With all that happened because of hurrican Sandy leading up to the Edison exxxotica show, I really didn’t think there would be an event that weekend. However, even porn shows ‘must go on’ so our team went too. Like years past, this team was stacked with locals who really care to connect with their neighbors and share Jesus in an unconventional enviroment.
It’s so great when God catches us off guard. I loved witnessing him do that to most of the eXXXotica attendees. It was so great seeing every person there, not for what they came for, but to hear about their backgrounds and beliefs and appreciate them for the sum of who they were at that moment. Somehow, you could see what God sees in them and it was a privilege to share the love of Christ with them and to educate them on the resource that xxxchurch.com is. It was amazing to see that God placed us there to pursue everyone who came–not convince them to stop what they’re doing, not push them away, not judge them. We were there to convey what God says to each of us, “I am here, should you want me.” This title may seem insignificant, but I kind of want to add that God is the Gentleman of gentlemen as well as the King of kings and Lord of lords. haha Because he is. He displayed that through our team this weekend and I know of at least one person who was touched by our interaction this weekend. Just more proof that God cares for even one person.
As we pulled up to the expo that first day, I prayed God would use us to be whatever people needed, someone to encourage, someone to celebrate with, someone to mourn with or someone to make them laugh. The only problem was I had already lost my voice due to an allergy (not exactly how I envisioned starting the weekend). In order to feel useful, I became the unofficial mascot of XXXCHURCH and dressed up like a bunny (again, not how I envisioned things). Apparently God wanted me to be the “someone to make them laugh”. It was sweaty, humid and gross and I couldn’t believe I had to go home and tell my supporters this was where their money was going but as I vented these frustrations to God he gave me new eyes. I wasn’t dancing around like a fool in a hot, smelly costume just for the sake of it. I was being used to bring genuine smiles to the faces of girls who spend the entire weekend faking it. He was answering my prayer.
In the end, God revealed He was bigger than everything we were experiencing and that His power to touch lives was not contingent upon my words or ability to speak. The power to change lives lay within the words in the book I was handing them and it didn’t matter if I was or was not dressed like a bunny while doing so.
NJ Exxxotica 2012 did not disappoint. Our collective team traveled from North Carolina, Canada, Arizona and NJ with an excitement to share our light @ the porn convention. Over 100 vendors were selling their sex gadgets, movies, toys, etc. Every square inch of the convention center was geared towards sexual stimulation and fleshly pleasure.
Our teams gave out free Jesus loves porn stars bibles and pink stickers. But more than that, we engaged in conversation with people and shared the unconditional love of Christ. People attended for a variety of reasons but I am certain they did not attend to find Jesus. That’s exactly what they found!
While speaking to one young man, he shared his “stardom” on MTV. Turns out his grandpop is a pastor, dad is a Christian and this young man was brought up knowing God. The previous week he had been arrested and now he stood face to face with God’s love once again. It was clear he knew God was calling his name.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement in partaking in such an incredible ministry. People are longing to be accepted and loved and that’s why they are there. They are seeking an impure love and false satisfaction. God showed up, through us, to offer cool drinks of water in a dry desert. I was reminded the whole weekend of the verse that says, He will leave the 99 to find that one. What’s beautiful is He lets us go with Him.
Chains were breaking all weekend off people’s hearts. I did not see them, but I know God’s word woks and will not return void.
In Luke 4, Jesus introduced his mission in very concrete, practical terms. His list of priorities is glaringly devoid of lofty spiritual concepts. Instead, he jumped headlong into our real world of pain, disappointment, and brokenness. Once again this year, I had the privilege of joining Jesus and a team of his followers on the floor of EXXXOTICA NJ. We simply showed up to be the good news of God’s love. Don’t let the bright lights, smiles, and thumping music fool you…look closer. Those are wounded women behind the implants. And the men strut and pose to hide their emptiness. They, as much as anyone, need to encounter the Savior and his extravagant love. Friday night was a blast! We were revved up, ready for action, and wove ourselves seamlessly into the crowd. I was inspired by our team and the gentle yet bold way they spoke of Christ and his compassion for ordinary sinners like us. After many meaningful exchanges, I went home and prayed for the people I had met. I’m asking God to use our “showing up,” the Bibles we handed out, and the ministry of XXXChurch to draw them to his Son.
This was my 3rd show with XXXchurch. Every year is an even better experience. This year the conversations on the floor were popping & many of us had great opportunities to share the love of Christ. I had a few conversations with industry people I met last year so it was awesome to have the opportunity to build those connections & further relationships. I love working with this ministry & look forward to next year’s show!
I recently had the opportunity to serve with the XXXChurch organization. With this non-profit Christian Ministry that reaches out to those involved with the porn industry, I spent a weekend at a porn convention informing people about the love of Christ. When I was first asked to help with this mission, I had my reservations as a teacher and the potential complications that even attending a place of such darkness with a church ministry could get spun into. I felt called to help, but I didn’t want to lose my job over it. Within the next few weeks of praying about whether or not I should do this, many different situations occurred amongst my students throughout the school day that confirmed that God wouldn’t have opened this door if He didn’t want me to go through it.
My students confide in me. They ask me for advice. They compliment me and the clothes I wear and go crazy if I straighten my hair after days of having it dry in its natural curls. They tell me I’m beautiful. They ask if I have a boyfriend. They tell me about the teachers who they don’t like. I am an influence for them. Whether I’m a good or bad influence is up to me, because it is clear that they notice what I do and they hear what I say. If I make a mistake, they point it out. I want nothing more than for my students to have an idea of who Christ is and what He did for us and the promises God has for their lives just by simply witnessing and being a part of my interactions with them and other people. If I am able to say or do something that will even give them a glimpse of who Chirst is, that is a seed that will bring them one step closer to knowing who Jesus is. Not just using His name is vain every time they get frustrated, but to actually know and love Him. So by attending the porn convention with XXXChurch, I was able to have many interactions with real people. They were all there for many different reasons, and it was so great to communicate with people while knowing that we were there on purpose, for a purpose.
Being a part of this mission was such a blessing because aside from being there the spread the love of Christ, selfishly I was looking to learn from this experience. I wanted to learn anything I could to be better equipped to teach my students. As a Health teacher, I have the opportunity to teach my students about the male and female reproductive systems and how every choice they make will either have a positive or negative consequence. I want to be a voice for them that is worth listening to and that is valued enough to actually apply the knowledge they gain to their lives in a positive way. So by being at this convention, I was able to remember the false sense of sexuality and love that I myself struggled with before I was a Christian and could really relate to where these people were and where my students are coming from. The reactions we would get from people walking by our booth with our “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” backdrop varied from person to person. We were ignored completely, looked at with a face of wonder, laughed at, or simply questioned to clarify their confusion. One man asked me if I myself had ever been in the porn industry. Another man asked me why I wasn’t wearing what the other girls were wearing. Another group of people asked me if we were some sort of “kinky worship porn.” Someone else asked if there were nuns involved. There was another man who said “this is blasphemy!” and refused to even touch the Bible we were handing him because he had grown up going to church and did not think it was right that we would bring the word of God into a place like that, claiming in his next statement that no one loves porn more than he does. He passed our booth three more times and eventually took one of our books.
Every one of the questions or comments I had received from people opened up an opportunity for me to explain to these people what we were about and why we were doing what we were doing. After explaining to them what type of organization we are, I found my most common response to include something along the lines of “rather than being the types of Christians that you hate that would typically just stand outside and yell at you telling you that you’re a sinner and you’re going to hell for being at an event like this, we actually want to do the exact opposite. Jesus didn’t do that to people so people shouldn’t do that to people.” By saying those words, it opened up so many opportunities to genuinely speak with people about the truth and the love of Jesus Christ. I found myself saying those words often because for me, before I became a Christian, I never had an issue with God, it was “Christians” who poorly represented Him my whole life that kept me away from knowing Him. The hypocrisy and lack of integrity of people who would claim they went to church always just made me laugh and I never viewed it as something I was missing. So walking into this porn convention as a person who has only been a Christian for a little over 2 years, there was not much that surprised me. Walking in, I just took it all in and prayed for God to give me the words to say to these people. There was never a moment that I was at a loss for words and I was immediately comforted when I felt as though I was being received by people in a positive way rather than coming off as the type of Christian that kept me from being a Christian for most of my life.
Looking back on a past relationship, I remember asking him what his beliefs were about God. He told me that he thought that God had created us and that life is a series of opportunities to do with what we choose. I remember distinctly how intrigued I was by his thoughts and agreed with him, having no clue about Jesus at the time. He was not a Christian. The first time I had sex was with him. The first time I watched pornography was with him. Free will is such a fascinating gift from God and I love that I can look back and see that this boy who took my virginity was not incorrect. God does bless us with opportunities that we can do with what we choose. I can choose a false reality of sexuality and love or I can pray daily that with every opportunity and experience He blesses me with, that I may choose to glorify Him in all that I do and bring others to know who He is in that process. I can clearly look back on the seeds he has planted in my life that allowed me to make room in my heart for Him. He has found me so that I can now find people to bring into His Kingdom. He has blessed me in so many ways for me to now be a blessing for others.