generous contributions to help us #endthenight. Your support allows for more women to break free from sexual oppression and exploitation around the world. <br><br>Thanks to your donations, we have been able to raise $24,858 in one-time gifts and $20 in new recurring donations! We believe that is worth celebrating!<br><br>If you missed our campaign, don't worry. You can still donate at -- <a href="http://donate.nightlightinternational.com">http://donate.nightlightinternational.com</a>.<br><br>Again, thank you so much for helping us #ENDTHENIGHT for freedom's sake.<br><br>Blessings,<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselbergs' other ministries, go to <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Wed, 04 Jan 2017 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64166-thank-you-for-ending-the-night https://internationalministries.org/read/64166-thank-you-for-ending-the-night Indescribable Joy <p>With tears of joy, the young Central Asian woman cried, “Mummy, I love you! I love you!”<br><br>Just a week prior, we had Skyped to tell her mom that she had not been allowed to fly home with her children and instead was being detained without them. Those tears had been heartbreaking.&nbsp; For the next week, we battled for a breakthrough to allow this mother the right to take her children home with her.<br><br>Through a storm of prayers, legal counsel, assistance from other NGOs, and finally a court order, the breakthrough came. Now with her children in her arms, "Hannah” stood at the gate of the nation and cried tears of joy as she called her mom. The prodigal daughter was returning home with her children after being gone for six years. The celebrations had begun.<br><br>The joy we experience in moments like this is indescribable. The battles we fight drain our physical energy and wear on us emotionally, but when the victory comes, it is so sweet that every battle we fought becomes worth it. Seeing a mother and her children freed from exploitation and returned home is an incredible way to end the year! <br><br>At the end of this year, we are extremely grateful for your support, which has allowed women and children in America and Thailand to live in freedom. We can go into these dark places and shine the Light, but without your financial support there would be no deliverance from those places of darkness. We can speak words of hope, but without your support there would be no programs of assistance. It is a great privilege to be part of this, not only to see freedom come, but also to see the restoration of so many women through job training, employment, counseling, shelter, reintegration, and repatriation. <br><br>There are many more women like Hannah in America and in Thailand who wait for assistance. Would you consider making a donation to NightLight International to enable us to bring freedom and restoration for many more women and children in 2017? It is an investment that brings indescribable joy! We would love for you to partner with us in this amazing ministry.<br><br>Give to End the Night. Give to bring the dawn of a new day for women and children in 2017! <br><br>Happy New Year!<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Wed, 28 Dec 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64088-indescribable-joy https://internationalministries.org/read/64088-indescribable-joy A Brothel Christmas Medley <p>A brothel manager of international women sent a message last week: “Thank you for coming to sing and give gifts! All the women were very happy and cannot stop talking about it!” The delight on the women’s faces made it a joyful memory for all of NightLight’s outreach team. Caroling inside a brothel was the highlight of my otherwise difficult Christmas season here.<br><br>Joy and sorrow meet intimately at Christmas. The first Christmas story was immersed in a dark story of governmental power abuses, of exploitation, and of death. Mary and Joseph found themselves far from home, seeking shelter with the hope of new life. It is in the midst of these shadows of darkness that good news came, though few knew it at the time.<br><br>This medley of song and joy at the brothel has a countermelody more in tune with the songs surrounding the Christmas drama of two thousand years ago. The women in the brothel live in the shadow of darkness.<br><br>Our relationship with this manager has been an unusual one, giving us access to the women and opening the door for assisting them. A few years ago, this manager asked us to assist a young pregnant Central Asian woman. A client had become an abusive and controlling boyfriend dependent on her money for his drug habit. In spite of several attempts to break away, she remained in bondage to him.<br><br>This year, this young mother finally made the break, ready to return to her home country with her children. As I write this, however, she sits in a detention center, separated from her children because the immigration officials will not allow them to leave the country together. The complexity and confusion of following red tape trails sometimes blows our minds into a state of blurriness. Everything becomes overwhelming for a moment, and we wonder where God is and what He is doing to help. It has been exasperating as we have been faced with corruption, exploitation, and misuse of the law (which does, in fact, support the mother’s rights). We are fighting on her behalf and have hired an attorney to help us reunite her with her children and to help defend her right to return home.<br><br>Christmas has become a season known for its beauty, joy, and love. Many of the Christmas images are of light. I think most of us would rather not bring the dark shadows of the Christmas story into our own Christmas stories. But where there is light, there is also a shadow. We cannot really celebrate the purpose of Christ the Savior being born without recognizing the great need for a Savior. We need a Savior, and we need the Light of the world to come into these dark places to bring hope and freedom.<br><br>This young Central Asian woman has found Jesus--or rather, He first found her. He came to her twice when she was running from violence and comforted her. After coming to NightLight, she discovered who He is and chose to give her life to him. In her words, “I fell in love with him!” The Light of Christmas shines in her story of darkness. I visited her at the detention center and asked her what she needed there. The first thing she asked for was another Russian Bible to give to a friend inside. The Savior of the World has given her hope to cling to even when the darkness rises against her, and now she is sharing that hope with others who sit in the darkness of the detention center.<br><br>The words of the prophet Isaiah thousands of years ago are still relevant today. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned… For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on forever. The zeal of the Almighty will accomplish this.”<br><br>We wait for our miracle in this great hope: Our Savior has come!<br><br>All of NightLight International in the US and in Thailand wishes all of our supporters a holiday season of joy where there has been sorrow. Light where there is darkness. May the hope of our Christ fill your hearts and homes as this year ends and the new begins!<br><br>Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!<br><br>Blessings,<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO<br>NightLight International <br></p><p>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64074-a-brothel-christmas-medley https://internationalministries.org/read/64074-a-brothel-christmas-medley You Never Forget <p><i><b>When you feel invisible, a gift is more than a present. It’s a lifeline to existence.</b></i><br>&nbsp; <br>Women from around the world walk the streets of Bangkok. They stand against walls late at night, dressed in seductive clothing and poised to entice men. They stand in the shadows and they stand in the streetlights, but they are not really seen. Sure, the men notice and turn their heads. Some pause to find out the price of this seduction, some take her and use her, and others simply glance and walk on. But no one really sees her. They see the pose, the clothes, the skin, the fantasy—but they don’t see her. It’s a lonely life for women of the night. They wear masks to hide their true selves, and after awhile, they begin to forget who they really are.</p><p>At Christmas every year, NightLight goes to the streets and the bars to let these women know that they are seen—not for their bodies, their moves, or their services, but as sisters of humanity with intrinsic worth. We give earrings and small gifts to around 1000 women. It takes only about a half hour to give out 1000 gifts; we choose a couple of bars and streets and focus on those.<br><br>“You never forget,” one Central Asian woman said to me when I handed her the small gift bag with earrings made by NightLight’s women. She has been on the streets for years, and she has received from us many times.<br><b><br><i>“You never forget.”</i></b><br><br>Those few words speak of the many times she has felt forgotten and unseen. “You have no idea what this means,” another said to me.<br><br>This year as you buy gifts for your loved ones, would you consider buying earrings from our store to give to the women of the night? The women of NightLight make these earrings especially for this occasion, and your purchase not only supports NightLight’s women, but sends a tangible message to women of the night: We have not forgotten you. We see you, and we remember who you really are. <br><br>Our goal this Christmas is to have a minimum of 1000 pairs of earrings to give to the women in Bangkok and in Springfield/Branson, Missouri. Will you help us meet that goal? Let her be seen this Christmas—not as a body offering services, but as a beautiful and unique individual whose value is not found in the price of her body. Through your purchase, we will give the gift of visibility, a lifeline to remind each woman of her true identity and of the hope of restoration.<br><br><i><b>To sponsor a Christmas gift today, click <a href="http://nightlightinternational.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=27640f03ea314c3f767c01ace&amp;id=e083a093c6&amp;e=04a3a0d91a">here</a>.<br></b></i><br>Blessings, <br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO<br>NightLight International <br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Thu, 15 Dec 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64031-you-never-forget https://internationalministries.org/read/64031-you-never-forget End the Night For Ying <p>NightLight International has been working to bring light and hope to those affected by commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking for eleven years. Though we have seen our impact grow over the years, there are still so many who are trapped.<br><br>This year, we invite you to join us in bringing light to those who are trapped in the darkness.&nbsp; We invite you to help us end the night for so many who are without hope. Between now and December 31, we invite you to help us reach two goals:<br>• $50,000 in one-time donations<br>• $5,000 in new or increased monthly giving<br>Be a part of ending the night for women who desperately need to experience love, light, and hope.&nbsp; To make a donation to NightLight, click <a href="https://nightlight.nonprofiteasy.net//PublicPages/Donation/Donate.aspx?did=302&amp;utm_source=NightLight+List&amp;utm_campaign=30709de402-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_11_29&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_dcb10c0aa8-30709de402-180923397">here</a>.<br> </p><hr> Unlike many of the women we meet, Ying completed high school, married, and started college. But despite these steps towards a better life, Ying still found herself in a life of prostitution.&nbsp; Ying’s story begins like so many of the women from the northeast of Thailand. Her parents were laborers at a local factory and struggled to make ends meet. Ying studied hard, and unlike many of the women we meet, she completed high school, married, and started college. Her path to a better life through higher education detoured abruptly when her husband left her and she was forced to drop out of school. Ying moved to Bangkok and married again, but this marriage also failed after seven years. A friend introduced her to the idea of working in one of the bars in the red-light district. In her mind, Ying glamorized the job, seeing it as an opportunity to find a foreign husband. It was only when she started working and was handed a skimpy bikini that Ying realized the job was prostitution and reality crashed in.<br>&nbsp;<br>Ying turned to alcohol to cope with working at the bar. After a few months working at the bar an American customer took an interest in her and they began a relationship outside the bar. When she became pregnant though, he refused to support the child and told her to get an abortion. Ying decided to keep the baby, ending their relationship. She moved back to her parents’ home in northeastern Thailand until she gave birth. She was hurt and disappointed that the man would not support her and the baby and felt ashamed for bringing the burden home to her parents.<br>&nbsp;<br>After her baby was born, Ying left him with her mother and returned to Bangkok for employment. She worked as a masseuse and as a bartender. With two jobs, she could support herself, but she didn’t like working around alcohol and was afraid of becoming an alcoholic. A friend in a similar situation suggested they go together and apply for work at NightLight. Ying desperately wanted a day job and the chance to raise her son. NightLight accepted both Ying and her friend and they started work immediately.<br>&nbsp;<br>One week later, at the NightLight annual retreat, Ying wept as she made a decision to accept Jesus as Lord. She experienced freedom from her past and the joy of God’s presence. Soon after, Ying brought her son to live with her in Bangkok. While Ying works as an office assistant, her son attends our childcare center. Ying’s life is now back on track for a bright future. <br>&nbsp;<br>Your donations help women like Ying to successfully leave prostitution and to be employed at NightLight. Please partner with us in giving more women dignifying work where they can know their value and be guided by the Light for a bright and hopeful future.<br><br>&nbsp;Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO<br>NightLight International <br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><p></p> Mon, 12 Dec 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64000-end-the-night-for-ying https://internationalministries.org/read/64000-end-the-night-for-ying Give to #endthenight for Svey <p>Sobbing in fear, Svey clung to her father’s leg and begged him not to leave her behind. She was only seven, and her father was sending her across the river from a bordering country to live with her grandmother in Thailand. Though she grew to love her grandmother, her aunt’s abuse was too much. Svey decided to run away and return to her mother’s embrace. Instead, when she reached home, her mother angrily beat her for running away and sent her back.&nbsp; When she was 14, her grandmother died, and once again Svey was abandoned and vulnerable. Her uncle exploited her vulnerability and abused her for the next two years. Finally at 16, Svey ran away for the last time and found her way to Bangkok. The first woman she met introduced her to prostitution. &nbsp;<br><br>Prostitution became a way of life for Svey that seemingly had no way out. Fifteen years later, Svey had two children through customers who would not take responsibility. When the youngest was born, she took him to live with relatives so she could keep working. While she was gone, her landlord locked her out of her room. Svey sent her 7-year-old to live with a friend who was a drug user. Svey had no options, and she worried about her son, but at least he wasn’t with her sleeping on the streets. Svey had no hope and didn’t know where to turn. Someone brought her to the beauty shop in our outreach center and she began to come regularly.<br><br>Svey has since been hired to work at NightLight. She has been reunited with her 7-year-old and has a new place to live. NightLight was able to assist Svey with getting her citizenship and her work permit to live and work legally in Thailand. Her son attends a school nearby.&nbsp; Both Svey and her son have become followers of Jesus. Svey still has a lot of wounds and post-traumatic stress from years of abuse, exploitation, and abandonment. She is on the long journey toward healing and restoration in a safe place and with a community of support and love. &nbsp;<br><br>Svey's new life is possible because of the support of our donors. There are many more women like Svey on the streets waiting for good news and hope of a new life. Would you consider making an end-of-the-year donation today to ensure more women will be restored in the year to come? We would love to partner with you in this movement of freedom!<br><br>Click <a href="https://nightlight.nonprofiteasy.net//PublicPages/Donation/Donate.aspx?did=302&amp;utm_source=NightLight+List&amp;utm_campaign=30709de402-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_11_29&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_dcb10c0aa8-30709de402-180923397">here</a> to donate to NightLight to #endthenight for women like Svey.<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO<br>NightLight International <br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Mon, 12 Dec 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64002-give-to-endthenight-for-svey https://internationalministries.org/read/64002-give-to-endthenight-for-svey A Shadow of Hope On The Trafficked <p>The shadows beneath the stairs provided a temporary reprieve from the demands of the street. *Ola blended into the darkness, but I spotted her, and paused to greet her and ask her nationality. Caught off-guard, she admitted she came from Uganda, like so many others we meet on the streets. I knelt down to catch her muffled words, as she answered the litany of questions I have rehearsed so well.<br><br>“How long have you been in Thailand?” “One week,” she answered. Ola told me she did not know what job she would be doing. Still in shock, she struggled to do what was required to survive. “I am so sorry,” I told her. “Do you want to go home?” Ola nodded, but said she owed $10,000 US to her boss. “Your boss is a trafficker and criminal! She deceived you and the debt is illegal. You do not have to pay her back.” Her eyes dropped and her voice wavered, as she regretfully told me she had begged the trafficker for a job, calling her repeatedly in hopes of getting something, anything. “My daughter and I had no food for four days. Do you know what it is like to not eat for four days?” Ola admitted the boss probably took advantage of her desperation and stuck her with a debt, higher than most.<br><br>Shame blanketed Ola as she confessed, “You don’t understand, I used to be a born-again Christian.” I reached out to touch her arm, “Ola, you still are. God has not abandoned you. He doesn’t blame you.” Her eyes brightened for a second before dropping again in embarrassment, “But I did a bad thing. I did an agreement…” “Witchcraft?” I asked her. She nodded and avoided my eyes.<br><br>I have heard this story so many times. The traffickers take the women to a witchdoctor to make the contract, which threatens to curse them with mental illness, sickness, or death if they do not pay back the debt. It is a hard obstacle to overcome, hard to assure women of safety when the enemy is not visible or tangible. We have experience in dealing with witchcraft so I spoke to assure her, “We can help you. We know how to pray and break the curses. God is greater than any witchcraft, and He loves you so much! This is not his plan for you. Life is hard, but I have a team that can help you through all of this.” &nbsp;<br><br>Ola stared at me as I spoke, but she carries a heavy weight of responsibility for a daughter who needs to eat and a debt, which if not paid back threatens to destroy her. There are no easy answers. I asked her if I could pray for her, and she agreed. She kept her eyes open and watched me as I prayed. Tears slipped down her cheeks, and she reached up to brush them away. I gave her a hug, and stood up to leave. “Hold on to hope, Ola. God loves you. He saw you sitting here, and He brought me this way tonight to tell you he has not forgotten you. He has heard your cries.” “Thank you!” she said. I logged our number into her phone, and I saw a flicker of hope in her eyes as I said goodbye.<br><br>These divine appointments are bittersweet. I walked away leaving Ola sitting in the dark under a heavy burden, but at the same time, I rejoice. The shadow of hope came over Ola, as God reached down to remind her she is not alone, and to offer a way to escape. He will not abandon her to the darkness. I wait for her call, hopeful that I will see God’s love at work again, using my team to free the captives, bind up the broken hearted, and bring home those who have lost their way. <br>&nbsp;<br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO<br>NightLight International <br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselbergs' other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Sun, 02 Oct 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63480-a-shadow-of-hope-on-the-trafficked https://internationalministries.org/read/63480-a-shadow-of-hope-on-the-trafficked Reach, Rescue, and Restore Women and Children in 2016: How You Make it Possible <p>Dear Friends of NightLight,<br><br>2015 is coming to a close, and we are already excited about the possibilities for 2016. We would love for you to partner with us in changing lives through outreach, rescue, and restoration in 2016. Would you consider making an end of the year gift for the work of NightLight Bangkok in 2016?&nbsp; Your financial partnership will enable us to continue to change and impact lives in 2016 the following ways:<br><br>• <b>Provide employment and job training to Thai women leaving prostitution or sexual trafficking through jewelry production, silk-screening shirts, sewing shirts and scarves, coffee shop barista, baking and cake decorating, child care, outreach ministry, and clerical work.</b><br>– 34 Thai women are presently employed at NightLight.<br><br>• <b>Provide child care and tuition scholarships for employees' children and the children of the community who are at risk.</b><br>– 27 children of employees and the nearby at-risk community are in childcare.<br>– 21 children of employees received tuition scholarship.<br><br>• <b>Provide holistic opportunities for restoration for the women in our programs</b>.<br>– All the women participate in the programs and many have begun to take on leadership roles in caring for others.<br>&nbsp;<br>• <b>Provide medical screening and intervention for women in prostitution and those who are trafficked.</b><br>– Over 100 women received medical check-ups every year.<br><br>• <b>Provide for outreach to Thai and International women through activities in the outreach centre and building relationships in the bars, brothels, and on the streets.</b><br>– Over 1000 women are contacted directly through outreach every year.<br>– 2000+ gifts were given out at Valentines, Women's Day, and Christmas in 2015. Over 100 women came to the outreach centre in for beauty salons, English classes, and clinics.<br><br>• <b>Rescue, shelter and repatriation for international women from Africa, Asia, Central Asia, and South America.</b><br>– Over 32 international women were assisted through housing, medical care, and/or repatriated in 2015. Many wait for assistance in 2016.<br><br>• <b>Sustain Through Monthly Giving</b><br>– Would you consider an end of the year donation to give us a good start to 2016? It is incredibly helpful to us when people give recurring donations as well. When we have a base of supporters giving monthly we can budget and plan well for the programs and individuals. Please consider a monthly donation. No gift is too small to make an impact.<br></p><h4>$25,000 a Month Made Possible Because of You!</h4><p>So many of you have been giving to us regularly for years and we can not say enough to express just how much we appreciate your generosity. The many programs which bring intervention, rescue, and restoration cost around $25,000 a month. Most of this is made possible because of generous donors like you.</p><h4>NightLight Women Giving in Joy<br></h4><p>The women of NightLight each donated $10 this Christmas to buy gifts and share with the sick at government hospitals. It was so fun to see how they have discovered the joy of giving. Ten dollars is a sacrifice for them, but they are learning to be aware of the needs of others and rather than see themselves as victims, to recognize they are overcomers who can share from their experiences and blessings with others. Would you encourage them in their giving and bless them by providing for their ongoing employment and restoration? Their lives have changed and now they are having an impact on others around them. Thank you for making this possible!<br><br>From all of us at NightLight in Bangkok, Thank You and Happy New Year!<br><br>Annie Dieselberg <br>Founding CEO<br>NightLight International<br></p><p>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br></p> Tue, 29 Dec 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60789-reach-rescue-and-restore-women-and-children-in-2016-how-you-make-it-possible https://internationalministries.org/read/60789-reach-rescue-and-restore-women-and-children-in-2016-how-you-make-it-possible Inconvenient Incarnation <p>It’s Christmas and there is no room at the inn. Actually there is room, but the inn is evicting the young pregnant Central Asian who is no longer able to pay by working in prostitution. Alone, nearly seven months pregnant, and illegal in a foreign country, Masha’s situation is messy, and it will require a dedicated team and a network of organizations to work through the complicated process of care for her through prenatal, a high-risk delivery, shelter, after-care, and ultimately repatriation. In the middle of Christmas activities, an upcoming Christmas break, and a shortage of staff, the timing couldn’t be any more inconvenient.<br><br>Every Christmas, I search for a quiet idyllic Christmas card moment of serenity when the significance of the incarnation will hit me in a new and profound way. Will it come in that quiet moment alone with the lights of a beautiful Christmas tree and Handel’s Messiah playing in the background? Will it come in a Christmas Eve service with lit candles and prayers? Will it show up when the children open their presents, or when the family gathers for dinner? Every year I ponder the same question of what makes Christmas feel like Christmas? And though my fantasy may be of a quiet peaceful moment alone with Him, every year I am given the same revelation, that the first Christmas was anything but private, peaceful or quiet.<br><br>Giving birth in a borrowed stable is not on any woman’s bucket-list. If that isn’t awkward enough, not long after giving birth, the shepherds were the first to visit. Personally, I would have wanted my husband to send them away and tell them to come back when I had recovered – if at all! From what can be seen, there really was nothing idyllic or serene about that nativity scene. If smells and noise could come through the Christmas card, we would not gaze in wonder, but gasp at the inappropriateness of it all.<br><br>It is inappropriate that Masha was sent to Thailand to work in prostitution. It is even more tragic that at seven months pregnant, she would be kicked out of the room and alone in a foreign country with no legal documents, and no one to care for her. As I ponder this situation, the first Christmas seems all the more relevant. In a world where self-care and “selfies” are the latest trend, the gospel, though deeply personal, is not intended to be private. Christmas still comes in the middle of political upheavals, chaotic migration, and great need in the most inconvenient times and inappropriate places. The baby that came through a borrowed womb, and would later die in a borrowed tomb, came into great inconvenience to bring hope and light to the Masha’s of the world.<br><br>Masha is just one of many who are in great need of assistance. NightLight International’s employees and volunteers have been busy shining the Light into places of great darkness and suffering around the world. NightLight’s outreach teams in Bangkok, Atlanta, and Branson have given out over 2000 Christmas gifts in the noisy bars, brothels, and streets to share hope, love, and light to those who walk in darkness. This week the women and staff of NightLight Bangkok together visited the sick in the hospitals, giving them gifts, and sharing joy and hope.<br><br>Quiet and serenity may have eluded me, but the significance of Christmas has not. The good news is that a Savior has been born, and He is the Light of the World. &nbsp;<br><br>May this season be one of joy and filled with Light and hope!&nbsp; Merry Christmas!<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founding CEO <br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Thu, 24 Dec 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60782-inconvenient-incarnation https://internationalministries.org/read/60782-inconvenient-incarnation One day in 2013 a miracle happened ... For months NightLight's outreach team had tried in vain to gain access to what we call "The Glass Room." It is simply a glass walled room in the basement of a prominent trafficking hotel where women must sit and wait for male customers to come, look at them through the glass, and select a lady to buy for an hour or so. That evening our long-term outreach team were praying about where God wanted us to bring the hundreds of gifts we had to give to women still working in the sex industry. What we experienced was God telling us to go to The Glass Room. We were hesitant because this particular area had always resisted our attempts to build relationships, but we decided to take a step of faith. So we went to talk to the managers sitting outside of the room, gifts in hand. To our excitement, the managers agreed to let the women come out of the locked glass room and take presents from us! Four or five of these women even stayed around for 30 more minutes just to chat! This was the only time we got that kind of reception from the women and the managers there.<br><br>The women were so excited to get our little gift of earrings and a card. They tried them on and everything while we were there. They kept thanking us for visiting them with big smiles on their faces. That's what stood out to me, in those few moments these women were happy. They were not trying to impress a would-be customer or put on show, they were receiving a gift, no strings attached, and they were happy. I am not sure if it was the gift that made them happy or the knowledge that there were people who cared about them, and a God who loved them. I like to think it was all three! Either way, it was an incredible night. God clearly really wanted those women to experience His love that night.<br> <br>&nbsp; - Written by Krista Couts, former long-term Outreach Team Member <hr>There are THREE days left to reach our goal of giving Christmas gifts to ONE THOUSAND women still being trafficked and exploited in Bangkok.&nbsp; Only 250 gifts to go! Will you help us meet our goal of 1000 gifts by December 21st? Each present will include handmade <a href="http://store.nightlightinternational.com/category_s/171.htm">NightLight Design</a> earrings, other small trinkets, and a Christmas message in the woman's own language.<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br> Fri, 18 Dec 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60740-one-day-in-2013-a-miracle-happened- https://internationalministries.org/read/60740-one-day-in-2013-a-miracle-happened- We Have Big News! <p>Dear friends,<br><br>Today, we are excited to announce that we are taking initial steps to make this vision a reality!&nbsp; Over the next two months, NightLight is transitioning it's US sales and distribution operations for NightLight Design products from LA to our Branson location!&nbsp; This move paves the way for us to establish future operations-related employment opportunities for women who wish to leave the sex industry in the Branson/Springfield area.<br><br>We are confident that this strategic step forward will help us maximize our resources and our impact. We also believe this move will expand NightLight International's vision of providing dignified employment opportunities for women in both Thailand and the United States. Please join us in praying for this move, and for all the planning and work that will follow as we begin to develop these alternative employment opportunities.<br><br>Are you a current member of NightLight Design's Freedom Team? We will be sending you a unique email about how this move affects our Representative Program.<br><br>Thank you all for continuing to support the freedom of women and families around the world.<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO NightLight International <br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Mon, 07 Dec 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60609-we-have-big-news- https://internationalministries.org/read/60609-we-have-big-news- On the Run <p>I looked out the window once again, hoping to see her return, but there was no sign of her. If I'm to be honest, after the major blowup she had before running out, there was a part of me feeling momentarily relieved, but a bigger part of me wanted her to come back.</p><p>I met Robi one morning as she was sitting outside our coffee shop. Still wearing her evening clothes, she looked weary, distant, and lost. I found out she had no place to stay, no documents, and no one to go to. Robi was from North Africa and the language we used to communicate was French – neither of us great at it. Robi wanted to quit prostitution, but she didn’t want to return home. She needed a safe place off the streets. Since our shelter was waiting for additional staff and not yet available, I brought Robi home with me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I also knew it wasn’t a coincidence she was sitting on our doorstep. I believe in divine appointments and knew she had been sent to us to love. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Robi had little trust for any expression of love. Even a gentle touch on the arm was mistaken as a threat or invasion. Robi was angry, and for good reason. Robi’s entire life had normalized trauma and abuse. After birth, she was abandoned into her grandmother’s abusive care. By the time she was 8, Robi was working to support three abusive uncles. One of the uncles burned his wife and then burned the house down in a drunken rage. These were the building blocks forming Robi’s view on love and relationships. At 16 Robi ran away and was taken in by a Madame who sold her into prostitution. Arrested by the police, she was sent to a foster home, which she described as the worst experience of her life. <br>&nbsp;<br>When at 19 a friend connected her to a job at a restaurant in Turkey, it sounded like a great escape to a new beginning. Instead, she was forced to do drugs and prostitution. Robi’s anger taught her to fight and seeing her as a troublemaker, the trafficker sent her to a partner in Bangkok. It was the frequent rapes by the new boss which drove her to run away without her passport. She ran into the arms of another man who continued the abuse. Robi ran away again, and again. Her story reads like a never-ending nightmare. When she paused on our doorstep, she was on the run again with nowhere to go.<br>&nbsp;<br>At my home, Robi immediately unpacked and arranged her few belongings. She delighted in playing Hide-and-Seek with my children, showing glimpses of her lost childhood. We watched a French movie and laughed together&nbsp; as she forgot her fears for a moment. At night, however, she was haunted by nightmares and disturbing thoughts. The lights stayed on all the time.<br>&nbsp;<br>We began the process of obtaining documents for repatriation. In one of the interviews, Robi tearfully said, “I just want to go someplace where I can be a human being and not an animal.” As the days passed, Robi became more agitated. She questioned when she would go and then questioned what kind of future was ahead of her. We kept assuring her we would assist in finding good options for her, but Robi had no experience in her life to give her a reason to believe. <br>&nbsp;<br>The day came when Robi exploded, yelling and cussing at the imagined cameras and the men she believed were watching her. She said she was leaving to go find the money herself for a ticket. She began packing her things while cussing and yelling. Alarmed, I called her embassy and the diplomats decided they would intervene by sending her back the next day.&nbsp; Robi settled down, but she wasn’t herself. She dressed in her sexy clothes and went out for a beer to calm her nerves. That was the last I saw of her. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>NightLight has given assistance to hundreds of women through the years. While many have success stories, we have had our share of women who fell short of success. It is heartbreaking when they run back to their abusers. It’s easy to feel that we failed them. In the early years of this ministry, I ran after them not wanting to let them go. I have come to understand, however, that there comes a time to let go and trust they are in God’s hands. God gives us the privilege of being part of their journey and our call is to love them the best we can for whatever time they are with us.<br><br>We are sometimes but an oasis on their journey toward healing and restoration. <br>&nbsp;<br>Robi was on the run and God led her to stumble across our path where we would find her and give her rest. Maybe for the first time in her life she experienced authentic love. Maybe this brief experience of love shifted her paradigm just enough to give her hope that true love does exist. Robi left us to continue her journey, but I know another divine appointment watches at the window and waits for her - another appointment with true love.<br>&nbsp;<br>“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:11-14</p><p>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder and CEO NightLight International <br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Mon, 14 Sep 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59838-on-the-run https://internationalministries.org/read/59838-on-the-run Beauty Springing Forth <p>Dear Friends,</p><p>Carrie O'Conner is the NightLight Bangkok Outreach Center Manager, ministering in the middle of the red light area for over a year. She leads a great team of women in reaching out to the most vulnerable on the streets and providing safe spaces for them to feel loved and to gain hope. <br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO NightLight International <br></p><hr><br>On March 13th, we launched a new initiative at our outreach center in the heart of the Nana red light district.&nbsp; We began opening up the center on Friday afternoons for a beauty shop outreach, offering free manicures, makeovers and hair styling to those in our area.&nbsp; We didn’t know how it would all turn out but believed it could be a great way to build relationships with those who work in Nana.&nbsp; We have been offering manicures at our outreach parties and clinics for a long time, and that has always been appreciated, so we expected this endeavor to be pretty well received.&nbsp; But from the very first time we have clearly seen the hand of the Lord on this outreach in a special way.&nbsp; It is an incredible platform for building relationships, gaining trust, providing a safe place for people “to just be”, sharing our lives and hope, and listening to our guests’ stories and offering to pray for them. &nbsp;<br><br>We soon realized some of our guests really look forward to these Friday afternoons so in June we added Wednesdays as well.&nbsp; We currently average about 10-12 guests per time, and last month we had 45 unique people attend.&nbsp; I recently asked three of our Thai staff what they feel we are providing for our guests, and they said: love, hope and relationships.&nbsp; They spoke of how welcome and comfortable with us our guests feel and pointed out the various people who often come early and/or stay late.&nbsp; We have truly become a safe place for some of the people in our community, and some of them may have never had that before.<br><br>It takes time to build trust with anyone, especially with those who have been really hurt, abused or neglected.&nbsp; And time is what the beauty shop gives us.&nbsp; It can be difficult to have deep conversations out on the streets or in the bars – there are so many noises and distractions to compete with out there.&nbsp; But in here, inside the center, it’s just us and them.&nbsp; And, for me, that’s the true beauty of the beauty shop.&nbsp; They can be themselves and we can love on them right where they are.<br><br>It's been a great privilege these last five months to watch some of our guests begin to let down their walls, take off their masks and let us see who they really are.&nbsp; We seek to call out the gold in them and share with them that they matter - not only to us but also to God whose eyes are always upon them.&nbsp; Some of our best conversations happen at the hair washing station.&nbsp; As the staff washes our guest's hair, they ask God to show them how they can specifically encourage that particular person.&nbsp; There have been many tears at that station as our guests get a glimpse of God’s love through the loving care of our staff. &nbsp;<br><br>The last few months our beauty shop times have been especially rich.&nbsp; We've recently prayed with four women who want to begin following Jesus, and we are grateful for the opportunity to keep sharing life with them.&nbsp; One of them, a young lady who was living and working on the streets, is currently in our care as we assess how to best help her long term.&nbsp; We've also been able to help some of our guests in practical ways as they've opened up to us about their needs.&nbsp; We recently referred two people to another foundation, and they are now working there and doing very well.&nbsp; One of them tells me often how happy he is there and how thankful he is to have a job he can be proud of where he can also learn more about Jesus.&nbsp; This month we also hired one lady to work at NightLight.&nbsp; She came to the beauty shop week after week and then eventually confided in our staff that she was ready to leave the sex industry.&nbsp; She has already left the bar she was working in and is scheduled to start working at NightLight next month.<br><br>We feel incredibly blessed to be here right in the heart of the Nana red light district.&nbsp; Though the area around us is very dark, we are encouraged as we see light going forth from our center.&nbsp; We feel the fruit we see springing up from the beauty shop is only a taste of what’s to come, and we’re waiting expectantly for what God has planned.&nbsp; As I look at our community, the Scripture that often comes to mind is Matt. 9:36 – “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”&nbsp; My prayer is that our hearts will continually be moved with this same compassion and that we will not only tell them of the Good Shepherd but also put Him on display for them to see.&nbsp; If we faithfully do that, we know transformation will come.<br><br>Carrie<br>Bangkok Outreach Center Manager<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <br><br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><p></p> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 07:51:02 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59620-beauty-springing-forth https://internationalministries.org/read/59620-beauty-springing-forth New Beginnings - Updates from NightLight Bangkok <p>Dear friends,<br><br>You have probably seen the news by now, of the bomb attacks in Bangkok. It is tragic and many lives were affected. We are grateful that all of NightLight's team are safe. A second attack today though has increased the tensions and fear. It is impossible to anticipate if there will be another and if so, where it might hit. Most of NightLight's team travel by public transportation and so the risk of danger is on their minds. Please keep us all in prayer and also pray for those who have been injured, the families of those killed, and for the government to be successful in arresting the attackers and preventing further harm. <br> </p><hr> <p></p><p>Birth comes through labor and new beginnings seem to come through trials. It has been a challenging season for NightLight in many ways. Staff and volunteers have expressed weariness in dealing with many challenges and obstacles, many of them personal. I am encouraged, though, in realizing how many times these challenges come before a big breakthrough. God is preparing us for the next season and these are battles which serve to bring us closer to God and refine us for greater assignments.<br><br>• We are really excited to announce that a new woman has been accepted into the alternative employment program at NightLight. "Saeng" has been coming to the weekly beauty salons for some time and began to open up about her story. She wanted out of the bars and now Saeng is beginning a new stage of life. We are excited to welcome her. It's been a while since we have been able to hire anyone new, so it is a great encouragement to us all. <br>• The young trafficked woman from Morocco ran back to the streets the day before she was scheduled to fly home. Sometimes it is hard to understand these setbacks, but she has had a traumatic life and it will take time to build the trust needed to get her home and into programs which can help her find a new life.&nbsp; Please pray for her as she is back on the streets with no documents and is very vulnerable. Pray we will be able to assist her again and for God to reveal his love to her and bring her freedom. <br>• The young woman who was scheduled to go into rehab also backed out last minute and went back to the streets. It is discouraging, but she still comes to see us and to receive love from us regularly. Pray for healing in her mind and the courage to follow through with the assistance she needs for freedom. <br>• The baking project is happy to have Julie and Sarah back after their summers away and is preparing to start selling beautiful custom-made cakes, cookies, and cupcakes for sale in September. <br>• Through the beauty salon, a young woman confided in the staff that she was homeless and in danger of assault as she slept on the streets. Her home is not a safe place for her either. "Sprite" has been given shelter and we are trying to discern the best help for her. She chose to make a decision to follow Jesus and we are happy for this new beginning. There is a lot of healing needed and a lot of prayer is needed especially for the Thai women who are caring for her day and night.<br>• Thailand celebrated Mother's Day on August 12th and the outreach team was able to give out over 500 gift bags to foreign and Thai women. It is always fun to see their faces light up and to see the women feel valued and honored. <br>• We have had a lot of visitors over the last couple months who have really been an encouragement to us. Shari Short and Isaiah Smith came and sang in our coffee shop and were a big hit. This week we were blessed to receive prayer ministry from an Iris team.<br>• NightLight is going through some significant changes as we prepare for the next season. Beng, a Thai co-founder and leader of the business has resigned from the business and will now be taking the position of Director of Anti-Trafficking through our foundation. We are saying goodbye to a number of volunteers in this next season and it is always sad and hard to see people come and go. We are eager for the new ones who will be starting soon as well. Pray for the transitions and for readiness for new assignments. <br>• We are in need of more volunteer staff in some key positions, especially the outreach center and the coffee shop. We also need more case managers to care for trafficked women in the period of transition as we assist them to go back home. For more details on open positions or if you happen to know anyone interested in working with us please e-mail bkk@nightlightinternational.com <br>• We are sad to say goodbye to Brittany Taylor who has served as jewelry operations manager for the US distribution. She is moving on to another job and we are presently taking applications for her replacement. We are grateful for her excellence and commitment through the last 4 years. Anthony and Rebecca have stepped in for the interim period so we hope that the product orders will continue to flow smoothly. <br>• We still need people to hold jewelry parties and to sell our jewelry and shirts. Over the past couple of years we have lost most of our consignment sellers, and it has severely affected our sustainability. Holding a jewelry party is a great way to not only give practical assistance, but to bring awareness to others in your networks. Please pray about holding a party and please pray for many from churches and communities across the nation to join in and partner with us in this way.&nbsp; It is a beautiful way to honor the work the ladies are doing and to celebrate freedom with them. Write to jewelry@nightlightinternational.com to host a party.<br>&nbsp;<br>While it has been a time of many challenges, we celebrate the new life and new beginnings we see daily. Two women starting new lives are exciting. We also celebrate in advance the new things God has in store for us as we step into a new season. Thank you for the prayers and support which sustain us through all these seasons. Thank you for making it possible to see women like "Sprite" and "Saeng" step out of the darkness and into freedom and light. <br>&nbsp;<br>With Gratitude,</p><p>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO NightLight International <br></p><p>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br></p> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59515-new-beginnings-updates-from-nightlight-bangkok https://internationalministries.org/read/59515-new-beginnings-updates-from-nightlight-bangkok Fear to Freedom <p>Dear Friends,<br><br>Deneen Kelly is a volunteer with NightLight in Bangkok, serving as the manager for the Transition House, which provides shelter, care, and safe repatriation for international victims of trafficking.<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br></p><hr><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:UseFELayout/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal">Tina is a beautiful picture of a life transformed from fear to freedom. &nbsp;When she arrived at the Transition House, Tina was experiencing significant mental health issues. &nbsp;She was suffering from what is commonly called a psychosis. &nbsp;She was hearing voices and was disassociated from reality. &nbsp;The voices frequently admonished her to harm herself or others. &nbsp;She described them to be hurtful and insulting. &nbsp;We grew to be able to tell when the voices were speaking because her expression would change. &nbsp;It would reflect anger, fear and confusion. &nbsp;We would confirm that she was hearing the voices speak and we would speak truth into her heart, trusting the Lord’s voice to take root and resonate louder and stronger in her heart then the darkness that had become so familiar. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<br> <br> In the first weeks&nbsp;Tina was with us,&nbsp;fear was experienced by all of us living at the Transition House. &nbsp;At the time&nbsp;there were two other women in our&nbsp;care, one had a six month old baby girl with her. &nbsp;Though Tina never acted on any of the orders, she admitted that the voices frequently instructed her to cause harm to the other women. &nbsp;The voices targeted one of the women more than the other, telling Tina she had been planted in the house to spy on her and cause her harm. &nbsp; Every day was a faith walk, praying the Lord would keep everyone safe and bring healing for Tina.&nbsp;<br> <br> An incredible team of healers came alongside us as we sought to address the mental health issues. &nbsp;We could see glimpse of light shining into the darkness after about four weeks in care. &nbsp;Over the next four weeks we witnessed the birth of a whole new creation. &nbsp;Our House Mother, Kate, and I will never forget the first time we heard her laugh. &nbsp;It took a few beats for the shock to wear off enough for Kate and me to laugh with her. &nbsp;When we walked out of Tina’s room we stood staring at each other for a minute. &nbsp;I broke the silence, “Did that really just happen?” &nbsp;Kate confirmed, “She just cracked a joke, a funny joke!” <br> &nbsp;<br> That was&nbsp;the moment we knew she was going to be OK and it was a rapid ascent back to joy and freedom for Tina from there. &nbsp;Laughter quickly became the soundtrack of our days. &nbsp;It turns&nbsp;out Tina has&nbsp;a beautiful light heart and a wonderful sense of humor. &nbsp;She is caring, creative, and crafty. &nbsp;Her days became full of crocheting projects, baking experiments, and expanding her hair styling skills. &nbsp;Back home in Uganda, Tina had been a beautician. She was trafficked under the guise of styling hair for tourists in Bangkok. &nbsp;God provided a master level stylist to expand Tina’s skills to include cutting Caucasian hair. &nbsp;Our prayer is that this additional skill will enable her to achieve employment more quickly once home in Uganda.<br> <br> “What can I say, only God!” said Tina regarding the incredible healing she experienced while here at the Transition House. &nbsp;And we agree with her! It is truly an amazing privilege to be able to make an impact in the lives of women from all over the world. &nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Deneen Kelly, MSW<br>Transition House Manager<br>NightLight Bangkok<span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span> </p><p class="MsoNormal">To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a> <br></p><br><p></p> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59210-fear-to-freedom https://internationalministries.org/read/59210-fear-to-freedom Celebrating Freedom <p>This month celebrates independence or national days for 26 countries, including France, the USA, Belgium, Argentina, Colombia, Hong Kong, Liberia, and many more. We are grateful for the freedom we have and find it a privilege and honor to be part of bringing freedom to many women from around the world. It's your prayers which sustain us and make this work possible. We are grateful for your role in bringing freedom to these women as well as the prayers and support which enable them to stay and thrive in freedom. &nbsp;<br><br>• July 1-8 we are having a huge clearance sale. While we are clearing out older inventory, this is also a great opportunity for you and your friends to support the women who are walking in freedom.&nbsp; Please pray for an abundance of sales in order to sustain us through the summer. You can see NightLight jewelry information at -- <a href="http://nightlightinternational.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=27640f03ea314c3f767c01ace&amp;id=bd195d1ebf&amp;e=8c5b46d25f">store.nightlightinternational.com</a><br>• Our work with trafficked women continues to bring us face to face with amazing women with horrific stories who are overcoming and walking into freedom. Since April we have assisted 2 Ugandan, 1 Liberian, 1 Uzbek, and 2 Colombians in returning home. These women and their families have been greatly impacted by your prayers and support.&nbsp; We are presently assisting three others from Uganda and Colombia as well.<br>• A young trafficked woman from a Sub-Sahara North Africa county is presently in our care. Please pray for her as she suffers from post traumatic stress and tries to walk through a difficult process to return to her country. <br>• Thank you for praying for the Central Asian woman who was seriously ill. We were able to get her home safely where she could reunite with her family and receive medical treatment. <br>• One of our women who has struggled to get off the streets and free of addictions for over 10 years has agreed to enter a rehab center this month. We will be visiting with her family in the northeast and then taking her to the center up north. Please pray for her to have courage for this difficult journey.<br>• The baking project completed their 12-week training course and in June had a graduation ceremony and celebration. They often doubted themselves and their abilities, but persevered and made some incredibly beautiful cakes. This fall they will open for sales locally.<br>• The outreach center has been very busy with beauty salons twice a week, English class once a week, outreach parties, and a medical clinic. Women from the red light area come for care, conversations, and hope. As the women share their stories with our staff, they ask about Jesus. Four women have come to faith through these visits.<br>• In June, 25 women and their children were treated to an outing at Safari World by the Evangelical Church of Bangkok. For their missions service weekend they also partnered with us by playing live music in our coffee shop at night, and joining us on outreach. It was wonderful to have their support and presence.<br>• Lastly, we are really in need of people to hold jewelry parties and to sell our jewelry and shirts. Over the past couple of years we have lost most of our consignment sellers, and it has severely affected our sustainability. Holding a jewelry party is a great way to not only give practical assistance, but to bring awareness to others in your networks. Please pray about holding a party and please pray for many from churches and communities across the nation to join in and partner with us in this way.&nbsp; It is a beautiful way to honor the work the ladies are doing and to celebrate freedom with them. You can get jewelry party information at -- <a href="http://nightlightinternational.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=27640f03ea314c3f767c01ace&amp;id=bd195d1ebf&amp;e=8c5b46d25f">store.nightlightinternational.com</a>&nbsp; Write to jewelry@nightlightinternational.com to host a party. <br><br>There is a lot of discouraging news around the world and we face challenges, which often seem impossible. We are so grateful for your prayers and support and we celebrate the goodness of God in bringing freedom and hope to so many.<br>&nbsp;<br>Celebrating Freedom,<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br>&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to: <br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59042-celebrating-freedom https://internationalministries.org/read/59042-celebrating-freedom Staying Alive <p>Death’s shadow loomed over Yana, sucking the life from her emaciated body. We had been acquainted with Yana, a tall blond Central Asian, for a couple years, and we were increasingly concerned, but Yana mostly kept to herself. One night on a routine visit, Lionel, the manager of the brothel, pulled us aside to ask for help. He had felt sorry for Yana, and had been giving her $10 a day for the past two years so she could eat. He too saw death’s shadow, and wanted us to talk with her and help her go home.</p> <p>Lionel called Yana over to talk with us. She greeted us reservedly and glared at him. “Don’t be angry with me. I just want to help,” he said. We offered assistance, but Yana wasn’t ready to open up. She did agree, however, to come see a doctor at our medical clinic. When the doctor saw Yana, she warned us the symptoms were similar to the woman who died of AIDS a few months before.&nbsp; Yana however, refused HIV testing. She just wanted medicine to help her eat. She clearly didn’t trust anyone yet.<br><br>With each visit to the brothel, we watched the shadow of death encroaching in her body. As we reached out to her, she began to let us in. One night, Yana got scared and called to say she was ready to get tested. The results were no surprise to us, but Yana fought back tears at what sounded like a death sentence. “It’s time to go home,” we told Yana, but she said she could not go home empty-handed after being gone four years.&nbsp; With death knocking, she felt a sense of urgency to make some money before going home to her elderly mother. <br>&nbsp;<br>One afternoon, my colleague Beng and I went to warn Yana that if she did not take her medicine she would die. Yana’s eyes were sad when she looked up and said, “Yes, I know. I want to go home now. Will you help me?” We were relieved, but knew there was only a short window of time before she would be too sick to fly. Yana had already overstayed her visa two years. The normal procedure would require a three-day stay in the over-crowded and dirty immigration detention center. She would have to pay a fine in court, and then wait her turn to be deported. The stressful process often took months and the shadow of death would gain ground in a severely compromised immunity.<br><br>Beng went to work immediately, contacting immigration officials, getting medical reports, talking with the consulate, and arranging with the airlines.&nbsp; The officials agreed to bypass the usual deportation requirements and one month later, the team took a weak, but grateful, Yana to the airport. They prayed as she waved goodbye from her wheelchair and passed through immigration. An organization in her home country waited to follow up with her and help her get the medical care she needs to recover.<br><br>Yana’s name was nearly added to the death toll of foreigners in Thailand. Her situation represents thousands of unseen women stranded in foreign countries. Even if they get the money for a ticket, they don’t know how to navigate the complicated channels of immigration. Sometimes they are arrested for illegal entry or prostitution, and wait in detention until their families can borrow money to get them home. When their health is compromised, these vulnerable women are even more desperate and afraid. If they cannot get home, they are at risk of dying alone in a foreign country.<br><br>God intervened for Yana, and we were able to assist her before she lost all hope of life. A couple days after Yana left, her mother called to thank us for returning her daughter. She had lost her son to death and was grateful to get her daughter back. Yana can now fight this illness, encouraged by her mother’s love, and with hope for a full life.<br><br>“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in the land of the shadow of death, on them the light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2 WEB)<br><br>Your prayers and support enable NightLight’s outreach team to shine a light of hope into the darkness and to rescue women from the shadows of hopelessness and death. Your support is a lifesaver to each of the beautiful women we meet in the brothels, bars, and streets here in Bangkok.&nbsp; Over the past 10 years, NightLight has helped more than 65 trafficked women return home. The average cost of assisting each of these women is $3,000. Your donation enables us to advocate for trafficked women in our care, and to cover the cost of medical expenses, immigration fees and tickets for them to return home safely. Will you help today?<br><br>Blessings,<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Mon, 18 May 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58504-staying-alive https://internationalministries.org/read/58504-staying-alive Are you the ones who help the African ladies? <p>Eden’s baby was still nursing when she was left behind in Africa. As a single mother, it was not Eden’s plan to leave her baby behind, but not much was going her way. The breaking point came when Eden’s father died unexpectedly. Her stepmother sold their home and took off with all of the inheritance. Grief and resentment smothered Eden as she showed up on her grandmother’s doorstep with her baby tied snugly against her back. Her burden was heavier than the suitcases she balanced on her head. A grieving sibling held onto her from each side looking to her for security. Of course Eden already knew her grandmother could give her no more than a roof over her head, and she would be responsible to find food for all these hungry and grief-stricken children.<br><br>Eden had learned how to do hair, but moving to a new location it was hard to find work. Eden did not know how she would pay for daily expenses let alone her siblings’ school fees. Word traveled to “Ellen”, her high-school friend, who stopped by to visit. Ellen sympathized with Eden, and then told her she had a friend in Malaysia who was hiring for her beauty shop. Pulling out her smartphone, she dialed a number and connected Eden with a woman who offered her a job making $400 a month. Eden wrestled with the thought of leaving her nursing baby and her siblings behind, but she was desperate. &nbsp;<br><br>A week later, Eden arrived in Malaysia. Her breasts were in pain from not having nursed for 24 hours. Ellen’s friend “Susan” picked her up at the airport and asked for her ticket, passport, health card, and ID card. Eden hesitated, but Susan insisted. She was to start right away. It was night and Eden was tired. She pleaded to sleep, and asked for medication to reduce the pain and swelling.<br><br>They let her sleep – until midnight. When they woke her, they gave her some skimpy clothes. Eden gasped, “Is this the way your staff dress for the beauty shop? I will wear my own dress.” The women laughed at her. “Who said you will work in a beauty shop? You are a prostitute.” Eden protested, “No, you told me I would work in a beauty shop. You promised me.” Sandra retorted, “If I told you the truth, you would not have come.” Eden began to cry. Her body ached, she was tired, and scared, but she knew she could not be a prostitute. Sandra threatened her, “If you run away, we will call the Nigerian gangs. They will do to you what they did to Lina when she tried to run away. After they finished with her, she could not work for two months. You cannot escape us.” Eden trembled as she dressed. She fought back the tears as the controller took her to the streets.<br><br>The next 10 months were a living hell. Time after time she was taken to an apartment only to have the client invite his friends to join in raping and beating her. When Eden was sick and in pain, she begged to see a doctor, but the controller gave her aspirin instead. Sandra left the country using Eden’s documents as her own to avoid the police. Eden was stuck in a foreign country with no documentation and no way to get home. She felt herself dying inside.<br><br>Another African befriended Eden, and after listening to her stories for many months, offered her a way out. She would pay for the service of a Malaysian known to get people into Thailand. Eden waited for her window of opportunity. One morning the controller left the apartment with the other women on some errands. Eden knew it was then or never. She called her friend who directed her to a bus leaving for the border of Thailand and a number to call when she arrived. It was a long ride north and Eden was nervous traveling without any documents. What if they found her? She had heard of other African women who had been murdered by the Nigerian gangs in Malaysia. Eden prayed that she would make it to Bangkok safely and that she would live to see her baby.<br><br>When Eden arrived in the border town, a taxi was sent to pick her up at a hotel. “Get in the trunk,” she was told. Eden climbed in, her heart racing as the lid shut her into the dark compartment. She felt the car moving and held her breath as it slowed down for the border-crossing. She heard an exchange of voices and then the car moved again. They drove a ways further and then the car stopped. Was she in Thailand?<br><br>The trunk opened and Eden was told to get out. Eden grabbed her bag and followed the man into the darkness. They walked through some marshy grass and up a hill. She followed him to a path behind some buildings and then to a hotel. “You are in Thailand now,” the man said. He gave her some money for the hotel and for a bus ticket to Bangkok, and then he left.<br><br>Eden was in Thailand, but she had no idea where. She had been smuggled into a new country with no documents and no one to help her. She slept restlessly that night and the next day took the bus to Bangkok, hoping no one would stop the bus and check documents. She was still a long ways from home with no idea still of how she would ever return.<br><br>When Eden arrived in Bangkok she took a taxi to an African neighborhood. She saw an African woman and approached her for help. The woman agreed to let her stay with her a couple nights. The woman told her all the African women go to the street at night. Eden was tired and overwhelmed. She had escaped her trafficker and this was not what freedom should look like. By the next night though, Eden stood on the street waiting for a customer so she could pay for her room. Here at least she would not be forced to turn over all the money to a trafficker. Ten months in Malaysia and she had not been able to keep anything.<br><br>Eden was forced by circumstance to do the very thing she had hoped to escape. When it began to feel like she would be trapped forever, a woman she had known from the streets called her from Africa. “There is a group that can help you. They helped me and now I am home. Here’s the number…” Eden felt a flutter of hope. Could it be true? Really? She had been deceived by her friend 10 months ago and by many since. She kept the number and studied it. She started to call and then hung up. It was getting harder and harder to go the streets. She longed to be truly free. Eden picked up the phone and called the number, “Are you the ones who help the African ladies?”&nbsp;</p><hr><br>Over the past 10 years, NightLight has helped more than 60 trafficked women return home. The average cost of assisting each of these women is $3,000. Your donation enables us to advocate for trafficked women in our care, and to cover the cost of medical expenses, immigration fees and tickets for them to return home safely. Will you help today?<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br><p></p> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/57592-are-you-the-ones-who-help-the-african-ladies- https://internationalministries.org/read/57592-are-you-the-ones-who-help-the-african-ladies- Will Evil Triumph? <p>Evil is the only word to describe what I have heard. I have seen and heard a lot, and I’m not easily shocked anymore. When women tell me their traumatic experiences, I have learned to not gasp in horror and to respond without giving in to the tears. Later though, when the moment has passed, the stories of their horrific abuse come back and haunt me. Then, I wrestle with the evil that is destroying these precious women. There is no other word for it than evil.<br><br>Re-telling her story was opening up the door to the reservoir of dark memories. I had heard “Alie’s” story already, but to be identified as a trafficked victim, she had to be interviewed again by an official. It was a long process, and I turned to ask Alie how she was doing. “Not okay,” she mumbled. “What’s going on?” I asked her. Alie told me that she was remembering something she had not told me before. “Do you want to tell me?” I asked gently. She began to talk in a quiet hushed voice. <br><br>Alie then shared how a customer had taken her to a room full of men. The drug ICE was unknowingly put in her drink. Three days later she woke up in pain, having been gang-raped repeatedly. Alie considered suicide, but remembered her baby back home and chose to survive.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br>"I don’t know what all they did to me,” It disturbed Alie to know she had been abused while so vulnerable and unconscious. How does one respond? I told Alie I was so sorry for what had been done to her, which was pure evil. The official asked for my attention to clarify some details. I handed Alie my i-Pad so she could play Candy Crush (her choice) and get some relief from the memories. <br><br>Though Alie is physically safe now, sleep has not been a safe place for her. Dark memories haunt her dreams chasing away rest and security. When I next saw Alie, she asked me if she would ever stop feeling sad? Would she ever be normal again? I tried to assure Alie the depression and sadness will not last forever, and what she is experiencing is normal for a trauma victim. <br><br>Physically, the abusers are far from Alie and in time they will leave her thoughts, but it will be a long journey to healing. Alie will never forget, but we hope and pray, with help of after-care communities, social workers, friends, counselors, and family, Alie will feel restored and move past surviving to thriving. <br><br>Women like Alie are too often caught in the lion’s jaw, ripped apart only to be tossed again, into another lion’s den. How is it that traffickers and sexual predators are allowed to continuously devour and destroy women to satisfy their greed and lust? What will it take for people, communities, and governments, to see and to do something? How many more stories will we hear before we are all disturbed enough to demand justice and to implement the changes needed to stop the exploitation?<br><br>It may have been said a lot, but it still rings true: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke) With God’s help, evil will not triumph on our watch. It is time to move beyond awareness, time to raise our voices, and time to take action to end trafficking and exploitation. Tomorrow is too late. The time is NOW.<br></p><h4>Ways To Get Involved<br></h4><p>There are many ways to get involved in anti-trafficking efforts:<br><br>Praying is a great place to start, but don’t stop there. Take a look around you and find out more. What are the signs and vulnerabilities in your community?<br><br>Ask your pastor what your church is doing or can do to address men’s brokenness and women’s exploitation? Start something to get your church involved. “Justice Awakening,” by Eddie Byun is a good tool to use for church involvement. <br><br>Ask teachers what can be done for early intervention when students are being groomed to exploit or be exploited.&nbsp; Are the schools in your neighborhood addressing the issues of trafficking? What about pornography?<br><br>Offer your time to positively influence children and youth. Be a big brother or sister to a kid from a broken home. Offer rides to children and single mothers to attend safe churches or community centers. Provide counseling for hurting families. <br><br>Join an outreach team or volunteer at an after-care facility. <br><br>Monitor what is being seen on TV and in the movies as well as social media. Free speech should not equal free access for exploitation.<br><br>Offer jobs to women who are desperate and struggling to support their families. Walk with them through the process of finding a job.<br><br>Share the blessings you have by giving financially to an anti-trafficking organization such as NightLight. <br><br>Do something; just don’t do nothing. <br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/57330-will-evil-triumph- https://internationalministries.org/read/57330-will-evil-triumph- Dieselbergs Celebrate 20 Years in Thailand <p>As we enter the New Year of 2015, we celebrate 20 years of missionary service in Bangkok, Thailand. It has been an amazing journey, and we are so grateful for all the support that sent us to Thailand and the faithful support that has sustained us for 20 years. <br></p><p>In October, 1994, our family of five left Springfield, Illinois to live in Bangkok, Thailand and serve as International Ministries missionaries. We could not have imagined the adventures God had in store for us. We have put together a little time-line showing our 20 years in Thailand as a memory of some of the adventures God has brought us through.<br><br><b>October, 1994: Dieselbergs moved to Bangkok, Thailand</b><br><br><b>1994-1995</b>: Language school four hours a day five days a week!<br><br><b>1995-1997</b>:&nbsp; Jeff and Annie served at <b>Charoen Krung Maitrichit Baptist Church</b>.&nbsp; Jeff did preaching and teaching alongside of the Thai pastor. Annie assisted with the preschool and with the Compassion International project, visiting families in the slum community and assisting with the flower-making project. <br><br><b>1997</b>: At two months old, <b>Chandler</b> came to live with us. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br><b>1998</b>: In spite of the challenges and obstacles, Chandler was miraculously adopted into our family.<br><br><b>1998</b>: Jeff began teaching <b>Urban Ministry</b> in seminaries, and created and launched the <b>Xtreme Teams</b>.<br><br><b>1999</b>: Jeff hosted the <b>Pacific Rim Urban Think Tank<br></b><br><b>2000</b>: Annie began to work at <b>Rahab Ministry</b> assisting women in prostitution.<br><br><b>2002</b>: Jeff founded the <b>Urban Transformation Center</b>, which served <b>1,700 participants in two years</b>, provided over 2 million baht in assistance for victims of Bangkok's largest slum fire, and literally transformed a community devastated by the tsunami by starting a relief ministry called "<b>Friends Together in Sorrow and Joy</b>".&nbsp; Annie began doing prison ministry, led worship, and served in leadership in the <b>Women's Day at the International Church</b>.<br><br><b>2003</b>::Jeff formed and trained an <b>adjunct faculty team</b> to share in teaching Urban Ministry at four seminaries, which to date has <b>served 2000 students</b>. Annie's work with <b>restoring women out of prostitution</b> became a full-time passion. <br><br><b>2005</b>: <b>NightLight was founded in Bangkok with Annie as the CEO</b>. NightLight's <b>outreach team</b> has offered hope to thousands of women in the bars, brothels, and streets.<br><br><b>2006</b>: <b>NightLight Design</b> was set up as a business, since then assisting <b>over 160 Thai women out of prostitution</b> and into dignifying employment.<br><br><b>2007</b>: NightLight opened a <b>childcare center</b> and now cares for an <b>average of 16 children under 5 daily</b>.&nbsp; Assistance to <b>internationally-trafficked women</b> began with two women from Uzbekistan rescued. Since then <b>over 55 international women</b> from Uganda, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Columbia, have been assisted to leave the exploitation and return home.<br><br><b>2008</b>: Jeff founded <b>Song Sawang</b>, NightLight’s church plant. <b>Around 80 men, women, and children have been baptized, four Christian weddings performed, and many children dedicated to God.</b><br>&nbsp;<br><b>2009</b>:&nbsp; Through generous donors, NightLight purchased a 6-story building in the red light area, which now serves as our <b>Outreach Center</b>. NightLight provided <b>medical clinics and English classes</b> to women still in prostitution, and offers a refuge from the harsh setting of the red light area.<br><br><b>2010-2011</b>: NightLight expanded its business to <b>silk-screening shirts</b>. We are excited to have new products so we can have additional employment for women.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br><b>2013</b>: We opened our <b>Transition Home</b> to provide safety and intervention to trafficked women while in process of repatriation of 27 <b>trafficked women</b> who were assisted and sent home.<br><br><b>2014</b>: <b>CityLight Coffee</b> opened and is a presence of light, offering refreshment and relationships to the men, women, and children who visit or work in the red light area.<br>&nbsp;<br><b>2014</b>: NightLight began preparations and training for our soon-to-open <b>Bakery</b>. NightLight has expanded to <b>three branches in the US</b> (Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Branson, Mo) and to one outreach post in Phoenix.&nbsp; NightLight is getting requests to expand to other nations as well. <br></p><h4>Family News<br></h4><p>Our oldest son, <b>Jordan</b>, is now married to a beautiful Thai woman <b>Lucia</b>. They live in Bangkok where Jordan works in film; and Lucia, in marketing and design. <b>Kristina</b> is serving in missions in Africa with Iris Ministries. <b>Skyler</b> finished ministry school and is now beginning community college, and <b>Chandler</b> is in his junior year of high school.<br>&nbsp;<br>As of September 8th, we are the <b>proud new parents of two Ugandan children Esther (age 3) and Nicolas (age 6)</b>, whose mother died in November here in Bangkok. The children came to live with us beginning in December. We are starting all over again, but enjoying the presence of children in our home again.<br><br>It has been an amazing journey and <b>we could not have done it without you!</b> Your support and prayers through the years have carried us to the mountaintops and walked us through the valleys. There is no way we could have been on this amazing journey without you.<br>&nbsp;<br><b>Thank you so much for our support through the years that has made this all possible.</b> We love serving as your partners in Thailand. We invite you to celebrate alongside of us, these 20 years, and to praise God for how he has used your financial support and prayers to produce so much fruit.<br></p><h4>New Season<br></h4><p>Jeff and I (Annie) are in a new season now. It feels a bit like starting over with two new children. A change in our visa situation cost us the school scholarship we have had for the past 10 years, so this year we need to raise additional funds to cover three student tuitions.<br><br><b>Would you consider increasing your giving to support us in this new season?</b><br><br>Jeff and I are still short of the goal for our support and the cost of living goes up steadily in Bangkok. <b>We would like to ask you to give to our support through pledges or through a yearly gift.</b> We believe God wants to continue to use us here in Bangkok, and we are very aware of the role you play in keeping us here for many more years.<br><br><b>Thank you so much!<br>Happy New Year!</b><br><br>Annie and Jeff Dieselberg<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg<br></a><br></p> Mon, 29 Dec 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56869-dieselbergs-celebrate-20-years-in-thailand https://internationalministries.org/read/56869-dieselbergs-celebrate-20-years-in-thailand Change The World One Life At A Time <p>Dear Friends,<br><br>Christmas day has passed; in a couple days the world will celebrate the New Year. I always feel excited in anticipating the New Year. In one sense, it’s just the turn of a calendar day, but it is also a marker that inspires new beginnings.<br><br>Looking back on 2014, I am grateful how God has provided for NightLight and used us in spite of the global economic challenges. NightLight’s teams in Atlanta, Branson, and Bangkok continued to reach out to the hurting and exploited in bars, brothels, clubs, and the streets. Children were given opportunities for safe learning and hope for a better future. Women who left prostitution grew in freedom through discipleship, employment, and after care.&nbsp; Trafficked women, who thought they were off the radar of hope, were rescued and safely returned home to their countries. New projects began in outreach centers and alternative employment. <b><i>Through NightLight’s teams from the east to the west, the light pierced the darkness and brought hope and freedom.</i></b><br><br>We are grateful to all you donors, buyers, volunteers, and prayer warriors who have made everything that we have done possible. Our hearts are big and our vision even bigger, but we can only do as much as there is support through funding. Our dreams of bringing more freedom and restoration have grown bigger as we discover not only the needs, but also the opportunities. <b>Will you help us to see these dreams realized?</b><br><br>Every woman freed impacts her family. Every family impacted brings change to its community. Every community changed affects the future of its city. Every city can be a light for its nation. Every nation that shines bright is a catalyst for world change. We need to see change in our world today. <b><i>We at NightLight International want to change the world one life at a time.</i></b> A new beginning starts with one.<br><b><br>We invite you to be a catalyst for change by ending the year with a gift to one of the branches of NightLight International: </b><br><br>Sow into <b>NightLight Atlanta</b>’s outreach center or kid’s program and combat the city of Atlanta’s reputation for trafficking. (Select Atlanta) <a href="http://donate.nightlightinternational.com">http://donate.nightlightinternational.com</a><br><br>Sow into <b>NightLight Branson</b>’s outreach and after care programs to keep a city known for family entertainment from becoming a center of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. (Select Branson) <a href="http://donate.nightlightinternational.com">http://donate.nightlightinternational.com</a><br><br>Sow into one of <b>NightLight Bangkok</b>’s many outreach, anti-trafficking, or after care programs to turn back the destructive tide of a global center of prostitution. (Select Bangkok) <a href="http://donate.nightlightinternational.com">http://donate.nightlightinternational.com<br></a><br><b>Usher in the New Year by sowing into freedom. Together we can catalyze 2015 to be a year of hope, freedom, restoration, and new beginnings for women, and children across the world. &nbsp;</b><br><br>Will you help us change the world in 2015? We would love it if you would partner with us - <b>For Freedom’s Sake!</b><br><br><b>Happy New Year!</b><br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg<br></a><br></p> Sun, 28 Dec 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56867-change-the-world-one-life-at-a-time https://internationalministries.org/read/56867-change-the-world-one-life-at-a-time Red Light Redemption <p>Dear Friends of NightLight,<br><br>Bangkok had very few Christmas decorations when Jeff and I first arrived twenty years ago.&nbsp; A department store was decorated with tinsel and played carols for shoppers and a hotel had a display of reindeer and a sleigh out front. The bars caught on quickly and bar girls wore Santa caps to entice their international customers. Christmas was just another excuse for a party and a marketing opportunity. Today, Christmas decorations are much more visible in Bangkok and Christmas parties more common, but it is still really just Christmas wrapping; most in Bangkok have no idea of the true meaning of Christmas.<br><br>NightLight chose to demonstrate the meaning of Christmas by showing love to our neighbors. On the 17th, we held a Christmas party in our outreach center and invited women from the streets to come in for food and fun. That night, the outreach teams distributed 775 gift bags to women in prostitution. Our outreach team sang Christmas carols in the lobby of a brothel where international women are prostituted. The women, pimps, and even the manager stopped their activities to listen to the Christmas carols. The women in the bars, brothels, and the streets were surprised and touched by gifts, which asked nothing in return.<br><br>The joy of giving continued on the 18th, when NightLight went out in 5 teams to visit the sick in 4 different hospitals and a slum community. Each team donated their own money to buy the gifts they would give. The women prayed for many and helped some lonely hurting people feel valued for a day. The women of NightLight have received so much from so many. This year was a financially difficult one for NightLight and we were not able to buy gifts for the employees, but this time they discovered the joy of giving at Christmas. The teams gave over 170 gifts that day.<br><br>On the 19th, all of NightLight gathered together in our building, in the heart of the red light area. Everyone teamed up to bring food to share and the staff planned fun Christmas activities on all 6 floors of the building. The children joined in the activities and then received presents given by the Evangelical Church of Bangkok. At the end of the day we gathered in the coffee shop for one last time of worship together in 2014.<br><br>As we sang “Christmas Is The Time for Love,” my eyes took in the beauty of the scene in front of me.&nbsp; One of the women was leading us with the guitar. Another was leading the children with hand motions to the song. The women and their children, along with staff and volunteers, filled the coffee shop’s two floors and joined in the song and motions. It struck me that we were not just celebrating Christmas, but that the true meaning of Christmas was demonstrated among us.<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>I turned and looked behind me into the street of the red light area.&nbsp; I recognized streetwalkers, and foreign women who are trafficked and in prostitution. Men walked past with girls they had picked up at the bars. Most of the women worshiping Jesus inside had once walked these streets. They know the harsh reality of sin’s abuse. They know the feeling of desperation and hitting bottom with no sign of hope. They know what it is like to walk in darkness. Now these women know what it means to walk in the light.<br><br>On this special day the women of NightLight returned to the red light area, but this time they came in freedom and confidence.&nbsp; To these women, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of their Savior who came to the very streets they once walked, rescued them from darkness, and brought them into the kingdom of light.<br><br>“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…for unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given ... And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:2,6 (NIV)<br><br>Merry Christmas!<br>&nbsp; <br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Thu, 25 Dec 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56859-red-light-redemption https://internationalministries.org/read/56859-red-light-redemption Freedom Bakery <p>Dear Friends,<br><br>Sarah Brown is a BMS missionary from the UK sent to work with NightLight. Sarah is a fashion designer and a cake decorator. She has been working with NightLight for two years along with her husband Paul who is an accountant. <br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br></p><hr><br>The countdown to Christmas has begun; remembering that God sent our Savior Jesus Christ to Earth – Joy To he World!<br><br>There are twinkling, coloured lights, laughter, and people preparing to be together with family to celebrate the birth of our Savior.&nbsp; But on the streets and in the bars of Bangkok, the laughter is often forced, the gathering of crowds more sinister ? the coloured lights are mostly neon that advertise the sex industry.&nbsp; NightLight is trying to bring real laughter, healthy community, and the light of Christ into the lives of women trapped in the sex trade. <br>&nbsp;<br>Doing outreach in the red light area is so important, the conversations and friendships built with women could transform their lives forever.&nbsp; Unfortunately, for some it is too late. Recently, a Thai bar worker from the area where we do outreach was brutally murdered–a reminder that prostitution is dangerous, harmful and women’s lives are at risk.&nbsp; We continue to pray and step out, in the hope that women will make the decision to leave the sex industry and trafficked women will find the courage to step forward for help.&nbsp; Providing an alternative solution and employment for these women is crucial.<br><br>We hope you will support and pray with us, as we prepare to launch an exciting new project that will provide further alternative employment opportunities to women freed from a life of degrading exploitation. Since September 2013, volunteers with NightLight have been teaching some of the women employed at NightLight the art of professional baking and sugar crafting.&nbsp; Sarah &amp; Julie are both from the UK and well versed in this area. Sarah owned a cake decorating business and Julie is an accomplished baker who worked for a leading bread company.&nbsp; God had a plan in motion– Annie had been having visions for some years based around a bakery for NightLight.&nbsp; Sarah and Julie did not know each other; however they arrived to Thailand about the same time and have now been living in Thailand for nearly two and a half years.&nbsp; God’s hand has been at work! <br>&nbsp;<br>Baking has been a completely new area for the women to learn, since ovens are still not in homes or widely used by many Thai’s! It has been over a year since they began learning and the women are thriving.&nbsp; Their confidence is continually growing and their cake baking and sugar artistry skills are improving.&nbsp; The women have become so happy and proud of the work they are producing. This new business venture is a 'freedom bakery;' the skills the women are learning will enable them to produce beautiful celebration cakes, wedding cakes, delicious baked goods, run a bakery, and will contribute to a life of dignity and hope for women who, for far too long, were robbed of both.<br>&nbsp;<br>In mid-September this year, renovations to the kitchen at NightLight began to provide the bakery team with a professional space.&nbsp; With high rent prices in Bangkok, the business will begin trading from NightLight’s main building with the hope that in the future they will be able to acquire their own retail space. The bakery business' name will be revealed soon! <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>From February 2015, four more women will join, and Sarah and Julie will begin teaching a full-time 3-month intensive training program, covering - hygiene, essential business skills, along with baking, decorating, and sugar artistry.&nbsp; They will graduate with certificates and then be employed in the bakery.&nbsp; Alongside working in the bakery, the women will continue to be given the opportunity to learn the Bible, faith in Jesus Christ, and taught other various life skills, which will help them reach a level of healing from the past and be equipped for the future.<br>&nbsp;<br>We have been so blessed by those that have already donated to the start-up of the bakery.&nbsp; Funding received so far has enabled us to renovate the kitchen at NightLight, purchase an industrial oven and a fridge and mixer.&nbsp; However, in order to be fully operational, and for the business to be a success, we are still in need of essential items.<br><br>One of our gifts to you this Christmas is the opportunity to help:<br><ul><li>$30 equals ingredients for cupcakes, to be sold at a profit.</li><li>$50 equals a set of cake tins and sugar craft tools.</li><li>$100 equals a week’s salary for a woman being trained in professional baking.</li></ul>Please consider joining us in this exciting project as it continues to develop in this coming year. Whatever amount you can give could help make a huge difference to the freedom bakery.&nbsp; By supporting us financially, you are providing a start-up capital to launch, and support pf businesses with a focus not on exploitation but transformation.<br><br>Please keep this project in your prayers.<br><br>Thank you &amp; God Bless!<br><br>Sarah Brown<br>NightLight Baking Project Coordinator<br><br>* To donate specifically to the baking project, please send us an e-mail at bkk@nightlightinternational.com<br><br><p></p> Sat, 13 Dec 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56712-freedom-bakery https://internationalministries.org/read/56712-freedom-bakery Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! <p>As we count our blessings this holiday season, we thank God for your partnership with NightLight in bringing freedom and transforming lives.</p> <p>Mint is one whose life has been and is being changed through your support. Mint has a joyous laugh that changes the expression of even the most serious. Her story, however, did not begin well. Her father abandoned her as an infant and her mother died of AIDS when she was just 6 years old. Mint dropped out of school at 15 and came to work in Bangkok. An older man took advantage of her and she became pregnant. He was very abusive and she nearly lost the baby. Mint gave birth to her baby alone in the hospital while her boyfriend was with another woman in their apartment. Suicide seemed like her best option, but even her attempts to end her own life failed.<br>&nbsp;<br>A neighbor from her home village told her she could get her a good job in a restaurant, but it turned out to be a massage parlor with full services. When her boss tried to force her to have sex with clients without condoms, Mint refused and fought them off. Her neighbor then took her to the streets and helped her get her first customer there, telling her it would be better on the streets.<br>&nbsp;<br>One night, a client violently raped her and nearly killed her. She had been told about God before this, but had laughed at the idea. But, as she was facing death, Mint remembered what she had been told and cried out to Jesus to save her. She survived, but was very shaken.<br>&nbsp;<br>Soon after this, a Christian referred her to NightLight, where she found healing and freedom in Christ. Today she is one of NightLight's key worship leaders. Mint's heart aches for the women on the streets. This summer, she joined the outreach team and began building relationships with women in the sex industry. When Mint recently received a financial gift, she cried. She had been praying for a way to pay for her own expenses on outreach. She wants to give of herself by reaching out to the women who are still in prostitution.<br>&nbsp;<br>It costs $450 a month to support Mint and each of the 45 women who are finding new life and freedom in NightLight's program. That's over $20,000 per month. We love seeing the women thrive at NightLight, but the last few months there have not been enough funds to cover all of the expenses or salaries. We need your support to keep Mint and women like her in our program. Your partnership is such an encouragement to Mint in knowing that she is not alone, but that she is supported by an amazing and generous network of people who see the value of rescue and restoration.<br>&nbsp;<br>To partner with Mint and the team at NightLight Bangkok, click <a href="http://donate.nightlightinternational.com/">here</a> to donate and choose “NightLight Bangkok” from the designation drop-down menu or make your check out to “NightLight” and mail it, along with a note saying it’s for the Bangkok branch, to NightLight, P.O. Box 74850, Los Angeles, CA 90004.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>For Freedom’s Sake,<br>&nbsp;<br>Annie Dieselberg<br>CEO, NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56572-happy-thanksgiving-friends- https://internationalministries.org/read/56572-happy-thanksgiving-friends- NightLight Bangkok Prayer Updates <p>As we move into the Holiday season, things are ramping up! We are in need of much prayer and support, especially during this season. Take a look at our current updates and needs and make an impact from right where you are by joining us in prayer.<br></p><h4>NightLight Design<br></h4><p>• <b>Holiday Sales</b> - Christmas time is usually the most profitable time of year for us regarding sales. However, judging from our overall drop in sales this year, we fear that we will not bring in as much as we need. Pray that sales, both online and local, would pour in, and that NightLight Design would once again be in a more stable place. Please consider sharing about NightLight on your social media outlets to help get the word out about us and our products, including our new t-shirts featured on our newly designed online store: <a href="http://store.nightlightinternational.com/">http://store.nightlightinternational.com/</a><br>• <b>Staff Needs</b> - We are in need of a couple of new volunteers to help run NightLight Design, specifically in media, design, and marketing. Pray that these roles would be filled quickly and with the right people. For more information on these specific roles, please visit our volunteer page:&nbsp; <a href="http://www.nightlightinternational.com/staff/">http://www.nightlightinternational.com/staff/</a><br></p><h4>Outreach Center</h4><p>• <b>Christmas Outreach</b> - We have a number of outreaches planned for this holiday season, including another medical clinic and a Christmas party for the community. Pray that these events are successful and that we are able to make great connections. <br>• <b>English Classes</b> - We have a number of women who currently work in the bars who have been consistently coming to the English classes offered in the outreach center. As relationships build, we hope we can help encourage them out of the sex industry, and that their new English skills would help them find a job where they feel honored and valued. Pray for the right opportunities and divine appointments. <br>• <b>Coffee shop</b> - The coffee shop continues to be a refuge among the many bars in the red light district. Pray that more people would step through our doors to experience it. Pray for our partnership with the <a href="http://www.mstproject.com/">MST Project</a>, who is providing staff to help us interact and build relationships with the foreign men that frequent this area. <br></p><h4>Transition House &nbsp;<br></h4><p>• <b>Repatriated women</b> - We recently helped three women get back to their home countries after a stay in our transition house.&nbsp; One of them received salvation during her short stay with us. Pray for their continued restoration and provision as they settle in back home. &nbsp;<br>• <b>Sex-Trafficking Conference</b> -&nbsp; Some of our transition house staff are currently at an anti-trafficking networking conference in an area where a number of the women we help are trafficked from. Pray that useful connections are made and that much is learned about how to better assist these women. <br></p><h4>Fundraising</h4><p>• We are currently in the middle of a much-needed year-end fundraising campaign. Please pray that we are able to secure the necessary funding for our current projects and the new ones to be launched in 2015. If you would like to play a part in the funding of our restoration projects, please visit our donation page: <a href="http://donate.nightlightinternational.com/">http://donate.nightlightinternational.com/<br></a><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56510-nightlight-bangkok-prayer-updates https://internationalministries.org/read/56510-nightlight-bangkok-prayer-updates When Justice Fails <p><b>Our Story</b><br><br>"They have Ugandan passports. They cannot get Thai visas!" Our newly adopted 3- and 5-year-olds were being denied visas to extend their stay in Thailand. No arguing would change the authorities' minds. So we packed a quick overnight bag and headed to the neighboring country to apply at the Thai Embassy for new visas.<br><br>I felt a little anxious as Jeff (my husband) went to the window to apply, but we had every document imaginable to convince authorities these children should live with us, their legal parents, in Thailand. When Jeff turned to face me however, he looked upset. Again, the official rejected the application because they had Ugandan passports. The official said the children could stay in Laos for 3-4 weeks, while they worked on it with the consulate in Bangkok or the children could be deported back to Uganda.<br><br>At this point, I joined in the argument. "These are our children ages 3 and 5!&nbsp; Isn't there a higher law that protects children's rights to live with their parents?" The official was not happy with us, but said she would talk to her boss. She returned and asked for our documents again. Then she wanted a letter from NightLight Foundation, which we did not have. The visa office closed its operations for the day. Feeling very frustrated, we returned to the hotel.<br><br>The following day, we returned with the letter. But now, she wanted a copy of the ID card to match the signature. We called staff in Bangkok, and asked her to rush a fax to the embassy. That document arrived, and the documents were accepted. When we picked up the visas the next day, we were so relieved! We returned to Bangkok by bus.<br><br>I grew up believing in the right to due process of law and to justice. When these rights are denied, I protest and persist until I see breakthrough. I have taken these rights for granted. I am learning, however, that justice is not a right easily granted to the poor. Our experience with the children's visas was inconvenient and tense for a few days, but only a small glimpse of what our sisters from Africa face as their norm.<br><b><br>Her Story</b><br><br>"Gloria" didn't look well from the first day we met her. Gloria had been trafficked from Uganda to Thailand under false promises of a good job. Instead, Gloria was forced into prostitution to pay off a debt to the trafficker. Once paid, the trafficker abandoned her in Thailand without a visa. When we met Gloria, she had been on the streets for two years. She wanted assistance, so she entered our transition house.<br><br>Gloria was taken for a medical check-up soon after she moved in to the shelter. It would be three weeks before she received the results of the blood work. In the meantime, there was a lot to do to prepare Gloria for repatriation. She would have to be identified as a trafficked victim by the Anti-Trafficking Department of the Royal Thai police.<br><br>According to Thai law, Gloria's case was a clear case of trafficking. The police however, did not agree, because she stayed in Thailand two years after her trafficker left her. They argued that she could have gone home or gotten another job. That she had no money, was on overstay, and is not legally permitted to work in Thailand, was not accounted for. The police did not want to be corrected by NGO workers. They held to their judgment and said she would have to be deported for illegal entry.<br><br>It was a big blow to everyone. A few days later, Gloria received the results of her blood work and got more bad news. She had full blown AIDS with a CD4 count of 1. A couple days later, Gloria was taken to the emergency room and admitted in ICU. She died the following morning. While we are thankful that Gloria died in a loving community and not alone on the streets, had she received the results faster and had the anti-trafficking police done their job well, Gloria might have been able to return home to her family.<br><br>Justice does not come easily for victims of trafficking. They survive hell and then far too often they are re-traumatized by the legal processes. NightLight stands in the gap for these women. We use our voices to fight for their rights. Last year we were able to send 27 women home in spite of the obstacles. Without advocates, these women are not likely to receive justice. We, alongside of other organizations, are working to influence the systems that block justice. It is not at all easy and is often discouraging. However, we will not give up and will pursue justice for these precious ones who cannot do it for themselves. We are sharing Gloria's story to expose the gaps in the process that deny justice. We are fighting for change.<br><br>We recently received a letter from a relative of Gloria, thanking us for caring for her in her last days, and for making sure that her body was returned to be laid to rest in Africa. He is a lawyer, and although he was not able to save Gloria, he wants to pursue justice and see the traffickers prosecuted. With her story, he hopes to help other women find freedom and justice.<br><br>The consequences of trafficking killed Gloria and justice was denied her, but Gloria's life will be remembered and celebrated. She was a courageous woman who sacrificed everything for her family. We hope and pray that her death will be a turning point to improve the systems in Thailand and in Africa, to protect the vulnerable, to free the captives, and to pursue justice for these amazing women.<br><br><b><i>On average, it takes $3000 for NightLight International to provide care, medical checkups, and the assistance of repatriation to one trafficked woman.&nbsp; Would you please assist us as we stand in the gap for women like Gloria?&nbsp; You can make an online contribution <a href="http://nightlightinternational.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=27640f03ea314c3f767c01ace&amp;id=215cfe4e80&amp;e=8c5b46d25f">here</a>.&nbsp; Please be sure to select "Bangkok" from the drop-down menu.&nbsp; Thank you for your financial gift on behalf of these vulnerable women. </i></b><br>&nbsp;<br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/56197-when-justice-fails https://internationalministries.org/read/56197-when-justice-fails Imprisoned <p>Beng and I had just stepped off the plane in Bangkok from a trip to Uganda when we received the news that some African women were in jail. During a late night police raid, three Ugandan women were found on visa overstay and arrested.<br><br>The next day I stood face-to-face with a woman at the jail. I reached out to touch her fingertips through the bars of the cell door. The jail was crowded and the bathroom leaked water all over the floor. The women had huddled together over one little dry floor space in the night. They couldn’t sleep. The prison door flaunted their reality. They were not free inside or outside the jail cell.<br><br>One of the women, Anita, pleaded with eyes and words for help to get out. Anita’s story followed the patterns of the 26 women we sent home last year. From a poor family in Uganda and abandoned by her husband, she needed desperately to find a job and support her children and aging father. A friend told her of a job at a beauty salon in China where she would earn $100 a night. The agent would make all arrangements for her trip and provide travel documents. Anita could pay her back once she started her job in China. Anita believed that she had finally found the door to financially stability for her family.<br><br>In China, a woman met Anita at the airport and immediately collected her passport. Anita was tired and ready to rest, but the agent told her, “You are a prostitute! There is nothing else here for African women.” Anita cried and asked for her ticket home. It had been cancelled. She was threatened and told that if she did not pay back the $6000 debt, she would have witchcraft done against her, or even worse, her family. Anita was given skimpy clothes and pushed out to the street. During her time in China, Anita was beaten and forced to do many things she had never even imagined possible. Anita’s dream of opportunity abroad quickly turned into a nightmare. She was trapped and saw no way out.<br><br>When Anita’s visa expired in China, she was sent to Bangkok and to another controller. Other than a change in ethnicity of clientele, Bangkok was not much different. Anita paid a man to get her a visa, but the man stole her documents and the money. Now Anita was even more vulnerable. Anita’s only reprieve was Sundays when she was able to worship in an African church. But Anita could tell no one about her situation. Her goal was to work off her debt and return home with at least enough money to start a small business. She felt ashamed and did not have the courage to tell her family what had really happened. Anita often thought about committing suicide. It seemed like the only way out of her situation.<br>Then she was arrested. A steel door slamming shut and locking her in. She would not be taking customers, but she could find no comfort in being arrested and possibly sent home as a criminal with nothing but shame to face a hungry and uneducated daughter.<br><br>I listened to Anita’s story and explained how we could provide shelter, a ticket home, and assistance with the needed documentation. But Anita was scared because she still owed money to her trafficker. She was worried about her children’s school fees coming due. She wasn’t sure if she could trust us.&nbsp; Anita excused herself for a moment. I heard her sobbing a few feet away. She came back with a wet face covered in tears and agreed to accept our offer.<br><br>The Thai policeman willingly released the women into our custody. The prison door was opened and the women walked into freedom. They looked up at the sky and thanked God. God had used the door they thought was sealing their fate to become the very door to freedom.<br><br>At our shelter, the women received rest, counseling, prayer, and preparation to return home. My Thai colleague, Beng, worked with the Thai officials and partnering NGOs to navigate through the complicated and unfriendly immigration process. The women have returned to their country in freedom and with dignity. Anita hopes to attend Bible school and become a worship leader.<br><br>Globalization has changed the world. There are benefits to globalization, but human trafficking is taking advantage to exploit and destroy women from around the world in our cities and backyards. Such a large and seemingly impossible situation requires kingdom work and partnership. It’s time to rise to the challenge and to join in the fight against human trafficking. In Bangkok, my Thai colleagues are working alongside of missionaries and volunteers who speak multiple languages to reach the vulnerable and exploited, and who would otherwise fall through the cracks of church programs and government policies. We work together with organizations in China, Central Asia, and Africa to break through the systems that hold people captive and to bring holistic restoration.<br><br>When it seems like the doors have slammed shut and there is no way out, wait on God - have no fear – God can turn a door of captivity into a door of freedom. What He has shut no one can open; what He has opened no one can shut. The door to freedom is opening around the world. We stand at the door ready to receive the captives with singing. Thank you to all of you who support the work, and have risen to the challenge alongside of NightLight to join in the song of freedom.<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br></p> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55669-imprisoned https://internationalministries.org/read/55669-imprisoned Prayer, Praise, and Updates from Bangkok Time doesn't stand still and neither does the work at NightLight. A lot has happened over the summer and we are so grateful for all your prayers. This is longer than usual, but we invite you to read and discover the many different aspects of the work going on here in Bangkok and to join us in prayer.<br><p></p><h4>Anti-Trafficking Program:<br></h4><p>The four Ugandan women who were in our transition house in May have all returned home. <br>In June we were able to assist an Uzbek woman and invite her into our transition house. Please pray for her as she will hopefully return home next month.<br><br>The African trafficked woman who contacted us for help from India was assisted by an NGO in India. After waiting 8 months for her baby to be born, she finally returned home. She called this week to say thank you for all we did to help her. <br>Sadly, over the summer, one of the African women we were assisting died before we could get her home. It was sad, but we were glad that she was able to spend her final days in a community of love and support rather than die alone on the street. <br>Our anti-trafficking team has 11 cases in various situations who are receiving assistance. Pray for those in the immigration detention center and for those who need to be in shelter, but have been too afraid.<br><br>Pray for the laws concerning the women and the immigration process. The red tape and ignorance concerning the situation of the trafficked women we help is a real obstacle and challenge to safe and just repatriation.<br><br>NightLight is seeking someone to come on board as Director of Anti-Trafficking to oversee all the programs related and to carry out the bigger vision for combating trafficking, networking, and rescuing those in need.<br><br>The Transition House also needs additional staff to serve as house moms and case managers.<br></p><h4>Outreach Center:<br></h4><p>The English classes for Thai women are beginning to grow as women learn of the opportunity to study. <br><br>The class for trafficked women has been a little more challenging since those who really want to study have been denied by their controller. Pray for wisdom and breakthrough.<br><br>We just had two more successful health clinics in partnership with "Relentless." We saw a total of 44 people over two nights. One night was in our outreach center and the second was inside a brothel. <br></p><h4>Outreach:<br></h4><p>The outreach teams continue to reach out twice a week in the red light area. We build relationships with many, but please pray for breakthrough in finding the ones who are desperate for an alternative. <br><br>We are excited to have three of our Thai NightLight women join the outreach teams once a week. Their passion is contagious. Pray for them as they return to the red light area but with a new purpose.<br></p><h4>CityLight Coffee Shop:<br></h4><p>CityLight is really a light in the neighborhood of the red light area. The addition of a food menu brings in more customers so the revenue is growing along with our opportunity to build relationships. Pray for the team that serves in the coffee shop and for the relationships they are building. <br></p><h4>ChildCare Center<br></h4><p>NightLight now has more children from the community in the 2-5 year program than children of NightLight employees. It is a great opportunity to build healthy foundations for children and families.<br><br>We need more staff to help out at the center - especially during school breaks which are October and March - May. We also really need funding and a new location so that the children have space to play outside and thrive.<br></p><h4>NightLight Design<br></h4><p>Jewelry <br><br>Jewelry sales increased slightly over the summer as staff traveled and shared about the work. However, sales are far short of what is needed to sustain the employment of the women and staff. We have had to move many women into the foundation to cover their employment. <br><br>Please pray for increase in sales so that we can sustain and grow. Consider holding a jewelry party in your home or church and not only increasing awareness of the issues, but giving people an opportunity to make a difference (without being doused in ice water!).<br><br>T-Shirts<br>&nbsp;<br>The silk-screened t-shirts have been selling well as we have added new designs and introduced them here and abroad. We are excited at the potential of markets for the shirts.<br><br>The present landowner will not give us the proper documents so we need funding to move the silk-screening equipment and set it up with the correct electricity and building codes.<br></p><h4>Bakery Project<br></h4><p>The women continue to learn how to bake and decorate in preparation for our newest venture. We are grateful for the funding we have received to date, which covers half of what we need to really set it up and launch well.<br><br>We also need a better location for the bakery. Pray for funding, set up, planning, location, and contacts for marketing.<br></p><h4>Saa Paper Flower Project<br></h4><p>We are trying to discern whether to continue this project or not. The cost for export is high and we lack the right staff to really market it well in Thailand. Please pray for discernment. There are 5 women employed under this project.<br></p><h4>Spiritual Development</h4><p>Jeff and his team continue to teach the women and guide them in their spiritual development. Pray for the leaders as well as the women who are learning more about who they are in Christ and how to live life in freedom and dignity.<br></p><h4>Song Sawang Church<br></h4><p>The church is maturing as the women have grown into positions of leadership. It is such a joy to see them lead worship every Sunday afternoon.<br><br>The men continue to come and once a month have a men's night out for discipleship and fellowship. Recently someone from outside commented on the big change she noticed in one of the men since he had come to Christ. He plays drums in the church now and is reaching out into his community as well. <br></p><h4>Visas for Volunteers<br></h4><p>Thailand has been tightening the rules for visas and NightLight really needs to increase the number of visa slots we have for volunteers. In order to do that we need 500,000 baht/$16,000 in the account at all times.<br>Please pray for wisdom and funding so we can legally bring on more volunteers to fill all the positions needed.<br><br>Please pray for staff still needed for a number of volunteer positions, including: Transition House Case Managers, Transition House Mothers, Coffee Shop Manager Assistants, Media and Communications, and Marketing as well as Thai staff in the area of Business manager, Silk-Screening Project Manager, and Administration.<br></p><h4>Website Re-Vamp<br></h4><p>We are grateful for the funding that came in. Please pray for wisdom as we research to find someone to do the work and for the strategic planning required for the layout.<br></p><h4>Funding Needs of NightLightz</h4><p>Please pray concerning our funding needs. It's easy to get discouraged when our hearts are big, but the funding needs are overwhelming. God provides and we are grateful. He uses your prayers and your networks as the foundation. It's a big comfort and encouragement to us to know that we do not stand alone in doing this work. <br><br>1. Support of women in foundation for employment and training: $350 per month per woman for 17 women: $6000<br>2. Support for Child Care Center: $2000 per month<br>3. Coffee Shop staff: $1,500 per month<br>4. Repatriation for trafficked women: $3000 per woman<br>5. Development and production of new product line: $8000<br>6. Moving and setting up of t-shirt silk-screening equipment: $3000<br>7. Tuition Support for children: $4000 per semester for around 40 children<br>8.&nbsp; Funding to launch the bakery project: $50,000<br>9. Capital base to increase visa slots for volunteers: $16,000 <br>10. Monthly Expense for NightLight Design: $25,000 - which can not be donations, but must come through sales or products. (See link at bottom of page)<br><br>Please share the needs and this link for funding with your friends, church, and organizations. Together we can make a difference in these women's lives.<br><br><a href="http://donate.nightlightinternational.com/">http://donate.nightlightinternational.com/<br></a><br>Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. We value your partnering with us in bringing freedom to women, men, and children in the red light areas of Bangkok and providing them with opportunities for holistic transformation. <br><br>Sincerely,<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>NightLight International<br><a href="http://www.nightlightinternational.com">www.nightlightinternational.com</a><br><a href="http://bkk@nightlightinternational.com">bkk@nightlightinternational.com</a><br><br></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55114-prayer-praise-and-updates-from-bangkok https://internationalministries.org/read/55114-prayer-praise-and-updates-from-bangkok Homecoming <p>Kimberly Cooke is a volunteer through International Ministries serving at Nightlight in Bangkok. Kim is a social worker and works at the transition house for trafficked women. -- Annie Dieselberg<br></p><hr><br>A woman in my care died. I was with her in the hospital. I slept in an icebox of an ICU lounge. I held her hand. I prayed for her. I spoke to her and stroked her hair. She was unresponsive. And now I sit calling her family, packing her things, writing her daughter a letter about a mother she didn't know. I spent a month with this woman. Now I'm writing a letter for this child to read five years from now, as if I was her best friend, offering her insights into this mystical woman; mother.&nbsp; <br><br>Let me back up.<br>&nbsp;<br>"I thank God for my life. I want to go home." She says to me as we pray each night. And so we do what the Transition House does best - prepare her to go home. We offer nutritious food, a safe place to sleep. We are trustworthy people and she feels comfortable to unpack the story of her life, and home, and journey to Bangkok. We listen as she tells us horrible stories about humankind, and the overwhelming goodness of strangers. We are able to point out the miraculous works of God in her life. We worship with her each morning and pray with her each night. We talk about healthy relationships and how to forgive and change. We discuss the power of the devil and how Christ has overcome the world.<br>&nbsp;<br>I see the twinkle in her eye as she speaks with her sister on the phone. These two best friends are chatting about her homecoming. Laughing, joking, she is so excited. Her daughter is now six, the last time they hugged was three years ago. The dresses she purchased from sleepless shame filled nights, carefully packed away. A token of a mother's love. Maybe her daughter will understand. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>And the preparation continues. Going to the doctor to see about health, sharing her story to the police and other organizations helping with funds and logistics for the return home. But at the doctor's office, test results are not good. <br>&nbsp;<br>So we accelerate the process of her homecoming. We look to book tickets quickly. She needs to go home. To see her family. To begin treatment at home. <br>&nbsp;<br>But life doesn't turn out the way we plan. And here I am helping the staff and other woman at the house say goodbye and process grief.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>"If only she could have gotten home in time to see her family one last time." Sure, she was looking forward to seeing her daughter. How many times had she told us that the Transition House was an answer to her prayers? How many times had she said evidence of God's love for her - was us? Her body was in so much pain. She had so many worries. She just wanted to go home. And here we are, kind, caring, accepting, willing to assist on her journey home.<br>&nbsp;<br>We prepared her to go home. Just not the home originally imagined. We did our job, lovingly and well. She died in peace. She died in comfort. She died hearing her favorite Scriptures read over her. She died surrounded by a loving God.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>I imagine her homecoming was spectacular; more delightful and rewarding then she ever dreamed. And now, she's dancing with Jesus on streets made of the purest gold. No pain, no worries. God's favorite child has finally arrived home.<br><br>Kim Cooke<br>Transition House Manager<br>NightLight Bzangkok<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br><p></p> Sat, 16 Aug 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55032-homecoming https://internationalministries.org/read/55032-homecoming Reunited <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal">“Asha” couldn’t hold back the tears as she struggled to speak to us. The deep emotions of her heart rose up and smothered her words. Asha cried silently while her friends sat in closer to hug and encourage her. My colleagues and I had gone to Africa to visit the trafficked women we have repatriated and to meet the wonderful organizations that assist them once returned. We were excited to see them again and to hear the reports of how they were doing. The women were not expecting our visit and when Asha saw us, she hugged us excitedly. As we sat and began to listen to the stories, Asha began to cry -- a lot. I was not certain if these were tears of joy, or if our presence was bringing back the nightmare of her experience in Bangkok.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Finally using her heart language, the words managed to squeeze out between the cries, and one of the staff translated for us. Asha thanked us profusely for helping her to return home when she did. Her mother had terminal cancer and died just two months after she returned. Asha was grateful for the short time she had with her mother. When Asha left home the year before, she was in search of a job to fund her mother’s needed medical treatments and her daughter’s education. Instead she was deceived, trafficked, and forced into prostitution. After a year had passed with no end in sight, she had almost given up hope. Asha paused to cry some more and then admitted to us that the night before she met us, she had hidden poison under her pillow and was planning on taking her life. Then she heard that there was a group who could help, and Asha decided to wait and see if it was true.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">It was worth the wait. We met Asha and assisted her to escape the horrors of forced prostitution. Asha was very sick when we met her, and medical tests revealed she had cancer as a result of all the violence against her body. We sent her home and connected her to an organization where she was able to receive the necessary treatments.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Asha was not able to save her mother, but she was so grateful that she made it home, was reunited with her daughter, and could be with her mother for two months before she died. Her tears were the overflow of gratitude for this time with her mother.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Asha had almost given up hope when she was still in prostitution on the streets of Bangkok, but because of the generosity and prayers of many around the world, Asha was able to see her mother again. Now Asha is being assisted by a wonderful organization where she has found a new family and has hope for her future.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">As Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries this weekend, we at NightLight are so grateful for the generosity that has enabled Asha and many other trafficked women to be reunited with their mothers and to have their hope restored in a better future for their children.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br></p> <p></p> Fri, 09 May 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53890-reunited https://internationalministries.org/read/53890-reunited The Morning After <p>Allison and Dave have come to be volunteer staff at NightLight several times serving in different capacities. They have spent the last two years with NightLight to help set up and open CityLight Coffee Shop. They return to the states in June, and will be greatly missed.<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br></p><hr><br>“Oh wow!&nbsp; This place is so spiritually dark and void.&nbsp; It is all so sad and disturbing.&nbsp; How do you do this type of work?”&nbsp; When visitors join our NightLight team on night outreach in the red-light area, this is often their response to the sensory overload that assaults them on the first visit.&nbsp; And while their responses are valid and very true, I have found “the morning after” – the early hours of the morning in the red-light neighborhood – to be more difficult to encounter and absorb.<br>&nbsp;<br>The restaurants’ outdoor seating areas are filled with couples and their awkward “morning after” breakfast.&nbsp; No eye contact being made, each occupied on their individual mobile phones.&nbsp; Ladyboys walking down the street barefoot, their high heels dangling from their fingers as they flag a taxi to bring them home.&nbsp;&nbsp; Children fast asleep next to their mothers on thin grass mats on the sidewalks, resting after an exhausting night of begging.&nbsp; Bleary-eyed, hungover men lining the stools at the bars hoping the strong cup of instant coffee will ease the headache caused by the excessive drinking the night before.&nbsp;&nbsp; Women working in prostitution, Thai, African, Russian, Colombian, walking out of the hotel lobby in their short, provocative dresses, eager to forget the prior evening’s customer and the humiliating acts he asked her to perform. <br>&nbsp;<br>One of the many beautiful facets of CityLight Coffee’s location and ministry is our ability to be available for each of these souls the “morning after.”&nbsp; We are aptly situated between two bars and across the street from a brothel that houses women who have been trafficked to Bangkok.&nbsp; God was so kind in gifting us with this ideal location. <br>&nbsp;<br>Despite set-backs and frustrations too many to count, CityLight Coffee has now been open to the public for one month.&nbsp; Our customers have come to us from all over the world, and we are thrilled with the positive response to our coffee!&nbsp; We have featured live music a few times already with the front doors open to the sidewalk outside.&nbsp; The interior is simply gorgeous; it turned out so much better than any of us could have dreamed.&nbsp; The shop truly is a “light in the darkness” and stands out as a warm, welcoming place amidst all the neon, flashing lights of the bars. <br>&nbsp;<br>Eventually, we hope to be open 24 hours so we can serve more of the lonely, searching individuals who visit the Nana red-light district.&nbsp; We have hired a Thai general manager and trained several of the NightLight women in becoming baristas.&nbsp; Their confidence is growing, and we are so proud of their new skills!&nbsp; Additionally, we need to secure additional male staff to be available to engage in conversation with the men who enter the shop. <br>&nbsp;<br>Please continue to pray for the ministry of CityLight Coffee.&nbsp; Thank you to the many of you who have sowed prayers into this project for years now.&nbsp; And also to those of you who gave financially to CityLight Coffee.&nbsp; Ask God to bring us more and more of those who need a safe space the “morning after” and throughout the day and night. We celebrate CityLight Coffee with each of you.&nbsp; Soli deo Gloria – to God be the glory! <br><br>Allison Weber<br>Volunteer Staff<br>NightLight Bangkok<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><p></p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53692-the-morning-after https://internationalministries.org/read/53692-the-morning-after Just Two Eggs As a young girl growing up in Zaire, Africa, I often traveled with my parents to remote villages. Pastors came from surrounding villages, sometimes walking 12 hours to study the Bible. While they taught, my siblings and I made friends with the village kids. At the end of the week when it came time to leave the villagers flooded us with gifts of bananas, papayas, sometimes chickens, once a goat, and my favorite - a monkey. <br><br>It was four-year-old twin girls though, who gave me the gift that touched me the most. They had never seen white people before and initially they were too afraid to play with us. By the end of the week however, they were playing chase with us and allowing me to hold them. When they came to say goodbye, the two little girls handed us a small bowl carrying two eggs. It was a small gift but a big sacrifice for their family. Starting at a young age, I was profoundly impacted by the generosity of the poor.<br><br>Two eggs may seem insignificant and too small to make an impact. However, the impact of such experiences in Africa have led me to this place today of starting an organization in Thailand, empowering women to leave the sex industry and to work and provide for their families with dignity and honor. <br><br>This coming Sunday is Easter weekend. Many people around the world decorate eggs for Easter in celebration of new life. We do it in Thailand as well. Now that we have two new little ones in our home, we will probably do an Easter egg hunt as well. It’s a great time to remember that most of us still live in abundance. We have enough to play games, decorate, and have fun with the very product that some save to eat. We feel blessed and we are, but it is blessing we are given to share. &nbsp;<br><br>Jeff and I have felt so blessed for the support that has enabled us to live and serve in Thailand for 19 years. We have seen God do amazing things around and through us because of your support. NightLight has grown a lot with programs for employment, spiritual development, childcare, outreach, shelter, anti-trafficking, education, medical assistance, and even a coffee shop in the red light area. Your support has enabled this to happen!<br><br>We need your help to stay in Thailand and to continue working with NightLight. We realize that it is a difficult time of year financially for many. You may feel that all you have is “two eggs” and it isn’t enough to make a difference. We believe that your gift given and multiplied by many others will make a tremendous impact. If you would consider giving even “two eggs” monthly, it would help us so much. That way we won’t need to continually ask for our own support, but can fully focus on raising the funds needed for the amazing work rescuing women.<br><br>Every bit counts and makes an impact in our lives and through NightLight for years to come. We are grateful for your gift and your willingness to share what you have - even if it’s "just two eggs.”<br><br>Thank you for your support,<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg"></a> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53494-just-two-eggs https://internationalministries.org/read/53494-just-two-eggs Would You Like to Go Home? <p>Kimberly Cooke is a volunteer through International Ministries serving at Nightlight in Bangkok. Kim is a social worker and works at the transition house for trafficked women. <br><br>Blessings,<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder, CEO<br></p><hr><br>"It's simple enough. You are giving her a place to stay and a ticket home. What's her problem? All she needs to do is leave prostitution."<br>&nbsp;<br>When talking with people about the work we do at NightLight, my colleagues and I hear these questions and comments often. But is it? Is it really just that simple?<br><br>On the surface, sure. Who wants to remain an alcoholic after they’ve been in a car accident due to drinking? Who wants to be separated from their children due to extreme anger? Who wants to keep stealing after they've been sent to prison? Who wants to keep shooting up after they've lost everything? Who wants to have sex for money after they've been degraded and devalued?<br>&nbsp;<br>Yet, people keep drinking. Millions of kids are still in the Child Protection System. People keep on breaking the law. The streets are filled with drug addicts. Women remain in prostitution. Is it really as simple as, just stop?<br><br>Claudia hasn’t had an easy life. She dropped out of school to help take care of her brother and sister. The money going towards her own school fees would be better spent on her siblings. Besides, she’s a hard worker and the family is struggling. Even at such a young age, she feels the pressure to provide. She does chores around the house and works when she can find it to bring in extra money. Her sacrifice is worth it all if her siblings succeeded; if they could finish school, not starve, and get a good job.<br>&nbsp;<br>Eventually, she met a man. With him she felt a kind of happiness she never experienced before. She felt a bit of the pressure to provide for her family lifted when he held her tight. But he left once Claudia found out she was pregnant. She never felt so alone. Claudia cried out to God to come and bring this man back, to fill her loneliness, so she doesn’t have to tell her family she is bringing a child into this world alone. So she doesn’t have the burden of one more mouth to feed. But her boyfriend doesn’t come back. God remains silent. &nbsp;<br><br>Her daughter brings extra expenses. They need food, they need rent money, and in a few more years they will need school fees for her daughter. Claudia feels even more pressure to help her mother and father provide for the family. She is a strong proud woman; she will do what she must to provide. She prays earnestly at night for God to miraculously supply money for her family. But He doesn't. After years of this life, she hears of a job at a hair salon in a different country. Claudia leaves everything she knows and loves because she will sacrifice what she must to provide.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br>A few times zones, later she is tired. Her passport has been taken from her, and she doesn't know anyone. A person she has never met brings her to a small room with several other African women and tells her to get dressed - she has to go to the streets. She is confused -&nbsp; how could this have happened? This is not what she signed up for! Again she cries out to God to come rescue her, and again He is silent. She resists for a few nights. Not knowing what else to do (she does have a large debt looming over her head as her traffickers paid for her airplane ticket, visas, food and lodging) she eventually complies. She prostitutes herself. It isn't fun. She doesn't like it. It's degrading and humiliating. It goes against her values, her upbringing. What else can she do? She can't legally work in this country. How can she call her family and tell them what has happened? They are counting on her. They need money. Her family cannot raise enough money to pay off her debt and purchase her a ticket home. She cannot call them and add more burden and stress to their life.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>And so she enters this life of prostitution. She puts on a front, she makes herself tough. She is a brilliant actress. During sex she can pretend she is at home making chapati with her mother, all while faking an orgasm. She laughs and jokes and wears a ton of makeup to cover up the pain and anger written across her face. But when you glance at her, when no man is looking, you can see the sadness, the dullness in her eyes.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br>Eventually her debt is paid off and she begins to send money home to her family. Her daughter is getting an education. Her family has money for food. They are so proud of her; they count on her. God hasn’t provided any other way. Prostituting herself is the only answer.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Some nights she gets passed over; no man wants her. Hallelujah! She doesn't have to endure some man sweating all over her. Shoot! How is she going to buy food for the rest of the week? How will her daughter get a new uniform for school?&nbsp; On top of those practical realities, those issues that plague most women creep in. I'm not attractive. No man wants me. Pretty soon she starts to believe her only worth comes from whether men are sexually attracted to her. She begins to believe this is all she will ever be. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Night after night she goes to the streets. Day after day she stuffs her true self further down. Maybe if she shuts off, this nightmare will end, or at least won’t hurt so much. But it doesn't. Pretty soon she doesn’t have to stuff anymore. The persona she forced herself to portray comes naturally. The kind, generous woman doesn’t emerge to the surface. There are days she doesn’t even remember the woman she used to be. She still doesn't enjoy what she does, but there is no other way to provide for her family back in Africa. No way to get home. She even admits during slow times that she has prayed to God to bring her men because her family desperately needs money. Because this is her life now. This is who she is. But again God doesn’t answer. Yes, it is better for that woman to stay buried.<br>&nbsp;<br>Since arriving in Bangkok, with the exception of one friend she made in her apartment building, every person she has met lied to her. Men tell her they aren’t married. Men tell her they won’t hurt her. Men even tell her they want to marry her. Her last roommate stole money from her. Her landlord sneaks in hidden charges. The Thais charge her the “African price”. God sure hasn’t been around. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>One night she meets someone from NightLight on the street, and they offer her a way out. She has no reason to trust; she has no reason to believe this group is different than anyone else she has met. And also they are Christians?<br><br>So, we spend time building a relationship with her. Maybe one day, she will trust us. Trust us enough to give her a place to stay. Provide food for her. Give her a safe environment for the woman who has been buried to emerge. Maybe one day she can think about what it would be like to go home (oh God, how she misses her daughter). But if she went home, she would be going home broke. She’d have to stop sending money to her family. She cannot begin to think about returning home a failure; a prostitute; someone who cannot provide; someone who cared more about herself then helping her family. She knows this is what her family will think, she knows because she believes this about herself. What would she tell her family as to why she came back? Would they handle or understand the truth? But could she really lie to them forever?&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br>It isn’t simply a matter of just stopping.&nbsp; But wait, God tells us to walk in faith and rely on his mighty power. The apostle Paul tells us we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. God never promises life with him will be easy. And isn't the God we believe in bigger than the economy, poverty, and self esteem? <br><br>Sometimes I get bogged down in the details. From a natural perspective, no, it isn’t simple at all. I cannot expect a woman to walk away from this life and not be concerned with the harsh realities she faces. But we don't operate just in the natural. We also operate in the spiritual. The God we believe in defies logic and circumstances.<br>&nbsp;<br>"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." (Ephesians 3:20)<br><br>I have seen God work wonders. I have seen people healed and circumstance miraculously change. I believe God loves Claudia and will always be with her, fighting for her.<br><br>It is at this stage, when I try to mix the natural with the supernatural.&nbsp; Here my faith is challenged. Will the God who parted the Red Sea, made the sun stand still, provided children to barren women, fed 5,000 men, and raised people the dead, come through for this woman despite what life throws her way?<br><br>God is great and all powerful. She’s living in dark circumstances. How do the natural and supernatural meet? Just because she goes home doesn’t mean her circumstance change. Or do they?<br>&nbsp;<br>I believe this is the beautiful mess we live in with God. If we allow Him to enter into our life, He will come. He comes and defies our circumstances and leads us through this life, facing all reality - together. Because He doesn’t promise life will be easy, He promises He will be with us. The answers aren’t always simple and clean. Life is messy and complicated. Sometimes we see miracles. Sometimes we have peace in the midst of a storm.<br><br>And so I look at Claudia with all her masks, pain, sorrows, and burdens, and say, "Would you like to go home?" <br><br>Kim Cooke<br>Volunteer Staff<br>NightLight Bangkok<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><p></p> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53308-would-you-like-to-go-home- https://internationalministries.org/read/53308-would-you-like-to-go-home- Hope of Freedom <p>The night started out just like every other outreach night. We entered the entertainment plaza, passing under the signs that declare this as “World’s Largest Playground --Your Second Home”. Despite the colorful lights and the blaring base beat vibrating the atmosphere, the faces we saw looked&nbsp;neither&nbsp;at home, nor at play. Men and women sat coupled at the beer bars, many physically linked to each other. But aside from a few plastered smiles, the faces looked blank and unseeing as we walked past. Bouncers held up signs of half-naked women, slapping them with rubber sticks to shock men out of their zombie state and lure them into obsession.</p><p><br>We entered an upstairs bar and the servers motioned us to the back wall. I acknowledged them, but moved past them and sat strategically on the red vinyl corner bench where we could greet the women as they came off the stage. The last time we were in this bar, we sat in the back and were not able to talk with the women. This night, I was determined to make contact with one of the women. We ordered our drinks, and I scanned the stage for one who would stand out to me. A sudden movement interrupted the monotonous swaying of unskilled and un-motivated go-go dancers. A woman was turned the opposite direction and was leaning forward to catch my eye. She smiled at me as she lifted her hands in the Thai greeting. The movement took me by surprise, but I smiled and "wai"ed her back. I hadn’t chosen her; she had chosen me. Then she turned back around to join the flow of dancers.<br><br>As I waited for the shift of five songs to end, I watched her from the back. She was thin and, in heels, she looked tall. Her long dark hair swayed as she tried to join the monotonous rhythm. She was inexperienced, and even the elementary sway was awkward for her. I had only seen her face for a second, so I hoped I would recognize her when she came off the stage with all the others. Their dark hair, slender figures, bare bottoms, uniformed g-strings, and high heels intentionally blend them together into one branded identity – sex objects. Just as the song ended, a foreign man came and stood in front of us and started undressing. He was blocking our access to the women as they left the stage. Frustrated and annoyed, I waived him off with my hand, and leaned to the left to look around him and catch the eye of the woman. The man awkwardly re-buttoned his shirt and slinked away just in time. I caught her eye, and the woman came and sat next to me with a big smile. I offered to buy her a coke and watched as she gratefully ran off to get it. Buying her a drink allows her to sit with us rather than go to the men, but it also helps her meet the required quota of 60 drinks per month.<br><br>The music blared from the speakers hanging over our heads, so I leaned in close to hear what she had to say. “Noy” was from Surin. No surprise there. Most of the women come from that area of Thailand (Surin, Buriram, and SriSaket), the largest exporters of women and teens to the sex industry of Bangkok. Noy rubbed her knees, and complained that dancing all night in high heels was hard on her legs. She wasn’t used to wearing high heels. Shyly, Noy admitted that she is 40 years old, an unusual and ill-fit for this bar of young women, some as young as 16. Noy didn’t look her age though, and her lack of bar experience and discomfort made her look even younger.<br><br>Noy told me right away that she doesn’t like this work. She’s too old. She would like to get another job – anything else, but where could she possibly get a job? I eagerly took the bait, “Do you really want to leave the bar? If you are serious about getting another job, you can come apply at my business.” Noy’s eyes widened with excitement and she grabbed my hand, begging to know more. I told her about NightLight’s employment opportunities, fair work schedule and pay with benefits. Noy fingered my necklace and said, “What I really like to do is handwork like this.” I laughed, “That’s exactly what we do at NightLight. In fact, we made this one.” Noy’s face lit up. Concerned about her qualifications, Noy said, “I can’t read. I only went to 4th grade and didn’t learn to read. But I can write my name and pick out a few words.” I told Noy that we also have a class to teach literacy at NightLight. “I want to come work for you!” Noy hugged me with excitement.<br><br>Noy came to work in the bar after her second husband and her daughter started having an affair. She had lost her first husband to her best friend, and now her second husband to her daughter. She didn’t know what else to do, and bar work seemed like her only option. After working here a couple months, Noy had quickly decided that working in prostitution was not for her. Noy asked for my phone number, and said she would call me soon. She was so excited; she couldn’t wait to come.<br><br>“I don’t know what it was,” Noy told me. “I saw you when I was on stage dancing and ‘wai’ed you. I don’t normally do that, but there was something about you.” I told Noy that we always pray and ask God to lead us to someone He wants us to talk with. “You are making merit,” she replied. “We don’t do this to make merit,” I told her. “We do it because God loves us. God helped each of us, and we have enough of His love to share.” Noy said she wanted to learn more. She told me that not knowing what else to do, she had been contemplating becoming a Buddhist nun as an alternative to prostitution. “Now I don’t have to do that," she said with relief. “You have given me hope!”<br><br>Noy’s turn to dance came around again. I gave her a hug, and as she climbed the stairs to the dance floor, I called a server over for the bill. We paid and made our way around past the front of the stage. I glanced up one last time to look for her. The other faces still wore masks of blankness, hiding any personal identity. Noy was smiling as she "wai"ed us goodbye. The light of hope gave her an identity that made her stand out from the others. Unlike them, she had found a way out. Unlike them, she had found hope. Hope is the seed of freedom.<br><br>Blessings,<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg<br></a><br></p> Sun, 02 Mar 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52882-hope-of-freedom https://internationalministries.org/read/52882-hope-of-freedom St. Nicholas Gave A Gift To Prevent Trafficking <p>Three women would have been sold into slavery if St. Nicholas had not intervened! A father had three daughters who were of marrying age, but since he could not afford their dowries, he planned to sell his daughters into prostitution. When St. Nicholas heard about the situation, he went in the middle of the night and threw gold coins into the house. St. Nicholas' gift prevented these women from a life of prostitution and slavery. St. Nicholas was a man who took God’s Word to heart and responded to the needs of the poor. Somehow through the years, the stories of what he did for so many turned into a Christmas tale of Santa Claus giving gifts to children around the world. The truth of what this saint actually did is an even greater Christmas story that deserves recognition – <b>St. Nicholas gave gifts that saved lives and brought freedom.</b><br><br><b>NightLight thanks you for the gifts you have given this year enabling us to bring freedom to women and children around the world. </b><br><br>In Bangkok, Thailand:<br>• 26 international women and their 4 babies were rescued from a life of trafficking and prostitution. <br>• 55 Thai women were employed in NightLight’s business and foundation.<br>• 12 children attended our childcare center on a regular basis.<br>• The shelter for trafficked women was opened to provide a better transition to freedom through loving and intentional after-care.<br><br>International:<br>• NightLight Bangkok built partnerships with other groups in Uganda, China, Uzbekistan, and India for intervention and aftercare programs.<br>• 1 Ugandan woman rescued in India through partnership.<br><br><b>In the US:</b><br><br>Atlanta, Georgia: <br>• Acquired a building to open an outreach center for women and girls in prostitution.<br>• 100 women were given gift bags and were visited each month<br>• 192 children attended Kid’s Club.<br><br>Branson, Missouri: <br>• Launched in December of 2012, NightLight Branson is a big step forward in prevention and intervention.<br>• 100 women visited monthly with gift bags in Branson and Springfield.<br><br>New!<br>• Phoenix, Arizona: This year NightLight also started an outreach post in Phoenix Arizona to minister in the clubs there.<br><br>NightLight celebrates the Christmas season and the end of the year by <b>thanking each of you for your generosity</b>, which has helped us to intervene in the lives of those who were trafficked and those who were at risk of being trafficked or prostituted. These gifts of freedom would not have been possible without your generous contributions.<br><br>We are excited for what will happen in 2014, and we ask you to partner with us in bringing freedom and transformation to many more. <b>Would you please consider a year-end donation for freedom’s sake?</b> There are still many women and children who are at risk of being sold or are hoping for a way out of slavery in Bangkok, Atlanta, Branson, Phoenix, and LA. The original St. Nicholas understood the difference a gift could make in saving the lives of three women from slavery. <b>Your gift can make a difference to a trafficked or prostituted woman and her children in 2014.</b> We are grateful today, that there are so many more who support and give in the same Christmas spirit as St. Nicholas did. <b>Partner with us through your gifts and join us for another adventurous year for freedom in 2014!</b><br><br>Annie Diselberg<br>Founder/CEO NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Thu, 26 Dec 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51987-st-nicholas-gave-a-gift-to-prevent-trafficking https://internationalministries.org/read/51987-st-nicholas-gave-a-gift-to-prevent-trafficking Christmas in the Brothel <p>“It’s like my home.” The blond Uzbek woman had tears in her eyes as she thanked us. NightLight’s outreach team and visitors from Iris had just sung Christmas carols inside the brothel where these women from Uzbekistan, Russia (and one from Columbia) are working. Twenty-one of us gathered in the lobby and, accompanied by guitar and violin, we sang for the women. The women gathered around us to watch and listen. Several of them used their phones to record us singing. Others put their arms around each other and swayed to the music. The women had tears in their eyes. Many of us did as well.<br><br>The Columbian woman is new to the brothel. Spanish is the only language she speaks, and our Spanish is too basic to carry on much of a conversation. We had prepared the song “Feliz Navidad” for her, and when we sang, I saw that she was singing along. The familiar music no doubt took her thoughts to her three children at home and the Christmas celebrations there. In the brothel, she is surrounded by several other languages and cultures, but none are familiar to her. Every night she and the other women try to forget who they really are so they can act the part for the customers. They encounter darkness every night. It is the memory of home that keeps them going. For many, Christmas is one of these memories.<br><br>Even the Thai men who manage and pimp the women gathered around to listen. Christmas is not so familiar to them, but the music is beautiful, and our faces reflected the love we felt for all of them. We sang “Silent Night, Holy Night” in a place that is not known for holiness. After singing, a few of us stayed back to give gift bags to the women. It was then that the Uzbek woman tearfully told me, “Thank you. It’s like my home.” After a little more conversation, we hugged the women goodbye and left the brothel. For a few minutes that night, the brothel activities had stopped for Christmas.<br><br>Outside, the red light area vibrated with the loud sounds of bar music, and men were actively buying women for their sex. Although there are Christmas decorations in the bars, they fail to carry the true Christmas spirit. Darkness is all around, and the red light is not the light that people seek within. We moved on to take the light of the Christmas message throughout the red light area. Seven-hundred and twenty-five gifts were given out that night. We gave them to women dancing on stage, to women sitting with men, to streetwalkers, and to the trafficked women we met on the street. Joy filled women’s faces as they received these unexpected gifts.<br><br>“The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. On those who lived under the shadow of death, a light has come.” The prophet Isaiah wrote these words thousands of years ago prophesying the coming of Jesus. This is the Christmas message – Jesus born on earth to bring light and hope to a dark and dying world. On one dark night, NightLight’s team sang and gave gifts inside a brothel and throughout the red light area. On that night the Light shone and scattered the darkness with hope of true freedom.<br><br>Merry Christmas!<br><br>Annie Diselberg<br>Founder/CEO NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51962-christmas-in-the-brothel https://internationalministries.org/read/51962-christmas-in-the-brothel The Father's Heart for the Orphaned and Abandoned <p>December 5th is the birthday of the revered King of Thailand.&nbsp; This day is also celebrated as Father’s Day. Two Ugandan children, orphaned by their mother and abandoned by their father, came to our home to play on this Father’s Day. The father of these Ugandan children left Bangkok two years ago and hasn’t seen his children since.&nbsp; Four weeks ago, their mother died suddenly here in Bangkok.&nbsp; She was a teacher and well-loved by the trafficked women we assist.&nbsp; When she died, the community asked if NightLight would help care for the children.<br><br>The children are hungry for love and seeking a place to belong.&nbsp; They call most of us “Auntie” or “Uncle”, but they are longing for “Mummy” or “Daddy.” My husband and I are praying seriously about adopting these children. Today, since it is Father’s Day in Thailand, the children came to our home to play.&nbsp; Today, for a short while, they were able to have a father-figure in their lives.&nbsp; We hope and pray it’s the beginning of a more permanent state for these precious children.<br><br>These orphaned Ugandan children are just two of many children (Thai and international) who without intervention, are at high risk of exploitation.&nbsp; Studies show that a father’s relationship with his children is significant in creating a healthy identity and building confidence for making healthy life choices.&nbsp; When fathers are absent or abusive, children are very vulnerable to low self-image, insecurity, and instability.&nbsp; They are often the most vulnerable to exploitation. Pimps have admitted that when they look for girls to seduce into prostitution, they look for the ones who have been abused or neglected by their fathers.<br><br>I am concerned about Thailand’s future.&nbsp; The political situation, presently in the news, is serious.&nbsp; The economy is of concern, especially for the poor, while corruption is rampant.&nbsp; Thai people have long been known for their beautiful smiles and “Jai Yen” (or cool heart), but the rate of violence and domestic abuse is high.&nbsp; At the root of many of these problems is the broken family. Families are falling apart, and children are falling between the cracks.&nbsp; The mothers cannot bear the financial burden alone, so children are sent away to live with grandparents, or tossed back and forth between relatives. When their parents find new partners, the children often become unwanted financial burdens.&nbsp; Far too many children in Thailand are growing up with an orphan spirit.&nbsp; When you combine the poverty with a lack of self-worth and love, the children become very vulnerable to exploitation.<br><br>NightLight works mostly with women who have already been exploited through prostitution. Although we do address the root issues, the majority of our work is through healing and restoration. My husband Jeff is called “Papa Bear” at NightLight.&nbsp; His role as a father-figure is significant in the lives of the women and children we reach out to and love.&nbsp; The children run in after school and climb on Jeff’s lap or hang around in his office.&nbsp; Many of them do not have fathers, and Jeff provides a few moments after school for the children to experience the Father’s heart.&nbsp; At NightLight’s childcare center, Joshua (one of our volunteers) spends a few hours every week playing with the children.&nbsp; He too is a healthy role-model for these kids, giving them some time to play and interact safely with a man.<br><br>Jeff is also one of the pastors of Song Sawang church, (NightLight’s church plant). The women have invited their boyfriends, husbands, sons, relatives, and friends to join in fellowship at church.&nbsp; Jeff and Paul (BMS missionary to NightLight) spend time with these men in fellowship and discipleship.&nbsp; Their faith is strengthened, but they are also affirmed in their roles as fathers and husbands. The staff of NightLight are often mediating, and counseling the women through family crises involving domestic abuse or neglect and abandonment.<br><br>NightLight’s outreach center and soon-to-be-opened coffee shop are also providing opportunities for Dave and other volunteer staff to reach out to the men who come as sex tourists to the area.&nbsp; Many of them are acting out of their own wounds from childhood abuse or neglect.&nbsp; They too need to know the love of Father God and find opportunity for healing and restoration.&nbsp; It seems everywhere we look, there are people who are desperate for love and belonging. NightLight offers men, women, and children the opportunity to know the love of Father God, and seeks to bring healing and restoration to families.<br><br>In celebration of Father’s Day here in Thailand, my family had the joy of loving two orphaned African children.&nbsp; I am grateful for my husband, who is willing to share his heart, not only with his three biological children and our adopted Burmese son, but now also with two orphaned Ugandan children.&nbsp; Jeff’s heart reflects the heart of Father God and, for that I am grateful.&nbsp; I am grateful for my own father who loved me well and modeled compassion that influences my work today.&nbsp; I am thankful for all the compassionate men who demonstrate God’s love to the women, children, and men affected by the sex industry.&nbsp; And I am thankful for all the fathers out there who love well, and give their children a good foundation for life.&nbsp; God’s love in us never fails. Whatever our earthly fathers were like, there is hope, healing, and restoration for the neglected and abandoned.&nbsp; “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1<br><br>Annie Dieselberg<br>Founder/CEO NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Sat, 07 Dec 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51721-the-father-s-heart-for-the-orphaned-and-abandoned https://internationalministries.org/read/51721-the-father-s-heart-for-the-orphaned-and-abandoned Thank You for Everything! <p>“Thank you for everything!”&nbsp; I have heard these words many times this year spoken by the precious Ugandan women who have been given a way out of their trafficking situations and a way into new lives of hope.<br><br>We recently had a goodbye party for four of the women who have been staying in NightLight’s shelter. The shelter is an amazing place!&nbsp; Anya, the shelter manager, and her assistant Kim have made the place a refuge of love and joy.&nbsp; I love visiting and seeing the women relaxed and at home. The shelter atmosphere is peaceful and removed from the stress and noise of the city. There will be challenges waiting for the women when they return home, but for now, they can be still and rest in safety. Since the shelter opened just recently, not all the trafficked women we have assisted this year have been able to come into the shelter. When we visited the women who live outside the shelter, we enjoyed their company as well, but the women outside carry more stress and face more pressures. A few of them dropped off the waiting-list because the pressures they faced from the outside pulled them back into prostitution. The shelter removes them from those pressures and allows them to dream again in safety.<br><br>The goodbye party was a joyful celebration. The women greeted us with warm hugs and beautiful smiles. They put on African music and then went back to their cooking. The women love to share their African food and culture with us. We eat and laugh and encourage the women. They would be going home very soon, and they were both excited and somewhat nervous. Here, they formed a community of sisters who understand what they have been through. They have found some healing and a lot of hope. They have some idea of what they will face when they go home, but don’t realize how much they themselves might have changed in their absence. Our volunteer staff has tried to prepare them for the adjustment ahead of them.<br><br>When we prayed together to end the evening, the women said the words again that they have said so many times, “Thank you, ladies, for everything!” These aren’t casual, polite words, but are sentiments from their hearts. They have left exploitation, abuse, and desperation, and now have hope and strength to face their futures.<br><br>I grew up in Africa and a large piece of Africa has never left my heart. I’ve been in Thailand for 19 years, and now I can say that while God has not called me to move back to the continent of Africa, God has brought Africa to me. It’s amazing how God weaves life stories together. God knows our hearts’ desires and, as the weaving continues, the emerging pattern displays the dreams we thought were forgotten. What God planted in my heart as a child, He is using to fulfill part of His purpose here in Bangkok among the Africans who are trafficked here. I am humbled and in awe as so many others have also joined this vision – many others, who also have strong bonds with Africa.<br><br>“Thank you for everything!” I heard these words again at the airport when we went to send the women home. Tears filled the women’s eyes as they tried to express their gratitude. “Thank you! May God bless you! If it weren’t for you…” The words were spoken to us, but I share them with you because they belong to you, as well. Thank you – all of you who lift up prayers for these women and our team.&nbsp; Thank you – all of you who have sent funding in response to our urgent pleas to get a woman home.&nbsp; Thank you – all of you who have donated in kind to make the shelter a home.&nbsp; And, thank you – all of you who have volunteered hours of your time to love these women and fill them with hope. Most of all, I am thankful to God whose love never ceases to amaze me. He has woven the threads of our lives together to use us where we are, with what we have. We are woven together in His tapestry of love to bring hope, healing, and freedom to those who need it most. Thank you for everything!<br><br>Annie Dieselberg, Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51514-thank-you-for-everything- https://internationalministries.org/read/51514-thank-you-for-everything- The Chain that Links Africa to China to Thailand is Breaking <p>We were far away from Africa, but as we followed “Penny” through the alleys and back streets of Guangzhou, China, African voices, fabrics, and smells transported us to the African continent. We made our way through the markets selling everything from electrical supplies, wholesale clothes, African foods, African movies in various languages, and African hair weaves. There were several old and very tall, pink-toned buildings clumped together, and it appeared that it was primarily Africans who were living there. We had been told that there are 200,000 Africans in China, and I was beginning to understand how it was possible.<br><br>Penny, who was leading us, had been trafficked to China, and when her visa expired, she was sent to Bangkok. When we met her on the streets of Bangkok, she was distraught over her situation, but decided that she needed to make the best of it. She was responsible for nine family members back home, but she had lost her farm and her means of provision. Although we were offering to send her home and even provide a small stipend to start her business all over again, she didn’t think it was enough to provide for her family. Penny had returned to China.<br><br>We hadn’t heard from Penny for some time until one of her friends in Bangkok told us that she had been harmed. While Penny was still recovering, her visa for China had expired. In that time the fee for overstaying a visa doubled from $800 to $1600. Penny found that she, like many others, was stuck in China illegally – not allowed to stay, but unable to leave.<br><br>We followed Penny and joined her in a long line of people, stretched all the way out the building onto the street. These people were waiting their turn to use the elevator. Penny was taking us to meet Auntie “Reggie” who rents a room in one of the pink-toned 30-story buildings. Penny had found Auntie Reggie, (or maybe Auntie Reggie found her) when she was stranded with no money, no shelter, and few options in front of her besides jail. Auntie Reggie had taken Penny in and given her a job cooking African food.<br><br>The line finally reached the elevator and we crowded into the small space. I was thankful for the buzzer, which warns when there are too many people, otherwise I’m quite sure we would have exceeded all possible limits. Most people don’t talk in elevators, but a man was trying to flirt with Penny’s friend, and asked what room she stayed in. She told him. I felt annoyed that he asked, and concerned that she told. Boundaries didn’t seem to have any meaning there.&nbsp; We arrived to the 18th floor and pushed our way out of the elevator, still following Penny. A Chinese and an African child were playing together in the hallway. We passed bags of ground corn and potatoes stacked up against the wall. I glanced in the door down the hall and saw a Chinese store – a convenient store. The children ran in and out.<br><br>Penny opened the door to the apartment, and we immediately felt the tension. An African woman was sitting by the door. She looked angry and didn’t respond when we said “hi”. We shook some limp hands and said “hi” to the others in the room. A little boy played behind the sofa. Penny cleared the sofa for the four of us to sit, and we sat down feeling out-of-place. The others sat across from us after moving off the sofa. They didn’t look directly at us. We weren’t sure where to look either. Penny was excited to have us there, but the others watched us nervously. After bringing us some cold Chinese tea, Penny asked what we wanted for dinner. Jennie, having visited their country before, knew what food to ask for. She suggested “Irish.” It didn’t sound very African to me, but Penny knew what she was referring to, and went out to get the potatoes. &nbsp;<br><br>The angry woman got up and left. Jennie asked another woman where she was from, and in her African accent she said, “America.” She laughed and left the room. The little boy wanted something he didn’t get and began to cry. One of the women picked him up and cuddled him. We tried conversation but got little response. I looked around the room. The furniture was simple and worn. The wallpaper was torn halfway down the walls. There was a small TV playing African music videos, and it was providing an easy escape from uncomfortable conversation. Familiar smells of African food made our mouths water, so we drank more of the Chinese tea.<br><br>Penny brought a huge plateful of potatoes cooked in tomato with a couple small pieces of chicken (which were mostly bone). She put the plate down in front of me. I waited for her to bring some empty plates so we could dish it out and share. When she came back, she carried three more plates, one for each of us, but each was full of potatoes. How could I possibly eat that many potatoes? Penny was so happy and told us that as we ate, she would replenish our plates. I took a bite, and although it was good, I made up my mind to eat very slowly.<br><br>Auntie Reggie entered the room and sat on the arm of the sofa across from us. Her friendly, warm laugh cut through the tension and changed the atmosphere. As she talked, everyone relaxed. “So, let me tell you about Africa!” Auntie Reggie began to share with us the situation in Africa, and how these women and even men had ended up trafficked and stranded. “People in Africa think that those who fly on a plane and travel abroad are big people,” she said. The girls giggled. “They come back wearing expensive clothes and tell you that they can make you rich in China. You see their clothes, and you think I want to have clothes like that too.” The girls giggled again. Auntie Reggie continued with the tales that have become all too familiar to us. The girls no longer laughed, and were looking down somberly as she talked. She shared how the women, once brought to China are deceived and left stranded, with no options other than prostitution. Their return tickets are cancelled, and the phone number they were given is no longer working. They see another black person, and they follow her into these African neighborhoods. They are far from home, but there is at least some comfort in the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of Africa in this neighborhood.<br><br>Auntie Reggie told us that thirty Africans presently share her two-room apartment. Auntie Reggie, it turns out, has a heart of gold. As she finds people who are stranded, and in difficult (if not impossible) situations, she welcomes them into her apartment. As long as they can find a place to sleep, whether it is in a chair, on the floor, or even in the bathroom, they are welcome to crash there. The little two-year-old boy had been abandoned at two weeks. When Auntie Reggie heard about him, she went and collected him and brought him into her home. He has no documents and his birth was not registered. The challenges that come with his situation, however, are not today’s problem.<br><br>Today’s problem is finding a job for “Mary”. Mary’s mother had called Auntie Reggie from Africa to tell her that her daughter was in jail and asked her for help. When the daughter was released, after having been in jail for one month, Auntie Reggie took her in. The police told her she had ten days to get a ticket and leave the country or she would be arrested again. Today was the end of the 10 days. Mary was now stranded in China, at high risk of being arrested again. The penalty for overstay would start all over again. Mary didn’t have money for a ticket home, so Auntie Reggie was helping her find a job teaching English. Auntie Reggie said Mary was bright and could teach English in China, but first she needed help getting her hair done up and finding appropriate clothes so she would look right for the job. We weren’t sure, but it sounded like Mary had avoided prostitution, and if things worked out well with this job possibility, she might still avoid prostitution.<br><br>“Jane” sat there, quietly listening. We asked her story and she told Auntie Reggie to share it for her. Auntie Reggie joked, “Did I bring you here?” Then she told us that Jane had been arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police confiscated her passport and told her she had to leave the country in 10 days. Jane still owed $7000 to her trafficker. She had no way to buy a ticket. Now Jane lives in China illegally. She wants desperately to go home, but will most likely have to spend time in jail first. “I fear jail,” she told us. Her situation sounded impossible, and I wondered if she would be stuck in China for years to come. At least for now, Jane has found shelter with Auntie Reggie.<br><br>Our visit became enjoyable as we shared together, weaving the sad stories together with moments of laughter for relief. We ended by praying for everyone there. I thanked God for this amazing woman, Auntie Reggie, who shelters so many, and I prayed for breakthroughs and open doors for the others. Penny and Jane led us back out to the main street. As a taxi pulled up, Penny hugged us and thanked us for coming. Penny isn’t ready to go home, but someone has donated funds for her to start a small business. While in China, we discussed her options for using the funding to get started.&nbsp; Penny is determined, and if anyone can make it work, she can. Jane smiled shyly and told us, “I really like you! I was nervous when you came, but as you talked, I saw that I like you!” We hugged her and said goodbye.<br><br>Jennie, Beng, and I had come to China to network with others because we have met so many African women like Penny who had come to Thailand via China. “Adi” is a young American who bravely enters these neighborhoods to seek the trafficked women and offer assistance. She has already assisted four women to return home. We were grateful to connect her with Penny. Earlier that day, Adi had taken us to meet the Ugandan Deputy Consul, Paul. We were impressed with his heart and dedication in combating this issue and helping his people. He has made it a priority for his term in China, and his efforts for his people there has already won him a promotion. But, even as Deputy Consul of Uganda, he has limited funds and continuously searches for solutions to these problems. With the overstay fee at $1600 per person, it’s beyond his budget, but not his heart. When Paul began to hear how bad the situation was with the traffickers, he showed up at a community meeting and announced that their honeymoon was over. He told them those who are caught would be turned over to the police and charged with human trafficking. He and the Consul General have worked hard on getting some procedures in place in Africa that have prevented many girls from being trafficked to China. Since then, the flow to China has slowed down, but he now receives floods of calls from women and men who were already trafficked, and with the steep overstay fine, are now stranded.<br><br>The routes of the trafficked women from Africa to China to Thailand have united us in a fight for freedom and justice. Neither Auntie Reggie, nor the Deputy Consul, nor Adi, nor we at NightLight have the resources or strategies that will solve these problems. Together, however, maybe we can begin to strategize for ways to prevent, intervene, and restore. Together, maybe we can make a dent and turn back the tide of human trafficking.<br><br>Penny, by the way, even though she decided not to accept our help in Bangkok, sent a friend our way. She was the catalyst for a chain-reaction that has since led to 30 African women finding freedom from human trafficking and returning home. We are called to take a small step forward, to be present, to listen, and to love. But a small step forward, in unity with other freedom fighters around the globe, begins a greater movement for freedom. If we all work together, the potential impact will rattle the chains across the globe with the message, “Freedom is on its way!”<br><br>Annie Dieselberg, Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a><br><br></p> Sun, 17 Nov 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51386-the-chain-that-links-africa-to-china-to-thailand-is-breaking https://internationalministries.org/read/51386-the-chain-that-links-africa-to-china-to-thailand-is-breaking A Prostitute’s Humanity <p>“She’s not a human being! She sells her body!” The fruit vendor on the street spoke with disgust and her words left me shocked. I felt anger rise up in me. She was justifying her attack of a young Uzbek woman earlier that evening.<br><br>We were winding up our outreach where young Eastern European and Central Asian woman are trafficked for prostitution. All of the sudden, a fruit vendor on the curbside angrily threw a bucket of water at a young foreign woman. As the woman stood there, dripping and in shock the vendor began attacking the woman with her plastic cooler. Again and again she went after her while a crowd of men gathered around to watch. A few laughs filled the air as the woman turned and ran into the street.<br><br>Quietly, but quickly I went after her. She was crying and disoriented. I asked if she was okay and then I saw blood gushing from her hand. I started to guide her to the nearby hotel. She panicked and said, “No, no, not there,” afraid of this hotel used so regularly for sexual services. “We need to take care of your hand. Its okay, we’ll take care of you.” In the hotel bathroom, as the water rinsed the blood from the wound, she cried out in pain and shock. “Why? Why did she attack me?”<br><br>The blood would not stop, and I said, “We have to take you to a doctor.” She looked frightened. “No, I no money,” she replied.&nbsp; “We’ll help you,” I tried to console her and explain that she had to see a doctor. We jumped in a taxi and rushed to a nearby hospital. The young woman, Lina, was frightened but tried to look composed. She said, “Okay, I okay. You go. I go.” I tried to reassure her, “You are alone. You are scared. We will help you.”<br><br>At the emergency room, the nurses took down information. She is 23 years old and from Uzbekistan. This is her first trip to Thailand. They asked us for more information, and we told them we don’t know anything. The doctor was puzzled. “You don’t know her?”<br><br>The doctor looked at the damage on her hand. Her finger was not broken, but the tendon looked crushed. They injected the wound to numb it, and she cried out in pain. She clenched my hand with her other hand which was also cut. The doctor began to stitch up her hand. Blood from the wounds on her back was seeping into the bed sheets. We turned her on her side and tried to comfort her.<br><br>Lina spoke very little English. One of our volunteers could speak a little Russian. We tried to communicate what was happening with piecemeal Russian and English, translating the doctor’s Thai. He asked if she had a tetanus shot recently. “Tetanus” was not one of the vocabulary words our volunteer knew. Lina called her friend, and we tried to explain. “Has she had a tetanus shot?” “Yes, she has passport!” Her friend answered. Still uncertain, the doctor said it would be safer to give the vaccine. When her hand was stitched and bandaged, they dressed her other wounds. The eyeliner that darkly outlined her beautiful brown eyes was smeared from the tears she was trying to hold back. Every now and then her shoulders quivered as she held off the cries that were building up inside.<br><br>We went to the lobby to wait for the bill. An Arab man approached. “Let’s go,” he said to her. I said, “No, she is waiting for her medicine.” He said, “We’ll get the medicine outside.” “NO!” I said strongly. “She will wait for the medicine the doctor has ordered.” One of my team began to ask questions. He became uncomfortable. “I just came to help her go back to her friend.” I tried the naive approach, “Do you live in Bangkok?” “No, I’m on vacation,” his eyes were evasive. “Where are you from?” (Dubai) “Are you enjoying Thailand?” I tried to dissolve his suspicions. The man was uneasy. He went outside for a cigarette and made a phone call. Lina answered her phone. The man disappeared, and Lina changed her story. She no longer had a “boss.” She had come to Bangkok on her own. I looked her in the eyes and said, “Lina, I know. I understand about the Uzbek women coming to Bangkok. We want to help you.”<br><br>When the bill was paid, Lina thanked us. We exchanged phone numbers and the cultural three- kiss-on-the-cheek farewell. She insisted she was waiting for her friend. We said good-bye and with a deep sadness, watched her walk off into the dark alone.<br><br>Regretfully, we headed back to the area of the attack. I approached the fruit vendor and politely asked what had happened to make her so angry. The woman said, “She was hanging around here.” I asked again, “What did she do to make you angry at her?” “She’s a bad person. She sells her body!” She made an obscene gesture with her own body to illustrate. “She’s a human being,” I said. The fruit vendor rudely cut me off, “She’s not a human being. She sells her body!” The anger surged in me. “You caused her harm. Her hand was badly wounded, and we had to take her to the emergency room where she had stitches and injections.” “No, that’s not true,” the woman lied. “It was a different person.” “It is true and you know it,” I retorted. “Prove it!” a man said. I got the receipt and waved it in the air before the vendors and the crowd of men. The woman replied with scorn, “This has nothing to do with you!” “It does have to do with me and with you and with all of us!” I pointed at the growing crowd. “This is about community. We must show respect for each other as human beings. We have to help one another.”<br><br>I left frustrated and angry. The woman’s attitude summed up so much of society’s attitude toward women in prostitution. “They are not humans. They sell their bodies.” From this distorted belief stems the growing exploitation of women and children around the world through prostitution and trafficking. They have been so devalued that their human identity is denied, and they have become commodities available and dispensable. Trafficking in human beings is now tied for second place in illegal global crime. The attitude runs more rampant than we would like to believe. Community values have broken down. The value of a human life is up for bargain.<br><br>Tonight, a young Uzbek woman lay on a hospital bed, crying in fear and pain as she struggled to communicate in broken English to strangers in a foreign land. The image will haunt me. Her physical wounds were treated, but when Lina left the hospital and our care, she returned alone to another form of violence that will leave invisible scars not so easily forgotten.<br><br>Lina’s humanity was denied in a violent attack. But God in His mercy was present through us to convey to her His message. “Yes, Lina, you are a human being! Men may exploit your body and label you ‘for sale’, but I, God, created you in my image. You are precious, and of great value to the one who knows your real name.”<br><br>Annie Dieselberg, Founder, CEO<br>NightLight International<br><br>(NOTE: This is a re-post of my IM Journal dated November 19, 2006)<br><br>To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg</a></p> Sat, 26 Oct 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50947-a-prostitute-s-humanity https://internationalministries.org/read/50947-a-prostitute-s-humanity