We walked in to a club this past Tuesday night, and two pretty, young dancers were seated at the bar and were obviously new to this club. One girl kept asking, “Why do you do this?” Our answers didn’t seem to be the answers she wanted, and the conversation was interrupted by her having to go on stage to dance. She asked Veronica to meet her after she got off stage. Veronica did. We’ll call this girl “Chelsea” to protect her identity.
Chelsea and Veronica sat in a booth off to the side, and Chelsea continued to ask, “Why do you do this? Do you think I’m a bad person because I do this?”
“Of course we don’t think that. You are precious.” Veronica responds.
“This job is a blessing for me and my kid. I’m able to put him in a private, Christian day care/school. I’m a Christian.”
“That’s great. I’m glad you’e doing things to help grow your son in to a fine, young man.”
Chelsea continued holding on to Veronica’s arm with great intensity and pleading for an answer to the question, “Why do you do this?”
Veronica kept telling her it’s because we care about the girls and want them to know someone is praying for them, and there’s a God who loves them no matter what, and there’s a way out if they want to take it. None of that appeased Chelsea, but Chelsea allowed Veronica to pray with her before leaving.
Veronica was a little down as we rode home that night because she wasn’t able to articulate the “why” behind what we do. I know the feeling. It’s not easy to explain why we do what we do.
I could use scripture and say “because Christ loves compels me”, but what does that really mean – especially to someone who doesn’t speak the Christian lingo? I’m not referring to Chelsea at this point. I’m talking in general.
The answer crystallized in my head last night while I was reading Bob Goff’s book “Love Does”. That’s the answer: love does. When you love, you do. When you love someone, you will do anything for them. When you love God, you will do anything for Him – including going in to dark places to give someone a gift with no strings attached, a smile and a kind word. Love gives. Love does.
I know this answer will still not make sense to someone who doesn’t understand that type of love yet, but maybe as we live it out in the dark places, there will be enough light for their next step.
- Angie wants prayer for protection. She’s not sure she will make it another month. She wanted a fast prayer because she was next up on stage. She said she appreciates what we do.
- Sapphire’s boyfriend says what we do means a lot to his girlfriend and the other girls.
- Dominique and Brittney are struggling with school and working.
- Christina is getting married in June and will stop dancing then.
- Jenny wants general prayer.
- Janette wants prayer for her family.
- Marie asked prayer for her future husband.
- Rebekeh wants a new house.
- George is on the waiting list for a liver transplant. He’s still trying to sell the club.
- Courtney is fighting for custody of her kids. She quit dancing two months ago and is waitressing now. She says the tips are better.
- Valerie’s mother is moving here. She has lung cancer.
- Tamika, Shayla and Tyra want general prayer.
Thanks for keeping these ladies and men in your thoughts and prayers. They are precious to us and to God.
In 12 years of doing this ministry, we had another first: someone emailed me through the website asking me to come to her club – so we did last night. We were able to go in the dressing room and had a quick prayer with one girl. There were several clubs, modeling studios and massage parlors on this one street corner. We prayed with the girls in the modeling studios and massage parlors. Please pray for continued favor with the owners and managers of these businesses.
We gave out Christmas stockings containing Christmas socks, an encouraging scripture, a number to call for prayer/help, and chocolate candy. Several of the girls opened their lockers to show us the scriptures taped inside. Too cool.
Highlights and prayer requests from last night and the last two trips to the clubs:
- One of the door girls is out of the business. She is so excited. Her new job is 5 minutes away from her house so she can go home and have lunch with her kids.
- K said we really brighten her day and said she and the girls love us.
- Several girls wanted general prayers for friends and family — especially during this season.
- Gloria is off of drugs.
- Andranique wanted prayer because she’s had 2 failed pregnancies, wants a new job, prayer for her aunt and improved relationships.
- We prayed for healing for a girl who has fibrocystic tumors.
- Brandy wants prayer for prescription drug addiction, relationships and a new career.
- Candy needs prayer for her family, the girls she works with and her dogs.
- Elaine and Chloe wanted prayer for good health.
We haven’t been in the clubs for a few weeks, and it seemed like FOREVER. It was good to be in the new places and to see old friends in the other clubs we usually go to. Please say a prayer for the ladies and men working in these clubs when you sit down for Christmas dinner. Many of them will be working on Christmas.
I can’t believe I let more than a month go by without posting highlights. Shame on me!
We’ve been in the clubs almost every week since the last post giving out some really cute gifts. In September, we handed out canvas totes that were given to us by Mark Palmer of Home of Hope. What a blessing! The canvas totes were a HUGE hit. Thank you Mark and Home of Hope!
A highlight from September:
One night Julie and Veronica were approached by a young lady named Athena (she gave permission to use her name & to tell this story). She took them back to the office and told them what she’s been going through the past several weeks/months. She was jumpy but didn’t appear to be on anything. Athena told J&V she thought she was demon possessed because she couldn’t sleep and had a dark cloud around her all of the time. Her dad is a pastor, and she was trying to remember the scriptures about rebuking the devil. Veronica told her to keep telling the devil he has no authority in her life because God is bigger, and He will take care of Athena. God wins. Athena said she could hear the devil laughing at them right then. Julie told her it was okay because they were going to pray. While they were praying, Athena began to relax. After they prayed, Athena felt better and told J&V she had prayed the night before that we would come in this night. She said, “I told God last night I needed to talk to you, and here you are!” Athena emailed us a few days later and said she was sleeping much better and thanked us for praying. Yay, God!
Below are prayer requests:
- Jeanette and Evette want prayers for their families
- Several ladies requested prayer for safety
- Prayers for kids starting school
- Shelley needs a place to live
- Leyla wants new opportunities
- Several ladies are fighting for custody of their children
- George’s dad died
- Jasmine is back on pills again
- Juanita wants prayer for her life because it is all “f”d up”
- Saphire’s mom is in prison & needs prayer. Saphire & her grandmother need prayer
We are happy to report one of the bouncers is out of the business. He got a job with an oil company and now has benefits.
We were unable to go to the clubs last night due to the rain, but we will be back out next week.
Drenda and the Team
We’ve been in the strip clubs the past two Tuesday nights handing out gift bags. Each gift bag contained a colorful, stretchy headband, an encouraging scripture, a number to call for prayer, and chocolate candy. Below are highlights and prayer requests:
- Bunny told us about a shooting that happened in the parking lot of the club. She wanted prayer for protection and wants to come to church.
- Wes, a djay, needs prayer for his 9 month old son, Jacob, who has spina bifida, and they don’t have insurance. His soon-to-be-wife is expecting a baby next month. We will be supplying them with diapers.
- About three months ago we brought baby gifts for a door girl who was having a baby. We ran in to her as we were leaving the club. Her husband dropped her off, and we just missed seeing the baby. She said he’s doing great and thanked us for the diaper bag and gifts. She’s waitressing now.
- Haley, Bree and Ashley asked for general prayer.
- Several people asked why we do what we do. (In a non-churchy/non-theological way, we explain the love of Christ compels us.)
- Veronica asked a couple of girls if they needed prayer. One said, “No.” The other one said, “I do.” The first one gave her The Look so she decided she didn’t want prayer. Veronica told her she would be praying for her.
- A deejay announced our presence in the club over the speaker and asked where his bag was. He got his bag. I’m always amazed at the number of men who want a bag.
- A girl asked if she could have a bag even though she’s Jewish. Yes, it doesn’t matter that you’re Jewish.
- A door girl thanked us for coming and said the girls get sad if we leave and they are in another part of the club and don’t get a bag. We left several bags for her to hand out in case we missed someone. She also told Julie, “Y’all are BADASS!” She showed Julie the scripture verses (from our bags) pinned on the wall above the cash register. Julie told her, “YOU are badass!”
- One security guard at an after hours game room that is located next to a club told us, “Those girls are trash.” Krizzia, a first time team member, said, “No, they are human beings.” He didn’t like her response, but he apologized.
- Another security guard said he is looking for a church. We referred him to Kingdom Worship Center which is close to where he lives.
- Two girls in the cage stopped dancing to get the gift bags.
- One tall girl came running up saying, “You are here!” and grabbed Julie in a big, bear hug.
- Candy, who works in a massage parlor, said, “Five angels came to see me tonight.” We prayed with her for her protection and for finances.
- Presley and Bailey asked for prayer for safety.
We had a couple of firsts tonight:
- When we entered one club, the door girl said, “Okay, hold on. Do you know what kind of establishment you’re in?” We laughed. Yes, we do. That’s why we’re here.
- We were carded for the first time in twelve years at this same club. Unfortunately, he was looking past me at our two newest members who are of legal age but look younger. It was his first time to see us in this club, but he was familiar with the ministry. He told us he appreciates what we do. Initially, he said he would escort us to the dressing room. He later told us we could go anywhere in the club.
We were able to chat for awhile with people we previously haven’t had the privilege of talking with because they were too busy. It’s nice getting to know them on a deeper level.
One of the coolest things that happened last week was when we were in the dressing room, and a dancer came up to me holding her bag and said, “I didn’t get a piece of paper with a verse on it. I want my verse. Can I get another bag with a verse in it?” Of course!
Please keep all of these people in your prayers. They are good people just trying to find their way….
Drenda and the PTD Team
Last night we went to the strip clubs and took gift bags to the girls (& guys). Each bag contained a headband, an encouraging scripture, a number to call for prayer and chocolate candy. We haven’t been able to go lately due to weather or team member schedules. It was great to be in the clubs again.
The first club was busier than usual and had several new girls. There was a group of men standing at the bar talking to a girl. When I walked up, the men started talking to me. As their talk became racier, the bartender yelled at them, “Leave them alone! They are The Church Ladies!” One guy said, “You aren’t church ladies. Church ladies wouldn’t come in here.”
“Yes, we actually are The Church Ladies.”
”Yes, we are. Look in the bag.”
“What are you doing in here?”
“We give gifts to the girls to let them know we love them and are praying for them.” Stunned silence.
More highlights and prayer requests:
- Veronica got to see Marie. Marie is doing well, but was busy playing a video game. As Veronica started to walk off, Marie asked her why she was leaving because they needed to pray. Marie wanted prayer for herself, Damon and then she said she wanted to pray for Veronica and Veronica’s family.
- Marie is still talking to her old friend, Damon, who came back in to her life shortly after we met her. She hasn’t seen him in person yet. They correspond via phone, text & email. We’re praying he is a good influence in her life.
- I handed a bag to a girl who asked who we were and how much the bags costs. They’re free. She asked why. Because we love each of the girls and are praying for them. She grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s go. I need prayer right now.” April took me to a private area at the front of the club and told me she is homeless and is drinking too much. I prayed with her about her situation and then we talked a little bit about what’s going on in her life. She has a place to stay for the next couple of weeks. April said she’s going through a divorce, and that’s why she’s homeless and drinking, however, she later told me she was 33 and had never been married nor did she have kids. April said her family wants nothing to do with her because she’s “evil”. She said she prefers to think of herself as “wild”. I gave her a couple of numbers to call for help.
- Many of the girls thanked us for what we’re doing.
- Several girls wanted “general” prayer.
- The doctors are still monitoring the tumors on George’s liver. He mentioned again that he wants to sell the club because it’s not a place any decent person should be. We’re still believing for George’s complete healing and a buyer for his property.
- Sarah, George’s daughter, hugged me and thanked us for coming and said she appreciates everything we do.
- One of the clubs we visit closed down this past Sunday due to a freeway expansion. The owner has another club. We may add it to our list…
While I was talking to George in his office, Veronica was in the dressing room talking to some girls. One girl asked for prayer, bowed her head, acted like she was crying and then looked over at her friend and said, “Do you have a knife?” Not exactly the words Veronica was expecting to hear. The friend asked if she was going to kill herself. Knife Girl said she wanted the knife for “a fashion alteration”. And that’s why we pray for protection before we go out.
As always, we appreciate your prayers and donations. It takes a village….
Drenda and the Team
In May we celebrated Mother’s Day in the clubs by taking drawstring backpacks with the Jesus Loves Dancers logo printed on them. The bags came in purple, pink or black. Each backpack contained an encouraging scripture, a number to call for prayer/assistance and chocolate candy. Here are highlights:
- Marie is not drinking as much since Veronica prayed with her on the stage. Marie calls Veronica her “angel” and says she is growing in her faith and has re-connected with an old friend who is a Christian.
- One girl’s tooth was hurting. She said she was thinking earlier that morning that she wished we would come in that night.
- A patron approached one of the team members and said, “Hey, this lady says you guys pray. Come over here. I want prayer for my family.” The team prayed with him.
- Bridget was going “on the highway” and asked for prayer for safe travels.
- Reuben asked for prayer because he drinks too much. He said he needed to go home to do homework with his son. He’d been at the club for more than 4 hours.
- Milan, 7 months old, needs general prayer.
- Sarah is back dancing.
- A dancer wants one of our logo to-shirts because she wants to make it her Facebook profile picture.
- Samantha was on stage dancing and asked us to wait until she finished. She has gallstones and needs surgery but doesn’t have insurance or the money for surgery. Samantha said there’s a guy who stands across the street with a bullhorn and yells that God is going to smite them. She said we are different from him.
- When Kate handed one of the girls a t-shirt, I heard a commotion and thought the girl was unhappy. I heard “What is this?” And then I heard a squeal and knew everything was okay. She said, “I’ve met you before. I was drunk. I want a pink one. You are the f***ing sh*t. I love you guys!”
- One girl said “there are no walls between us.”
- Another girl said, “You guys make me want to do better. I used to be a dancer. Now I’m a waitress.” We told her “baby steps”. She smiled.
- One dancer is a former preschool teacher.
- Several girls told us “it’s really cool what you do.”
- One girl said, “It makes my night when you come in.”
- We witnessed a fight in the dressing room between dancers. Another dancer apologized to us and moved us away from the area.
- One dancer is a certified phlebotomist and wants a job in the medical field. She’s tired of dancing.
- Raven was grateful for the gift and said, “It’s nice to know someone gives a sh*t.” Her significant other is trying to get her a job selling cars. She’s an EMT and has 4 years military experience. She made $80 in 12 hours that day.
- Sunflower asked for prayer for finances and protection.
- King’s 4 year old son has asthma.
- One dancer doesn’t have papers so she feels she can’t do anything else.
- Another girl wanted us to pray that she would get new friends who aren’t dancers.
- Sadie wants general prayer.
- Shelly’s car blew a rod so she can’t leave the building to get something to eat. Her 17 yr old daughter needs prayer.
- Cage wants prayer.
- Summer said she doesn’t need prayer because she prays all the time.
- Holly & Leah want out. One said, “I’m struggling, and I know she is, too.”
- Alma received her GED and is meeting with her advisor. Her 16 year old daughter is mad at God right now because her dad is in jail. He found God while in jail and needs to follow-through on that commitment. Alma’s 14 year old son is on anti-depressants.
- One of the patrons said he hadn’t seen his mother in 20 years until recently when she showed up for his brother’s funeral. He said she’s “a big Christian”, but he needs to see something before he will believe in it.
- Natasha said she is “a Level 3 back slider.” She has our scriptures taped to the inside of her locker. When the team started to pray for her, she asked that they use her real name and not her dancer name.
- Chris’ wife left him. She was a dancer. He was asking lots of questions about the ministry. Said he’s raising their 4 year old son, Matthew, alone. He never thought he’d be in this situation.
- One girl mocked the logo by saying, “Jesus loves me. Baloney!”
Lots of raw emotion in May. I love the honesty. Please pray for these men and women when you think about it.
Drenda and the team
During the month of April, we took gift bags to the strip clubs every Tuesday night. Each bag contained a homemade bunny, plastic egg with an encouraging scripture inside, an invitation to church, a number to call for prayer and chocolate candy.
Below are pictures of the bunnies. The first 40 were fun to make. The last 100+….not so much. Most of you know I am NOT a crafts kind of girl so this was a stretch for me – and this was my idea. What was I thinking? The girls liked them so it was worth the effort.
We met a dancer who is planning to be out of the business by the end of this month. She’s moving to the Baytown area. I told her about my awesome friend, Uncle Dave, who pastors a church nearby called White Horse Revival Church. It’s a church full of bikers, ex-cons, former addicts and others who feel at home in his church. She had been out of the business for awhile, but recently got divorced and to support herself and her 2 kids, she went back to dancing, but she’s getting out soon.
Nellie, whom we met last year, was deported in January. She & the deejay at the club where we met her were married in March in her country. He’s back at work trying to get Nellie here legally. He said they both believe her deportation was God’s way of getting her out of the business. While they were in her country, they went to church together. Both are trying to make God the #1 priority in their lives.
Prayer requests from the various people we talked with:
- Hyde’s court date was moved. She wants her man removed from their house.
- The anniversary of Maria’s brother’s death was this month. She wants peace about this.
- Menage wants her daughter, Coya, to be healthy.
- Hazel gave up her baby for adoption and hopes he has a good home and life.
- One girl wants to get pregnant because she sees this as her way out of the business.
- Alley just got her GED. She’s a former dancer and wants to be a teacher.
- Butterfly has 3 kids and wants general prayer.
- George’s bone marrow check up came out clean. No cancer. None in his kidneys either. He thanked us for prayer. Way to go, God!
- George’s daughter, Sarah, came up and hugged me and thanked us for praying for her and for her dad.
- Deborah asked for prayer for her family.
- Summer said she might pop in to church some time.
- Melyn is a waitress and is looking for an office job.
- Darby’s mom broke her foot and is unemployed. Her mom lives in Delaware.
- Alex asked us to pray that her dad won’t give them too much trouble.
- Ashley wants to get custody of her kids back.
- Candy wants prayer for her and her dogs.
Next month we will have a really cool gift. And it won’t be hand made.
On both of these nights we went to the strip clubs and took gift bags containing candles, an encouraging scripture, an invitation to church, a number to call for prayer and chocolate candy. Here are highlights:
- Britney asked for prayer but wouldn’t say why because she “was afraid she would cry.” She said she was taking the gift bag with her to Florida for spring break.
- Austie wants prayer so that she can get along with her mom and 2 kids.
- Sapphire had a 2nd tubal pregnancy. The doctors told her she can never have children. She wants kids.
- Jessica said she had a “dumb prayer”. She wants a new car. Not a dumb prayer. God cares about every aspect of our lives. She’s been dancing since she was 19. She’s now 25.
- One girl said she hopes to “hang up her shoes” one day soon.
- Ana was sick and still working.
- Doni says she prays about the same thing over & over & didn’t want to waste our time.
- Elvie said she prays to The Reaper who will come for all of us one day. Jessica prayed that God would make every day beautiful for her until that happens.
- A girl who asked for “general” prayer a few weeks ago said the very next morning, her sister had a stroke due to a blood clot. The doctors also found a hole in the sister’s heart. She thanked us for praying because her sister is doing fine.
- London said, “Pray for me!” She wants God to watch out for her.
- Jasmine is from another country and asked if God can hear her thoughts/prayers if she only thinks them. Her mom tells her God can only hear our prayers if they are said out loud or otherwise “they aren’t real”.
- A bartender told us many of the girls in the new club don’t get checks because there isn’t any business. She said, “You are a blessing to us.”
- One girl was doing a lap dance and asked for a bag. Veronica told her to come and get it. The girl stopped the lap dance and came over to get a bag.
- At one club, we started praying with one girl. Then another girl joined. Then another joined.
As you can see, dancers are no different than anyone else. We all have questions, deal with sickness and have unmet desires. Please keep these ladies in your prayers.
Drenda and the PTD team
A week ago Tuesday (2/28) we went to the clubs and gave Valentine gift bags to the girls. Here are highlights:
- Kathy just started. Not happy about what she’s doing, At a crossroads. Just got her first apartment and needs money.
- A father and son were at one of the clubs.
- Found a new club to visit. Very open to us. Manager knew us from another club. Told us we were welcome any time.
- Girl sitting on the lap of a guy was reading the scripture verse to him.
- Jessica was talking to a girl. Someone told the girl she had a phone call to get her away from Jess. The girl came over later and said her mother would be proud of us for what we’re doing because her mom is religious. She took a pic of the scripture verse and texted it to her mother.
- Marie and Damon asked for prayer for their souls and Marie’s 20 year old kids.
- Veronica asked a girl on stage (no customers) how she was doing. The girl hesitated and then said, “I’m okay.” ”You don’t sound okay. Can I pray with you?” ”Yes!” The girl grabbed Veronica’s hand and sat down on the stage and told Veronica “go ahead & pray.” She told Veronica she’d been doing this too long. Veronica prayed that God would show her a new way. The girl called Veronica her “angel”.
- One girl was looking at her scripture and started digging through the bag looking for more scriptures. Veronica pulled scriptures from other bags and gave them to her and told her “God is with you.”
- Several girls in the dressing room were trading scriptures. One said, “I want your scripture because it pertains to what I’m going through.”
- George has a 2nd tumor. He kept telling us “God has a purpose for everything that happens in our lives.”
- Vanity asked prayer for “strength”. Said she is on the fence and has feet in both pools. Normally, she is at Bible Study on Tuesdays. She saidwe became her Bible Study.
- Prayed with Janet for her high blood pressure, anxiety and stress.
- At one club the girls were talking to all of us. Guys were just sitting there not talking to anyone.
- Nadia kept talking about the tribulation and end times. She saw something on Daystar tv at 2 a.m., and it seemed to be troubling her. She goes to Lakewood.
- Bryn has 4 kids. This was her first night back.
- A team member is a former dancer and recognized the voice of a guy in one of the clubs. Turns out he used to deejay where she danced. She got out. He’s still there. He bragged about how he got a girl to quit and who is now living with him.
- A waitress asked us about the Loft. She liked the idea of “come as you are”.
- A guy told a team member “These girls have kids and do it to keep a roof over their heads.” The team member responded,”We’re here to tell them Jesus hasn’t forgotten about them and doesn’t hate them.”
- A guy saw us coming from the church van and asked “Why?” A team member responded, “If you won’t come to church, we’ll come to you.” The guy responded, ”That’s nice.”
Please continue praying for the people we encounter each week in the clubs.
This is Valentine’s month, and we are taking gift bags to the clubs every week instead of once a month for the next 8 weeks. The gift bags for February all contain the same thing: stuffed animal, candy, encouraging scripture, and a number to call for prayer.
It was a really fun night. Here are highlights:
- The college team was excited to get kicked out of their first strip club. This is a club where the owner allows us in, but one of the managers likes to throw his weight around when the owner isn’t there. He politely asked us to leave because we were “scaring the customers.” Funny how young women carry gift bags containing stuffed animals scare grown men the size of football players. We left without making a commotion. We had already handed out all of the gift bags at that point anyway.
- A customer hugged several team members and said the girls really appreciate what we do. The team asked him if he needed prayer for anything. I think he was surprised by the question. As it turns out, his daughter is bi-polar and his baby momma recently had two strokes. He wants prayer for both of these women.
- We hadn’t been to one of the modeling studios in a while. One of the models said, “We thought you didn’t love us anymore. You haven’t been here in so long.” We assured her we still love her. Veronica asked her if we could give her a hug. Sure! Hugs all around. Such a sweet lady. Older than most in this business.
- Shelley asked for “general prayer”.
- Candy wants prayer.
- Marcelle has 4 kids & asked for prayer that they would all be healthy.
- Courtney asked for prayer for her son, Cameron, who is having discipline problems.
- Veronica blew a kiss to a lady on a pole. The lady stopped dancing and came over and talked to Veronica. She requested prayer for her son, Maddox, to be healthy and happy.
- Bristol was sitting with a guy when she was handed a bag. She was very excited about the gift since she didn’t get anything for Valentine’s Day because she doesn’t have a boyfriend.
- One of the dancers sitting at a table asked who we were. Kate responded, “I’m just a random person wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day.” Another girl hugged her and said she was happy we were there.
Please keep these ladies in your prayers. They are very special.
Drenda and the Team