International Ministries

It Only Takes a Little to Make a Big Difference

March 30, 2011 Journal
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Dear Friends,

It doesn’t take much to break the back of the poor. “Biya” came in holding her broken arm carefully. In tears she confessed that she had gone without meals. She had barely enough to send for her kids to eat. Her boyfriend was out of work and using her money for gambling and drinking. “Biya” borrowed $20 from a loan shark to make ends meet but at 20% interest “Biya’s” debt was soon $300. The loan shark was making threats and “Biya” was frightened. “Biya’s” plan was to quit NL to access her savings to pay off the debt of $300. That was until she broke her arm. With a broken arm she had no other option for work and would not be able to receive compensation unless she was still employed with NL. “Biya” tearfully said that she loves NightLight; there is no place like NL and she wanted to stay if there was a way to pay off the loan shark. We worked out a plan with her to pay it off and prayed with her for healing of the deep wounds from the abusive boyfriend. God intervened in her crisis that day and demonstrated His love for her and plans for a better future.
The employees of NightLight get an average of $260 per month - very fair wages by government standards. (Minimum wage in Bkk is $7.20 a day) Comparatively we pay well and have good benefits. The NightLight staff work with the women to teach money management and to help them get out of debt. What is shocking to me over and over is that it takes very little to push the vulnerable and poor into poverty and crisis. What for many of us is a monthly budget for eating out or going to the movies or even snacks, to the poor is the basic necessities of life – $70 provides a roof over their heads, $3 a day provides a simple diet for mother and child, $25 a month provides transportation to work. The cultural expectation for these women, mostly single mothers, to send money home every month to support their parents and siblings is a burden that spirals into debt far too quickly. Many women feel ashamed that they are only able to send $15 home a month to their parents who are taking care of their children. We pay our 70+ employees very fair wages but it just isn’t enough to keep them from worrying month to month.
Many of our women have been able to break the cycle of debt, show up faithfully to work, and receive enough of a salary raise that they are secure as long as there is no family emergency. A few women having worked here for 5 years or more are now making $350 a month. Our savings program also provides a cushion to fall back on if they are wise or fortunate enough to keep it for emergency.
We run a holistic business and we work to alleviate the strain on these women. We have over 70 employed, a waiting list, and many more in the bars who would love an alternative to prostitution. God is doing amazing things here at NightLight. Three women just accepted Christ at the last retreat and 4 were baptized. There were several including a husband of one who came forward to give their lives to serve God. The resilience and the joy we witness in these women who have come through so many trials just to survive is inspiring and humbling.
The world is experiencing crisis after crisis and it is easy to get compassion fatigue and become overwhelmed thinking there is little we can do. Our little however is the difference it takes for many to survive. Imagine – giving up a cup of coffee and donating the money can provide a whole day’s meal for a mother and child at NightLight. It really doesn’t take much if we all do a little. So many of you have been more than generous and faithful and we are so grateful. As we face another round of salaries here to be paid we are once again faced with the financial picture of not enough. We serve the God of more than enough however and know that when you give even a little it becomes more than enough.
We have the privilege of seeing these lives transformed. We have the joy of watching them worship. We experience the pleasure of seeing mothers picking up their children at the child care center and knowing the cycle of poverty and exploitation is being broken. We see it daily but we know it is made possible by you.
This season of Lent, would you consider making another donation or buying jewelry to support the work of NightLight? Lives are being changed but we cannot do it without you. You can touch these women and their children’s lives today and for you it might just be the difference of a cup of coffee.
With Gratitude!

CEO Nightlight

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