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Join the Network The Strip Church Network is the best place to start developing your ministry team to reach women working in the sex industry. You will find encouragement, experience, prayer, resources, and power for ministry. Once you attend one of Annual our Strip Church Trainings, you will be invited to join the Strip Church Network. Fee Only

$50

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ever in my entire life did I think I would ever set foot in a strip club. I’ve always grown up as the “goody two-shoes,” the girl who stayed away from anything risqué. But as I have become a part of this ministry, I have experienced a whole new world of things, including walking through the doors of a strip club… as well as three different porn conventions! I never envisioned being in this type of ministry, but since I started, it has become a full-blown passion for me. As the Strip Church Coordinator, I cover all the event logistics for our Strip Church Trainings, manage the registrations, and run our social media sites. I also help to manage our Strip Church Network, updating our network members and providing them with resources and encouragement. Since I am constantly in contact with our network members and those who attend our training events, I get to watch the big-picture outcome of the ministries in our network. It is amazing to witness the progression from receiving that first email from a woman interested in training, and then see her down the road thriving in her ministry! I’ve witnessed the freedom a former dancer experienced when she went back into the strip club for the first time with a different purpose. I’ve seen women who were unsure whether they could make our training event because of finances, only to have God provide 100% of the money they needed to attend. I’ve watched a woman attend training and start her ministry literally three weeks later. I’ve seen a woman sign up the day before our event and drive from Utah to California to attend training—who now has a thriving ministry! I absolutely love watching God put stories together, making a way for each unique woman to come in contact with our ministry. It excites me each time I see a new registration pop up in my email, because that means more women in this industry will be reached around the world. I am passionate about being a part of what God is doing in and through Strip Church, and am beyond excited for what is to come!

Tara

- The Network features Monthly training with women and men who are leading sex industry outreaches across the world. We have different leaders on the calls each month, occasionally bringing back the ones you want to hear more from. We use an interactive webconferencing tool, bringing you in and making you a part of the conversation. Prayer, guidance, wisdom, and encouragement specific to club and sex industry ministry. One-on-one coaching

Listed as part of our International Network Networked connections with other club ministries around the world Members-only training blog (extra resources connected with the monthly topics and written specifically regarding the challenges brought up by our member ministries) Annual alumni retreat/training for trained and networked club (cost of this is only $99 for the weekend) A new web presence: www.StripChurch.com/YourCity or /YourMinistryName Access to ‘Strip Church Resources’ marketplace

tara@stripchurch.com

Tara Ulrich Strip Church Coordinator

StripChurch.com

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Strip Church Network on Location:

Louisville, Kentucky

“I San Diego

’m not sure how this attitude came about,” says Sheri Brown, “but I used to hate strippers.” “Used to” is the key phrase in that quote, because Brown now heads up JC’s Girls in San Diego, an organization that ministers to women who work in Southern California’s burgeoning sex industry, and which has been affiliated with The Rock Church since 2006. In fact, Brown’s involvement in JC’s Girls sprung from a conversation she had with Theresa Scher, a former sex industry worker and, until recently, Brown’s partner in leading JC’s Girls (Scher stepped down a few months ago to spend more time with her family). Brown approached Scher immediately after hearing her testimony at a women’s retreat, introduced herself, and put it right out there: “I used to hate women like you, but God’s changed my heart.” Scher suggested Brown join her in bringing JC’s Girls to San Diego, and the rest is history.

All Smiles The JC’s Girls strive to reach out to women with an overwhelming passion free of condemnation.

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“I was that annoying Christian who was so critical of people who weren’t like me,” Brown says, reflecting on the young woman she used to be. “I would drive by strip clubs and get angry at the women who worked there, even though I didn’t know any of them.” Unlike many of the women who are part of the Strip Church Network of ministries, Brown has never worked in the sex industry. But she has more in common with many of the women she used to look down on; more than she originally thought. Brown’s turnaround started when she got a job working with teenage women who were either pregnant or parenting, helping them complete their education. As a single mother of two herself, and someone who had been a teen mom, Brown felt certain she had the life experience to speak into these young mothers. But God has a way of humorously pointing out our foibles, as He did with Brown. Because the first four women she was assigned to help? Strippers. “My ideas about women in the sex industry were really rooted in cultural ignorance and, honestly, selfrighteousness,” reflects Brown. “I mean, I had been a teen mom myself, and I would think, ‘I don’t have to strip for a living, why do you?’” Soon the light broke through and Brown began to see herself in the women she was helping, finding that she had experienced a lot of the same things they had, including sexual abuse at a young age and major, as she terms it, “Daddy issues.” “The only difference between me and them,” she says, “is that I knew Jesus and they didn’t. And that’s when my heart changed.” Sheri Brown did a complete turnaround, and instead of hating dancers, developed what she calls “an overwhelming passion to reach out to these precious women in love and without condemnation.” But when you become a leader, especially in this type of ministry, you become a target. “This work is real,” says

Brown. “This is no joke.” Brown now speaks from experience. Shortly after she joined the leadership team at JC’s Girls in San Diego, her father died, her oldest son left home to join the military, and her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, leaving Brown awash in a sea of lost relationships and sending her into a deep, depressive state. “For the next two years, I was in the worst place of my entire life,” Brown recalls haltingly, searching for the right words as she chokes back tears. “I was just a mess.” Then comes a barrage of obviously difficult admissions: “I started to turn my back on the Lord. I started to live my life for me. I didn’t want to be married, I didn’t want to be a mother, I didn’t want to live up to the expectations of a leader.” She sighs heavily and takes a deep breath, and now the tears become audible as her voice cracks with regret. “I was so lost.” But God found her. “The same type of love that we show to the women we minister to, that’s the type of love that Theresa [Scher] and my pastor showed to me. Unconditional love.” Her tears are flowing freely now. “I tell the women I minister to all the time that there’s nothing they can do to make Jesus love them any less, and now I understand that for myself.” “For the first time in over a year, I opened a Bible. I had been using a reading plan, so I just picked up where I left off, in Isaiah 44. But instead of reading the words ‘Jacob’ or ‘Israel,’ I instinctively read my own name.” The passage Brown refers to is Isaiah 44:21-22, which she read as “Pay attention, O [Sheri], for you are my servant… I, the LORD made you, and I will not forget you. I have swept away your sins like a cloud, I have scattered your offenses like morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” [NLT] That scripture, combined with earnest prayer from a new friend, changed everything. “God broke through and I could breathe again,” Brown says. “I was free from my bondage.” That was two years ago, and Brown now has a renewed passion and a purpose, as well as the understanding that even those who encourage need encouragement. “Now when I see the women in the clubs,” she says, “I really see me.”

Sheri

We approached one club owner, who’d been in the business for over 25 years, and asked her if we could bring home-cooked meals into her club to share with the ladies. She reluctantly agreed, and became agitated with us every time we visited. Nevertheless, our team continued to pray for her when we weren’t visiting and to offer to pray with her when we were visiting. We began to see breakthroughs in some of the ladies who worked there, and one by one, they started leaving the industry. All the while, God was working on this club owner, until the fateful day when we came to bring food and this owner greeted us at the door. “Because of what you’ve shown me and my family, we’ve decided to give our lives to Jesus,” she said. And then she went one step further: “We no longer want to live like this, so we’re shutting down the strip club!” Right then and there, in the back of a dark, dingy strip club, our team knelt with this now-former strip club owner and led her to Jesus. We can’t wait to see what she does next!

Strip Church Network on Location:

Tacoma, Washington Over the past year, we’ve been slowly building a friendship with one woman in particular, sharing stories of Christmas celebrations, family vacations, raising our children, and what we each like to do in our free time. Our conversations tend to turn toward God’s unconditional love and the plan that He has for each of our lives. This woman was raised in church and knows the lingo, but had turned away from God and, consequently, forgotten how much He loves her. Well, on our most recent visit, this friend excitedly announced to us that she had decided to turn her life back over to God’s control and to leave the industry! She is now starting the journey of discovering Jesus’ love for her, the depth of His grace, and the process of healing and redemption!

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Grand Rapids Lansing Detroit Chicago Dallas

I started dancing for the money. I was 19 when a group of women entered my social scene. They were all older than me, and they were all dancers. As peer pressure goes when you’re a teenager, the money they had and the way they spent it were enough to convince me to join them dancing,

I found myself stuck in a world I didn’t expect

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so I did an amateur night at the local strip club, won a couple hundred bucks, and started working in another city the following week. The money was great, but I soon found myself stuck in a world I didn’t expect; within three weeks I started using cocaine and dropped out of college. After all, keeping up with a job that has you drunk and high until 5 am isn’t conducive to attending your 8 am classes at the University. Besides, I had a new career now. I went downhill very quickly. About three months into that new career, I became pregnant, and that felt like my way out of what had become a nightmare. I re-enrolled at school, and started where I’d left off, promising to be diligent this time. Two weeks after I gave birth to my daughter, I was right back in the club. I was able to stay a little bit more on track this time because I felt like I had something to live for. Plus, I set a deadline for this madness, promising myself it would all end when I graduated college. That happened in August of 2001, after I finished my junior and senior year in just nine months. Unfortunately, 9/11 happened just weeks later, which was a death knell to a new college graduate looking for a job in a suddenly rapidly declining

Strip Church Network on Location:

economy. I told myself I’d just work a few weeks in the suburbs while I tried to find a “real” job, but instead I found an upscale club downtown Chicago, where I could make more in three nights than I could if I had a Ph.D. My favorite city started eating me alive. The money didn’t make me happy; instead, it left me empty and directionless, so I started drinking every day to cope. Then I left Chicago to

marry my daughter’s father, hoping that would help me escape from the sex industry. But the marriage was so toxic and abusive that I left him six weeks later and went to Michigan. I moved in order to put my life back together, but now that I had large lawyer bills for a divorce, I did the only thing I knew to do: I started dancing again, first at a new club in Detroit before moving to Las Vegas to join a friend of mine. I had been a dancer for six years by then, and to say I was burnt out was an understatement. My friend also escorted, where she made in an hour what took me eight hours of dancing to make. It wasn’t long before I started, too. That was when I realized my life had spun out of control and it was time for me to do something else. So I jumped on a plane and headed back home, once more, to Michigan. A few months later, I found out I was pregnant again. I’d already had one abortion before I had my daughter, and since she was born, I’d had three more. So, without a plan or really any income, I scheduled an appointment to have another one. But as the day drew closer, I found myself very, very uncomfortable about it. Finally, I did something out of the ordinary for me: I prayed. I wasn’t entirely sure why, but I just said, “God, if You’re real, and You can hear me, then I don’t think You want me to do this. But I’m not

Detroit, Michigan

going to stop it; You have to stop it.” This one simple prayer changed my entire life. My appointment got cancelled; I made another one. Cancelled. Five times. The following winter, my son was born. A month later, even though I’d never read a Bible before in my life, a scripture reference popped into my head, just a still, small voice inside myself, over and over again, saying, “Matthew 4:16… Matthew 4:16.” I asked my sister what she thought it meant, so she got a Bible and looked it up: “Those that have sat in darkness have seen a great light.” The next day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I suddenly understood that Jesus Christ was the only way to get to God, that I was forgiven, and I was born again. I started going to church as much as possible and reading the Bible every chance I got. It was quite a transformation. At the age of 30, I sought the Lord for purpose. He spoke clearly, and told me to go back into the places He’d rescued me out of and tell His daughters that He loves them, so we founded Eve’s Angels. Eve’s Angels has now expanded to five cities: Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit, Chicago, and our newest addition in Dallas. We set up outreaches, Bible studies, and support groups to women in the sex industry, but we never tell them to quit; we leave that to Jesus. We do however tell them that they’re loved right where they are, and that if they want to make a career change, we’re there to support them and walk them through the process. We’re now housing and supporting women in Grand Rapids and are in the process of securing a large housing unit in Chicago to help women across the country on a larger scale. I started dancing for the money, but seeing the lives that are being changed, and helping women live out their purpose, is far more rewarding. I’ve discovered, and am now helping others discover, true wealth.

Anny

We helped one woman leave the industry, helping her find regular employment outside of selling herself. We were, of course, delighted for her, but that delight turned into sheer glee when she called us, crying with tears of joy, and said, “I just got my first paycheck ever with my clothes on!”

Strip Church Network on Location:

Brisbane, Australia Here is a direct quote from one of the women we’ve helped, and it sums up our feelings perfectly: “Nobody has ever loved me with a love that is clean and pure. Until I met you ladies, and you have loved me with His love until I found it for myself, and then He made me clean from the inside out.” That is the type of love we’re still showing to some of the women we encounter in the strip clubs. In fact, we’re finally starting to see breakthrough in one woman after more than four years of unconditional love. She has been living with a dysfunctional boyfriend and working in a brothel to, in her words, “survive,” but she now made a decision to move out and to move closer to our halfway house in the area so she can be closer to God and, again in her words, “thrive.” Breakthrough is beautiful.

Strip Church Network on Location:

Las Vegas, Nevada We have been visiting one particular club for a few months and have befriended the valet. One evening we showed up with some gifts for the different dancers, only to find that this club had hired a new housemom who refused to allow us to bring them in. Without asking or receiving prompting from us, the valet came to us and said, “Give the gifts to me. I’ll keep them in the valet keyhouse, and as each dancer leaves to go to her car, I’ll make sure she gets it.” We were overjoyed—we hadn’t planned on ministering to the valet! “It’s important that every one of the dancers gets their gifts, and I’ll see to it personally that they do,” he said. There are no boundaries with God! StripChurch.com

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Still In front of the camera But now Crissy’s time is spent speaking and

P

inspiring women to

pursue healing (top left),

eople often ask me how or why I got into the porn industry. It wasn’t something I planned, but I can say this: if you take a broken girl starving for love and give her national media, drawing attention to the pitfalls of glamour and attention that she’s never had before, then you would have me. the pornMy lifestyleearliest (above). memories of my childhood are from when I was about four years old, when a man in our neighborhood abused me sexually. I can still picture it, as he became the first person—but not the last—to sexually abuse me. as well as appearing on

A broken girl starving for love and give her glamour and attention

I do have some happy memories from childhood, though. I loved going to church, where I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was just eleven years old. But around that time, my dad became an abusive alcoholic and got kicked out of the church. About a year later, my parents separated and subsequently divorced. Just before Christmas that year, my parents had a big argument where my dad threatened to kill my mom if she drove me and my brother to our grandma’s house for the holiday… so she left. Without us. My dad handed each of us a trash bag, told us to pack what we wanted to bring, and—just like that—we moved to another city. My mother still came to visit occasionally. One of my saddest memories is from the time she came close to Valentine’s Day. My brother and I were gone with my dad all day, and he had been drinking, and even though we kept reminding him that mom was coming, he ignored us. We didn’t get home until it was too late. We found some candy, some Valentines, and a letter from my mother saying she had to go home because she was very sick and couldn’t wait any longer. Picturing her standing there, waiting, really broke my heart. Eventually, my father’s behavior got so bad that my mom stopped coming.

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SPEAKING OUT Crissy is now becoming a voice on behalf of those trapped in the sex industry.

My mom remarried and I made the hard decision to leave my dad and go live with her, though she gave all her time and attention to my new stepdad. I would visit my dad sometimes, but it was always so hard to transition back and forth between two entirely different worlds—especially because I seemed to be in between their arguments. I felt confused, like I was being pulled in different directions. I spent most of my teens isolated in my bedroom, but around the age of seventeen, I started my first real dating relationship, a college guy. He and I were sexually active, but he told me if I ever got pregnant we would get married and have the baby. To me, having a baby signified having a love that would always be there… but when I did end up pregnant, the guy didn’t marry me—he took me to get an abortion. While I was at the clinic, the technician asked me if I wanted to see the baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor, and when I saw this tiny little blinking light, representing the heartbeat inside of me, I left immediately. My mom wanted me to “succeed” in life, and she thought having a baby would get in the way, so she took me back to have the abortion despite my protests. I was fully awake and aware of everything that was going on during the procedure, and my heart shattered when that life was literally sucked out of me. I sank into depression, and in order to get out, “relationships” became my addiction. I had to have a man in my life to feel like I was worthy of love. I looked to men to tell me I was beautiful, to make me feel protected, and to give me a sense of stability—things my dad never did. Many of these men were unhealthy, and sometimes brought porn into the relationship. I felt ugly when they looked at other women that way, but little did I know that one day I would transform myself into one of those girls. One day while surfing the internet, I found a modeling website where models would post their portfolios online for free and get work. The models didn’t look like “real” models, but they had people testifying about how great they were to work with, so I gave it a try. I never intended to pose in anything less than a bikini, and at first I turned down many jobs. However, my life was spiraling out of control, and eventually I got to a point where I just didn’t care anymore. I felt so empty, and the emails telling me I was beautiful started to fill the void that the men couldn’t. That’s when I said “Yes” to my first nude photo shoot. It felt very unnatural to meet a stranger in a hotel room and have him shoot every inch of my body. I was nervous, but I just checked out—the same way I did whenever I had been sexually abused when I was younger. The sense of danger was almost exciting to me because I wanted to end up dead. I would even fantasize about it—that’s just how messed up I was.

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I met another man and started what became an abusive relationship. He was very charming and sometimes reminded me of my dad, but he was physically intimidating and had no problem using his physicality against me. The idea of dying both thrilled and terrified me, and my new boyfriend told me every day he was going to put me six feet under. Because I no longer had any boundaries for a shoot, my career started to take off, to the point where my boyfriend took over and became my manger. We moved from Florida to San Diego, California, where I didn’t know anyone except him. I couldn’t get away from him. He raped me, he beat me, he controlled my life. I tried to get away from him, but everyone I met was too scared of him to help me, so I turned to drugs to cope. I spent 3 ½ years that way, until we decided to hire an assistant to move in with us and help out with my career. He saw how my boyfriend was treating me and became an angel to me, helping me get out of the relationship and move two hours up the coast to Los Angeles, where I took control of my own career. Now that I was calling the shots, I started making more money than I had ever made before in the porn industry. I stopped working with men and had a sense of accomplishment at finally being stable Continued on Page 19

In Print Crissy’s story continues to provide a platform from which to share the redemption she’s found in Christ (below).

Directory StripChurch USA

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Phoenix, AZ Cakes of Love Leader: Lisa Jernigan & Patty Wyatt Email: lisa@girlfriendit.com www.phoenix.stripchurch.com

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Ministry Name:

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Tempe, AZ Ministry Name: Just Love Leader: Sumer Fisher Email: sumerfisher@yahoo.com www.tempe.stripchurch.com Sacramento, CA Ministry Name: As You Are Outreach Leader: Jennie Nagy Email: info@ayaoutreach.com www.sacramento.stripchurch.com Location:

StripChurch.com

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Ministry Name:

Manhattan, KS The Homestead Leader: Deb Kluttz Email: dkluttz@westviewcommunity.com www.manhattan.stripchurch.com Location:

Ministry Name:

Location:

San Diego, CA Ministry Name: JC’s Girls Leader: Sheri Brown Email: jcsgirlsrock@yahoo.com www.sandiego.stripchurch.com

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16 Tampa, FL Ministry Name: Loving You Where You Are At Leader: Christa Hernandez Email: lovingyouwhereyouareat@gmail.com www.tampa.stripchurch.com

Louisville, KY Ministry Name: Scarlet Hope Inc. Leader: Rachelle Starr Email: rachelle@scarlethope.org www.louisville.stripchurch.com

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Orange County, CA Divine Leader: Jaime Hindman Email: jaimehindman@yahoo.com www.orangecounty.stripchurch.com

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Savannah, GA Simple Love, Inc. Leader: Michelle Langley Email: michelle@iamsimplelove.com www.savannah.stripchurch.com

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Lexington, KY BeLoved Leader: Sandra Savage Email: info@be-loved.cc www.miami.stripchurch.com

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Los Angeles, CA Ministry Name: After Hours Ministry Leader: Jennifer Cecil Email: standingingrace@gmail.com www.southla.stripchurch.com

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Fort Wayne, IN Ministry Name: 410 Ministries Leader: Cindy Slick Email: slicklady1@gmail.com www.fortwayne.stripchurch.com

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Denver, CO Ministry Name: Her Name is Mine Leader: Jessica Prezkuta Email: Jessica.prezkuta@gmail.com www.denver.stripchurch.com

Phoenix, Arizona

Location:

Doral, FL XXX Libre Leader: Karina Gil Email: info@xxxlibre.com www.doral.stripchurch.com Location:

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On many occasions during our monthly visits to the different clubs in this area, the dancers ask us, “Why are you doing this?” Our answer is always the same: “Because we care for you.” On a recent visit to one of the clubs, this exchange took place and then the dancer, upon hearing our answer, began tearing up. Then she said, “I know I’ve met you for a reason.” She began sharing with us about how she had a background in church and God, but was now in an abusive relationship and had just left him for the fourth time. She’s changing her phone number and not going back. She had recently found Scars and Stilettos, Harmony Dust’s book, lying around in one of the clubs where she worked, so she picked it up and read it. It’d had a remarkable impact on her, and she began breaking down even more as she recounted the story to us. Eventually she pulled herself together and walked away, still crying, only to come back once more and embrace one of our teammates. Right now she’s still in the club, but we know God is at work, and we feel honored to do what we do. We can’t imagine not being involved in these girls lives; experiencing moments like this every month is confirmation for us to continue doing what we’re doing.

Antelope Valley, CA Cherished Leader: Kate Wedell Email: cherishedstrpchrch@gmail.com www.antelopevalley.stripchurch.com Location:

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Detroit, MI Ministry Name: My Sister Song Leader: Laura Urenda Email: mysistersong@yahoo.com www.detroit.stripchurch.com Location:

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Greeley, CO Love Made Claim Leader: Natasha Hurt Email: njhurt3@yahoo.com www.greeley.stripchurch.com Location:

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Miami, FL Ministry Name: BeLoved Leader: Sandra Savage Email: info@be-loved.cc www.miami.stripchurch.com Location:

An evening of honest and open talk about porn. Whether you are a mother or spouse of a porn user, or you struggle yourself, this night is for you to talk porn. Hear from people who get it: former sex industry insiders, former porn addicts, and the XXXchurch pastors. This event is for women and young women junior high and up.

Entertainment

Expect and great teaching at every Porn and Pastries event. Each evening will cover all the different issues surrounding pornography, featuring women who were formerly in the sex industry, women who have been deep into porn, and women whose marriages were affected by their spouse’s addiction to porn.  And of course, the XXXchurch pastors. In addition to teaching, you never know who else will show up. We promise you will never forget your night at Porn and Pastries.

Visit www.pornandpastries.com or contact michelle@xxxchurch.com

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Since we began the Strip Church Network, we’ve linked 42 ministries together to provide a message of hope and unconditional love across 25 states and 3 countries. Here’s just a snapshot of our current reach as we continue to grow!

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The Strip Church network has grown globally with ministries in Canada, Australia and the Virgin Islands.

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Directory 19

Grand Rapids, MI Eve’s Angels Leader: Anny Donewald Email: info@evesangels.org.com www.grandrapids.stripchurch.com

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Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN Ministry Name: Strands of Pearls Leader: Kjersti Bohrer Email: stripchurchmpls@hotmail.com www.minneapolis.stripchurch.com

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St. Louis, MO Ministry Name: Strip Church St. Louis Leader: Lindsay Parsons Email: stl.stripchurch@gmail.com www.stlouis.stripchurch.com

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Greensboro, NC Ministry Name: As I Am Leader: Kathy McClay Email: kathy.mcclay@gmail.com www.greensboro.stripchurch.com

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Little Silver, NJ Ministry Name: GIRLFRANN Leader: Suzanne Borkoski Email: suzanne@relevantnj.com www.newjersey.stripchurch.com

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South Jersey, NJ Emerge Leader: Kelly Master Email: stj.emerge@gmail.com www.southjersey.stripchurch.com

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Las Vegas, NV Ministry Name: AGAPE Leader: Lydia Hatting Email: lydmarx2@cox.net www.lasvegas.stripchurch.com

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Las Vegas, NV Hookers for Jesus Leader: Annie Lobert Email: info@hookersforjesus.net www.vegas.stripchurch.com

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Carson City, NV Ministry Name: Xquisite Leader: Brenda Simpson Email: brenda2326@gmail.com www.carsoncity.stripchurch.com

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Brunswick, OH Ministry Name: Girls of Hope Leader: Laurie O’Connell Email: vipbrunswick@gmail.com www.brunswick.stripchurch.com

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Oklahoma City, OK 36 Eternal Voices Elevated (EVE) Leader: Delissa Payne Email: dpayne06@yahoo.com www.okc.stripchurch.com Location:

Salem, OR Ministry Name: POLE Gems Leader: Cynthia Shaver Email: we.love.strippers@gmail.com www.salem.stripchurch.com Philadelphia, PA Emerge Leader: Kelly Master Email: stj.emerge@gmail.com www.southjersey.stripchurch.com

Absolutely. Enhance your ministry efforts with our “Jesus Loves Strippers” Bibles! This slim book features the Gospel of John, as well as many testimonies from women who used to be in the industry until they discovered the depths of Jesus’ love for them. Books are available in bundles of ten for only $25; order yours at StripChurch.com/Bibles.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

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Tacoma, WA Esteem Leader: Tiffany Bluhm Email: esteem@life-center.org www.tacoma.stripchurch.com Location:

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Columbia, SC Ministry Name: Pearls Leader: Kimberly Poovey Email: stripchurchcolumbia@gmail.com www.columbia.stripchurch.com

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Seattle, WA Ministry Name: Strip Church Seattle Leader: Leslie Hawkins Email: stripchurch@gmail.com www.seattle.stripchurch.com Location:

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Houston, TX Ministry Name: HOPE Leader: Amy Polak & Heloisa Annunciacao Email: hope4houston@gmail.com www.houston.stripchurch.com

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Marshfield, WI Sweet Treats Leader: Angel Hirsch Email: sweettreatsangel@gmail.com www.marshfield.stripchurch.com Location:

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Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX We Are Cherished Leader: Polly Wright Email: info@wearecherished.com www.dallas.stripchurch.com Location:

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DOES JESUS REALLY LOVE STRIPPERS?

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Newport News, VA Established Footsteps Ministry - Cherished Leader: Sharon Thomas Email: establishedfootsteps@hotmail.com www.newportnews.stripchurch.com Location:

Salt Lake City, UT Ministry Name: Jewels Leader: Misty Baxter Email: info@youareajewel.org www.saltlakecity.stripchurch.com Location:

Strip Church Network on Location:

Marshfield, Wisconsin “The girls are really talking and liking whatever it is that you’re doing when you’re here,” said one club owner. “Please keep it up. I can really see a difference in their attitudes when you leave.” We saw the proof of this when, one evening as we left the club for that night, we didn’t say goodbye to one of the dancers. She was with a customer and we felt it would be best not to interrupt her. We convened in the parking lot after we left, and a few moments later, the back door of the club flew open, and out came running this same dancer! “Dressed” exactly as you would imagine! “You can’t leave without telling me goodbye!” she joyfully said, leaning in to give each member of our team a hug. “I need a hug from you,” she continued. “I really like what you’re doing for us—it makes me feel special to know some ladies here give a rip about a bunch of strippers.”

– Jesus

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Oshawa, Ontario, Canada Strip Church Ontario Leader: Lisa Canning Email: lisacanning@rogers.com www.ontario.stripchurch.com Location:

Ministry Name:

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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Ministry Name: Lilies Among Thorns Leader: Danee Klassen & Lyzanne Foth Email: latsaskatoon@gmail.com www.saskatoon.stripchurch.com Location:

Vancouver, BC, Canada Ministry Name: Strip Church Vancouver Leader: Amanda Carrasco Email: amanda@xxxchurch.com www.vancouver.stripchurch.com

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Brisbane, Australia Ministry Name: Hope Foundation Leader: Bronwen Healy Email: bronwen@hopefoundation.org.au www.brisbane.stripchurch.com Location:

Location:

Join the Network

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St. Croix, Virgin Islands Strip Church St. Croix Leader: Angela Klein Email: a3klein@gmail.com www.stcroix.stripchurch.com Location:

Ministry Name:

Start developing your ministry team to reach women working in the sex industry. Find encouragement, experience, prayer, resources, and power for ministry. Attend one of our Strip Church Trainings, and be invited to join the Strip Church Network. StripChurch.com

See page three for Details

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on my own and able to take care of myself. I did end up getting stuck in a financial trap though, and when I thought about leaving the industry, I had no idea how I would survive. About a year after moving to LA, I met a new boyfriend who didn’t abuse me and I thought that, since he didn’t beat me and didn’t mind that I was in porn, he was perfect for me. We dated and lived together for a year and a half before the adult entertainment industry took a hit on my personal life. He was an actor, and while he was out of town to work on a mainstream movie, he went to a strip club. In my own twisted way of thinking, it wasn’t right for him to be lusting after other women because I was faithful to him! I had worked so hard over all these years at being that perfect fantasy girl so that men in my life wouldn’t want anyone else. But now the reality hit me hard: even with all the money, the fame, the glamour, and adoration, I still wasn’t quite enough. I fell to the floor and for the first time in forever, cried out to God. I asked Him to show me He was there, to give me a sign because I hadn’t felt His presence in my life since I was a little girl. Two days later, I visited my boyfriend on location, where I began talking with a guy on the set. He asked me what I did for a living, and I tried skirting around the issue but finally admitted I did porn. “Do you believe in God?” he asked. I laughed. I was in shock—no one had mentioned God to me since I was a little girl, and in that moment I realized this was the sign I’d prayed for. It turns out that this man was a Christian, so I went outside to pray with him and accepted Jesus back in to my heart. My life changed completely. I left the relationship and moved out on my own for the first time ever. I left the porn industry without a plan, leaving behind a website that I was still under contract with and that still wanted to pay me. I didn’t accept any more money from the site because I felt God wanted me to take a bold stand and show others the faith I had that He would take care of me. It was only a couple of months before someone referred me to a ministry called Treasures, where I always knew I had a safe place to go for counseling and support, even though it took me a while to accept that help. I had been like so many of the other girls: seeking help, then pushing it away when it was offered. But once I was ready for it, I went full force into my healing journey, participating in special events, volunteering on outreaches, and attending the support group. Fast forward 5 ½ years and here I am: still alive by God’s grace! I am now working on staff at Treasures and as a part of the Strip Church Network. I am speaking and am on the care team, giving me the opportunity to talk to the girls one-on-one and share my personal journey to a new life. I also coordinate the therapist-led support group each week. I work in the best and most supportive environment possible, and by working here I have regained my self-confidence so that if it is God’s will I can easily transition into another job.

finding her voice. Crissy lends her voice to Strip Church events training women how best to minister to girls in the industry.

But mostly, I have sought after God and after deep inner healing in an atmosphere of continual encouragement. Recently, we started hosting different workshops, from rebuilding your life to finances to health and fitness. The last one I attended was on post-abortion recovery, which marks the start of healing a broken place I still have. I’m no longer co-dependent and my worth is no longer based upon what others say. I have healthy boundaries in my relationships and have learned how to guard my heart. I feel like I am able to finally make healthy decisions in my life! It’s exciting to see myself growing stronger and stronger and leaving my fears behind. I have learned what it is to be filled with joy and for the first time in my life I truly do feel loved, valued and purposed! I have learned what it is to be filled with joy and for the first time in my life I truly do feel loved, valued and purposed!

Crissy

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&

Training Alumni Event TOPICS * Developing yourself as a leader * How to get inside the clubs * What to do once you get inside * Your reach beyond the clubs * Dos & don’ts * Developing your team * Financial support

A Strip Church training event is the best way to get insights and experiences from women who have been ministering effectively in the sex industry. Do you want to know how to reach women in your city who are in need of grace and hope? Have you been trying to get started but don’t know where to begin? Whether you have already started an outreach or are planning to, this training will better equip you to reach women working in the industry. Our trainings include presentation and discussion, training manuals, a chance to meet the team, and hands-on training during our strip club outreach (outreach for ministry leaders only).

It’s time for you to join us at one of our Strip Church Trainings:    ~ Where & When ~

DALLAS / ForT WORTH, TeXas* February 8th - 10th, 2013 San Diego September 20-22nd, 2013 Miami October 11-13, 2013 ~ Costs ~

$250 for leaders Includes In-the-Clubs Ministry Experience

Whether you are a current member of the Strip Church Network or have simply previously attended a Strip Church training, you and your team are cordially invited to join us February 8-10th, 2013 for our inaugural alumni event in Dallas, Texas! This will be the very first of these opportunities, and we hope to make them available in tandem with at least one—if not more—of our training events each year. So what’s different about the alumni event? What sets it apart from our regular training events? During this weekend, you’ll receive additional training and encouragement from a ton of great speakers, as well as have chances to meet with and encourage our concurrent Dallas training attendees.

~ WHERE & WHEN ~

- Speakers will include -

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA March 22nd - 23rd, 2013

Patty Wyatt & Lisa Jernigan GirlfriendIt.com

Annie Lobert HookersforJesus.net Anny Donewald EvesAngels.org

~ Costs ~

$99

Craig Gross XXXchurch.com

more If you’d like more information or to register, visit StripChurch.com/ alumni.html

Rachel Collins XXXchurch.com

Visit StripChurch.com for additional cities and dates.

$150 for each additional team member Note: we can only accommodate one person (the leader) from each team on the Outreach Ministry Experience.

Email tara@stripchurch.com with any questions.

Ryan Russell XXXchurch.com

The alumni gathering will meet in the same hotel as the regular training session attendees, and both groups will share opening and closing sessions, providing an excellent time for team retreats, refresher courses, and training new team members alongside your experienced ones.

We couldn’t be more excited about all the ways this new form of training can grow, develop, and extend the ministries you are so diligently and passionately leading across the world.

Yep, contact tara@stripchurch.com here too!

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Arizona

Miami Training Recap W

e always expect big things from the amazing ministries in the Strip Church Network, but sometimes those big things happen right in front of us, and they make us surprised, honored, and humbled to be allowed to work in this vital and important ministry. During our recent Strip Church Training in beautiful Miami, Florida, 28 women joined us from all across the country. These fierce warriors came from all over—from Minnesota to New York, from North Carolina to the Virgin Islands—to learn how to start a strip club ministry in their city. This was our first time to offer this training on the East Coast, and we couldn’t have been more excited about all the new cities represented at the event, as well as the different kinds of leaders we met: women who used to be in the industry, stay-at-home moms, a youth program director, travel agents, and other people from all walks of life, every single one of them passionate about letting women in the sex industry know they are loved and valued.

But one of the women who attended was actually no longer in the industry directly as a result of this ministry! Two years ago, she was trapped and offered escape by a Strip Church affiliate, and now here she was in Miami to receive training from some of the very people who had helped her out. She was no longer a slave; she was a passionate champion, eager to go reach other women exactly like the one she used to be. On Friday night, she went with all the other trainees to do an outreach, where we split into three separate teams and visited 20 different strip clubs around Miami. By the end of the night, we’d handed out over 900 gift bags to different club workers! It was indeed an incredible weekend of sowing seeds, building up leaders, encouraging one another in our faith journeys, and learning the ins and outs of running a non-profit organization. It was a marvelous time, and we look forward with anticipation to our upcoming training sessions in other cities, as well as our upcoming Alumni Event in Dallas, Texas.

This is why we do what we do. Thank you for your help.

“I had no idea how this ministry worked, so getting to experience it firsthand was absolutely amazing and has ignited incredible passion in my heart for the women and their value and expressing to them that they are loved and valued.”

–Angela

“It was an awesome weekend. The Lord is most definitely up to something in His desire to see His kids come back to Him. Thank you for empowering us all, and for the work you do day in and day out! You walk in Holy Spirit power and nothing can defeat that!”

-Natasha “The training made me more excited for

Life doesn’t fit in a neat little box. GirlfriendIt, our Strip Church affiliate in the Phoenix, Arizona area, sprang from our recognition that all women share similar needs: to belong in a community, to realize they matter, to know they have a purpose. For many women life is messy, complicated, and unpredictable; words that also apply to anyone desiring to passionately participate with God.

The sex industry is not a respecter of persons and is not limited to a particular race or economic status. Economic hardships have hit our families and communities, and some women are turning to the industry for sheer survival, just to support themselves and their kids. Strip clubs are also filled with college-age girls who need to earn money for school, who naively entered for “just a few months,” not knowing how easy it is to get trapped in a world they never anticipated. People tend to place labels on others all the time—whether consciously or subconsciously— especially on those in the sex industry. Unfortunately, along with those labels, we also send out judgmental and critical vibes that are felt deeply. But what if we quit the label-making business, shut down our “box companies,” and embraced our messy and complicated lives, inconveniently and continually pressing the boundaries of the boxes? Several years ago we asked ourselves, “Are our hearts beating for that one girlfriend?” On this journey each of us on our team has also discovered that we ourselves at times are that one girlfriend who needs to be reminded of the radical, transforming love of Jesus and experience His modern-day miracles. How can it not cause our hearts to flutter? How could we miss out on the opportunity to join in “only God” moments and miracles? It takes a team of passionately surrendered individuals who bring their life experiences—including hurts, disappointments, and challenges—to the table. In our case, each month it starts around a Starbucks table as we prayerfully prepare to go into the clubs. We never know what to expect, and it is that anticipation that keeps us aware of our need for God to show up! We have found an amazing community of friendship among ourselves, even though there are differences in ages, stages of life, personalities, and backgrounds. A couple of our team members are former dancers who can authentically speak into the women’s lives. Women in this industry need people who will press the boundaries of the neat boxes and dare to reach out. Thank you XXXchurch for living outside the box! We appreciate our partnership with our church, Central Christian AZ as well as GirlfriendIt as together we continually break out of traditional and cultural boxes!

the ministry and took away the anxiety that I had about training and starting this ministry. It also laid out a bunch of ‘common sense’ type of advice that I wouldn’t have thought of… that really prepared me for going into the clubs.”

-June 22

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Patty and Lisa

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Las Vegas

Y

ou would think my rock-bottom as a

“high-class call girl” (read: “prostitute” which itself is just another word for “being sex-trafficked”) would’ve been the time my pimp hogtied me and threw me in the trunk of my car, telling me he was going to drive me out to the Las Vegas desert and bury my freshly-killed body. Or perhaps it should be another time when, upon learning I was planning on leaving the glamorous life of being sex-trafficked in Vegas, my pimp had me kidnapped while I was pumping gas, beaten until my nose was broken, stripped naked with all my hair chopped off, and then beaten some more with an iron fireplace poker while being spat upon. Maybe it should be one of the many times I saw one of my friends— and fellow prostitutes—die. Seven altogether. One died in a taxicab from a drug overdose; one was shot in the face point-blank in a brothel; one was strangled in a hotel room and put in a suitcase; one was stabbed to death by her client; one got killed while in jail; one died of bladder cancer; and one died from complications of AIDS. What about when I contracted Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, and kept selling my body in order to pay my medical bills? I spent a total of three years going through intense radiation and chemotherapy, wearing wigs when I went on escort calls, vomiting violently in the bathroom af-

terwards. Surely that was the time I hit rockbottom and reconsidered my life? No. None of those. I gave myself many other opportunities to lose everything, like the period I spent addicted to cocaine, Oxycontin, Lortabs, Xanax, alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling. Or the time after that where I chased every type of spiritualism out there, from Buddhism to Wicca to vampirism. Or the period after that when I left my life as an escort, got in a relationship with a successful businessman, and began to worship at the temple of money. Obviously, no one ever starts out in the sex industry with an ambition to become a strung-out and debased shell of themselves. It happens over time, little by little, with hundreds of compromises along the way. I enabled myself to make those compromised choices by developing an alter ego of sorts. It wasn’t Annie making those decisions—it was someone I named “Fallen.”

Yes, “Fallen.”

Annie was weak and troubled; Fallen was strong and secure. Annie was wounded and fearful; Fallen was unhurt and brave. My lifestyle would’ve eaten Annie alive; Fallen just got chewed up and spit out. She was a fallen angel, and she could take it. And take it she did, for a long time. For more than a decade, in fact. Yes, there was a certain amount of surface glamour involved in the lifestyle of a high-class Vegas escort, and even more in the corporate

“Fallen left and the real Annie came back and Jesus gave me another chance.”

world that I joined afterward. But try as I might, my life as “Fallen” couldn’t fill the ever-expanding void I felt within my soul. Instead, I tried to fill it with marathon sessions spent on the floor of my walk-in closet in my million-dollar home, with only my alter ego, my drugs, my smokes, and my booze to keep me company. It seemed like light-years away from the little girl I started out as. For the first almost-decade of my life, I was simply a sweet, innocent soul who went to church every week with her family and learned all about God and Jesus in Sunday School. Until I was sexually abused at the age of eight. That changed everything. Instead of thinking of God as a loving Father, I imagined Him as having a big hammer, just waiting to smash me if I did anything wrong! So I hid my secrets and didn’t trust anyone. My family also moved around so much that I went to seven different schools during my childhood. I felt rejected much of the time but hung on to my virginity until, when I was 18, my boyfriend convinced me we would become closer and that he would “love” me more if we had sex. So I gave in… and he dumped me.

I was devastated. Angry. Hurt. And it was at that moment I decided to rebel. I listened to the message of pop culture and decided to define my self-worth by looking for love in all the wrong places, with wrong people—people with issues just like mine. I swallowed the pill that pop culture gave me so I wouldn’t be seen as a prude or weirdo. I hoped everything would be all right if I just kept a pretty smile on my face. And that’s how I got into the lifestyle. Here’s how I got out: I had so much pain, anger, shame, guilt, and regret in my life that I decided to erase it, so I overdosed on cocaine, alcohol, Xanax, pain pills, and somas in one night. And as all that hit my system, I fell to the ground, the physical pain in my chest scaring me to no end. Loud ringing in my ears; a tangible sense of isolation laying on me like a heavy blanket. This was real. This was death, approaching. And in the midst of it, I said, “Jesus, I’m sorry! Please forgive me! I can’t die like this! Please, Jesus, if You’re real, give me another chance!” You know what happened? Part of me died that day: the “Fallen” part! Fallen left and the real Annie came back and Jesus gave me another chance. It wasn’t long after that someone told me how God loved me… and I finally, at long last, believed it. My heart melted, and I took the leap of faith and dedicated my entire life to Jesus. Soon afterward, He called me to start Hookers for Jesus in Las Vegas, so I could go back and reach all the ladies I’d left behind when I left the sex industry. He’s been faithful ever since and has opened all kinds of doors for this ministry. He’s been faithful in my life, too—I’m now happily married to the love of my life, who supports me in all I do! Instead of Fallen, I’ve been resurrected! As Christians, we can be pitiful or powerful in whatever we do. We make our own choices. So if we have the power to make a difference, to change the world, then we should do something. Maybe we should do it now.

Annie 24

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Kentucky Florida

with people, but I defined “healthy” as living together and trying to not sleep with other people, all while stripping and watching up to five hours of porn a day.  In 2002, I visited the Internext Porn Convention in Miami. I had just begun looking at starting a pornography

During those first few years after giving my life to Jesus, there was a lot of healing work to do. I got to walk through the earlier abandonment issues I had. I got to really, truly forgive myself for the decisions I’d made, and I began to see myself the way that God sees me. Pure. Forgiven. Redeemed. Three years later, I started developing numerous groups to help women find freedom at The Mat, a ministry of Quest Community Church in Lexington. Since then, almost

I felt disqualified from loving or being loved. 

Beloved I

grew up feeling alone and isolated, spending a large amount of time by myself. So when I found some magazines at the age of ten, it only made sense they would spark an addiction that began to rule my life even at that early age. I looked at those pictures and thought, “Hey, that is what a woman is supposed to be.” By the time I got to college, I had a full-blown porn addiction.

We moved from state to state and town to town, but nothing helped the downward spiral of my heart

My addiction to porn left a void in me that I tried to fill with excessive partying, but it didn’t work. I got married in college, got divorced, started drinking heavily, and after my sophomore year, dropped out of school. The next fall I went to Ohio with some friends… and became a go-go dancer to help pay some bills. My friends asked me to move out, so I moved in with a customer who was almost 40 years older than me. I hated every minute of it. After saving every penny I could, I got on a bus and moved in with a man I’d had an affair with the previous summer. He left his wife and became my second husband, while I added alcohol and cocaine to my list of addictions. I started stripping at a club in town, thinking that, since I had been a go-go dancer, this wouldn’t be much different. Unhappy in my marriage, I turned to other men and began a series of affairs, leading to two pregnancies and two abortions. I started a downward spiral and one night, after a three-day binge, I overdosed on crack cocaine and almost died. By the age of 24, I had destroyed my second marriage and gotten divorced again.

To leave the world I had created, I fled to Mexico City, where I began a massive string of encounters with both men and women that left me waking up alone in hotels not knowing who I had been with the night before, or waking up with multiple partners around me. I started having sex for money with anyone who would pay enough. My rock-bottom came the morning I woke up on the side of the road after having been raped and thrown out of a car by three police officers and a taxi driver. My manager called an English-speaking twelve-step program in Mexico. It was July 15th, 1996, my first day of sobriety from alcohol and cocaine. I’ve been sober since. I turned my attention to making as much money as I could. I would try to have “healthy” relationships 26

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production company with a friend of mine, but by the end of the convention, I was so upset at where my life was, and even though I was surrounded by people, I felt totally alone. I thought a change of locations could help me, so that fall I moved to Lexington, Kentucky. Not long after, a friend of mine invited me to church, which sounded like the craziest idea I’d ever heard. I was used to this idea of hellfire and brimstone, hymns and condemnation, and conservative dress codes. But more than that, I felt disqualified from loving or being loved.  Still, I went. When I first walked into church, I was met with love and grace from people and from God. I asked lots of questions about who this man Jesus was and could He really love me despite what I had done and even will do—the bad and the good. And it turns out He does. On April 27th, 2003, after six months of questioning, I finally got a picture of grace and asked Jesus for His forgiveness, to come live in my heart, and to lead my life. He made me a brand-new person, and He is restoring and redeeming parts of my life that I had no idea could be healed.

1000 women have found freedom and hope from their addictions, from substance abuse to sex and pornography to everything in between. That same year, I got a clear picture from God and became passionate about walking back into the clubs and letting women know that they are loved and wanted by Jesus. So in 2007 I launched BeLoved and we started doing just that.

God still kept redeeming everything: after thinking I would be alone forever, in 2010, I married the man of my dreams. Also, in early 2011 we joined the Strip Church Network, knowing that we are stronger together. It is such an amazing gift to have a network of women across the globe to partner in prayer, leadership, and support. My most recent battle came on November 17th, 2011: the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a shock, but with Jesus I know there is a plan of redemption from even that. I gave my life to Jesus on April 27th, 2003. That was the day that the battle was already won. My life is His, and He will walk me through everything. Now I am cancer-free and my husband and I recently moved to Miami Beach, Florida to co-pastor a church while continuing with BeLoved.  I truly believe that through God, all things are possible and all things can be redeemed and restored. If you think you have gone too far, that there is no hope for a fantastic life, that you could never be loved, then borrow hope and courage from my story. No one has gone too far. Everyone who runs to Jesus makes it. ~ Psalm 18:30 (MSG)

Sandra

I was diagnosed with breast cancer... but with Jesus I know there is a plan of redemption from even that. StripChurch.com

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PO Box 50048 Pasadena CA 91115


Fireproof Ministries - Strip Church Issue