Suzanne's Reasons for Continuing My Blog
#3 - "My Ministry"
The "my ministry" bit is a direct quote from Suzanne, but I'm kind of hesitant to call it mine. I've been putting off writing this post about Cherished just because I want to make sure I express myself well - particularly because I have no idea who all reads this and I want to be sensitive (which I'm not always the best at!) But to give you a little background, last December a girlfriend and I were talking about the Christmas outreach the Vineyard was about to do, and causes we were passionate about, and I told her about a woman in L.A. who had started a ministry to women who worked in strip clubs. The woman who started it had been a dancer, and wanted to find a way to let other dancers know that they were loved unconditionally by God. So she started going to clubs with little gifts and notes that just read, "you are loved". I read an article about her, and her group (called Treasures) in a magazine years ago, but it always stuck with me. I told my friend I'd love to do something like that, and she asked why we didn't. So we did.
After getting permission from the management and great support from our church, my friend Amanda and I started going to the local club once a month with small gifts and notes of love. We just wanted to go in and tell the girls they're loved. No strings attached. And for a long time, especially when we met someone new, the first thing she asked was, "What did I do to get this?" I know we kind of weirded some of the girls out for a while, but they seem to have accepted that we're just "those church girls" that come in once a month and bring a gift and talk for a while. It's been great to get to know some of the girls, and the staff as well. We've also taken baked goodies for the guys (the dj, doorman and bartender) from the beginning. We're not trying to shove church or God in their faces, but to just show them love the way we think Jesus would and did when he was on earth, and still does through his people. The goal of this ministry is not to change anyone, because only God can do that. We just want them to know that we, and He, love them. And if they want to talk to us about church or God, that's a bonus.
I'm not sure what I used to think about strip clubs and the people who worked there. Mostly I just didn't. It was a place that just didn't exist in my world. But I can't explain how much I love the girls I've met and see when we go to the club for our visits. I very quickly came to understand that they're people just like anyone else, and are no more or less sinful and lost than me. The only difference is that I came to a point where I was done trying to live my life the way I wanted, and decided to give up and surrender to Jesus - because he seems to love me and even like me a lot. And I know I don't even understand a small piece of his love. But if he could know the worst parts of me that I've kept hidden, and still want to come to where I am and be in a relationship with me, I want that. I need that.
Anyway, we're really excited because this coming month for our visit, because we're going to be serving a Thanksgiving meal to any of the staff at the club who come in. I really can't wait, and the girls I talked to at the club last month were really excited about it, so I hope it's something we continue to do. It's been so fun to have some of them open up more and more as we continue to visit them. At our last visit the DJ told me about his girlfriend, and pulled out his phone to show me her picture, and when I told the girls that I was pregnant, they were so excited. Everyone is always very grateful and excited to see what we've brought and I think they know that we really love them. And that's what we care about.