This was our second time back at the Chicago Exxxotica Convention! Read some stories from team members, and watch the recap video below:
After having went to the Chicago show last year I felt very confident to come back again this year. I knew what to expect and I felt that “I had this.” When my team went in Friday night, not only did I not have this, but I felt completely defeated. This year was so much more graphic and I felt like you could not get away from live porn playing if you tried. I went back to my hotel room and utterly cried and thought to myself, “Maybe this is too much and we shouldn’t even be here.” But, God whispered to me, “All the more reason for you to be here.” At that point I realized I had to FULLY envelope myself in prayer and in Christ. That night I asked for so much prayer support from back home and just prayed myself to sleep. I asked God to completely protect my mind and my heart. At my next shift, I can honestly tell you that God did just that. I did not see anything and I kept my eyes on the prize. I am so proud to be part of the XXXchurch team and cannot articulate how anointed this mission is.
This being my second trip to Chicago with XXXchurch, I thought I knew what to expect. But boy, did God prove me wrong! The conversations and connections made on this trip blew me out of the water. I was able to RECONNECT with women I had met last year, I had no idea what an incredible impact that could be. To go up to a girl I met last year and have her see me and say, “yay you guys are here!! Do you have any of those yogurt covered pretzels??” She was stoked for the pretzels, I was stoked to see her face again. And that’s what we were there for, to hand out yogurt covered pretzels by the bagful and connect through the smiles and tears and stories of the women working at that convention. I discovered this truth more so on this trip than I ever have before.
Taking the love and light of Christ to people at a porn convention was one of the hardest experiences of my life, but also one of the greatest. There is an immense amount of darkness, but the darkness then submits to the Lord’s light that much more as the Holy Spirit moves and works in the hearts of hundreds, if not thousands of people, even if they don’t recognize Him yet. It is a humbling experience, recognizing the Lord has allowed my eyes to be opened to what is happening to His kids.
You come to this trip thinking you’re going to bring light to the dark, and when you get there you end up feeling just how deep that darkness is. It’s almost like being a single star in the abyss of black space. But then you begin to be affirmed by people in the darkness about your light. They say, “You guys are always smiling” or “Will you be coming to our show next year? It was so great having you here, I’ll miss you.” Then you begin to realize that even though you are a single shining star in the midst of a black lightless space, that small amount of light draws the whole attention of those that aren’t used to it.
I could write pages and pages, but it would not do the work God has done any justice. It is beyond comprehension how God can use a group of people, who should by definition upset a porn convention, to actually bring the convention together. It was an unforgettable experience of loving on everyone from the ticket collectors to security guards to the people in attendance and the porn stars. It is the simple moments of giving out coffee or applying false lashes, to the life changing moments of hearing someone say they need prayer or hearing about someone leaving the industry that makes God’s love undeniable through this experience.
This trip was unlike anything I have ever experienced! I was so blessed by the friendships that developed throughout the trip with my teamates, the people who stopped by the booth, and the girls in the industy. Although there were wonderful moments it was still one of the most difficult weekends of my life. I was pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged in ways I could have never imagined. My eyes were opened to the darkness of this world and at the same time, the magificent, limetless love of our God.
This was one of the most eye-opening and heartbreaking experiences I have had. I was absolutely blessed by our team, by our leaders, and by the conversations I was able to have with the vendors and consumers. It was amazing to go with an organization that has built up such a wonderful reputation with people in the industry. It was amazing to see God working in and through the team to help people truly grasp how much Jesus loves them.