Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Eggs and Strip Clubs

I am still on a high from this weekend. Well mainly from all that transpired on Saturday. Fusion has a pretty cool outreach on with an apartment complex a block from the church called Las Colinas. The area near the church is heavily populated with lower income families, mainly Hispanic. With it being Easter weekend, what better time to reach out to the community and share the Gospel that the Black Friday of all Christian holidays.

When my alarm went off that morning, I seriously debated on not going. I have been running none stop for weeks now and I truly have not had a Sabbath in forever. My body was crying out for me to hit the snooze button and just skip the outreach altogether. But the leader in me knew I needed to be there so me and Gavin got dressed in record speed, hit the drive thru for breakfast and made our way to the apartment complex.

And it was amazing.

We split into groups with a least one Spanish speaker heading it up so we could talk to the Hispanic families we encountered. We took bags of groceries door to door, invited the families to bring their kids down for an Easter egg hunt, face painting, crafts, an inflatable jumpy house and a game of soccer. They came out in droves! The most touching encounter was our last stop. We heard kids playing on the balcony and Melissa spoke to them in Spanish asking where their parents were. One little boy mentioned that his mom was inside but she was sick. All 4 ran inside, woke mom up and opened the door for a group of strangers who mentioned Jesus and games. The mom, whose name was Mildred was small and thin and had exhaustion written all over her face. She was reluctant to speak with us (well Melissa cause she only spoke Spanish), but she invited us in. Mildred explained that she had been having problems with her kidney and the doctors didn't know what was wrong. One of her sons had just come back from Honduras and was almost out of control behaviorally. Her infant daughter contracted a brain virus which damaged part of her brain making her left side immobile. She had lost her Medicaid insurance, had to switch to a lower paying night job so she could take her son and daughter to doctors, her husband left and it was just her and her sister there to care for 5 kids. She had lost hope.

Until we shared the Gospel with her. The hope of Jesus Christ. She let us pray for her healing and her children. She tearfully accepted Christ as her Savior. She allowed us to take the 4 boys out to play games and they had a ball! Roberto found the golden egg with a dollar inside and he swelled with pride. Michael couldn't speak English but had fun making a paper bunny and getting his face painted. His older brother Oscar, who has the behavior issue helped him draw a bunny face and translated for me. As we walked them back home, Melissa shared with them the story of Jesus and they all listened so intently, especially Oscar. They recited the prayer of Salvation and gave us all hugs. When their mom opened the door, you could see her entire face was lit up with joy and peace at the sight of her smiling boys as they showed her the candy they collected, their painted faces and paper bunnies.

A whole family saved. Hope restored. God was showing out for real. But He wasn't done.

That night, I met up with some more of my friends as we prepared to minister at a strip club, hoping to bring the light of Christ into one of the darkest places. My friends Sheena is a former stripper and God placed it on her heart to rescue other girls from the very place He rescued her. We prayed, gathered the many gift boxes that we had put together for the girls that included handwritten letters of love, an invitation card to Easter service and candy. Our army of about 15 girls marched into the club while about 5 guys stayed outside and covered us and the club in prayer. Luckily, Sheena was still cool with the manager so he allowed us to talk to the girls in the locker room as long as we didn't bother the paying customers.

I hadn't been inside a strip club in years but seeing the girls dancing half naked on a pole is never a sight you forget. We entered the tiny locker room and kinda stood in awe as we adjusted to the scene. God's beautiful daughters reduced to sex objects, some half naked, some totally naked, all mentally check out of reality. None of us were sure how effective our rag tag team of young Christian women would be to these girls with hardened hearts who have been through experiences some of us will never understand.

But again, it was AMAZING. God was AMAZING.

The girls welcomed us with open arms and many with tearful eyes and thankful hearts. We gave them hugs and the gift boxes and in turn they gave us their wounded spirits. We prayed for them, we loved on them, we complimented their beauty. We saw them through the eyes of our Father and they knew that. They each had a story to tell. Many were in school trying to make a better life for themselves, many didn't think they had any other options. Sheena shed so many tears because she saw so many of her friends that were still stuck in that life, trapped and hopeless. She reminded them and herself that God can pull them out of any situation, even stripping and prostitution, if they let Him.

My friend Alysha and I followed one girl into the tiny bathroom because she wanted prayer for her sick uncle. By the time we finished praying for her, 3 or 4 other girls rushed up to us asking if we could pray for them. They were desperate for something other than what they knew. The last girl we prayed for captured my heart. She tearfully asked for prayer for strength, wisdom and love. As the light reflected off of her tiny crucifix around her neck, she told Alysha and I that God sent us there especially for her because she didn't think she was going to survive that night. She needed to know that someone cared for her and loved her beyond her circumstance. I shared with her part of my story of abuse, kids out of wedlock, a million bad choices, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, my decision to turn it all over to God and my redeemed and restored life today. She needed that truth. She needed a Savior and we gave her a hope for the future.

Obviously, we made such an impact in the short time we were there because the manager called for us to leave over the loud speaker a few times. None of us even realized it until he came into the locker room to escort us out because all of the girls were in with us getting prayer and none were on stage making money for the club. God moved in that place for real! Seeds were planted for sure.

As we recapped the night, some of my friends were in tears from heavy hearts. If they could take everyone of those girls out of that place, they would have. But we did good that night. We left those girls with the hope of Jesus and a prayer that they will reach out to Him so He can rescue them. We plan to go back again and again until we reclaim His lost girls so they can in turn rescue others.

Not bad for a random Saturday.

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