I spent last Saturday night hanging out in strip clubs.
And it was AMAZING.
Let me back this up a bit for you:
A couple of weeks ago, by God's incredible grace and perfect planning, I learned that one of my after-school program volunteers has been doing her own brand of strip-club outreach in Columbia for a few years now, and she invited me to come along on last weekend's outing with herself and another sister-in-Christ. Bearing freshly-baked cookies, long-stemmed roses, and a message of hope, we headed out in the pouring rain to 3 local strip clubs on a dark and stormy Saturday night. Before even getting out of the car at each club, we joined hands and prayed fervently for God's anointing, protection, and provision. We prayed for open doors, open hearts, and that every girl, bouncer, manager, and owner would come to know the love of Jesus Christ.
At our first stop, my heart was in my throat and butterflies were doing a what seemed to be a mating dance in my stomach. After being turned away at the door during my first outreach last month, I was fearful about what would happen next. We walked to the door, (a bouncer-free door, might I add), and walked right into the club. The first girl we got to speak to was working the front, collecting cover charges. We handed her a rose and a bag of cookies, and her eyes lit up at the small gifts. We spoke to a bouncer and the manager, and after reassuring them that we weren't selling anything, just giving gifts, they welcomed us into the club with open arms. (I don't think it hurt that we gave them some cookies too.) It was only about 7:00pm, so there weren't a ton of customers in the club yet. We gave roses and cookies to the bartender, and to two more girls who were working the floor. A girl in glowing neon lingerie was flabbergasted that we were just "giving gifts" with no strings attached. She asked us if we were taking donations or anything, but we insisted that we just wanted her to have them because she's special and loved. Her smile lit up the room. The bouncer (already stuffing his face with the cookies we gave him), directed us to the girl's dressing room, where we got meet three more ladies who were getting ready for their shift. When we first walked into the dressing room, the looks the girls gave us were incredulous, but when we started handing them the gifts and telling them that they are loved, they couldn't contain their smiles. They thanked us profusely, told us they loved us, and said that the gifts just brightened their night. We left that club on cloud-nine, blown away by how open they were to our visit! We will definitely be visiting this club on a regular basis, building relationships with those precious women who Jesus loves so much.
Our second stop was something of a "super-club" - huge, flashy, and part of a big corporate chain. We arrived before dark, and there were already easily over 100 cars in the parking lot. We knew this club would be a particularly tough nut to crack, and we were promptly turned away cold at the door. We weren't event allowed to leave any gifts for the girls. But a very nice bouncer was kind enough to walk the three of us back to our car with a giant umbrella to shelter us from the torrential downpour. I had a good talk with him on the way to the car, and he was kinda stunned that we had come just to bring cookies and flowers to the girls. He even thanked me for wanting to do something so nice. We won't give up - who knows, maybe next time will be easier.
The third club we hit made me extra nervous, because it was the same one that I got turned away from last month. When we pulled in, there was a bouncer at the door, so I expected it to go very much as before. We prayed in the car again, and by the time we were approaching the front door, something interesting had happened. The bouncer was waaaay across the parking lot, helping someone else to their car with an umbrella. The door was unguarded. So we walked right in. In the front room, we met two sweet girls and gave them roses and cookies. One of them even recognized my friend from past visits she had made to the club! They told us they couldn't let us carry the gifts onto the floor ourselves, but that they would be happy to personally deliver the gifts to girls in the dressing room, and they thanked us for coming. We never once had to deal with a bouncer - praise God!
Overall, we were able to give gifts to 40 girls at 2 different clubs in 1 night! It was incredible! Thank you to everyone who has been my prayer partner in this - your prayers are coveted, and they were felt this past weekend! And I still desperately need you help - here's how you can be a part of this:
1. Strip Church training in Miami is just over 2 weeks away! I'm so excited, but I still need to buy my plane ticket to Miami! The round-trip ticket I need is currently $397 - this is the last expense I need covered for the trip, and I am praying with all my heart that God will provide this last chunk of money SOON!
2. PRAY. Continue to pray for open doors to these clubs, open hearts for the owners and managers, and the the hearts of the girls would be ready and willing to accept the love of Jesus Christ. Pray for physical and spiritual safety and protection. Pray for God's mighty provision. And pray that we are able to build consistent relationships with these precious women, showing them first-hand the freeing love of Jesus.
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”