Social-Emotional Learning, Scripture, and Prayer

woman praying

I teach a class about mental health tools for the women at The Well. We talk about thoughts, emotions, and behavior; about balance and self-management. It’s a good class, and I see women putting their tools into practice and coming up with ways to care for themselves and others. 

I’ve noticed that the first step in nearly every recommended tool, strategy, or technique for better mental health is the same: calm down. Whether you are overwhelmed, solving a tricky problem, or changing an old habit, you must first gather your wits, take a drink of water, or count to ten. I find it ironic that the first step is often the hardest one, at least, it is for me! I know I’m not alone, though. Here at The Well, we spend a lot of time working on ways to find and restore calm.

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Here's How You Helped in 2019

We don’t try to make headlines about fighting sex trafficking, but in reality, we do so on a daily basis. In 2019, we saw Thai leaders growing and reaching others more than ever. Women who used to be bargirls, drug dealers, and pimps are now reaching others, counseling them, and sharing their stories with more and more people — thanks to God, and thanks to you.

If you supported us with your prayers, encouragement, or financial gifts, here are a few things you helped to make possible with Servantworks Thailand in 2019.

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Learning, Thinking, Growing, and Healing

group of people gathered around two graduates, smiling

Once, *Bam, a woman in our program at The Well, complained to me about having to learn English. She was too old to learn a new language; what was the point? I explained that even if she never used it, learning English would help her focus, improve her memory, and strengthen her brain. She didn’t learn English but she kept coming to class and she grew healthier. I know using her brain to learn something new was part of that. (She went on to work in a ministry that includes many foreign, English-speaking volunteers; funny how that works!)

At The Well, we know that the heart, body, gut, mind, and all the other parts of us are working together, all the time. We aim to be holistic in our approach, so we provide everyone with opportunities to learn, from in-house classes to university support.

Education breaks cycles—all kinds: addiction, poverty, trauma and generational cycles. Education teaches that our lives can be different. It can increase resources and enable freedom. When we talk, think, read, and talk some more, our behaviors, emotions and thoughts can change. Learning new information and skills affects our brains, increasing neuron growth and even changing brain patterns that have been altered by trauma.

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Youth Ministry

Judy standing with three teenage girls, faces obscured, whom we've recently been getting to know at The Well in Bangkok.

I have a soft spot for the tough cases. The wild troublemakers that other folks tend to avoid I see as precious challenges. In particular, I love the possibility of getting through to a love-starved teen; cigarette in one hand, smartphone in the other.

We have a few new ones at The Well, ages 15 and 16. I’m cautiously optimistic: it has been a long road getting them to this point, but there is obviously much, much farther to go. 

“Jo” has reminded Judy and I multiple times of her sixteenth birthday coming up on Monday. We first met Jo a year ago, along with a couple of friends selling themselves to local guys under a nearby bridge. She caught the attention of both Judy and I for no apparent reason, so we thought it was perhaps God’s nudging. But we did not see her again until a couple months ago, where we found her hanging out in front of a small internet shop managed by a woman we strongly suspect of pimping teen girls. We connected on Facebook, and soon after she started asking for money for food.

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When “Sundays at 10 AM” doesn’t work.

The beginning vision of The Well was to reach many, starting with women at risk. We remembered Jesus’ words that the Kingdom of God is like yeast in dough, small but with incredible transformative potential. Disciples of Jesus come together to serve in ways that ultimately change societies, so we knew starting churches was a goal.

We started small gatherings immediately, but these groups weren’t impactful. Thai poverty culture strongly discourages people from going against the crowd; an underestimated obstacle. New believers who visited old friends relapsed into unhealthy activities. We once took a couple former bar girls on outreach, and I watched approvingly from a distance as one talked at length to a mamasan, thinking they were discussing her new life in Christ. Later she confessed she was asking about working there.

We were discouraged, but felt the Lord say to stay faithful. Yeast takes time. Practical challenges also forced us to seek creative answers over the years …

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