First off, I realize that I've dropped the ball the last couple of months on keeping up with the Cherished Outreach updates, so I'll go over those here too.
The outreach in April was really numbing for me. There weren't a ton of girls, but we had some great interactions with the ones that were there. Stephanie Liby came with me and we ended up talking to 2 dancers in the dressing room for a very long time. The girls were really transparent about some aspects of their lives and I was stunned at what is considered normal, or just not a big deal. I'm very proud of myself for maintaining a good poker face and not letting my jaw drop, like it wanted to. Sometimes the urge to just grab some of the girls and take them away from their lives is overwhelming. I'm glad that's not how God works though. I have a friend who always reminds me that God is a gentleman. He does not force himself where he is not wanted, and in Hosea he says he will allure us and speak tenderly to us. This visit was such a great reminder to me of how much God has blessed me in my life, and reinforced my desire to show the women at the club a different love than they are used to.
The May outreach went really well, Janice Wood did it, as I was scheduled to have a baby the next morning. :-) People were friendly, and she actually met the manager too. She was able to talk with the dj about his dad, who is dying, and let him know she'd be praying for him.
Last night went Stephanie and I went in with 4th of July cupcakes for the staff guys and gift bags of necklaces or earrings (each was different) and sparklers for the 4th. Everyone who knew me asked about our new baby and I got to show pictures around of Stella. We chatted with the bartender for a while and found out that his grandfather is dying, and he had spent the day at the hospital. He seemed genuinely appreciative when we said we'd be praying for his family.
We met 3 new girls that were just starting their first night. Steph found out from one of them that they travel all over the country working in clubs and making money dancing. They were all familiar with the idea of a ministry like ours, and mentioned the women from Southland who take meals to the clubs in Lexington. The girl Stephanie talked to said sometimes the women doing gift minstries are condescending and "act like they're better than us", but we were really nice. :-) We went to drop off the rest of the gifts in the dressing room and there was one girl finishing getting ready. She seemed sad and when I asked if she was ok, just said she had been dreading coming to work. She also mentioned that over the last week almost all of the "old girls" have either quit or been fired, but it's very common for girls to float between clubs or quit and then come back. It's a very hard lifestyle to escape from on your own power. It's so easy to be lured back to the prison we know from the freedom we don't. I know that that's been a struggle for me in my past, and the more I get to know the people we see at the club, the more I see how alike we are.
"What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all—life healed and whole."
1 Peter 1:3-5 (Message)