This week, I had the opportunity to check out an adorable coffee shop and bakery called, Samaritan Creations. Samaritan Creations was founded by Mike & Kay Killar (who were kind enough to give me a tour) with Kong & Sook Phomphuong in May 2010. Kay, who is Thai, first visited the infamous Patpong red-light district on a ministry trip with a friend. It was during this time that the Lord broke her heart for the two million girls all over Thailand who were trapped in a horrifying situation and in desperate need for the Lord. Together with her husband, Mike, they decided to begin development of a ministry to give these women a way out of the trap that they were in. Now they help operate the Samaritan Creations ministry, helping many women discover an alternative to life in the sex trade and about a loving God that wants them to be healed and free.
The ministry is primarily funded through the selling of products made by its members. All proceeds from the sales benefit the members of Samaritan Creations. The first floor of the main Samaritan Creations building is slowly undergoing a transformation into a coffee shop. The coffee shop helps provide a source of revenue for Samaritan Creations, but more importantly, it will also provide another venue to sharpen the skills and abilities of Samaritan Creations’ members. This has also presented an opportunity for these women to interact with community members in the neighborhood. I stopped by for breakfast, got a great Americano coffee (in a cute elephant cup) and El Mexicano bagel sandwich. The bagels are made fresh at Samaritan Creations.
Samaritan Creations also has a cute shop made with awesome products, made by their member community. This art supports a new way of life and brings beauty to others. At the same time, these women are growing and learning what it means to be “new creations” from the inside out – reflecting God’s glory as they discover a new identity and purpose for their lives. Samaritan Creations is constantly working with the women who join their community to develop products that are beautiful and provide a sustainable trade – this includes many of the products seen on this web site. Not only does creating these items open up new options to the women to learn how to support themselves, but it also trains them in gaining the necessary character and trade skills needed to stand on their own two feet.
While I’m still moving to Cambodia, so I didn’t buy much. My roommate here in Thailand is staying in Thailand so she picked up some awesome artwork for her apartment. You can check out her blog, The Life of Chloe Bissett. During out tour, we had the chance to see the communities art studio. The women also share one of the floors of the main Samaritan Creations building, so that each woman (or even small family in some cases) can have their own private and unique space. I love that not only does Samaritan Creations support the women getting out of the sex industry but also their children, sponsoring their education and schooling in Bangkok.
Here is a little bit more about Samaritan Creations. Like in the inspiration behind the name:
Samaritan – A people from Biblical history that were outcasts and looked down upon by the culture surrounding them.
Creations – Bringing something new and beautiful into existence where there was nothing like it before.
Just as the Samaritan people from Jesus’ time were looked down upon by the culture around them, the bar girls and women that Samaritan Creations ministers too are looked down upon by Thai society in general, and even many in the church. No matter what society may tell them, they see their redeemed “Samaritan” women as having infinite worth in the sight of God.
(For the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan check out Luke 10:25-37.)
The vision of Samaritan Creations:
They believe that the sex industry in Thailand will only be defeated through the Gospel influence of believers and churches working for positive change in their communities. It’s hard to imagine, nearly 2 million men and women have been drawn into the sex trade through a desire for a better life. Whether by poverty, the hope of better opportunities, or through pressure from their family they find themselves trapped in a social and economic dependency cycle with no hope of breaking out.
Samaritan Creations exists to rescue, restore, and empower women ensnared by the sex trade in Thailand with the grace and love of God.
By offering women an alternative means of income to prostitution Samaritan Creations enable them to leave the sex trade and begin a new future for their lives. Samaritan Creations does this through entrepreneurial training and funding of these women for helping them learn the skills needed to not only support themselves, but to return to their communities where they can become positive agents for social change and economic renewal. They currently partner with these women to help them produce a growing variety of products and trade skills that they can use to begin to become financially independent. They also assist the women in building a positive spiritual identity, giving them hope for the future.
Next time you are in Bangkok, Thailand, make sure you stop by Samaritan Creations. Grab a cup of coffee, a bagel sandwich, and some gifts for your friends.