Our experience with XXXchurch Canada was amazing! Our team came together well and it was like we had always known each other...thanks mostly to Amanda and technology! My husband, Mike, and I were encouraged by the number of people that seemed genuinely excited that we were at the porn show. There were some that wanted nothing to do with our booth, but the majority of the people wanted to know what we were actually about. My life will forever be changed as I was challenged while there to look at what I am doing in my everyday life for God's kingdom. I now know that I need to be doing more and I am actually looking into possibly starting up a strip church ministry in our area. Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity to be a light in the darkness!
I am so thankful to have been a part of this outreach team. It was a blessing to serve along side such a loving and joyful group of people, who want everyone they meet to deeply know the Love of God and the new life available through Jesus' sacrifice. As encouraged as I was by the team, I was even more encouraged to see the genuinely excited patrons that encountered our booth at the Taboo Show. Whether they simply received a bible, or hung around and heard more about Christ's love for them, an overwhelming number of people were extremely thankful!! I was also encouraged because there were few in their early 20's who refused a bible...they often seemed the most receptive. That reminds me that God won't give up on my generation: there's hope for an age group often stereotyped as self-centered, over-sexualized and driven only by money and material things. It was so cool to look into the eyes of men and women my age and te ll them that Jesus still loves them, regardless of what their life looks like at the moment. It is a true honor to be the hands and feet of Christ. He will never stop pursuing His children with love and kindness, and we are invited to be a part of it!
"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!" Psalm 139:17-18
from Mike Zito
One guy sticks out…he came up to me, speaking really fast and kinda harsh about how he thought we were there to bash porn and tell them that they were all going to hell. I immediately told him that was not the case. That we just wanted to share the love of Jesus with him and anyone else who would listen. His defenses came right down and he was very thankful for our ministry and the bible I handed him…so much so he invited me to his after party so that we could share our message with others! Seriously, how cool is that!
Another awesome moment was when a group of people in the adult industry came by our booth just to say thank you for the gift bags our team leader made for them. You could see just how genuinely touched they were that somebody thought of them, not as an object, but as an actual human being!
Yeah we stick out in a room that is promoting sex in a unrealistic light. Yeah there are those that laugh and walk on by or those who will not even make eye contact. But who cares. There are so many more that will stop and ask questions. They actually want the stickers and bible. Who knows maybe they never open them or maybe, just maybe, when times are hard and they don't know where to turn they'll pick up that bible with the unusual cover and find the hope they so desperately need! Overall I loved the opportunity to be able to talk with random people who wanted to talk for a few moments and also I loved the opportunity to plant seed in the minds of people and possibly others through the handing out of bibles.
from Any Tallman
I had a blast serving with the team. Everyone was so supportive and we all became great friends very quickly. I didn't really know entirely what to expect, but God was definitely at work through us. I love that we got to show people love. There are so many who are searching for love in many different places, or just assume that because we are Christians, that we are going to tell them what they were doing wrong with their lives. I love that the message that we were sharing was one of hope and not of condemnation. That no matter what you or I have done, that Jesus loves us. I believe that to be true, and want everyone to experience the freedom that comes from Him. Whether someone laughed and wanted a picture with the "Jesus loves Porn Stars" cutout, or grabbed a bible and sticker, I really believe God used it to plant a seed in their lives.
DAY 2 & 3
From Amanda, team leader XXXchurch Canada...
There are always a variety of reactions to the slogan Jesus Loves Porn Stars. One man was offered a Bible and he said, “Oh I know Jesus and I know porn so I’m ok, I don’t need a Bible.” We also had one very agitated young lady who was actually very angry and was emphatic that the wording should be, “Jesus loves reformed porn stars.” She told us that premarital sex was sin and porn was a sin and so she could not comprehend, no matter how we worded it or tried to explain it, that Jesus would actually love someone in their sin. I hope one day she comes to realize how much Jesus loves her.
We met a guy named Travis who was really deeply touched that we were legitimate with our message and not mocking. He shared that one month ago he found out that his wife, and mother of their two kids, had been having an affair with his best friend and wanted to be with the friend. We talked about all the different ways that was so painful and would continue to be painful for a very long time.
The majority of the people take a Bible and continue walking but so often I found people come back and we would offer them another one and they would clarify by telling us they had already been given one, but they came back to find out what we were all about. I love that. It means people were thinking about the words they saw and wanted to be sure they knew what our message is. I know our message is misinterpreted sometimes, but so was Jesus’.
The show was true to its history and we were out of Bibles by 7:30pm Saturday night. The show goes till 12pm Saturday and there is all day Sunday from 12-5. We will give out the last of our stickers and temporary tattoos but it’s amazing how many people are disappointed to not get the Bible that speaks to what our message is, when they find out we have that. They can be bought on the website but you know that its unlikely people there will go and purchase one, but there is still the hope that they will at least check out the site and make use of the resources available and see the difference it really makes to know that Jesus loves you regardless of what you have done.
Romans 8:38, 39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From Amanda, team leader XXXchurch Canada...
It is hard to recap such an incredible experience and we are only at the end of day 1. We started with team training and most of our team being face to face for the very first time. Technology has been great in helping us form a solid bond for the past few months and so being together in person was so natural right from the start. It is very clear and evident that God called each person that we have here and each person is so uniquely gifted for what God has called them to accomplish on this trip.
We had begun set up and as I turned around there was my friend Tom. You can read my story about him here : http://www.loveglobal.com/posts/post.aspx?post=1623 He found our booth and came right to see me. When we had prepared gift bags for the girls I made one special package for Tom. He opened it and there was a candy, a Starbucks gift card and a tin of nuts. He was so surprised and he said, "How did you know I LOVE nuts?" I had no idea they were his favorite but thank you to the person who donated the nuts for the bag - clearly God inspired. He had a hard time with words and understanding and he said, "Why did you do this? No one ever does nice random things for me." Heart break moment number one right there. The weekend is usually full of those for me.
What was even more interesting about Tom finding me, was that he was only there for a few hours and then he was leaving on a plane to another porn show in Montreal so if we hadn't seen each other then, I would not have seen him at all.
There were incredible conversations had. The team was amazing! People responded really well. I offered one guy a Bible as he was walking past and he said no, but then he read the sign we have that says, "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" and he turned around and asked if he could have one. Lots of curious people wanting to know why we are there and lots of funny comments, a woman doing a Tebow after being given a Bible. Our booth is beside some very nice people who draw your portrait but make it look like a Zombie. Bondage people behind us and a psychic across the aisle.
I want to give a big shout out of appreciation to Coastal Church in Vancouver who graciously hosted our team training and is praying for us. Also to those of you who send encouraging emails and let us know you are praying. It means so much to know there is a strong backing behind us and we have felt it! You may not feel like it's much, but we can not do this without you!
Incredible to see how God is using us and will continue to do so for the next three days and after the show.