Quest To Find the City of Angels: The Call

If you didn’t get a chance to hear about how the night out in the Angeles City red-light district went, you can watch the video HERE. I share about how that evening unfolded, and the need there. It was definitely one of the most intense evenings of my life.

This last video is for those whose hearts were moved by the need in Angeles City. I share some facts about Angeles City, that the Renew Foundation has discovered. I also share about the AMAZING work that they are doing there. They have another video on their website for you to watch.

If you are looking for a place to serve, regarding the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, you are welcome to come here and work alongside me, BUT I ask that you would consider serving alongside what Renew is doing for the Kingdom, in the Philippines.

Facts not shown in the video:

- My trike driver got super lost on our way to Renew, but we eventually made it.

- Korean men are the number one (Asian) tourists, for sex tourism, to the Philippines.

- Renew has been working in Angeles City for 7 years.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/46366660″>Quest to Find the City of Angels- The Call</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3629705″>Bethsaida Portalatin</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Thank you all for journeying along with me on this 5 part Vlog adventure on the Quest to Find the City of Angels. It’s so humbling to think that you would take time out of your day to be a part of this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. <3

May we continue to let our hearts break for what God’s heart breaks for, and be His hands and feet on Earth, while we still have breath to be.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Quest To Find The City of Angels: The Night

The night of July 17,2012.

It will forever be one of the experiences seared into my mind, and heart, that fuel my passion to combat this issue of human trafficking, and sexual exploitation.

Teams often come to work with me, here in Thailand, with hopes of “rescuing” a girl. I tell them right away to dump that mindset, and instead become a farmer… Being obedient to God’s prompting as to whether He wants them to plant, water, or harvest…. but to always be led by His Spirit first and foremost.

It’s not about “rescuing” a girl, so much as it is being obedient to what God is asking you to do…especially if it’s to pray.

I really just wanted to be obedient to God. In that, He lead me to a bar like none other I have been to before. He opened up connections, and relationships that were truly divine appointments and His timing.

Here’s some of what the evening looked like.

Facts not shown in the video:

- It was not tourist high season, and so I was pretty obvious walking in the streets, so I had to video with my camera positioned low. Sorry for the shakey footage.

- I saw 3 different groups of ladies “dancing” on the stage during my time there, about 30 ladies, and the evening was just beginning.

- Two of the waitresses I spoke with have FB friended me, and one of the dancers that I spoke to, literally for a minute. I have been in communication with all of them still.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/46212958″>Quest to Find the City of Angels-The Night</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3629705″>Bethsaida Portalatin</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The next video I post up will share how YOU can be a part of combating this evil in Angeles City.

May we all do our part.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Quest To Find The City of Angels: Travel Day (video)

After staying the night in Manila, with my new roommate Lovely, I headed out the next morning to visit my friends in Puerto Galera.

I worked with Threads of Hope February 2011, and it was SUCH a blessing to serve there… and then to go back.

This second time I went back, I have decided to nickname Puerto Galera “The Island of Hope”, because everywhere you look you see these beautiful bracelets being made.

Puerto Galera is aesthetically one of the most gorgeous places that I have ever been to.

Image

The family I worked with there is phenomenal. God is doing wonderful things through Threads of Hope and the Matienzo family. The church now has over 800 members!

Puerto Galera was missing a dear friend though, Christian on The Rocks. I was told by my friends there, that he died on New Years Eve. I pray that with his last breath he called out to Jesus.

Puerto Galera was where I knew, that I knew, God was calling me to work in the field of human trafficking. Meeting Paris was a miracle story. So it will always be a special place in my heart. I love my Filipino family there.

So after visiting there, it was time for me to make my trek towards Angeles City. I had finally got in contact with the founder of the organization, booked a hotel, and now all I had to do was get there… but it def wasn’t as simple as that. =)

Fun facts not shown in the video:

- Zoe Saldana movies seemed to follow me on both buses

- I saw a huge awesome sign that said “Talk to Me” -God, on the bus drive.

- Cubaou had the same feel to me as The Bronx… so you figure out how I felt there.. lets just say I walked REALLY fast to get to the bus station ( no offense to my Bronxonians =)

-I seriously had NO CLUE how to get to Fields Ave once I got off the bus and had to take a jeepney. But thank God I made it =)

So this video is mostly about my travel, and the next one will be about my night on Fields Ave. Thanks for journeying along friends. <3

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/46021457″>The Quest to Find The City of Angels-Travel Day -</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3629705″>Bethsaida Portalatin</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Quest to Find the City of Angels: Day 1 (video)

Here’s the first video from my Quest to Find the City of Angels.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but that’s the amazing thing about following God…He does some pretty cool stuff if you let Him.

He speaks.

Some fun facts not in the video:

-Lovely, who you’ll meet in the video, called me Dora the Explorer because she was always scared to do something, and I told her that if it scares me, I do it. =)

- The guys in the video didn’t speak one word to me on the plane or after…but they were loud and obnoxious in their seats the whole time… I wish I would have watched the video clip on the plane and caught them red-handed.

- I was REALLY tired on the plane, and almost didn’t want to bother speaking to her, but I kept on hearing God say to “talk to her”. Goes to show how many divine appointments we can miss if we’re not obedient to Him.

- I LOVE lighting… but that’s pretty obvious in the video.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/45913141″>Quest To Find The City of Angels- Day 1 – Medium</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3629705″>Bethsaida Portalatin</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Thanks for taking the time to watch, and journeying along with me. It means a lot. Thank you.

I pray this journey can be a blessing to you as well.

Today keep your ears open for your divine appointments. =)

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Quest To Find The Disney Land for Men

or as some of the other websites, I came across, named it “The Supermarket of Sex”.

I prefer to call it by it’s given name. Angeles City, Philippines. The English translation would be The City of Angels.

I’ll be heading to the Philippines tomorrow, and I’ll be there for a little bit longer than a week. My initial intent was to attend a Not For Sale Asia Pacific Forum focused on the issue of human trafficking, and I’ll also be visiting a ministry that was integral in confirming that my heart beats for the issue of human trafficking… but there is one monumental stop I need to make while I am in the Philippines.

Working in the red-light district here in Thailand, there is not much that I have not seen or heard yet, and the red-light district in the Philippines I’m sure is similar… but God exposed me to the issue of human trafficking, and gave me a burden for it, before I even knew what it was, through reading an article about Angeles City.

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing when I get there, and I will only be able to stop through for about a day and a half, but I’m praying that I can learn some new things, or maybe share some things that will be able move our hearts more towards justice and eternal freedom of so many of those trapped in this exploitation of vulnerability.

I explain a bit more in the video below. I would be honored if you came along and shared this experience with me. I look forward to seeing how God allows this trip to unfold.

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Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Meet My New Friends From the States.

If you say Buble 10 x’s fast, it will eventually turn into something sounding like “BBBBLBBBL”

I was never really a huge fan of Michale Buble’s music, but I always thought his name, like Buddy the Elf would say, is FUN to say BUBLAY, BUHBLAY, BUBLUAH….just rolls off the lips.

But in my navigating through iTunes a couple days ago, for new music, I was introduced to his Christmas Album. I listened to one song, then the next, the next and bought the entire album! It’s PHENOM! (secretly I think he should stick to making holiday music all year round, it just fits his voice so well)

I started to get excited because I realized how close the holiday season is! Thanksgiving, which some farangs (expatriots/foreigners) celebrate here, and then my most favorite of all, CHRISTMAS!

We are hoping to come up with a couple of Christmas ideas for Love Acts, the ministry here (yea our department is now called Love Acts, and the whole organization is called Lighthouse in Action), and I’ll share them with you once we get them.

But the other thing holidays are associated with is SHOPPING. So I thought it would be a perfect time to introduce you to a new organization we are partnering with, and all the NEAT stuff they are selling.

SoDE (which is the greek work meaning “to rescue”, “to restore”) has two sides, the non-profit and the social enterprise. Love Acts will be working with the non-profit SoDE to create a buisness plan for the rescued girls to become self-sufficient. But before we can create a business plan, there need to be rescued girls.

 SoDE will be working on a new program we thought of called The Transformation Program, which will be a sponsorship program for girls who decide to leave the bars. Who knows maybe this  holiday season, you can be a part of a girls restoration process!!!! We are still going out to the bars and building relationships to see who is genuinely ready for change.

Then there’s SoDE the social enterprise which sells items made by rescued girls. They have beautiful aprons, purses, wallets, notebooks, and unique CAMBODIAN COFFEE!

So go a little splurge happy… buy gifts for your loved ones, co-workers, and i dunno.. pets??

Know that your shopping is helping restore girls and take them from a broken life to a BEAUTIFUL one.

Ahhh this just makes me want to cuddle up in a blanket by a fireplace and drink hot cocoa..or maybe slow dance….Christmas…I love celebrating the birth of my Savior!

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

What Happens in Vegas?

Well.. as I’m sure you have seen, or experienced.. a lot.

A lot that probably includes pictures of blackmail…stories of money gained and loss….stories that probably will never be mentioned again.

But here’s something that NEEDS to be addressed.

Police there, have issued a public warning to parents and children about how PIMPS are preying on children, more than ever before.

“They are actively walking through the malls, they are at the movie theaters, they are driving past the high schools, they are looking for the next young lady to charm with all of their smiles and wealth and seeming success to suck into this industry,” 

When I read the above quote in the article, my mind was just blown!

Can you even fathom the thought process that goes on inside of these pimps heads every morning?

I just can’t grasp how a person’s sole purpose every morning is to look for someone they can entrap, abuse, and use to get MONEY

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” 1 Timothy 6:10

This could be the slogan for the issue of human trafficking…well on the pimps, and traffickers end.

But this isn’t just happening in Vegas.. it’s happening in Maine. It’s a problem that is facing the upcoming superbowl in Indianapolis. A sex trafficking ring, using children, recently busted in Seattle.  In San Francisco. ALL underage girls.

Not to mention that it is happening in our own NYC backyard.. story of Nina from Sunset Park. And I met a couple last night, at No Limits Church, who encountered more than they were looking for at an Asian massage parlor in Chelsea.

Let your circle of influence know what’s going on. Create awareness. Use your voice to be a voice to the voiceless.

And most of all PRAY.. Pray that the wrongs will be made right, and that there will be a generation of believers that rise up who say “NOT ON MY WATCH, LORD… NOT ON MY WATCH”

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s.  I just created a new Agenda: Love “fan” page, where I will be posting lots of resources on the issue of human trafficking, and practical ways to ACT out love. Like?

If I Were A Dude

Being a teacher in the inner-city of Brooklyn, was a phenomenal experience. Like any job, there were high points (teaching an exciting lesson, and pay check (holla!), and low points (grading 27 essays), moments of glory (when a child would “get it”), and moments of frustration.

Some of those moments of frustration were when I noticed my students misspelling words that were up in the classroom. I remember telling them, “Hey guys, look around the room, the words you are misspelling are all hung up…you can spell them correctly”

But even after my lectures, only 1/5 of the class grasped the concept of being aware of the words that were plastered on the walls of the room.

It made me think about how unaware our culture is. We rarely pay attention to signs… and even less attention to others. It’s so easy for us to go about our day, and only be focused on what’s in front of us, or only what concerns us.

I was guilty of that, until, like Ace of Base (another 90′s song reference), I saw the sign…and the Holy Spirit opened up my eyes…to the need around me.

I try to make it a point, in the mornings, or when I head out, to say a quick, and sincere prayer…”God, guide my steps today. Let me see how You see.”

Today as I was driving down 3rd ave. in Brooklyn, going to get my jeep (I call it a JEEP! (though my P-squad family says differently)..but it’s a SUV.. I think.. I dunno) inspected, I started to notice a cluster of X-rated dvd stores along the avenue…right near a Costco.

Immediately my thoughts went to the millions of girls and children, around the world, who were probably trafficked, stolen, abused, and manipulated into making those videos…but then from a distance I saw a figure stumbling about on the corner.

Prostitue?

I didn’t want to jump to a conclusion, but something inside of me was confirming that thought. I drove past her, and saw her trying to wave down a man in a truck… thought confirmed.

I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to go back and speak to her.

But what will I say?” “I wonder if her pimp is around.” “WHAT will I say?” “O.K. God.. here I go.

In a series of illegal u-turns, and missed turns, I finally was able to reach her.

God fill my mouth.”

I got out my “jeep”, and walked over to her. She was obviously on some sort of drugs. Her face looked sullen, spaced out, and incoherent. I opened my mouth

“Hi, I was driving by, and I felt God wanted me to stop and ask you if you needed help with anything.”  “What’s your name?”

She looked shocked! She incoherently shook her head, and said “My name is Nina…No.” And she started walking away… as if I was going to ger her in trouble.

I walked with her a little bit, and opened my mouth again.

I just want you to know that God loves you, it doesn’t matter what you have done in your life, He loves you, and wants to give you another chance at life. You don’t have to live this way.”

She kept walking.

I felt like just crying there for her.. I turned around despondent, and walked to my car on the remote corner… A light blue BMW with dark tinted windows pulled up right behind me..basically kissing the bumper of my car!

I locked the doors to my car,

Her pimp“..

I put the key in the ignition, and pulled away.

As I was driving, I saw  a bandwagon of police cars. I pulled over and was contemplating telling them about Nina. But how could I prove she was a prostitute? They would just lock her up, and she’d rot in jail, or get released and head back into “the life” (as prostitution is called in that world) again. Her pimp would see the cops coming, and drive away…never to be caught.

What if I were a dude?

Would I have had a longer time to speak to Nina?” “Would Nina have given me more time to speak to her?” “Would her pimp have thought I was another john, and let me then tell Nina about the extent of the Savior’s love for her, and how she can be saved from the prison she calls life?

 I was aware… I saw Nina…I will pray for her.

I wonder if sometimes we choose to be unaware, subconsciously, so that we don’t have to deal with responsibility, or don’t want our “to do” list to get interrupted.

Believers… can we open our eyes?… can we see how God sees? can we? can our hearts break for what His heart breaks for?

“When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, “Don’t cry.” Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, “Young man, I tell you: Get up.” The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother.” -Luke 7:13-15 (MSG)

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s. the Thai for Thai campaign is still in full effect. Would you be willing to give up a Thai meal, and donate the cost towards helping rescue a girl in the sex-trade in Thailand? Click HERE to donate. Also visit the FB Thai for Thai event page. SHARE SHARE SHARE <333

Prosecuting the Pimps (Justice File #1)

..it’s critical to note that anyone who makes money off the commercial sexual exploitation of someone else is pimping them” – Rachel Lloyd Girls Like Us

The monster of sex trafficking needs to be destroyed through various means. There is the prevention, the intervention, the restoration, and the prosecution.

There are more and more organizations being formed to meet the first three battles, but the prosecution battle has had a slower start.

There is a need for lawyers who deal with this issue. For governments to create and pass legislation against trafficking, with appropriate conviction sentences for the johns and traffickers. For cities, and states, to allot monies so programs can be developed in schools, and police departments, to create awareness, and public vigilance.

Fortunately there has been an increase in the prosecution of the traffickers/pimps. I will make  an effort to keep you guys updated on the criminals being caught and convicted, government/ city laws being passed against trafficking, and any legal issues dealing with trafficking… through the Justice File blogs.

To start off.. I would like to introduce you to Stephen Craig, 34, and Sarah Beukan, 22. They are from Scotland, and have recently been busted for trafficking 14 men and women across the UK border.

I recently wrote a blog, where I was falsely thought to be a traffcker. Well, that’s because more and more are starting to look like Sarah Beukan.

The article statesA support group that worked with some of the victims in the case said they had been through an “unimaginable ordeal”.

Well now Sarah and Craig will be spending years in jail due to Scotlands new legislation against traffickers called the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. They are the FIRST to be convicted under this act… I guess better late than never.

Authorities and non-profit workers hope this conviction will encourage other victims to come out and share about the misery and abuse, they are enduring, in hopes of finding their first steps of freedom, and vindication.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

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I want to say something about the convicted criminals in the Justice Files.

My heart breaks for them too. God is a God of justice, and He has allowed us to have an earthly government with rules, and consequences when those rules are broken….and so these convicted criminals have broken the earthly rules, and now are paying the just penalty. However, I strongly believe that there is hope for these criminals as well, because God loves them too. His heart breaks for those who have chosen to indulge in their sinful ways, instead of the one He freely offers… of mercy, forgiveness, grace, love, and peace with Him, through Jesus Christ.

$ouls for $ale (Screening)

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” -William Wilberforce (British abolitionist 18th-19th century)

Another one of my dear friends from my old World Race squad, Sara, posted a link on my wall and said “Go Bethsa, Go!”. At first I thought she was cheering me on, because she is a master at encouragement… but then I clicked the link, and it led me into an alternate world… A world I would like for you to step into as well.

Nefarious Merchant of Souls is a documentary on the horror of the global sex trade… from a new viewpoint. It is possibly the first documentary, on this issue, done by a Christian organization. Exodus Cry. “The prayer movement to end slavery

I’m going to see the documentary in a couple weeks, here in NYC. The Incurable Fanatics Screening tour is nationwide, so perhaps it’s playing in your city and state. Here is the schedule of screenings that began from the beginning of September, and goes till mid November.

The movie trailer says “from a holy perspective”. “Christianity” today has made the word HOLY to seem unattainable, scary, and religious. But did you know that the Hebrew word simply means “to be set apart, different”?

I’m ready for a documentary from a “different” perspective… one that not only dives into the dark abyss of human trafficking, but brings the bright Light along.

I’m ready for a documentary that shows the whole truth.

Are you?

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida