The show was great. Lots of new friends, contacts and stories. Here are a few of them from our team.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path ~Psalm 119:105
Never in a million years could we imagine that we would be in a porn convention passing out bibles, however there we were doing just that and telling people in the porn industry that God loves them! When my husband and heard of xxxchurch and what they were doing we were moved. A ministry that truly views people from God’s love. We always hear ministries talk about Jesus loving everyone, but many do not live out what they preach. This was the first convention for us and it was an amazing blessing to give bibles to those who would not dare pick one up on their own. In one situation I had a man who was calling out to me to come over to his booth to buy an x-rated video and when I told him I was a Christian passing out bibles and handed him one, he put his head down and told me the next day he was so ashamed. I than realized what I’ve always known, that the word and love of God is so powerful. At no point did we ever condemn or judge anyone at the show, their own hearts were convicted just from knowing we had the word of God. As the weekend was wrapping up and we were able to reflect on the conversations we had with woman in the industry and patrons of the show, we realize that God loves everyone, in his eyes we are all the same and no one is perfect. No matter who we are or where we are, He is always with us. We are called to be the light in the dark. For that we continue to pray & support this ministry!
This was my eighth Porn Convention! And every-time I walk into the doors of the convention center, I feel that I am never completely ready. I still have such a hard time watching the mobs of guys taking pictures of 18 year old girls who are being touched and mauled at. Or meeting the women who have been to every convention and have life long careers in Porn. I watch as they sit at booths completely hardened to things going around them, and I pray that they someday come to know how valuable and loved they are. It blows my mind that these guys taking pictures of these girls, fool themselves into thinking that the women loved to be touched or harassed by them! Porn conventions are like one of those gold chocolate candy coins you get on halloween. On the outside its all golden and shiny, yet on the inside its a cheap imitation of chocolate. I watch these men and women who genuinely want to be loved, and search and search and search, yet never find that fulfillment in Porn. When you strip away the glitz and glamour, you have a ton of women who can’t wait to get out of the business and hate men. And on the other side of the story, you have a bunch of dudes basically having sex with their computer screens. Sexy.
As I left the convention this weekend I came to see that God knows all of this and more importantly the hearts of everyone there. That he loves everybody in that room, and that he never gives up on any of them. That I have this insane opportunity to share that love with these amazing men and women. From the girl signing her videos in the booth, to the amazing couple I met who let me pray for them on the convention floor, and finally to the sweaty guy who lives in his mom’s basement with the huge camera, we are all loved the same in the eyes of God. It shakes the bubble of Christianity that I live in, and helps me to see God everywhere and in everything. It urges me to go and share the healing and hope that I have found in Christ. God is working in the lives of those in the sex industry and I am blessed to be along for the ride.
This weekend, the Treasures team partnered with Craig Gross and XXX Church at the LA Erotica Convention. If you missed out on our instant updates, make sure to follow me on Twitter @youareatreasure
In addition to giving Treasures gift bags to the girls, in all, we gave out over 4,000 “Jesus loves porn star” bibles to convention attendees and men and women in the industry. And as Craig noted throughout the weekend, God’s word will not return void. We are praying that people would be inspired to read the bibles they received and that God’s love and truth would penetrate their hearts!
We saw firsthand, how moving and powerful God’s word truly is. A Treasures volunteer witnessed a special moment when a grown man sitting on a staircase, cradled the bible (which he kept referring to as “this book”) in his hands with tears in his eyes. He was reading God’s word in the middle of a porn convention, perhaps for the first time, and he was visibly moved.
“Jesus is here? At a porn convention…” one girl asked after telling me how horrible the “preachers” standing outside with picket signs had made her feel. Knowing Immanuel, God who is with us, I confidently said, “Yes. He is here, at a porn convention. He is with us.” I could see in this woman’s eyes that this was an entirely new concept to her and the idea that God would meet her there in such a place, seemed to disarm her. Isn’t’ that our God though? Meeting us where we are at, in the middle of our circumstances, and loving us right there, as is. It is this sort of love and goodness that leads to transformation and healing.
Still, there were so many people at the convention who have experienced the opposite of that kind of love. From an ex-reverend who professed to being almost atheist, to a ex-seminary student, to a husband and wife that had been kicked out of their church, to the daughters of pastors, to a woman who had been raped by a pastor and a man who had been raped by a priest. We saw people with real hurts and heartbreak so deep that it has caused them to run from the Only One who can heal that sort of pain. I wonder about the depth and severity of the wounds in their hearts and all I can do is pray. The common thread among all of these people is that they have been hurt, not by God, but by His people.
And, as a friend of Treasures recently posted on my Facebook page, “if I call myself a Christ-follower and treat others like garbage, it is completely reasonable for others to question the positive value of following Jesus because I am telling them by my life that Jesus is unloving, unkind, uncaring, etc. God uses people as an avenue for Him to come to us. I would suggest that God uses people as His most common method of getting in touch with us (with the Holy Spirit being intimately involved in that process).”
I love that idea that WE ARE AVENUES. By our actions and the way we love people, we can either lead people closer to the heart of God, or farther from Him. May we each honestly and carefully examine our own actions and determine where we want our avenues-our lives- to lead people.
I volunteered with you and Stephen at the LA porn convention.
Just wanted to say THANKS for coming and making a difference in our city. LA was blessed to have you guys! I really enjoyed talking to people in front of the Jesus Loves Porn Stars booth. It definately stretched me and blessed me.
I pray for your team that God will cover you in His anointing. It’s so tough to go into those spiritually dark places. When I think of your team, I think of that verse in Eph that says, “that you will be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” I’ll be praying that for you, that you will Stand! And also that God will “satisfy you with honey from the rock.”
WHY I WENT (AGAIN)
Erotica LA was the second porn convention I’ve attended with XXX Church and a completely different experience in many ways. About a month after going to the AVN Show back in January I felt I was faced with an important decision: “Is this XXX Church thing going to be one of those wow that was cool experiences or am I actually going to get involved?” The choice wasn’t that difficult because it’s not like there’s a waiting list of churches trying to get inside the sex industry. Even more, I see it as an amazing opportunity not so different from other missionaries who have been able to share the gospel with some remote tribe on the other side of the world. We just get share it with people in our own backyard.
WHAT I EXPERIENCED
From the moment you walk into the LA Convention Center you get an overwhelming sense of how big the sex industry is. Feeling a little defeated I thought: “How are we possibly going to change a billion-dollar industry?” Again, I think what we did this weekend was similar to a missionary who brings aid to a country that is in desperate need of help, yet is consumed by corruption, disease and poverty. Ultimately, it’s not about shutting down the porn industry, but about bringing the hope that we have in Jesus to as many people as God would bring by our booth.
WHY I WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE CAUSE
I’m not any more loved by God than the pimps, prostitutes, and porn stars of this world.
“Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy…” – Titus 3:3-5 (NLT)
Studies show that 50% of Christian men are addicted to porn, so we’re just as much to blame for this industry as anyone.
Being apart of the XXX Church ministry has taught me so much about what it means to love people unconditionally. As a Christian, if I can truly love people in the porn industry then I can love anyone. Which means I can have a deeper love for those who are closest to me along with those I encounter in everyday life. I know it sounds simple, but I am convinced we (the church) can change the world by loving people in Jesus’ name.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
I wanted to tell you that I had a wonderful experience at Erotica LA. The best part for me was working with Harmony. She had the idea to do a Starbucks run for the girls we had met from the various booths. The responses from the women were just amazing. They could not believe that someone would go above and beyond for them. One woman referred to us as “little angels”. It was great knowing that I could participate in something that would bless them and plant a seed. Not only that, the team was so wonderful. It was great just being able to fellowship with them on a Sunday in an unlikely place and share the gospel.
Thank you for the opportunity!
Shaunte’ R. Caraballo
The Erotica LA show is upon us. Updates all weekend at https://twitter.com/x3church. We kick things off tonight with a volunteer meeting in LA.
The LA show begins June 12th at the LA Convention Center. The show should be going on at the same time as the NBA Finals. What a strange thing if the Lakers are in the finals and right next door to the NBA finals is a porn show.
We have an amazing team working the show from Oasis Church and Treasures ministry. I will be speaking at Oasis on the 14th at the 2pm and the 6pm service. We would love to see some of you in the LA area come out to the church.
More updates from the show will be posted on the blog here and on twitter.