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They Each Have A Story

Going to Thailand I really didn’t know what to expect. I was going to partner with an organization called Shear Love International and the plan was to teach students how to do hair. This has been my dream since even before I became a hairstylist. The eight years of dreaming finally became a reality, and all of it was better than I ever dreamed of.

Shear Love is a beautiful, wholistic organization. It doesn’t just teach women AND men coming out of the red light district how to do hair, they also provide english classes, finance classes, discipleship (learning the bible), and empowerment. The goal is to eventually have local Thai people teaching the students. They also spend time going into the red light districts prayer walking and making relationships with men and women working in the bars. I could not have dreamed of a better organization to work with this last month and I’m looking forward to more opportunities for partnership in the future.

For one month I spent my time working in Pattaya, Thailand. A statistic that Shear Love shared with me, according to the TIP Report and the anti-trafficking police and task force agencies in Thailand, is there’s an estimated 150,000 women, men, and children being sold in Pattaya. Dianna Bautista, the director and founder of Shear Love, would say, “There could be 20 Shear Loves in Pattaya and it still wouldn’t be enough…”

Within the first weekend of being with Shear Love, I had the honor of being able to witness one of the barber students get baptized. His story of coming out of the red light district is one that I’m sure will make lasting impacts on the kingdom and the world, however it is his story to share. What I will tell you is that he now dreams of becoming a pastor and the transformation in his life is real.

Immediately after getting baptized his mom was admitted into the hospital in his home village. He came to the leaders in tears, not knowing what to do or how to help, and confessed how he was tempted to go back into the streets to make quick money to help his family. I think we were all amazed when he boldly said “I cannot go back, my life is different now.” Dianna and the team were able to find a way to send him to his village, we spent time praying over him and for his mom. Others brought gifts for him to take to his family. When he returned he came back with news that his mother was doing better. This one students life has been completely changed, and Shear Love was a part of that, providing him with more resources to live a life with dignity, honor and respect. So many students go into the bars to work in order to support their families back home. Shear Love is showing them that there’s another way.

As the weeks went I was continuously surprised by the students who were ready to learn and also ready to love. I assumed that because of where these students were coming from they would be closed off towards me. I was happily wrong. One student patiently told me a bit of her story about her husband and how he had passed away. She was so patient with me as I tried to understand her Thai-English. She didn’t give up or feel frustrated when I asked her to repeat her questions. She was so loving and graceful and her smile and hug in the end of the conversation filled my soul. She barely knew me, and she had no reason to be vulnerable with me. Shear love has created an environment for the men and women to learn how to receive and give genuine love. These students are being healed as they learn to trust and believe in God.

There are more stories and photos that I could share about staff and students, food and prayer walking and the red light district. Even though I was there for just a month my heart is full with memories that will remain as treasures in my heart. God has used this ministry to impact so many lives and I pray that you know that you helped in this process. I couldn’t have done this without you. Without your partnership I wouldn’t have been able to gift the school with more tools and curriculum. Without your partnership I wouldn’t have been able to have received the gift of knowing and witnessing an organization that is striving to give these students a life of education and dignity through cosmetology. I cannot say thank you enough.

Charlene, Guest Educator Thailand

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