Never did I think the first time I walked through the Sands Expo for the porn
show back in 2002 that I would be back 5 years later. Never did I imagine the
biggest male porn industry would be spending time talking to us in our booth
5 years later. Never did I imagine I would walk into the sales office at AVN
at the show and be asked back for another show next year. Never, never did
I think I would bring a van full of 3400 Bibles into a porn show and watch
people grab at them until they were gone 3 days later. Never did I think I
would hear the question, “Do you have any Bibles left?”from some
porn show fans. Never did I think what started out over with two of us would
turn into a full-blown assault on Las Vegas. Yes, let me explain.
There were 12 of us working our booth. From Oklahoma, Chicago,
California, to Michigan. The group came from all over to help spread the message.
26 people stayed at home and fasted for us that we know of. Over 300 hit their
knees in prayer for what would take place.
Then there were the other ministries that were all over
the place. From the local pastor of a church in Vegas praying for people as
they left the show. To Annie, the X hooker, who was walking the show striking
up conversations, to the JCS Girls who were set up in the gay section of the
show ministering to their neighbors.
5 years ago. None of this was happening. The great joy for
me this year was having the conversations with our team and the others I just
mentioned and just listening. Listening to how there was a lot of light shining
in this very dark place.
We had the privilege of being interviewed by Martin Bashir
from Nightline. The piece will go out in February. He is at our booth talking
to me and Ron Jeremy and he says in his British accent. “Will Ron Jeremy
make it to heaven?”
I said, I hope and pray that Ron realizes that he has a
God shaped hole in his heart that only God can fill. Porn won’t exclude
Ron from heaven, but he has to accept this free gift. The question did not
leave me. It is still with me and it serves as a reminder of why we go. Not
to judge, not to condemn, not to force. But because we have been given an enormous
opportunity to share Christ with those that attend a porn show. So, we go.
Next stop Miami.
Enjoy as I did the recaps from some of our team.
This year’s show in Vegas was my third serving with xxx
church. I am a professional makeup artist and was blessed enough to use my
makeup skills that God has given me as a way to serve and love and connect
with these girls. I am getting teary eyed just thinking about some of the stories
they shared with me about what they’ve been through in life: disconnected from
their families, bad relationships with dads, judgmental mothers, starting in
the industry at age 16, drugs and alcohol stories …it goes on and on. It
just kills me that these women that God created feel so low about themselves.
Life is tough for them and they’ve dealt with so much
pain and loss. They are deceived into thinking that they are “having the time
of their life” by working in this business. However, I KNOW God has a much
better plan for his precious daughters. I tried to just love them and serve
them and encourage them while doing their makeup. I asked them a lot of questions
about their lives and sometimes just laughed with them or talked about what
makeup they like or where they like to go out to dinner. I began writing down
the eye shadows I used on them on the front page of the “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” Bibles
so they’d be sure to look at them later. I was able to talk with a few about
God and how much He loves and unconditionally accepts them. One girl told me
about her fiancé and how he was “saved” and wants her to get saved and
leave the industry. I told her how God had begun to use my marriage to heal
my wounds and how amazing God’s plan for marriage is. She immediately softened
and I prayed for her and her future. She said she knew her time in the industry
was coming to an end and I reassured her that Christ washes away ALL the sins
of our past. She could be as white as snow.
That conversation was the highlight of the show for me.
I love serving God this way.
I really don’t know what to say. People were lifeless.
They had no dreams and nothing to look forward to. Their goals were to get
as much porn as possible, autographs of porn stars they will never have sex
with, pictures of porn stars, and anything else that will get them closer to
making their fantasy a reality. By the end of the day, they are still left
right where they began, if not worse.
I’ve been a lot of things in my life. A baker, a lifeguard,
a salesman, roadie, student, boyfriend, brother, son, friend and lots of other
things. Before this trip I don’t know that I’ve been involved w/
something where everything I am and am not came into play for the positive. Kim
and I showed up in “Viva Las Vegas” late in the day. I really didn’t
know what to expect. Craig had let me know what it would be like verbally
and I had watched all the little clips from the site, but how do you ACTUALLY
prepare for a porn show? After a decent night sleep the first night,
in a room w/ J.R. and Brandon, we got showered and ready for the day. (Brandon
takes longer than my sister and my girlfriend combined to get ready) We
drove to the show. The whole day everyone is asking us “rookies” if we “are
ready for this.” I mean, I knew that I was, and I said that I was, but
how do you REALLY know until you’ve been.
Well just in case you are praying about being one of the
next to go… listen to me. The hardest part of the whole thing was the
very first walk to the booth. At a glance it looks like any other show. (Boat
show, gun show, RV shows, car show, etc.) As you keep looking though
you quickly notice the worst is true. They did tell us it was quite a
bit “dirtier” this year so I, at least, had that. After we got rolling it was
all cake! I thought to myself, “After thinking for all this time, that
I really need this trip, and that they were really going to impact my life…
It was THEM who really needed me there.” (Them = the industry) The people were
so open. They were so shocked. The industry people were sooooo
broken. It was the whitest harvest field that I’ve ever been in.
Being a roadie for a while let me see quite a bit that most
will never even think of. This may have helped numb me to the situation. There
was; however, no better help for me then just being ME. The ME that Messiah
has been shaping ME to be. The ME that talks like ME is tattooed and
pierced like ME. The ME that responds like ME. God’s gifts and
callings are given w/out repentance (Romans 11:29). This means that God
isn’t sorry for making me the way I am. NEVER have I felt more IN PLACE and
RIGHT where I needed to be than in Vegas this year as XXXchurch.com!
Meeting the two school dressed girls who poured there heart
out to me and told me that they needed out, almost ended up being my “high
of the week.” Talking to “Matt” EVERY DAY of the convention and each
day giving him a little bit more word to ingest almost ended up my “high of
the week.” J.R. and I taking the Jersey boys (Wayne and Mike) to dinner
and really striking to their core was almost my “high of the week”. Connecting
w/ Annie, who was starting a ministry called Hookers for Jesus or something
like that, almost was. Getting to be the “go to guy” for the team when nobody
else knew what to say was almost…. but my “high of the week” was spending
a week being Jesus to a crowd who may have never seen Him otherwise. A
close second was becoming friends w/ J.R. (true friends) and getting closer
to Craig and Brandon while simultaneously getting to be in *sings* VIVA LAS
May you follow the gifts and callings of God and know that
He’s NOT SORRY for making you who you are! May you grow in both knowledge of
the Word and love for your Messiah!
And may you never take as long to get ready in the morning
as Laci or Brandon.
P.S. My life is changed!
This week I got to go to my first of hopefully many Porn
Conventions. When first walking into the convention, I was a little nervous.
Even after preparing myself for months about what to expect, and watching the
videos for XXXchurch.com, I was still wondering inside if I would be able to
hang. As we were walking to the booth, just glancing around was almost painful.
They had already warned me that it was “dirtier” this
year, and they were right, it was bad.
Almost immediately the girls, me included, went with
Bibles and cards to explore and talk to some girls. We would just walk around
the convention (trying very hard to keep our eyes down) and talk to the girls
in the industry. If there were a line for autographs, we would wait in it until
it was our turn to talk to the girl. All we would do is introduce ourselves,
get them to sign a card, hand them a bible and let them know that if there
was anything they needed that they could come to the booth. It was amazing
to me how many of the girls really wanted to talk and had already heard of
us. They were all so kind and nice.
When I think about the convention, I can’t help feeling
a little sad. Sad for the girls, sad for the addicts, sad for the girlfriends/wives/daughters,
etc. Most of the girls we talked to said that they only do this for money and
they won’t be in it long-term. Some of the girls said they loved what they
did. It saddens me to think that they really believe that that is all they
are worth. What really gets me upset is when I would see a young girl being
led down the isle by a man more than twice her age with look on her face that
is just crying out for someone to help her.
I feel truly blessed to be part of XXXchurch.com this
last week. Being able to tell people that Jesus loves them when they think
that nobody does was amazing. To see the look of real happiness on the faces
of those little girls when we would tell them that they are worth more than
what they thought, was priceless. To work with the crew at XXXchurch.com was
an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I learned a lot this week, and
I feel like I really made a difference. Thank You. Kim
This was my second show with XXXchurch and, in my humble
opinion, way more intense than the first one.
I kept thinking to myself “What would my grandmother
say if she could spend 10 minutes here?” All in all my time at the booth was
a significant experience. It was great to be part of this niche Navy Seal group
going into this huge porn show to hand out, of all things, bibles.
In general, two things stood out for me about show. The
first is that people genuinely want to hear about God and what life might really
be about. There was more than one occasion where a few people would come up
to our booth all cocky and full of the porn experience and then wham…once
one of us started talking seriously and confidently about God a spiritual hush
would just come over them as they listened. Many, many people really do want
to know the truth.
The second thing that struck me is how penetrating and
devastating this porn industry can really be to certain individuals. The best
I can equate it to is Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Once he had his hands
on the ring, he just kind of morphed into this sickly creature far from where
he initially was. I saw this firsthand in one conversation that JR and I had
with this individual who openly admitted that he went abroad to hire younger
prostitutes for himself when he had the chance. Unbelievable – seems like the
industry can do this to people.
My whole time there I could feel somehow in my heart
just how much God loves the people at this convention and how much He is hurt
by what we saw there. I am thankful that XXXchurch and others are reaching
out so boldly to this industry.
This show…was hard. It wasn’t the images, videos,
sounds or the barley dressed women or even finding out Screech did porn. It
was the stories. The crazy, sad depressing and lost stories I heard for 4 days.
From Joe the Fireman who visits Thailand twice a year to have sex with teenage
girls to a 23-year-old east coast guy who has never had a girlfriend because
porn is more important. The stories hurt this year.
You do your best to meet each person with hope. Sometimes
you know you’ve made a difference as you talk, other times it’s
like talking to a wall.
I love the people of the porn industry and those who surround
it. I can’t see doing anything else. Porn shows are great opportunities
to live out faith and bring hope to people. This year it seemed there were
more sad stories than any other year. I was perhaps a bit unprepared for that.
I just didn’t expect so many of them. I’m a big boy, I will be
all right but I just ask everyone to ramp up prayer for these folks who desperately
need the love of Christ.
Over the time I have known Christ I have understood the
peace and happiness a life lived in Him can yield. Porn shows teach big lessons
for those willing to go. The biggest lesson…there’s nothing happening
in a porn show that you can’t find anywhere else in our under spiritualized
and overly sexualized society. This awareness brings the humility necessary
to love everyone like Christ did.
So…Another AVN, another chance to spread the love,
another shot at closing the gap, another opportunity to let Christ change a
few lives. It’s all-good, it hurts a little this year but it’s
all good. Find your own porn show, will ya?
The Consumer Electronic Show is the same week as pornography
show in Vegas and they have much in common. In both industries there is a pursuit
to push the boundaries. There is a pursuit to innovate. To go somewhere no
one has ever gone. To do something that no one has ever done. Hope is found
in this pursuit to push the limits. I talked to many gentlemen in suits who
ventured to the show next door, the pornography show. They were curious. Though
vastly complex individuals there is something remarkable that happens to a
man in a suit at a porn show. He smiles and laughs and has the wonder of small
child. This experience brings hope and joy, for a moment.
How do you not go? How do you not bring hope crashing into
a place that desperately needs it. A hope that will deliver.
What happens after the show? Joe continues to jump on flights.
The businessman has a new suit at the show next year. There can be change.
There can hope after the show.
The second porn show of my life and I am struck with the
power of listening. I am struck with the power that hope has. I will always
remember the smiles and stories from Vegas. The guy in the suit and the firefighter
from Chicago and the actress who smiles at cameras for hours, all need someone
to listen to their story. I will always remember that when you let hope crash
into story after story you are living what god intended humanity to live.