As I write this I am coming close to my 1 year anniversary in Thailand. I couldn’t tell you how it got to pass me by so quickly. It’s like I went to sleep and woke up 1 year earlier, however it’s been one heck of a bumpy sleep! I am at a stage now where I am beginning to look and process the year. I don’t think it’s healthy to dwell too much in the past but it’s important to be self-reflective and learn from the journey. This journey has taken me worlds apart from the person I used to be. The essence of Ashleigh is still there but it’s like staring back at a different person when I look in the mirror. A healthier and happier person.
This journey over the past year has stretched me in ways I never could have imagined. God has taken me by the hand and we have gone on a roller-coaster ride together. On some occasions It’s been painful, many times there has been complete joy and excitement. Doors continue to open for me and I intend to walk right through them.
I have not written in a while as Its been an extremely busy season with many exciting things happening. There has also been a lot of stress and some work that God has been doing in and through me, he is in the process of digging out some well planted roots In my life and it hasn’t been easy, I will touch on this later.
I am keen to update you on the goings on of Citylight Café! This place has become my refuge. Who would have thought that a simple little coffee shop in the heart of the Red-Light District would not only bring me such joy but bring an abundance of blessings every single day. The women I work with continue to love me and speak encouraging words over me. I came here to love and be a blessing to them but it turns out they have out done me! I love them with my heart and soul and thank God every day that he brought me here
Last month we had a team with us from YWAM Australia. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it’s been. A beautiful bunch of young men and woman giving up their time to come and serve us. They graciously put on live music for us every Friday and it was an incredible experience. One singers voice was such a gift from Jesus it sent shivers up my spine.
On one particular Friday, we had both the YWAM team and another team play, the doors were wide open in to the Red- Light district and people on the outside were coming in, the sound of the music was so beautiful. You really could feel the presence of God in a massive way. That night 1 man came to Jesus. At one point, I looked around the café and noticed that there were far too many Christians in the room, I needed this to change so I said a simple prayer to God and people began to trickle in! It was a beautiful picture of Jesus mixing with the sinners in the Bible, we must remember that he didn’t come to heal the well but to heal the sick.
On the same night as our live Music we as an outreach team did our usual of hitting the Bars in Nana plaza. We had a few women on our outreach that night and fruitful conversations were had. I had spotted a woman on the stage that I had previously had some great conversation with. The week before she had been heavily intoxicated and had managed to put on a good front of being bubbly to customers, this week couldn’t have been a more different story, as she stood upon the stage her eyes were empty and she was barely moving from side to side, the light I had seen in her was gone. I prayed for her to look at me, just a little eye contact would do. At that moment, she gazed across at me and instantly recognised me I was able to go over to her on the stage and hug her, we didn’t have much time to converse but I wanted her to know that this hug held meaning, I was still thinking of her, I was still praying for her and I still loved her. I would be back.
Her face has stuck in my mind ever since that night. I have not seen her recently but I hope to this week. She is so precious and I pray that she is being kept safe.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks to say the least. After a few months of life being beyond busy as I have been tossed into a new season, things are starting to wind down for the end of year. However, God has decided that he will use this time to inform me that I still have some healing to do. There are still some roots that he has not finished taking from me. I tell you that when this happens it can be an extremely painful process. Sometimes we hold on to our faults so tightly, that when God gently pulls them away it can feel like we are missing a limb. This is the season I am in now but I couldn’t be any more equipped to deal with this. Had this happened a few years ago, I would not have been ready but now is the time and God has place beautiful people around me to walk with me, to pray with me and to speak truth over me. I am so grateful for the love everyone around me has shown. I have a wonderful community to come along side me in times of struggle as well as times of joy.
Out of struggle God continues to bless me and love me and show me new things about myself I didn’t know existed! I am very excited to announce my first article has been published. I have found joy through writing and raising awareness for an issue that I am so very passionate about!
Please continue to pray for the work that God is doing in me and for new and exciting things that he has been releasing in me!
-I ask that you please pray for one woman in particular whom I meet on Outreach, she is Ugandan and has a lot of pressure on her to make money. Not only does she owe her trafficker money but she has been burdened with the cost of her brother’s health care who has become very unwell. I love this girl and want nothing more than to help her but we are still in the process of building up that relationship. I can picture her face now as I write this, I want nothing more than for her to be free.