Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reflecting on 2008

Many times in this ministry I feel like it's a waste of time. This year was no different. I always wonder if we're making a difference.  On several occasions I was ready to shut down the ministry, but I can't. There are still girls and guys who need to know there's hope.

This year we saw several "regulars" leave their line of work in the adult entertainment business. We are ecstatic!

*Mary is working in real estate now. She was a cashier in one of the clubs.

*Dave, our favorite former deejay, got arrested and is totally out of the business now. He says he's glad to be away. He starts classes this week to become a truck driver.  He also is celebrating over 100 days of sobriety!  This was his first new year being sober in many, many years.  He's faithful to attend and to serve in his church.  We are so proud of him.  Go, God!

*Karri found us by searching the internet. We met her one night several years ago while she was working at a club. She's a former dancer and wanted to let us know she's out of the business and living for God. She's an intercessor who is very involved in the political arena. She went to the Republican convention this year to pray before and during the convention.

*Kevin. Our favorite former manager. I remember a couple of years ago when we visited him in the hospital after he was shot in the face outside of the club he managed. I asked him then if he was ready to get out of the business. He replied, "No, I'll never leave. This is all I know. I've been doing it for 30 years. I can't do anything else." Well, he can do other things. He's a fantastic cook! He's totally out of the business and working at a restaurant in the Spring area. GO, GOD!!!

I am totally humbled that God has allowed me to be a part of their lives.

I'm also grateful for an incredible team who faithfully serve with me. Their compassion for the girls amazes and challenges me. The PTD team:

My husband, Wes
My parents, Bill & Sybil
Tammy & Kristen
Debs, Naomi and the girls from Ireland
Anne (who is currently serving as a missionary in South Africa)
Ineke (who came all the way from Holland)
Joy who spent a few months with us while student teaching at a local school district. She went back home to Ohio to intern with a ministry. I know Joy will be a blessing there.

One particular highlight this year (if only because I overcame the IRS paperwork hurdle): Piercing the Darkness Ministries became a 501(c)3 organization.  This means we are a tax-exempt charitable organization, and any donations made to us can be written off your taxes!

As always, I'm grateful to Spring 1st for their intercession, financial support and for providing a van! The guys are incredible! Thank you for letting us be a part of your ministry. And thanks again for sponsoring the December gift bags!

Thanks to all of you who sent encouraging emails throughout the year. You'll never know how those emails ministered to me.

It takes a team to do this ministry. Some team members are out front in the trenches. Others are providing backup and support. We can't do this without each other.

Thank you.


P.S. I can't wait to see what God's gonna do in 2009!

Last night (12/23)

Last night Amanda and I went to one of the clubs to meet back up with Melissa. Amanda and Melissa connected last week when we handed out the gift bags.

Melissa told Amanda she has a lot of family members living with her right now, and she's financially responsible for all of them. Melissa says she wants out of the business, and Amanda told her we have various connections to help her with her resume, interviewing skills, and finding a job.

While Amanda was talking to Melissa, I had a chance to talk to Julie the cashier. She wants to be a cop (preferably a vice cop) and then move on to the mounted patrol unit because she loves horses. Julie and I have a lot in common. I used to show Arabian horses and used to be a cop so I encouraged her to pursue a career in law enforcement. Julie is the sole provider for her 3 kids ages 4 years, 2 years and 4 months.

We found out the cashier (not Julie) was robbed the night before. Security chased him down and shot at his car, but he got away. Please pray for the safety of the girls. Even with bouncers and security, bad stuff still happens.

If you think about it, please say a prayer for Melissa and Julie and all of the other girls in clubs across the world. Some of them are there by choice. Some feel they have no other choice.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last night (12/16)

Last night we went to the strip clubs and took Christmas gifts to the girls. Each girl received a bracelet with a scripture engraved on it, lip balm, a scripture verse to carry with them, an encouraging letter, handwritten Christmas cards from the team, and candy. We bought wallets for the managers, deejays, bouncers, etc. These guys also received the cards, scriptures, letter, and candy.

It was an interesting night. As we left the first club, a patrol car turned around in front of us, turned his lights on, and sped in to the parking lot of the club where we had just left. At the second club, we found out the cops had raided them earlier in the day. As the evening continued, cop cars were constantly in the areas where we stopped. Sometimes they circled and went on. Sometimes they were on the road in front or behind us. We saw two patrol cars stopped at a 24-hour video store. It appears they were running raids on various adult entertainment venues. Fortunately, they did not run raids on any clubs while we were inside.

The first club was extremely busy and had more girls than we've ever seen. Danielle was excited about the bracelet and asked for an extra one to give to her daughter. She wanted to tell her daughter it was "a gift from God".

Donna has been working in the clubs for 12 years.  She has 3 kids and is engaged.  She asked for prayer for the pending marriage.  As we left the second club, the manager came out and thanked us for the wallet and kissed it.

Tiny's 3 kids are all in the custody of CPS (Child Protective Services). They were removed from her when they were young.  She would like to get them back and asked for prayer.

Gina has been working in the club as a waitress for 5 months and is already doing cocaine Naomi prayed with her in the dressing room. While praying, Naomi felt abuse was involved somehow with Gina so she asked Gina about it.  Gina said her boyfriend had been hitting her.

Melissa says she reads the scriptures we put in the bag and asked if we could stay longer some time.  She's lonely and needs a friend.  Amanda and I will go back to the club next week to check on her.

It was Maria's first night.  She said she used to work at a place where the girls wear bikinis. She didn't realize this was a topless club and was scared and nervous.  Melissa said her husband said she could work there as long as no one touched her.  Melissa had only made $3 so far that night and knows she needs to sit on patron's laps and be friendlier to make more money.  She looked a little distressed.  Debs prayed for her in the dressing room.

Roxie had a cold and wasn't feeling well.  Her oldest son's father is wanting to see his son and spend time with him for the first time in 7 years.  Roxie told him he needs to pay child support. They are going to court to work out visitation and child support arrangements.

Big Bo (Percy) said his son's issues with his baby's momma has dramatically improved.  The baby's momma has become much easier to get along with and is allowing Percy, Jr. to see his daughter.  They are still working out the custody issues, but at least visitation doesn't involve police intervention now.

I was able to give the cashier who is attending cosmetology school some numbers to hairdressers who have offered their support and help to the girl.    

Between the conversations and cop cars, it was an interesting night.  I'd like to thank Spring 1st for their support and sponsorship the past couple of years.  They also provide a van for all of us to travel together, and that's a blessing!  I'm grateful to The Loft for sponsoring this month's gift bags.  I'll do a year-end post to brag on God.

Thanks again to everyone who encouraged us, prayed for us, and gave to us.  You are a huge part of this search & rescue team!

Piercing the Darkness,


Monday, December 1, 2008

Tonight (12/1/08)

Tonight I had a chance to speak to Kevin our favorite former club manager.  He's going through intensive outpatient AA/NA classes.  He goes 3 hours a night.  He said once a week isn't working for him.  He's got a job at a restaurant -- no more bars!

Kevin "happened" to use the cell phone of David.  David is our favorite djay who got in to some trouble and hasn't been back to the club for a few months.  He's out of the business now, too, and going through AA with Kevin.  He also told me he's going to church.  David is staying with his mother who is having some health problems.  David said the only thing he misses about the club is seeing us.  

We plan to see Kevin and David soon to give them their Christmas presents.  Please keep Kevin and David in your prayers as they seek to get free from their addictions. Also pray for David's mother's health.

God is so cool!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last night (11/18/08)

Last night we went to the strip clubs and took gift bags to the dancers. Each gift bag contained an ankle bracelet, a Gospel of John donated by Nicky Cruz Ministries, an invitation to the Christmas program at Spring 1st, and chocolate candy. The girls LOVED the ankle bracelets! We saw a lot of new girls last night.

The bouncer at the first club told us he has 4 daughters under the age of 10 and a 17 year old. He needs prayer just to deal with all of those females! :)

We took Roxie a birthday present in addition to the gift bag. She hadn't planned on working last night but decided to show up anyway. Roxie was shocked that we remembered her birthday. She said she was a little depressed because she is turning 26 today (the 19th), and she originally planned to be out of this business by the time she was 25. I told her it wasn't too late and that we had several people who were willing to help her when she was ready. She said a lot of people want to help her get out of the business. I told her she was much loved and prayed for. She asked us to leave because we were starting to make her cry.

One cashier is going to beauty school and graduates in July. I told her I have a friend who owns her own shop who might be willing to give her a shot. She was very excited.

At the totally nude club, the girls came up to the cashier counter when they saw us come in because management won't always allow us past the foyer area. The girls stood around and talked for awhile until some customers came in.

Percy's son's situation with the custody issue has slightly improved but the whole family continues to need prayer.

As always, we appreciate your prayers and faithfulness to support this ministry.

Piercing the Darkness,

Drenda and the PTD team

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last night

Last night we went to the strip clubs and took gift bags to the dancers. Each bag contained tea light candle holders with candles, encouraging reading material, an invitation to church and candy. We had two new members on the team: one recently moved here from Holland and the other is from Ohio doing student teaching until December.

All but one of the clubs were busy. In the first club, Money asked for prayer for protection. The ladies prayed with her in the dressing room. She's been dancing for 9 months.

Because the clubs were busy, we didn't have any deep conversations with anyone, but the girls were friendly and appreciated the bags. Most of the male patrons asked for bags, and we gave them bags, too.

Roxie had a customer at the modeling studio and couldn't talk long, but she wanted to show us pictures of her kids. She's a sweet girl.

When you think about it, please pray for Roxie, Money and all of the others we met last night. We appreciate your prayers and support!

Piercing the Darkness,

Drenda and the PTD Team