Meet Huntsville native Kelli Johnson, who works with exploited women in Thailand to help provide the hope and healing that comes through Jesus Christ.
I think sometimes the way the enemy lies to us is to tell us on the field that we’re forgotten, that no one cares, and so to know that there are people in my home state that are praying, and that do care, and that want to see the Kingdom advance, in the country that I love so much.
It means the world. It is encouraging on the days when I’m most down.
I was born in Huntsville, graduated high school in Birmingham. At that point I went to Cahaba Heights Baptist Church. My parents have since moved back to Huntsville. They retired there, and so I furlough in Huntsville.
I went on the field in 2008, have now been overseas for nine years, serving in Bangkok for the last four.
Only 0.6% of the Thai people are evangelical believers, so the vast majority do not know Christ. I am specifically called to work with exploited women, women in the city’s extensive sex industry there, so my ministry involves going to do outreach among those women. I have great Thai partners that go with me. We spend a lot of time sharing the Gospel to those women, and seeking ways to help them out of their current life, seeking to ultimately do Church planting and bring them to Christ and put them in a community of healthy believers so that they can grow in their faith and reproduce new healthy believers.
Thailand’s number one industry is tourism. Their number one type of tourism is sex tourism, so there are clients that come from the West, from Japan, from China, specifically for the women that I work with. So it’s a huge issue throughout the country. There are thought to be about 100,000 of these women involved in the sex trade in Bangkok, so it’s a very large mission field that I have to work with.
Our Church plant that we’re starting, we have a building that has to be rented and that has to be renovated so that the people will have a place to come and meet. Lottie Moon money helps pay for that and special gifts to that, to the cooperative program and just specifically beyond Lottie Moon go to pay for that building. They provide the materials that we use to teach English. Lottie Moon funds provide my transportation to travel out and minister to the women that I work with, and they also provide for if I have things that I have to intervene in the lives of the women. Say I need to take them to the hospital for a special case, or different kinds of things like that, those funds provide that, so they mean the world.
Pray for growth of the church plant
Pray for unity of the believers involved in the church plant.
Pray for encouragement for me and my Thai partners.
It is an emotionally demanding ministry. We hear some really heartbreaking stories, and pray that we’ll have wisdom to respond to those stories to do what we can to help these women.
And then just pray that the Lord will pour out his spirit.
I really would like to have a long-term American partner, so if there’s anybody out in the hearing of this that is willing to come and invest two years, learn a little bit of Thai, maybe a lot of Thai, depending on your language abilities, to come and parter with me, It’d be great.