A ministry is a person or group helping others by meeting various needs; these needs can be physical, emotional, mental, financial, even vocational and academic, but their whole reason for helping is to serve others, humbly, as Christ commanded.
In essence, ministry is service.
With this world we live in, we can sometimes focus too much on the negative at times (which is why I don’t watch the news). Each time I feature a ministry on the Blog, my desire will be that it encourages you, that you rejoice that there are good people out there doing good things, serving others. I expect that some of the ministries will tug at your heart strings, perhaps so much that it becomes a motivator for you to hop on board offering support, or even start your own similar ministry in your local area.
Keep reading below to find out about the ministry of Samaritan Creations.
I first met Kay, one of the founders of Samaritan Creations, on Facebook a few months before I moved to Thailand because her kids go to the school at which I’d be teaching. She is one of those people who just exudes sweetness even online, and when I met her in person at the cafe that she and her husband run here in Bangkok, I could immediately see how God has gifted her to carry out the women’s ministry that she and her husband, Michael, have run for the last 7 years. They are passionate in this ministry together. Our family is blessed to have them in our life. Their kids are amazing, their oldest is in our daughter’s grade and they play soccer together. I want to share about their ministry with you.
Their mission statement is as follows:
“Samaritan Creations exists to rescue, restore, and empower women ensnared by the sex trade in Thailand with the grace and love of God.”
The seed for the current ministry was planted years ago when Michael, from the United States, was plagued by what he’d heard about prostitution and the sex trade in Thailand. He boldly traveled here, where he met Kay in 2000. He shared his vision with her, and at first she thought no way can I serve in this way.
But when they went to a bar where the dancing was of the pole variety, her heart just broke for these women. She felt the burden to help these women get out of the sex business and pursue healthier ways of living.
Kay and Mike married in 2004 and spent 7 months in the United States trying to raise money to be able to start something to help out these women. Kay tells of little success because at the time she had such limited English, and Mike is quite shy. When they became pregnant with their first child, they moved back to Bangkok and were working alongside another group, called The Well, which did outreach by going directly to the bars to reach the women.
Here is a beautiful necklace made by one of the women in Samaritan Creations’ program – it was a Valentine’s Day gift from my dear hubby!
After 5 years of that, on May 1, 2010 they started Samaritan’s Creations, and they have helped dozens of children and women, 12 years old to 55. They have a network of people who help teach the women various handiwork such as sewing, jewelry-making, artwork, and also food prep and business skills in the running of Beautiful Creations Cafe.
My family and I love the cafe! It is in the neighborhood where we live and work, plus they even deliver. The delivery is lovely when you’re stuck on the couch in a cast with a foot fracture and there’s no lunch food in the apartment! The ladies make fresh bagels daily, offering an array of yummy bagel sandwiches, and have learned how to serve up great coffee and iced teas. The cafe is the main selling venue for their handiwork: jewelry, hand-sewn dolls, dresses, and aprons, word art, and even fresh flower bouquets.
Some of the women live right above the cafe, most live out on their own. There are requirements to be in the program, such as quitting bar life completely, slowly quitting smoking/drinking (support offered in this area as needed), and doing a morning devotional time at the cafe each weekday. They are offered art therapy, counselling, life skills, HIV testing – depending on their unique needs.
Right now there are 9 full-time women and 2 part time women and 17 children in the program. The money they earn from their handiwork crafts and working in the cafe are to help cover their basic needs, the children’s basic needs, and school fees for the children. It costs about 8000 baht ($250 USD) a month for each woman to make ends meet, plus 1000 baht or more ($30+) for each child depending on their age. Housing is another 2500 baht ($85 USD). The ministry always needs volunteers for discipleship, working in the cafe, and even with marketing.
- Sponsorship of a Woman or Child – Go HERE for details
- Volunteering in the cafe – visiting from abroad? We’ll hook you up!
- Discipleship for the women
- Space and equipment for handicraft lessons
- Marketing & Website assistance
- Enough sponsorships to cover women currently in the program
- More sponsorships for outreach to bring in at least 2 more women
- Safety – the outreach is done directly in the bars
- Rest for Kay and Mike – going to the bars is emotionally and physically tiring
- More support, physical and financial, for Kay and Mike as they try to keep energy levels up for this work they are called to do