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.
“Oh wow! This place is so spiritually dark and void. It is all so sad and disturbing. How do you do this type of work?” 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. 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.
The restaurants’ outdoor seating areas are filled with couples and their awkward “morning after” breakfast. No eye contact being made, each occupied on their individual mobile phones. Ladyboys walking down the street barefoot, their high heels dangling from their fingers as they flag a taxi to bring them home. Children fast asleep next to their mothers on thin grass mats on the sidewalks, resting after an exhausting night of begging. 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. 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.
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.” We are aptly situated between two bars and across the street from a brothel that houses women who have been trafficked to Bangkok. God was so kind in gifting us with this ideal location.
Despite set-backs and frustrations too many to count, CityLight Coffee has now been open to the public for one month. Our customers have come to us from all over the world, and we are thrilled with the positive response to our coffee! We have featured live music a few times already with the front doors open to the sidewalk outside. The interior is simply gorgeous; it turned out so much better than any of us could have dreamed. 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.
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. We have hired a Thai general manager and trained several of the NightLight women in becoming baristas. Their confidence is growing, and we are so proud of their new skills! Additionally, we need to secure additional male staff to be available to engage in conversation with the men who enter the shop.
Please continue to pray for the ministry of CityLight Coffee. Thank you to the many of you who have sowed prayers into this project for years now. And also to those of you who gave financially to CityLight Coffee. 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. Soli deo Gloria – to God be the glory!
To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg