12 hours straight. It's something they do here in Canada that shows don't do in the States... they run REALLY long hours on Saturday. From noon through midnight our team manned the JLPS booth and we made tons of great connections. The square footage of the show isn't too expansive, but the show promoters have lots of people moving through this space. It's been fun to see this group of people come together for the mission of sharing God's grace. It may sound odd to the ears, but we've been having a lot of fun talking with people, talking about Jesus, and hanging with each other. (But really, why does that have to sound odd? Shouldn't it be the norm?)
Thank you for the ongoing prayers. The show runs until 5pm today and the Bibles are almost already gone.
We had put out a request from our support network and one ladies group really came through with all kinds of wonderful donations to make up gift bags for some girls at the show. The show this year has a Miss Taboo contest where 5 girl are competing for a $5000 scholarship to a fine arts school. There are also 4 repeat performers and a lady who is the MC that we gave the gift bags too. The MC is named Samantha and I talked with her about the bags initially. She thought it was a great idea and seemed happy to find out one was for her.
Three of the Miss Taboo contestants made a point to stop by the booth later in the night to say thank you. One said that the water bottle was perfect for when she got off stage and was very thirsty. It was such a great point of connection with them. The bags had all kinds of girly items (lotions, nailpolish, nail files, earings, notepads,), a JPLS Bible and a note on a hand made card (one of our team members made them) that said "Just a little something to pamper you. We hope it makes you feel as special as you are! from xxxchurch.com" The bags are definitely one of the highlights so far.Samantha stopped by the booth as well later on and thanked us as well. She said it was filled with all the things she forgot at home. I have been able to connect with Samantha on facebook and will be praying for her. Please join me in that as well.
There has been some more media attention and lots of people are stopping by saying they heard about us in the news. The reason I think this is fantastic is because it means more people will hear the message that we are bringing and will hopefully check us out and find the love of Jesus.
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragements. Keep it up!
There is no way I could've ever predicted that for two years in a row God would lead our ministry to be in Vancouver, Canada doing outreach at this porn/sex show. It truly is crazy sometimes how all of this stuff comes together. Some of you already know the back story, but God has been using a passionate women from here named Amanda Carassco to challenge, inspire and develop local Christians to bring His grace and love to people at the Taboo Naughty but Nice convention.
We joined up with Amanda and most of the rest of team yesterday afternoon to do some training, becoming familiar with each person on the team and do some team 'bonding' through an odd little ice sport known as curling. While there are disagreeing reports that the Americans came away winners on the home ice, we do agree on that fact that God has put together a good team for this show and we are excited to be here sharing his hope and life.
Here is a bit more about our first day from Amanda...
Thank you for your prayers. Hugely needed and the encouraging facebook comments and emails are really helpful. It's been a really rough day for me personally. I want to start off by saying that the team has started off strong. I am really excited about the people that are with us. Last show we were all new to each other and quickly became friends and this year many of us were already friends, which brings a different feel to it. It is strange to be the female leader this year.
Not long after arriving a Province newspaper reporter came and he seemed very nice and he asked if he could have his photographer take a picture and we said yes. The photographer asked if we would pose with some other girls and pointed to some girls in black T-shirts and we thought it would be a neat picture showing us sharing the gospel with other girls. Then he asked us to move to a different booth for better lighting, then the girls we were to pose with became a guy with a tie and no shirt and a girl in a corset. He gave me this weird skateboard to hold and I gave it back because I couldn't figure that out and then he quickly snapped the picture. I don't think this pic will resemble what I though he was asking. I think I understand (slightly) how models get sucked into things they never thought they would do. It happens very quick and you don't really get what is going on till it's over and then you just feel wrong about it. But, despite my concerns after that experience that the reporter wouldn't tell our story very well, the article seemed to come out pretty decent. Check out the article here: http://www.theprovince.com/sparks+anti+porn+crusade/4106935/story.htmlOverall, we are being well received at the show and even though I have been once before it is naive to think that you can be in that environment and not be effected. At times it is overwhelming, both the inundation with porn and the pain of the people. The porn stuff itself is difficult because I am so astonished that people turn to this. I want to yell really loudly that there is better than this! I have a save the world complex and it breaks my heart often - which is good and bad.
I am going to bed to get some sleep. Please also pray for my husband. He is AMAZING. He has supported me so well. I can not do this without him. My family is downtown with me which is fantastic. I leave the show and am surrounded by beautiful faces of my children.
Thank you all. Please keep praying!