The following video was found on the Iris Thailand YouTube page. Iris Ministries is a Christian missions organization that was originally founded in the U.S. in 1980. Since that time it has grown considerably. Their presence is felt in many countries and they are presently working on new bases around the world. Thailand is one of those places.
From March 1 to March 15, 2011, a crew of missionaries toured Thailand. Their main concern is prostitution in this country. From the Iris Thailand website…
Now, we all know that Heidi’s (one of the founders) lived in the poorest parts of the world, but she said that in Thailand, she experienced one of the darkest presence of evil in there. Heidi’s heart broke for the injustice that was done to the girls and also, for the men, who were in bondage in practicing this evil.
So, what can we do as an army of love to this injustice?
I think it looks like sending some Iris missionaries out there to stake a piece of land in the natural and in the spirit, then building an Iris Thailand. It looks like rescuing child prostitutes and providing safe havens for them and giving them a family and an education. It looks like taking in broken lives and giving them a life and a future…
This journey brought a crew of them to Buriram.
This isn’t shocking as Buriram province is one of the major suppliers of sex trade workers to Bangkok and Pattaya.
Buriram is also the city and province I’ve been living in for over a year.
I don’t want to spoil this piece by discussing the material, however, I will preface it with this – this is neither a criticism of Christianity nor Iris Ministires as a whole. I know far too little about the latter to form an informed opinion. In addition, this by no means is a criticism of anyone interviewed for the piece. This is, however, a criticism of those who created this video and the patronizing, imperialistic and straight out bigoted attitudes expressed. To put this civilly, I consider this a highly disrespectful and offensive piece.
Again, from the Iris Thailand website, under the title FYI: Interesting Cultural Tips….
19. Tattooing has more attached to it than a work of art or a fad. If you are working with people in the church you may be asked why you have a tattoo. Tattoo rituals occur here which often include inviting spirits in your life. It is considered by many Thai Christians as worldly as is drinking alcohol and not widely accepted by the Thai church. Please respect the standards of your new culture – you are a guest and not here to challenge or change their mores.
I’m going to assume that the last sentence above doesn’t only relate to a Foreigner being defensive about their own body work, or only when dealing with Christians….ah hypocrisy.
For more information on Buriram, please visit my other website Buriram Info. It’s a complete travel guide which offers hotel bookings, information on how to travel to Buriram, as well as multiple options of things to do.