We had an incredible time on the East Coast for the eXXXotica convention. Here are a few recaps from some of the people that were on the team for this trip. If you want to join us on a trip click this link.
Never once in my life did I ever think I would enter a porn show. In fact, I didn’t even know these types of things existed, until I got involved with XXXChurch. Being here, I find myself more inspired and motivated to show the love of Christ to those in and surrounded by this industry. One thing that stood out to me was a short conversation I had with a young girl here. She was barely 18 years old and in the industry. I asked her what motivated her to do this type of work. She simply responded, “Ever since I was 12 years old I just really wanted to be a playboy and porn goes along with that.” I think back to when I was 12, and being so naïve, I didn’t even know what a playboy was. My prayer and desire is that something as simple as eye contact, a smile, or a short conversation with a girl here would help them to realize they have far more worth and undeniable potential to do something greater with their lives. I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this outreach. It has been amazing to show Christ’s love through interacting and having meaningful conversations with people from all walks of life.
I have no clue how to put this weekend into words. This has been the most insane, most rewarding experience of my life. I came here praying and believing that God would arrange opportunities for seeds of hope, love and healing to be planted and watered. I had no idea what was in store for us. This weekend is a testimony and proof that Jesus’ love is more attractive than anything else on the planet. Standing in the middle of what should be one of the darkest places on Earth I have gotten to share the love of Christ and the impact it has had on my life. And amazingly, it has been welcomed by genuine interest, questions and hugs. Never in my life did I think I would say this but I look forward to attending many more porn shows and loving on people the way Christ does.
Wow, where do I start? My life has been permanently changed by this amazing opportunity of serving at EXXXotica NJ. Thousands of people are drawn here to experience their sexual fantasies and in the midst there is a small booth which reads “Jesus loves porn stars”! We have the opportunity to connect with people on a human level, look them in the eye and tell them they are of value and have purpose. I have had the opportunity to speak with people, get in their world for a couple of minutes and not judge them for what they do, but love them for whose they are. My heart has been broken and inspired during this time and I am overwhelmed by God’s love. The Gospel of Christ works! God has called us to be a light in the darkness not to run from it. God fiercely loves people and when we recognize that and move towards the broken, He moves in mighty ways. All around me is every sexual perversion imagined yet the light of Christ is shining brighter. People are drawn to us, taking the bibles, wearing the stickers and asking all kinds of questions. Throughout the weekend there were thousands of hot pink stickers being worn saying “Jesus loves porn stars”; how cool is that! It is rewarding to be part of the solution and not the problem. I am so thankful for Fireproof Ministries and the bold stand they are taking and that they allowed me to come along for the ride.
This weekend has been such an amazing experience. I feel like I have gained a new perspective on Christ’s love that I never really have grasped before. Our (XXXchurch) presence seemed to spark many different reactions with most being of genuine curiosity and a lot of people asking questions. Out of all of the conversations I had the one theme seemed to be that everyone is looking for something real, which was a funny concept in an industry built off of fantasy. There is so much spiritual bondage and brokenness here, which was really heartbreaking to experience. During one particular conversation a man admitted to me that he believed he was addicted to porn, even asking if I thought he could be helped. It was beautiful to look him in the eye and truthfully tell him about the freedom I have found in Christ. I feel like the one thing we were really giving out at this convention was hope. Something that isn’t found in anything but a relationship with our Lord! I feel so grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside some very strong men and women that are so filled with love! Such a rewarding experience!
This was my second time serving at NJ Exxxotica with XXXchurch and it was an amazing experience (again!). It is such an awesome thing to take Christ’s love to places where it is so desperately needed. The conversations we had were so great and yet heartbreaking at the same time. The people here are like anywhere. These people aren’t just porn stars, strippers, or addicts; they are sons and daughters and God’s masterpieces waiting to be discovered. They are hurting and need to know that they are loved and valued. It’s so simple a message yet so hard to accept by so many. The opportunity God has provided us to reach people in the porn industry is just incredible and something that I will always appreciate. Fireproof is an amazing organization with great people who love Jesus. I look forward to working more with them in the future as opportunities arise.
This year, I had an opportunity to connect with a man who is part of the BDSM community. If you’re unfamiliar with this terminology, it essentially entails people exercising power and domination in relationships (a person is either submissive or dominating). I had my suspicions that many of these individuals had experienced childhood sexual abuse, so I asked this man if my suspicions were correct. As an active member of the BDSM community, he said that almost every person he knows has, indeed, experienced early abuse. As an example, a girl who was raped as a teenager may desire to exercise her sexuality in a powerless and submissive role into adulthood. It saddened me to see much of this patterning at the show – people continuing to exercise brokenness, hurt, low-self esteem, and unhealthy understandings of sex as coping mechanisms. To a degree, we all continue in patterns of brokenness in our own lives. What is it for you? How can we invite Jesus into the centre of our brokenness to walk with us towards health and wholeness?
Jeff Borkowski, Sr. Pastor of RelevantNJ – After Day 1 –
New Jersey is not known as a destination state – a place that people travel to. Most of us enjoy planning trips to warmer and more scenic parts of the world. But today people flew in from all over the country for EXXXotica NJ. It was my privilege (along with my wife, Suzanne) to serve alongside some outstanding people from XXXchurch, True North Church (Mantua, NJ), and Relevant Church (Ocean Township, NJ).
Do we belong on the floor of a porn convention? Most definitely! I had this thought while we were praying before the show: “This is where the church is supposed to be. Right here in the middle of our culture’s brokenness.” People are thirsty for the unconditional love that porn can never provide. Only Jesus can quench our collective thirst. In a few short hours, God opened doors for dozens of meaningful conversations. I was struck by something a guy named Ethan said. After learning about XXXchurch and our reasons for being at the show this weekend, he commented, “That’s the most powerful thing I’ve ever heard from any religious group.” I pray that he’ll read the stories in the Bible we gave him – stories of ordinary people whose lives were radically changed when they encountered the risen Christ. I pray that he’ll read the pages of John’s gospel, be struck by the love and sacrifice of our Savior, and bring his thirst to the One who would give him living water.