August Ministry Highlights

Due to the sensitive nature of this ministry, some details, photos and videos have been removed from the below update that was sent to our prayer partners.

Prayer Partners:

Thank you for your support!

LGBTQ Evangelism, Bangkok:

In 2016, Castaway Ministries was born with outreach to the LGBTQ in global sex tourism & gender re-assignment hub, sin city Bangkok. Recently I returned to Bangkok and hit the old stomping grounds (red light districts) to witness. It is relatively common for Cambodians to relocate to Bangkok for work, including sex work. The Lord led to some transgender prostitutes from Cambodia (“ladyboys”, as they call themselves and are commonly known in Thai/Cambodian culture). If Christ can forgive me, He can forgive them. Praise the Lord.

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  1 Timothy 1:15

Over the years, the Lord has also provided opportunity to speak biblical truth into life-changing decisions, if you get what I’m saying. Having made just about every poor life choice in the book myself, the Lord leads to use those “lessons learned the hard way” to urge others to avoid making choices that derail God’s plans for them.

But even if the decision not to move forward with a procedure is made, the soul is not saved through behavior modification. Beyond avoiding a particular sin and subsequent guilt, the urge and hope is for repentance and salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 3:2John 3:3, 16, 36).

Happy lies put a smile on one’s face for today and send him to hell for eternity. If we truly love people, we must tell them the truth. Only the truth can set them/us free (John 8:3217:17).

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10


Muslim LGBTQ Evangelism, Bangkok:

First morning after arriving in Bangkok, I went downstairs in the hotel for breakfast. A man who said he was in town for work-related training asked me to sit with him. Conversation went from, ‘Why are you here?’ to testimony and the gospel.

He demonstrated knowledge of the Bible’s Old Testament, which would be highly unusual for the Thai Buddhist majority to know. Then he revealed he is from the predominantly Muslim southern portion of Thailand that borders Malaysia.

The Quran, a satanic counterfeit of the Bible, includes some of the Bible’s Old Testament. Additionally, a man named Jesus is revealed as a prophet who performed miracles but never died for our sins. In other words, all of the attributes essential to salvation (e.g. His deity, substitutionary atonement) are removed. This man is a counterfeit Jesus.

I corrected him on the deity of Christ (most notably using John 10:3014:6), contended that no one can know God apart from the Lord Jesus Christ and told him if the Quranic Jesus is true, we are all bound for hell because God provided only one door to heaven – by repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 10:9John 3:16-18).

Most Muslim men would rebuttal that, but he did not. Hmm… I wondered why.

Toward the end, we took a photo and connected through social media. When I saw his profile, I got the feeling that maybe he struggled with same-sex attraction (had not picked up on any cues previously).

After breakfast, he asked, ‘Which room are you staying in?’ I told him the floor (many rooms) but did not divulge my room number. He said, ‘I’m on the 6th floor. Room 666.’

I reacted, ‘Wow!’ He looked blankly, unaware of its biblical significance. The Lord was saying, ‘In case you didn’t realize, this is of the enemy… a test.’

This is standard operating procedure for many who live closeted gay lives. Though typically much more overt in my approach, I once was that man.

This is my life and ministry. It’s laden with risk. Separated from my wife, I am tested at my weakest moments. Satan whispers, ‘No one has to know!’

It requires in depth knowledge from my past life (“the depths of Satan,” Rev 2:24) plus biblical wisdom and power from the indwelling Holy Spirit to fight.

If I were back in Pittsburgh working for the bank, similar testing would come. This is the norm for the ex-gay. The Lord has prepared me… for such a time as this. Praise the Lord!

Please pray that M comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible, is transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and fights on the right side of this war over the souls of men (Eph 2:13; Col 1:13).

“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”   2 Corinthians 12:8-10


Neighborhood Youth Ministry – Door-to-Door Evangelism, Cambodia:

Back across the border in Cambodia… Remember from July’s update that an envious mother pulled her three faithful kids out of our youth ministry over a dental emergency. I had been praying and trusting the Lord to resolve.

Not long afterwards, apparently the Lord provided through someone else to get her teeth fixed. It seemed to solve the problem, no more need to envy. She really does look good, and I told her so.

The kids returned on the last day of the Joseph story where Joseph forgave his brothers. Praise the Lord!

It was an opportunity to clarify, contrary to Buddhist belief in karma where people who “do bad receive bad,” that Jesus forgives the repentant!

This past Sunday, we door-to-door witnessed in the neighborhood and ended up at their home (unplanned). We shared the gospel with their mom.

Her son (oldest) has been stepping up to serve, to share the gospel and pray with/for unbelievers. He walked away from praying for someone with the joy of the Lord, ‘I am so happy in my heart. Before I was scared to share the gospel. Now I’m not scared because I have Jesus in my heart.’ Praise the Lord!

True joy is found only in serving the Lord (Matt 16:25-26Neh 8:10)!

A few minutes later, he told me his friend asked him to go to a coffee shop and hang out but that he didn’t have the money (nudge, nudge). Gotta love these kids!

“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”  Hebrews 10:38


Saved and Loved Podcast (Duration: 33 mins):
Seema and I discuss content of all three books in the Straight series, including The Church: We Shoot Our WoundedThis interview includes (1) discussion about root causes of the normalization of homosexuality in today’s culture, (2) common gender role reversals, (3) biblical role of women in home and church, women pastors and Male Headship, (4) how to battle LGBTQ indoctrination of our kids and (5) encouragement for ex-gay men to fight forward, standing alone on the Word of God in these last days of rampant heresy and apostasy.

Any of us could die at any moment. Click Here to find out how you can know enduring peace, God’s purpose for your life and be sure you will go to heaven when your brief time on earth is up.

PRAISE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!


Ways to Partner:

1. Pray for:
– Conviction, eyes to see and ears to hear for the LGBT.
– That seeds would bear fruit, that the Lord would raise up Cambodian evangelists.

– Revival for the U.S. church – that we would stand for difficult truth in these days no matter what the cost.
– Pray for our marriage and the promised son.
– Financial support to keep me in the field doing what I am called to do.

 
2. Click to Donate via PayPal (tax deductible)!

Witnessing in Southern Thailand & Salvation Story

“And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” – Acts 17:32

Immediate responses to the gospel could be classified as: (1) Yes, (2) No and (3) Maybe Later.

Thailand’s capitol Bangkok and beach towns Pattaya and Phuket are high priorities on the evangelism hit list because they are popular hubs for LGBT+ culture and prostitution.

We live and witness in Bangkok. Seeds were scattered in Pattaya (closer to Bangkok) earlier this year. This week, I hit Phuket for the first time.

Conversations typically begin with small talk, then testimony, then often the gospel. Additional armament includes tracts in Thai and the Bible in virtually any language via Bible app.

We try to connect with as many on Facebook as possible and post Scripture regularly so that they will be exposed to the Bible and lines of communication remain open.

Facts:
Majority of folks engaged: Thai Buddhists
Most common response to the gospel: ‘You (Westerners/Americans) believe in Jesus. Thai people believe in Buddha.’
Example seemingly appointed engagement:
Transgender male-to-female- met outside her workplace. In response to testimony, she said, “So you are a real man now, not just a gay.” Pouring down rain, she asked me to come back to discuss- shared the gospel and tract, read the Bible, discussed previous exposure to Christianity and clarification of salvation requirements and Christian living. Asked me to send her things on Facebook (ex. Scripture) and basically ended with- ‘I will hear you again on this matter.’

In general, the lay of the land is a city with:
1) An area(s) known for transgender male-to-female (“ladyboys”)- strip bars, massage parlors and old fashioned street prostitution.
2) An area known for gay bars- resembles what is common in US cities.
3) A pedestrian-only street(s) that is a mixed bag- hosts party/sex tourists from around the world.

All 3 of the above areas and everywhere in between contain ladyboys soliciting outside massage parlors. The Lord’s timing is perfect. It is rainy season. Business is down, and folks have a few moments to spare.

Prostitutes speak the language of sex, so God works from there. Some say my eyes look kind and they feel good talking to me. You and I know that is the Lord.

Sharing Christ with jeering prostitutes can seem pointless. Nonetheless, this is what we are called to do- if for no other reason than to give each human being, created in God’s image, an opportunity to repent and get through the gates. The Lord has gone so far as to resurrect men and send them back into the pit on a rescue mission. Having been warned of coming judgment, all will be without excuse.

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.'” – Jonah 3:1-2

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 3:2

Eyes welling up with tears as we shake the dust off our feet, we reflect on those who have rejected Christ, peer down at our watches wondering how much longer we have… and utter, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.”

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Back in Bangkok Sunday afternoon, the Lord led to join a medical clinic. Specified assignment was to “play with the kids”. That was part of it and was certainly a blessing, but I knew better- that the Lord was doing something else. Our assignment is always to lead people to Jesus. So we scouted the area and found that it was also a ministry for juvenile (and adult) offenders. In the common area was a 14-year old playing guitar with his friend. The third seat in the small circle was empty. I sat down. After the ‘where are you from’ small talk, we got into business. He said that when he got locked up, he asked Jesus to help him and started to believe with his head but that he had never prayed to repent and give his life to Jesus. So he did! Please pray for “G”.

After many “No” responses, the Lord rewarded with a “Yes”!

THIS IS THE WHY- why the believer in Christ remains on the earth after coming to know Jesus- to fulfill the Great Commission.

Join the fight. Pray for training wheels. It’s scary at first, but the Lord gives the passion and leads. His heart is for evangelism. Be bold. Get close to the heart of Jesus.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.‘” – Jesus (Mark 16:15)

As an old friend of mine used to say, “We serve an awesome God, brother.”
Praise the Lord!

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Ministry Update

As much as I have wrestled with trying to paint a Norman Rockwell portrait of this ministry, it just can’t be done. It’s nontraditional, and I would not be doing it unless the Lord had led after 6 years of training.

God made each of us (Genesis 1:11:27). He loves each of us (Luke 12:7). Although some of us look cleaner than others, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). A prostitute’s sin is no less forgivable than a pastor’s sin (1 John 1:9Acts 10:34).

Please Note: I apologize in advance for using the term “ladyboy”. The term is not considered derogatory in Thailand, is more specific than “transgender” and less labor-intensive than stating “Male to female transgender” repeatedly.

As much as I have wrestled with trying to paint a Norman Rockwell portrait of this ministry, it just can’t be done. It’s nontraditional, and I would not be doing it unless the Lord had led after 6 years of training.

God made each of us (Genesis 1:11:27). He loves each of us (Luke 12:7). Although some of us look cleaner than others, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). A prostitute’s sin is no less forgivable than a pastor’s sin (1 John 1:9; Acts 10:34).

Please Note: I apologize in advance for using the term “ladyboy”. The term is not considered derogatory in Thailand, is more specific than “transgender” and less labor-intensive than stating “Male to female transgender” repeatedly.

 

It’s difficult to express in words how strong Thai and Cambodian cultures are. In the West, we expect parents to support their children… sometimes into adulthood. In Cambodia and Thailand, your children are your social security. Young people commonly move from the countryside to the city to make money to send back to their families… sometimes taking a “whatever it takes” approach.

Many ladyboys in Thailand are prostitutes. (Same applies in the U.S.) According to one man who moved from the poor Cambodian countryside to Bangkok and now lives as a ladyboy, his decisions to begin taking hormones, have surgery and become a prostitute hinged on the need to make money for his family. Previously he had been dating women and had no attraction to men. It seems there is a noble aspect in his mind to the choices he has made.

A common challenge in sharing the gospel in the West is that people do not want to admit they are sinners. It is refreshing to share the gospel in an environment where sin is so blatant.

‘I take money for #™™*%&. Of course I have sin,’ remarked one.

The Lord uses the Cambodia connection (lived there before moving to Thailand). He has led to 3 Cambodian ladyboys who live in Thailand and feel isolated from their beloved culture. Through even a simple Cambodian greeting or mention of a common food, the Lord can provide comfort and build a bridge.

 

They say that a ladyboy in Thailand makes roughly $30-$90 USD per date. The bars are overflowing every night of the week.

For perspective, a professional in the Cambodian countryside can make roughly $100-200 per month.

When first approaching a ladyboy on the street, I am viewed as a “customer”. This makes for an interesting dynamic.

The sex tourism industry abounds in Pattaya, a Thai beach town. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. Two recent nights there yielded rich ministry experience. In evangelizing, we focus on those who may typically be overlooked (ex. LGBT community). But in doing so, we do not purpose to overlook others. The gospel is for all and applies to all.

 

Freeze Frame Moment: Young man in corset and heels up the steps at the entrance of a strip bar raises a fist and shouts “Prah Yesu! (God Jesus)”, commencing the 2nd night’s walk throughs.

Although many scoff, the gospel of Jesus Christ is being shared, and people are being called to repentance. Interestingly many have been exposed to the gospel in the past. Sometimes it appears we are united in response to a praying mother or friend.

Bottom line is this ain’t rocket science, and it ain’t Matt. It’s the Lord at work.

PRAISE THE LORD for his undeserved favor for all!

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Nana Plaza, Bangkok