The show is over but was incredible. Here are some recaps.
I will forgo the recap but I can honestly say that last weekend was the most successful ministry event I have ever done in my life.
I thought I should get on emailing you about my thoughts of the convention before they soon fade away. For me there were so many quick conversations and for many of them they would say “I really like what you are doing, this is great”. One thing that really stands out in my mind was this one lady who was in her late 30’s or early 40’s. Her and her husband came by and she was the one that chatted with me and we talked about God’s unconditional love and had a really good conversation. At the end she said I am a complete Atheist but I want you to know that I will always remember this conversation and I will always remember you. She sounded so genuine and I believe that God was speaking to her as I spoke and just as she said I believe that what I said will be remembered but more so, I believe God will take the conversation that we had and add more on top of it until one day she accepts Him as Lord and Savior. It was just one of those moments where you know God is going to draw that person in.
One of sad things that I experienced was during the convention was I would say 80% of the conversations at one point or another in it, the person would share how they have been hurt by the church in one way or another with judgment actions or words towards them. I could not believe how often I heard that. It was so sad, but in that too, I was able to express unconditional love and kind words towards them and I pray that they would realize that God truly does love them no matter what man has said or done to them.
Thirdly, I really had fun being able to give the dancing girls a shoulder massage and give them something nice for nothing and nothing expected in return. How often do they get that?? It was such an awesome experience and I learned so much from it and have been truly changed from it.
The Vancouver Taboo Show was one of the best shows I think we have done and I was honored to be apart of it. The move of God on this show and how He put everyone in their certain roles was an amazing thing to witness. Showing up in Vancouver the highlight for me was meeting and being able to call Amanda the team leader for the show my friend. This women and mother of soon to be three, walked a very scary lonely road to getting XXXChurch to the Taboo show…but the stories of God’s faithfulness along the way are inspiring and I’m just so thankful for her courage and willingness to step out just like Craig did over 8 years ago at XXXChurch’s first porn show.
“We made friends with a sex toys business owner”
That is a random true statement that doesn’t usually describe how I spend my time. But the reality is that we made so many new and interesting friends. People who run erotic circuses to a woman who was collecting personal data by giving away a car to a Christian who’s full-time job it was to sell booth space at the Canadian erotic conventions to some very zealous Vancouver island women who couldn’t stop telling people that Jesus love them —– they didn’t even stop when they were in the McDonald’s drive-in at 1am.
One of the best aspects of the role I play on our team is getting to facilitate teams coming together to accomplish the ministry. Vancouver will go down as one of my favorite ministry projects from 2009. Lead by a brave and very pregnant leader named Amanda, this porn convention seriously got things going in Canada. Amanda contacted us several months ago with the passion to take God’s word to the Canadian porn/sex convention circuit. With His power, the team of 10 Canadians and 5 Americans had an awesome time together meeting new people, making new friends and sharing God’s hope & grace.
I am already looking forward to seeing what God and these new leaders are going to do together over the next year.
Wow, I’m excited to share what happened at the Vancouver Sex Show last
weekend. I’m shaking my head because I can’t express well how neat it
is to be on the receiving end of all your prayers, support and
encouragement. Thanks so much for your emails & calls asking me how
it went. Let me get to that; after all, it is fruit of YOUR labours as
much as mine. Don’t feel you need to read all this; just read til
you’re bored 🙂
First, things weren’t completely as expected. The XXXchurch team said
it was the tamest sex show they’d been to! There weren’t porn stars
there at all, for example. Acts of love to female
dancers/strippers/porn industry people were really limited, partly
because there weren’t as many of these people there, and partly because
they were hard to access. This isn’t the case at most shows.
So, at the Vancouver show, the major thrust of the outreach was to the passers-by, and it was AWESOME.
Our booth had very cool signs — “Jesus loves Porn Stars” was
our slogan. Many people commented on the great graphics. It was a
really attractive, curiousity-provoking area. Maybe some of you think
our slogan is kind of crude or misleading, but it was such an awesome
hook. Lots of people stopped to ask, “What’s this about?” It led to so
many great conversations.
TOP FIVE most-said things:
Me: “We’re Christians, and we really believe Jesus loves porn stars.
Jesus loves everyone, no matter what you’ve done or are doing. We just
wanted people to know that.” (Reaction: always positive.)
Me: “We wanted people to know that Christians and Christianity aren’t
all about hate & judgment & guilt. In fact, that’s not Jesus’
heart at all. That’s not the Bible at all.” (Reaction: always
Me: “XXXchurch is a group of Christians based in Vegas. They show real
love to women in the sex industry there. They’ll provide scholarships
for women wanting to get out of the industry & get educated,
they’ll bring meals to brothels and build friendships; they even just
spent $9000 to remodel the living quarters of a brothel with terrible
living conditions. They want the women to know they’re valuable and
special and that the God who made them loves them like crazy.”
(Reaction: always positive.)
Me: “What do you think of the slogan? Agree? Disagree?” (Result: often positive conversation.)
Them: “It’s really cool what you’re doing.”
We handed out ALL 3,500 of our “Jesus Loves Porn Stars Bibles”! They
went like hotcakes! People were really interested. It was a great
little book, containing the gospel of John, testimonies from a
stripper, porn star, porn producer, and escort who were all changed by
Jesus, and a chapter called “Jesus loves Ron Jeremy” [porn king].
People were intrigued and curious and interested. We didn’t have to
market them much or disguise the fact that they contained the Bible…
people didn’t need convincing to take one!
I remember a guy who showed up on the 2nd day and said, “I came to get
a Bible. I read some of someone else’s yesterday, and I want my own.”
Then, to a friend, he said: “Here, you need one too!”
We can continue to pray for non-Christians who encountered us at the
show — may they read their books and fall in love with Jesus!
TOP FIVE memorable conversations I had with people:
Loooong conversation with a non-practising Jew. I ended up challenging
him to read the New Testament and consider open-mindedly whether Jesus
was Messiah… whether he fulfills OT prophecy. I challenged him to try
praying asking for Jesus’ help to get a job. It was memorable for me
because I don’t usually challenge people so confidently. May the seed
planted spring to life, Lord!
One girl sought our booth out and said, “I HAVE to know what you’re
about! You’re the whole reason I decided to come to the show. I saw
‘XXXchurch’ on the list of vendors and had to know what it was about!”
It turned out I knew the girl from UBC and shared with her what we were
We made friends with other vendors nearby. One vendor and I were having
a good conversation. He was telling me how he grew up in a Christian
home. He asked me what I thought of premarital sex. We had an awesome
talk about the Bible’s perspective on marriage and sexuality. He asked
questions very candidly, and I answered. In the end I shared how
beautiful I thought waiting until marriage was… and I think he really
“got it” — WHY it’s a good idea. He really seemed to respect what I
was saying. He has a girlfriend. May our conversation nag him! 🙂
A man was there with his girlfriend. He shared that he once was
studying to be a pastor, but then his friend died and he turned from
God. That touched my heart. He said he and his girlfriend have been
talking more about God lately. He took a Bible. May he & she be
reconciled to God!
I had a great conversation with a non-Christian girl about how society
is doing such a great job bombarding us with images of women that are
impossible to attain — they themselves don’t even look how they’re
portrayed! We talked of how this is wreaking havoc on men, women, and
marriages/relationships. It was a great conversation.
There was lots more good stuff. Those are just some one-on-one
highlights. Overall, so many great conversations were had, and through
them I’m convinced the name of Christianity, Christians and Jesus were
improved in lots of people’s eyes. So cool!
On a personal note, recall how scared I was of all the people I’d see
that I knew? Well, I didn’t see that many people I know, which
surprised me… just 4. Yet, something has been different in me this
last week. On three separate occasions in the last week, I’ve spoken up
for ‘right’ when I think I normally would have said nothing. God be
praised! May my fear of ‘confessing publicly’ for him, looking the fool
for him, being disliked for him, be permanently broken!
Thanks again for your awesome partnership. You rock! Let me know if any more questions, OK?
First of all I am so sorry it’s taken me so long to get this to you. Really it has taken alot just to process my experience at the show. First of all I have to say I will NEVER be the same again! My world has been rocked. I look at people differently. I thinking about relationship differently. I am looking at everyone I see differently and as an opportunity to tell them Jesus loves them. I have to say the number one thing I came away with was that we need to tell people Jesus loves them and not be afraid to do so. We were so well received at the show! We don’t have to get into deep religious debate or even explanations. I think that has kept me from speaking out in the past. I have been afraid to defend Christianity, I don’t know enough history or memorized enough of the Bible to do that. When all I need to do is express that Jesus loves them. The philosophy of XXXChurch has given me “permission” to do so and not to have to convert someone on the spot. As a matter of fact at the show I handed a moman a bible and told her Jesus loved her. In the next breath I asked her how she was doing. She gave me a shocked looked and actually said she was shocked. When I asked why she said because she expected my next comment would be one to convert her.
I was so surprised how many people did not know they were loved by God unconditionally. I was surprised that people thought, “Ok Jesus can love porn stars but not murderers or other people who commit heinous sins.” When we told them he loved the people who committed the crimes not what they have done, a light switch seemed to go off. We shocked alot of people that we were Christians at a sex show. Some thought we were there to mock Jesus. Some were shocked to hear we were just telling them Jesus loved them. That we weren’t there to condemn them. In particular those that stand out are several gay people I spoke with. One couple, young men maybe 20, made up in makeup. Pretty out there. I handed them each a bible and told them Jesus loved them right where they are. They both stared into my eyes, as if to say, “Really? He does? I’ve been told for so long I’m going to hell because I’m gay.” The look in their eyes told the story. This was one of many gay couples I spoke with and the look in there eyes was the same each and every time. They had no idea Jesus loved them. What an awesome privileged to be able to tell them the good news. I handed another woman a bible and she said to me, “Oh I am so glad to hear he loves porn stars because I am one.” It took me a bit to process that. Was she really. She handed me her card that said she was a lesbian porn star. She left with the bible almost skipping…smiling from ear to ear. A half hour later she came back with her girlfriend who wanted a bible too. She figured if Jesus loved porn stars he must love people who love porn stars. I told her I was glad she knew that. She said, “I thought so but you just confirmed it!”
The other resounding thing I heard over and over again was how people have been hurt by the church. Either not accepted or having a downright horrible experience. I was shocked at some of the stories. I’ll share one. It had slowed down at the booth. A women dressed in a very revealing outfit approached. I handed her a bible and she stopped. She said, “My mom will be happy I’m getting one of these.” I had to ask why. She said she grew up in the church. VBS…camp…retreat. She said, “I’ve fallen away. I am far from God.” We proceeded to talk for a half an hour. She told me that when she was twelve a pastor told her her animals which meant EVERYTHING to her were NOT going to heaven. She left the church. She is an animal lover, works with animals now in a dogie day care. Her life is animals. I apologized to her for the hurt she has clearly been through. She had tears in her eyes when she told me this story and I cried with her. I told her that that person had no idea what he was talking about. Nowhere in the bible does it tell that animals will not go to heaven. I then remembered a story to tell her about when my in laws had to put their yellow lab down, Jake. I needed to see him one last time before he died. When we went to say goodbye I felt in natural to bend over and wisper in his ear not to be afraid because Jesus was waiting for him. She cried as I told her this story. God knew that story would minister to her. Redemption. She was a beautiful woman who God will use powerfully.
I had so much fun at the show. I did find it extremely draining emotionally and spiritually. I thought that a 4 hour shift would be no problem but soon realized the first night why we split into 2 shifts. I was extremely tired the following week as well and felt I needed alot of rest. On the upside I really felt protected in the way of visuals which I attribute to the amazing prayer covering we had. Even at the show I felt like the visuals were almost blurred and after they were extremely fuzzy. All I can really remember are the people I met. The look in their eyes. I prayed alot ahead of time for God to help me to see the people how he sees them and just to look in their eyes. I was actually suprised when I did how people looked back like no one had ever looked them in the eye before. I could really go on and on about what an amazing experience this was for me. I fell more in love with God’s children and God changed me in so many ways I can’t even express in words. Thanks you Amanda for your obedience. It was a joy serving with you and seeing your dream come true. Also a huge thank you to the XXXChurch team. Wow what an awesome thing you are doing for the Kingdom of God! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was such a privledge and honor to be part of this team. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
I love you guys,