Perseverance Pays for Rescue Agent
Filed Under: Blog, Press Releases, Rescue, Restoration, Thailand
Nok* was one of the most troubled and tormented girls I’ve ever met in this line of work.
I didn’t know it when I first met her in the bar a few years ago, but Nok had been in the Aftercare Home and ran away before I started volunteering with Destiny Rescue in Thailand. I met her in a bar one night while out on rescue and she told me she was 19 and had a twin sister. I assumed she was telling the truth about her age and concluded she wasn’t a target but got her contact details anyway and then moved on.
A few nights later I was hanging out at the rescue home and one of the rescue girls looked at a photo board we had up and said out of the blue, “Did you know this girl?” I just said, “Nah, those girls were before my time.” Then she said, “Her name is Nok, she has a twin sister.” Now my ears pricked up. “Which one?” I asked. She pointed and I suddenly realised this was the same Nok I met just a few nights ago!
The girl told me Nok was 15 – I found out later she’d been in the bar since she was 14 – and that when she came into the home she had struggled to settle, rebelled and ran away. I began to feel a little uneasy; how was I going to tell Nok that I was from the organisation she ran away from? I decided to just keep visiting her every week, waiting for God to give me some sort of guidance. I hated going to her bar because the staff there would try so hard to get as much money from me as they could, pressuring me to buy more drinks, to take Nok upstairs for sex, on and on and on.
After many months of visits, Nok contacted me in distress and asked if I’d meet up with her. I got a clear sense that that night was the time to tell her who I really was. I was afraid she’d get mad that I’d misled her into thinking I was a normal customer and kept it a secret that I was from the foundation she’d run away from, but I had a sense that this weird coincidence of the other rescue girl pointing her out on the photo board meant that God wasn’t done with her. So I met up with her.
I was able to meet up with her for dinner, and as we sat and ate noodles I was nervous but felt prompted to break my cover to her by means of a photo: a photo of Nok at a wedding with our rescue girls and staff during the time she was with Destiny Rescue. I got the photo out and asked her, “Nok, do you remember these people?” I still remember so clearly this troubled 15-year-old looking at this photo and sitting in silence as she processed a thousand emotions. My own mind was racing too; perhaps she was remembering the time she ran away from unconditional love? Perhaps she was realising the terrible mistake she’d made? Eventually she looked up at me and stuttered, “So… you… you’re… you’re with them?” I said “yes”. She was in disbelief, but because of the mutual trust we had built over the past months, I had her ear, and was able to convince her – after a few more meetings – to move back into our care.
I was on such a high! I thought that was it, that Nok would now stay with us, be healed and move forward with her life without a hitch. But that was just the start. She struggled with rules, she struggled with our staff and because of all the awful things men had done to her, she struggled with going back time and time again to abusive relationships. Because of these experiences with men she started to prefer girls, and somehow would end up in relationships with girls who would also physically abuse her. I remember she’d run away and then weeks later call me, desperate for help and then return beaten and bruised. This happened quite a few times, we all struggled, I was desperate for her total healing and many times wondered just how long it would take. Thankfully, persistence, and trust in the Lord paid off.
The last time she came back, one of our Thai staff finally managed to truly connect with her; befriended her and started loving her like she’d never experienced before. This Thai staff went and visited Nok’s family and through this time, Nok changed. She matured, she stopped taking drugs, she started to obey the rules. I remember some days trying to explain rules to other girls who would argue back and Nok would say, “These rules are for our good, there’s reasons they are there.” It was unbelievable to see such leadership from a young woman who had been through so much.
Nok eventually completed and graduated our program, which was incredible to witness. I remember at her graduation ceremony I shared my story about Nok’s rescue; I shared how from the first week I met her I had a sense that God wanted Nok back, that he hadn’t given up on her. When I said this aloud I burst into tears, thinking about how her life was and how it is now (even typing this I’m tearing up!). I remember on that graduation day all the girls got a new sense of the love God has for them, and the love we at Destiny Rescue have for them.
Nok eventually moved out and started to live independently. She found a job at a restaurant and as I write this is currently finishing Grade 9 and recently was the only student in her class to pass a difficult exam! Recently I caught up with her and her twin – who we also helped with work and education in order to prevent her from meeting the same fate as Nok – it was so good to catch up with them, both of them are doing so well! Her twin sister May* works in a high-end restaurant and has aspirations to become a manager (she said she’s learned all the different skills there are to learn).
May’s three-year-old son Asnee* was super happy to see me and we both got in trouble during meal time for playing and laughing too loud, but if ever I was going to get in trouble I’m glad it was for laughter.
By Ned Raspas*
Thailand Rescue Agent
*Names changed to protect identities