October City Updates
- 230 fall scented candles delivered to four clubs
- 25+ Club Team Members
- 3 Security Team Members
So often when reading stories or posts about ministry, we find happy thoughts and sentiments. While we find joy in all circumstances as believers, I have come to know that the ministry we’re doing here at JSL can be hard. It’s heartbreaking at times. October’s Outreach was one of the nights that reminded me of just this.
This outreach was one that made many of the Dallas team feel uneasy and unsure of what is to come. Before outreach we learned sex trafficking was happening within one of the clubs we enter regularly, keeping us from entering this month. One of the managers we had established a relationship with was being moved. On top of that, our large outreach team only had 3 security guys show— not nearly enough to drive the 25+ team members who were ready to love on women. As our team entered one of the clubs where we are normally welcomed with open arms, we were shocked to find out the owner asked that we no longer come— unexpected and out of the blue.
It was one of those nights. The evening felt heavy. It weighed down on us as the team walked out the door to get back in cars.
One thing has been evident since the beginning— Satan does not approve of outreach nights. We have seen things thrown in our way to keep our teams from reaching the women behind the club doors, BUT God prevails. Our God steps in and does things beyond what we could ever imagine. These are the nights God uses to transform what we would consider to be small story into His bigger picture.
One of our team members has been loving on a woman for months now. They formed a relationship outside the club and pursued other jobs, counseling, and even tutoring. As we entered the club and they made eye contact, our club team member ran over and wrapped her arms around her sweet friend, overjoyed to see her. But, she didn’t get the response she was looking for. This woman said she was embarrassed, ashamed, and upset to be back in the club. She did not want the team to see her that night. In that moment, our team member was able to build her up. She is loved. There was no judgement in any eyes-- all that was seen was her beautiful face. Our team member was able to confirm her worth. This did not define her.
Outreach may not have looked like what we thought it would look like, but God knew these two friends needed to collide again in a big way. If this is the reason the Dallas Team gathered, prayed and spread across clubs throughout the city, then it was a success. One woman is worth it!
- Financial support for the Dallas budget
- Church partnerships
- Prayer for Club Team members' commitment to stay strong
- Prayers for continued support as women continue to transition out of the industry
- 30 candles gifted
- 2 Club Team members
- 2 Security Team members who chatted with the bouncers the entire time at the club
The whole month had been covered in prayer-- from prayers for our small Club Team to prayers over each candle and the room each would eventually reside in.
That Friday night, the dressing room was packed. Several women were getting ready, doing their hair and makeup. We talked with several about their children and what they would be for Halloween. One mom mentioned that it had been a long 48-hours as she had stayed up with her child all day and then come to work for the last two days. “I haven’t slept, really. I’m exhausted.” When we asked if she’d be able to go to bed any time soon, she answered that she wasn’t sure. “I just really need to work tonight. I need the money.”
Another woman walked in with a friend and mentioned she was new. When we asked how long she had been working at the club, she answered “less than a week.” She had never worked in a club before last week, and she let on that she wasn’t enjoying it. “I’m doing it for my daughter. We need the money.” She shared later that night that she had lost her daughter’s father to a car accident recently and broke down crying.
With each conversation I saw a statistic be brought further into reality. I saw faces and names and souls. 89% of women who work in the commercial sex industry say they want out, but have no other means for survival. The dressing room was filled with these very women. And it made my very soul ache that all I could give them in that moment was a candle and some cookies.
This is why we are longing to Paint The Door Red. Because this door-- this door attached to 1500 Columbus-- will open so many doors. This door will give women the opportunity to seek out other jobs. This door will offer counseling to the women who struggle with anxiety, or addiction, or grief, or PTSD. When people enter this door, they will find opportunities to join support groups, they fill find a place that offers job training, they will even find a place that will offer a hot shower to those who need one. Jesus is going to use this door-- He already is.
With the ribbon cutting of 1500 Columbus set for November 15, we are each praying for this door to be painted red by Tuesday. You can help us be a part of it-- gather your small groups, your Bible studies, your MOPS groups, your close friends, your community, your church and help us paint this door. Be a part of awakening hope and empowering change.
- New City Team Leader for Temple/Killeen
- Outreach sponsorship partners for 2017
- Babysitting Team Leader and Hospitality Team Leader
- Additional community partnerships and volunteers-- if you're interested in volunteering, go to jesussaidlove.com/volunteer and fill out a volunteer form!
SAN ANTONIO UPDATE
- 75 bags stuffed with candles, caramel apples, books, and other snacks
It was a busy Friday night as we entered clubs with arms filled with bags made from love. We were eager to share the month’s theme of “no fear” with each woman we came across.
That night we witnessed the Lord speak to women with particular verses written on our JSL outreach cards and our Club Team had meaningful conversations with women that seemed to have a sacred touch. We spoke to one of the house moms who makes meals for the girls and she uses the money they donate to make meals for the elderly. With each story, we saw the Lord’s hand. These women are incredible, and the Lord is moving.
We met one girl that Friday who continued to ask throughout the night what I thought of her as well as what others thought of her. She had met me at the door when she was leaving and had come back inside the dressing room to talk more. “What do they think of us?” she asked. “When people see our club on TV news, what do people think we’re doing? Do they look down on us? Are they judging us?” I reassured her over and over that we are not judging-- just loving. I can’t speak for other groups of people, but I know that I’m doing this because of God’s love. JSL is here because we want to be in the places the church may not usually go. We’re here to bring gifts and bring love. “I know these women,” I said, gesturing to the girls working that night. “I know why they’re here. They’re here to get out of debt, or to take care of their children, and regardless of why they are here, I know them. They are hardworking, they are strong, they are mighty.” She agreed and wanted me to know they are a hardworking group, and although she had been working on-and-off in the clubs for almost 17 years, she was encouraging others to not do the same.
We do what we do out of love. We love these women, we love their stories, we love their hearts. Whether they’ve been working for a day, or 17 years, we hope our message continue to remain true: Jesus Said Love.
- Team members for all teams! If you are interested email firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are in need of a DECEMBER Outreach sponsorship
- Alliance partners and connections within the community
- Prayers for continual God ecounters for the women
- Prayers for relationships to continue to flourish at the clubs
- Prayers for our current team members and their families
- 125 candles delivered to women in two Houston clubs
Our theme for October was “no fear”. We gave candles to signify Jesus is light and there is no fear in Him. When we met before outreach on Friday night, we prayed specifically for opportunities to be “light” to those around us -- to have conversations seasoned with grace and truth, and God provided just that.
One of our Club Team members talked to a young woman struggling with her relationship, just looking for advice. She opened up about life’s hardships and sexual abuse she endured as a child. Our team member listened intently and offered a few words of wisdom and encouragement, but what spoke most loudly was the presence and undivided attention offered by our Club Team member. One of the things that continues to amaze me is the incredible privilege we have of hearing their stories. On a Friday night, sitting on a bench in a dressing room, we get to sit and talk like old friends. Sometimes it’s just small talk with conversations about what kind of straightener they use for their hair. Sometimes we hear about their childhood or what they’re going through. My favorite, though, is when we get to hear about their dreams.
I had the opportunity to talk to a young woman with an entrepreneurial drive who dreams of opening her own dance studio. She has a dream and a plan, and she’s going for it. It was so fun to hear her talk about her passion for all kinds of dance. When she asked who we are and what we do, she was overwhelmed. She told me that in her 2 ½ years of working in clubs, she’d never seen anyone come into a club just to get to know the women and staff!
In almost every intentional conversation we have with women, we get a glimpse of what they’re dreaming of -- plans for the future. We get to be present, we get to listen, and we get to encourage. God knows their hearts-- He knows their pain, He knows their dreams. We are grateful and blessed to be friends with these beautiful women, and pray for continued opportunities to remind them there is hope and life found in Jesus.
- We are looking for a few more outreach sponsors for Fall 2016. If you would like to sponsor an outreach or would like more details, please let us know!
- If you have a bible study, Sunday school class, MOPS group, or even just group of friends who would like to hear about Jesus Said Love, we would love to share with you! You can contact Sally Collier, our City Team Leader, at email@example.com
- 45 candles gifted along with Magnolia cupcakes and gourmet popcorn
This month, we have the opportunity to hear from our Waco Prayer Team as they prayed throughout October’s Outreach. If you’re interested in volunteering on our Prayer Team in Waco, please fill out a volunteer form at www.jesussaidlove.com/volunteer
Before club team left for outreach, we prayed as a group over the mission of JSL. We could definitely feel the presence of the Holy Spirit among us, as we held hands in support for the mission of JSL. Prayer team also took prayer requests for specific women and club groups.
Once the Club Team left for outreach, Prayer Team members took turns praying for the outreach team, safety, clubs, women working, managers, bouncers, their families, healing, and recovery. We lifted the women and men encountered by Club Team in prayer, longing for them to see they have a supporting family through JSL. We prayed for the same to be accomplished in our other JSL cities.
Prayer team meditated and prayed in each room of 1500 Columbus. We prayed over the JSL staff, interns, future clients, and the Lovely store. We prayed for the completion of the Paint the Door Red campaign and for monetary needs to be met, both for the building and JSL staff.
We prayed for the women and men entering through the 1500 Columbus doors, to feel a sense of peace, safety, and renewal. We prayed for the counseling, job training, and financial stability of the JSL clients.
Once club team returned, we were encouraged to hear they could tell a difference in outreach that night from the prayer. One team member said she could even feel our prayers. In closing, we praised God for his sovereignty and prayed over the specific dancers and clubs visited that night.
- We are looking for more volunteers on hospitality team and prayer team. Please fill out a volunteer form at www.jesussaidlove.com/volunteer if interested!