Over the last few years, there’s a little corner of our home county in Florida that’s become one of my favorite places to encounter God. At one time it would have been one of the last places I’d have expected to find Him so evidently, but that’s one of the reasons I’m so happy to go back and see what He’s up to when I have the chance.
A certain local adult entertainment club opened it’s doors to us a few years ago when myself and a few friends from church went looking to reach out to the club’s staff with a Christmas gift and an open invitation to our church. It’s been humbling and exciting to watch this relationship grow. I marvel in the knowledge that every opportunity we have to share God’s love in that place is a divine answer to prayer.
Just before Christmas, an opportunity arose for me to visit the club again during our family’s quick stop in the US. I joined a team of four faithful women who have been visiting the club regularly since we departed for our overseas mission. It was a pleasure to catch up with these ladies and hear some of the testimonies of lives touched through their time in the club this past year.
My joy at hearing each one of the stories of God’s redemption was only superseded by what I noticed by the end of our night’s visit in December. We had passed the whole evening in the dressing room chatting with dancers, bar staff and management. Conversations swirled around as many topics as you can imagine: kids, make-up, car troubles, why God allows suffering, relationships, the church, plans for Christmas. Some of the people we spoke with now recognize themselves as Christians and are taking their first steps in their new faith. Some were happy to have a friendly conversation and conveyed how much they appreciated our presence. Some bore their souls and shared their pain. A few asked for help finishing getting an outfit together and seemed grateful for the extra hands on deck with a last minute wardrobe malfunction!
As much as I was thrilled to be back sharing the love of Jesus to that group of people, as I gazed around the dressing room throughout the night, I was struck multiple times at the scene. The other four women were at all times, deeply embedded in conversation with the people in that room. They laughed, they joked, they complimented, they hugged. At times they were praying, at times they were prophesying. In every way, they embraced. It struck me hard, “I don’t need to be here. These women have got this ministry and are running with it like their lives depend on it! This is awesome!”
As missionaries in the vocational sense, our end goal is always to inspire a regional move of God that resides in the hands of local believers. We want to see God’s elect taking responsibility for the Great Commission themselves. David and I don’t consider that we’ve achieved anything in the Kingdom if others are not spurred on to pursue God’s will in the process.
So my joy was multiplied when I looked around and saw these faithful servants so deeply engaged, sleeves rolled up, unashamedly proclaiming the Gospel. So inspired was I, that I found myself thinking at one point, “Wow, she’s really going for it. I wish I could speak like that!”
Simple, small prayers. Big, bold answers. Changed lives changing others through the One who changes everything. I love our church dearly for not holding back from that club. And I’m honored to have seen just a glimpse of what the future holds. I pray the relationships built between East Coast and the people in the local adult entertainment industry only continue to grow and thrive. And I look forward to jumping on board whenever I can and not being needed many more times 😀