I've just started my first cup of coffee, so if this post lacks any pizazz, that's why. :-) But I wanted to get this post up while everything was fresh in my mind.
My lovely friend Diana and I went to the club last night for our January outreach. The gifts were really cute bags of manicure kits for the ladies and butterscotch haystacks for the guys who were working. There was a different color of nail polish in each bag, so the girls had fun looking through them and finding the color they liked best. The atmosphere in the club was a little weird. I didn't see "D" (the dj who has mentioned a desire to come to church) but the bartender was really chatty and nice. There were 2 new girls there: one who used to work there and is back now due to a recent divorce, and another who is working to save up money to move to another state. She seems to move around a lot, and used to work as a special-needs caretaker, but needed a break, as it was very draining. Both of the new girls were very sweet and talkative, and very grateful for the gifts. When I told the first girl that we just wanted them to know we loved them, she started to tear up and got up from her chair to give us a hug. One lady we saw was one we met for the first time last month, and just judging from the air about her, I'm starting to wonder if she isn't more of a house mom than a dancer. I saw her directing one of the dancers around, and for the past two months there has been no hanging out in the dressing room. All the girls are on the floor, waiting for customers or working. A house mom is usually an older woman who "takes care" of the dancers. I'm sure the responsiblities vary from club to club, but my understanding is that in most cases this lady makes sure there is a meal for the girls each night, provides help with hair/makeup/wardrobe as needed, and generally tries to keep moral up and make sure the girls put on a happy face and do their job well. The girls are (in my understanding, in almost all cases) required to pay her a portion of their tips each night. Anyway, this lady is polite, and will give us a hug, but remains a little stand-offish. Overall it was a good visit, just different. We were able to hang out for a while and talk to the new girls a little about themselves, and that was nice. There were more customers in the club than I've seen in a long time, if ever, so the girls kind of came and went as they approached a customer and came back to talk if he wasn't ready for anything yet. But whether a visit is super-encouraging or feels kind of so-so, we continue in the faith and knowledge that God has blessed us with the opportunity to do this ministry. We'll keep praying that the seeds we are able to plant grow into relationships and friendships outside of the club, and freedom for the women and men. Thank you all for your prayers!