This was the chapter I read for my quiet time today, and it was so perfect for the outreach tonight. I was once dead, and now because of God's grace am alive. I go to let people know God loves them, people who are the same as I was before I surrendered and was saved by grace. It sounds so cheesy and "christian" to say, but it's true.
Tonight was really good. My friend Sarah went with me, and we took chocolate chip cookies for the guys and mug with packets of hot chocolate in them for the girls. A few women from church got together and painted the mugs. They all either said "You are Loved", "I have loved you with an everlasting love" or "She is worth far more than rubies". I prayed so hard that they would be taken in the spirit they are given, and that no one would be offended or feel preached at. All the women we saw acted very blessed and seemed to like them, so I hope the other girls who come in later feel the same way.
We walked in and talked to the guys (2 bouncers, bartender and dj). They were friendly and I was struck by what a difference it is from how cold they were for the first 10 months we were going in. One of the bouncers gave me his email address so I could invite his wife to a playdate, which I'm really excited about. They have 2-year-old twins, so we always talk about kids. He promised to give her my message when I email him. We made small talk with the other guys and I asked the dj about coming to church (he's said over and over he's going to come), and he ducked his head and said he'll come sometime. I told him I'd keep after him about it. :-) He doesn't mind my asking him about it, which I'm thankful for.
Then we went and talked to a dancer and the waitress who were sitting at the bar. The dancer was very excited because she is going to be reunited with her son in the near future. He's been with a family member for almost 6 months, but she's been able to visit and call. Now she's almost done with a program and classes and has done everything she was told to do to get him back. I'm so excited for her. She almost cried when she was telling me how long he's been gone and how much she missed him. I also invited her and the waitress to church, and the waitress was quick to let me know she still attends the church she grew up in. :-)
We took the mugs into the dressing room and talked to the girl who was getting ready in there. She was very friendly, but it was surface-level conversation. As we were starting to prepare to leave, 2 more girls came busting in and one of them seemed angry. Her boyfriend (?) was talking to her from the other side of the "door" (it's a curtain) so we packed up to leave, but then he left. We said hi to the girls who came in, and they liked the mugs, but it was time to go. But when I gave the first girl a hug as we left, one of the others reached to give me a hug. I'm so lucky to get to do this ministry. It means a lot to me that she wanted a hug. When we left I asked Sarah about her perspective and she said the thing that stuck out to her was how much I touch the girls. I hug them, but more than that, I touch their arm from time to time while we talk. I learned in the training we did in LA that it's really good to give 'healthy touch' as much as is comfortable for them (and me!), as it might be the only healthy touch than they get all night. Mostly it's just another way to let them know we care.
I love these girls. Please pray God brings them out of this darkness and they want Him.