Monday, July 23, 2012

Jesus would have hung out at strip clubs.

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity 
Give me your arms for the broken hearted 
Ones that are far beyond my reach. 
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten 
Give me your eyes so I can see 

Matthew 9:10-12 - While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

Has God ever told you to do something terrifying? Something so outside your comfort-zone that you don't even know where to begin? Yeah. That's where I've been for the last month or so. So let me tell you what I'm talking about.

Several weeks back, our church announced that we'd be buying a permanent facility in the near future - an old Kmart to be exact. So a few days later, Braden and I were coming back from a kayaking trip and drove by the new building. Which happened to be directly across the street from a local strip club.

It was at that moment, while I sat muddy and damp in the searing heat of an AC-less truck on a summer day, I felt God speak to me so clearly that it was almost audible: "You need to start a ministry for strippers." 

I was stunned. And I had no idea where to begin. But I did know that I needed to step forward in obedience, trusting God to pave the way before me. My heart has always been for hurting women, which is why I've chosen the work I do at Daybreak. Even from the time that I was a young kid, I would think about and pray for the women working inside strip clubs when I passed by one. So since that day last month, my heart has been burdened to the point of breaking for these girls. These are women who Jesus loves - who Jesus died for. And I just want to help them KNOW how loved, special, and treasured they are by God. That they matter. That they have value. An that they deserve real love, respect, and healing. They might not feel comfortable coming to a church, so I think that the church needs to come to THEM!

In the past few weeks, I've done alot of research on ministry to the sex industry, and have learned some sobering statistics: 

There are more women employed by the sex industry than any other time in history[i].
There are more strip clubs in the United States than any other nation in the world[ii].
Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately 31.6 billion USD each year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates 27.8 billion USD per year[vi]. There 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide [vi].
Research related to women working in various aspect of the sex industry is telling. Such research indicates that women working in the sex industry are faced with higher rates or drug addictions[ix], sexually transmitted diseases[x], violent assaults[xi], and mental health problems[xii] such as Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than the general population.

Between 66% to 90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children[xiii]. 70% of interviewees in a study by Silbert and Pines noted that childhood sexual abuse had an influence on their entry into prostitution[xiv].
Women in the sex industry experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at rates equivalent to veterans of combat war[xv].
89% of women in the sex industry said they wanted to escape, but had no other means for survival [xv].
73% of women in prostitution have been raped more than five times. vi
70% of females who are trafficked are trafficked into the commercial sex industry[xvi] (This includes Porn, Strip Clubs, and massage parlors in the US)  (All stats from

In my research, I've discovered an incredible ministry called "Treasures." Founded by Harmony Dust, a precious woman who's book I could not put down, Treasures is a nation-wide organization that does outreach to anyone and everyone working in the sex industry. And if God will provide the funds, I want to attend their training in September to open an official chapter of the ministry here in Columbia, SC. 

I don't know what exactly the ministry will look like yet, but I'm trusting God to lead every step of the way. Some preliminary ideas include bringing scripture-filled gift bags of cosmetics, jewelry, and other fun items to the girls, holding a Bible study for them, bringing them meals and goodies, etc.

So because of a huge outreach event happening this Sunday at my church, feel like I need to get started THIS WEEK by bringing gift bags and goodies with invitations to Sunday's outreach to some of our local strip clubs. I'm not going to lie - this is both exciting and terrifying for me! 

So this is what I need from YOU, fair reader and friend. And I'mma be BOLD with ya!

1. PRAYER. I know that ministry of this kind is brutally opposed by the enemy, but I know that our God is greater! Prayer is the only weapon that will stand.

2. MONEY. Let's get real. I work in non-profit. My husband is a student. I can't afford to fund this ministry. But if God wants it to happen, it will. So here's what I need: 

-Donations to purchase items for gift bags (or brand-new items to fill them with, i.e. nail polish, makeup, lotion, perfume, jewelry, accessories, etc.) 

-Donations to get me to the Strip Church training in Miami this September. Incredibly, the $250 for the training has already been donated! Praise God! But I still need $150 for one night in the hotel, and roughly $250 for the plane ticket (last time I checked.) 

This is big stuff, I know. So I'm just putting it out there. God is bigger than the big stuff! 

Want to make a donation? Click here to make a secure donation via PayPal. Just enter the e-mail address: I'm not a 501c3 or anything, but I can promise you that every single cent donated will go directly into this outreach. 

It really all comes down to this statement that I found on "Our purpose is to LOVE. It is not to "fix" women or convince them to leave or follow Christ. We show God's powerful and practical love and meet women right where they are at. In the context of real relationships, true love can be seen and experienced."

So. All that said. Will you join me? 

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