Meghan Tschanz

love shines on

He Used To Buy Girls, Until He Met Jena

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This blog was written by one of my dear friends Jena Foster after meeting a John at the bars in Thailand. It’s such an amazing story that I cannot help but repost it.


I met Sean a month ago.

It was a rainy afternoon in Chiang Mai, and my Beauty for Ashes team waited for it to pass before returning home. Sean and his friends were there on vacation from China, also waiting for the same thing.

My friends and I were vague in telling them what we do, simply stating, “We help girls go to college,” leaving out the “rescuing them from bars” part.

We left that conversation sure we’d never see them again.

Three days later, while out on bar ministry with my team, I heard someone call my name.

Sean sat in a booth with his friend from the other day holding a beer that looked bigger than him with a big smile on his face. I went over to join them and a few minutes into the conversation asked them why they were at the bar.

“Are you here to buy girls?” I asked.

“Yes, this is just my second time paying for sex. I only do it on vacation.” Pointing to a young girl I’d met earlier, he told us he’d he already purchased her for the night.

My heart sank and I thought, wow, she’s actually got to sell her body tonight. It becomes so much more real when you see your friends selling themselves.  

“What are you doing here?” Sean asked me, laughing, and looking confused.

“Remember I told you we help girls go to college? Well, these are the girls!” I replied.

“Wow, why?”

He appeared genuinely interested, so I explained how many of the girls working in bars have been trafficked, and how even the ones who haven’t been are most likely here to support their families who are drowning in poverty.

“So, are you judging me?” Sean asked.

“No way, I’m not on this Earth to judge people, just love people.”

I wish I could say I was cool and confident throughout our conversation, but the truth is, I was at a loss for words. I’ve never had a discussion like this with a john, and they’ve definitely never asked me what I was thinking. Surprisingly, I truly felt no anger toward my new friend, Sean, just sadness and shock at the whole situation.

“Just know, she’s just like me. She has a soul, a story, and is worth more than just sex. She’s an amazing, worthy person.” I told Sean this as he prepared to leave with his new purchase. I swear, there was not a hint of judgment in my voice, just truth.

He looked at me in the eyes and said genuinely, “Ok, thank you, Jena.” He asked me for my name on Facebook, and we said goodbye.

Again, I thought it was the end of the story.

But for the past month, Sean and I have kept in touch on Facebook. In our online conversations he told me he realized the girl he bought has a great personality and is an amazing girl.

He wishes he didn’t purchase her, but could have rather pursued her and gotten to know her.

Sean has asked so many questions about what my team is doing, about sex trafficking in general, and can’t stop encouraging and praising my team for doing this work. He even began to send me articles about sex trafficking he’s researched.

From updates.theworldrace.org

Sean has developed a real and genuine passion for the injustice he committed.

When I sent him blogs about our work in the Philippines, he shared them on his own Facebook wall, saying, “Problems need radical changes, things that happened in Chiang Mai has galvanized me to think about meaning of life.”

Not only did I get the honor of helping him understand the injustice of sex trafficking, but we got to talk about Jesus. He asked me in a Facebook message, “Are you a Christian?” From there, we got to talk about both of our interactions and relationships with God. I learned that he had been baptized many years before! His family in China is Christian.

He just didn’t really get it though.

As we talked about Christianity, I realized he was feeling utter shame from purchasing the young girl for sex. Because God doesn’t want him to sit in shame, only conviction, I shared with him about grace.

I told Sean he is forgiven, and he is so loved, that he is still a beloved son of God despite any and every decision he’s made.

Then he said something I’ll never forget: “The more I sin the more I feel I love Jesus and I take his love for granted for countless times.”

In acknowledging his actions, Sean has realized the depth, beauty, and insanity of grace.

When we met Sean and his friends on the streets of Chiang Mai, I had no idea that 20 minute encounter would lead to a life-changing relationship.

We just have to be willing to follow the opportunities God presents to us, even if they’re different than what we expect.

If we are willing to submit to the Holy Spirit, then we don’t have to go out looking for crazy opportunities to bring the Kingdom to earth, sometimes we just have to look right in front of us.

Because you never know when God will turn a simple conversation into a life-changing moment.

About Meghan Tschanz

I believe in love, empowerment. and adventure. The kind of love that believes in the face of adversity, the empowerment that allows people to step into their destiny, and the kind of adventure that leaves your heart pounding in your chest. I write because I want to remind us all that there is so much more to life.

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One Reply

  1. Kellie McGann

    I LOVE this story. Love Jena and Meghan and all you guys are doing.
    <3

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