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30 DAY PORN FREE CHALLENGE

30 DAYS OF ADVICE TO HELP YOU STAY PORN FREE

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Vegas Porn Show – Recaps! + X3TV Ep. 11

by Craig Gross on January 8th, 2009 in Industry

We had 9 people join us on the show room floor from Seattle plus our team. Here are some of the stories. Long post but worth the read and more to be added:

I went to the AVN convention in Las Vegas because I agree with the message that XXX church is putting out.  God loves you pure and simple.  He loves you right where you’re at and none of the garbage in your life is going to change that.  I discovered that most of the people we handed our bibles out to were hungry for that message. No picketing no value judgements  just Jesus loves you and that’s it.

I had an amazing life changing experience.  I told more people that Jesus loved them in the first day of the convention than I had in my entire life as a believer.  I met a beautiful 25 year old girl named Sarah who has worked in a brothel for three years and porn for the last two years.  We crossed paths during the convention many times and I ended up having drinks one night with her and the girls from XXX(Rachel, Rachel and Krissey).  We talked for two hours.  She feels stuck in the porn industry, and doesn’t know if she deserves a better life.  Sarah let us pray for her that night and then she left us crying and hugging in the casino next to the slot machines.  I pray that some day this bright young girl will get out of the porn industry.

XXXchurch I am so behind you.  I want to help in Vegas next year, and if you guys need any help before then I’m your girl!

Leslie Hawkins
________

The Porn show, as expected, is an overwhelming place. I was not really sure what to fully expect and I was surprised by the support, curiosity and excitement from attendees and industry workers for what our booth represented. I am blessed to have been able to walk around the show and hand out shirts to the girls in the industry. This being my first show, I didn’t know anyone there but immediately girls would see the shirts and be excited to see us and anxious to converse with us. The conversations that took place were ones of getting to know, relating and sharing about the love we were there to extend. I am honored to be a source of affirming their worth and that they are loved. Telling them the important things that the industry they are in denies is my hearts desire and such a privilege.

With most of the conversations I had I know I probably won’t see many of those people again. Because of that it is great to continue to pray for what God is planting in their hearts through conversations and situations what will continue to take place in their life. A great aspect for us girls living here in Vegas and doing make up was making contacts with girls in the local industry. Whether we can hopefully get into one of the clubs to do make up and spend more time with them or potentially do make up20for any special event; creating relationships we can follow up on is an exciting thought and prayer. Beneath it all they are just women close to my age desiring to be valued and loved just like I do. I might not understand exactly what it feels like to be in their shoes but I can understand the hurts that have taken place and their desire for love and acceptance.

I am left with images of how degrading the whole scene was but I also am able to see the hope that is found within doors that have already been opened and trusting God with what is yet to come. The faces and stories break my heart. The need for light in this dark place is real and I pray that we were and continue to be genuine extensions of God’s love, mercy and hope.

*on a lighter note – wearing Rex the Rabbit and cruising the show to hand out shirts and take pictures was a fabulous (and extremely hot) experience.

Phylicia Norris

______

 

Thanks again for having us.  I loved this ministry before, but I’m in love with it now.  I learned so much and saw Jesus’ love in a fresh and powerful way these past few days.

I went on this trip for a few reason, honestly, one being curiosity. What it would be like at a porn show…the people, the experiences, the Truth being shared in a place where everyone makes their own
realities; it all sounded like a crazy awesome adventure!  I also went because if I didn’t go, if I didn’t help XXXChurch be there and sustain it’s ministry, how would the people in this industry know or
experience His love?  It’s my call and duty as follower of Jesus.

My experience on this trip was a whirlwind and with a plane ride to let my mind and heart digest it, the conclusion landing in Seattle was, I’m different.  I was given the awesome gift of time with people
in an industry and lifestyle I know very little about.  And through many conversations over four days I was able to see these porn stars as much more than their job title.  It’s basic, Jesus loves people,
and those people are a lot of different things and He is not afraid to love them.  I ended up seeing the power of God’s love working in people’s hearts right in the middle of total insanity, including mine!
It was, to put it simply, rad and I’m stoked to continue to boldly love people regardless of our differences, even if their job is in the bedroom.

I take with me back a heart that is full of faith in the power of Jesus’ love to move in ours heart and my own.  I take back the understanding that faithfully loving people does bring a harvest that
is worth the wait. And I take back the reality that I have to do my part and be obedient.

Jessica Nienaber

____

I had the distinct privilege of driving the bus to the porn show.  A bus full of fine folks from East Lake Church were inside, and as they were praying, I listened in.  The thing that stuck with me more than anything was the person who prayed, “Thank you Lord for trusting us to do this work.”  With that calling and belief going in, I don’t see how someone could fall into the temptation a porn show brings.

I went into the porn show looking straight at the ground, not wanting to contaminate my eyes with what was around me.  I got into the booth, my heart beating really fast.  It was kind of the last step for me in my role here at XXXchurch.  Being an intern the last two summers, and now as a full-time employee, it was the last thing to do.  It was almost like being baptized into the XXXchurch family.

I always “kind of” believed Craig that it isn’t hard to go to a porn show.  He always says it isn’t as hard as it looks.  And I did my best to believe him.  But after spending a few days inside of one, I know it’s true.  I feel like if someone wants to stop looking at porn, they should go to this show.  I have become disgusted with porn on an entirely different level after going to the show.  I don’t mean to sound strange, but there was this strange spirit of evil over the place.  I felt sick after leaving.  There is no light in there.  I can see why people within the porn industry never think to get out.  They don’t know there is another way.  Why is it that when people saw the “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” banner their first response was, “Really?”  They answer is “Yes, he really does love you!”  Why haven’t these people heard this?  Because no one has told them.

Mark 16:15 reads “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  It doesn’t have to be at a porn show.  Just go and do.

Stephen Rose

_____

While thinking about the week I came to the conclusion that life before the convention I thought I was doing a good job of being a “Christian”.  I was tithing, volunteering a ton at the church, going to church etc.  But was I really doing what Jesus would be doing and the honest answer was ‘No’.  Sheltered in my comfortable life doing easy things for me wasn’t what Jesus had in mind for me or us.  I had to get out of my comfort zone and start doing “Hard things”.  I can honestly say that I haven’t done a good job of witnessing to many people.  I honestly can say I don’t even know very many unchurched people to witness to.

I volunteer in the Church Office and I heard about this trip from Heather Dougan.  While listening to them talk about it I quietly asked, “if you really need help I guess I can go but I think my wife would really be the one who could be the most help”.  So with a bit of trepidation we arrive in Vegas.  We were greeted by the crew from xxxchurch.

I was nervous going in mainly from the point of view that I don’t know how to do this.  What would I say to someone? Especially people who are attending a Porn Convention? The last person I’d assume they’d want to see is a “Christian with a bible in their hand”.  I wouldn’t even want to see one myself.

While at the convention I saw what I’d expect to see… lot’s of pictures, videos and half naked people. Surprising I wasn’t that shocked and the emotion I felt the most was of Sadness.  Sadness for the girls who had hundreds of guys lining up to take pictures of them as a trophy or object.  Sadness for the empty eyes when and (if) they would look at you.

I felt no contempt for the guys walking around gathering stuff for their bags. All of us has their own baggage and un-dealt with sin.  I felt hope that they might actually one day look through that bag of crap and find one of our bibles. That they would be compelled to open it up and find Truth.  That’s my hope.

It was weird to actually come back to reality to land in Seattle and walk through the airport not having to divert my gaze.  I miss the feeling of being “that light” in such a dark place.  We need to keep that shining here at home. Find those dark places in our own backyard and to reach out.  May I have the courage and strength to keep XXXCHURCH’s dream alive in my neck of the woods.

Dan and I had the chance to talk with a young lady named Katy who is in the industry.  She told us that she really did want out of the industry and that she had only one more month left in and that she would finish her nursing degree and move back home to North Carolina to start life over.  We told her that Jesus really does love her and that her life had so much worth and that we would be praying for her.  She stopped by two days in a row and quietly chatted with us about her plans. I hope we had some positive influence on her.

Jerome Hawkins
____

Walking into the show i felt the way most non-Christians must feel when they visit a church for the first time – out of place.  The surprise for me was that everyone was relatively open to our message.  I had so many great conversations with people at the booth who were not only blown away that we were there but they really WANTED to engage us in conversation about Jesus.  This trip made me excited to bring this back home and reach out in practical ways to the margins of society in our town.  All in all, I was reminded that there was very little difference between me and the people i met at the show.  I was reminded that God’s grace has changed me and that i still need to claim that dependency every day.

Ryan Meeks

____

Thanks so much for allowing our group to be a part of your mission.  I am extremely thankful for this experience and for the “open arms” welcome we were shown by your staff, board and volunteers.  It was a truly amazing experience for me.

When I initially agreed to go on this mission trip, it was more to support Jonah and the strong calling that he felt for this ministry.  As we got closer to the trip, I started to feel almost panicky about how the convention would work.  What was I going to say to these girls in particular?  Did I HAVE to go out on the floor?  How could I possibly relate my boring life (which I’m even more thankful for now) with all the craziness they experience everyday?  Thinking about it now, it was crazy how stressed
I was making myself over this!  I wish I had read one of the passages before we left that your pastor used in his sermon on Sunday…”Do not worry beforehand about what to say.  Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11).  While I
know this passage is specifically speaking to the persecution of Christians in the end times, I think it is extremely fitting for the preparation of going into the porn show!

I really struggled the first couple of days of the show with interacting – not so much with people passing by the booth, but with the actual “stars” themselves.  I went out on the floor with Rachael Collins quite a bit and was truly inspired by her ability to bring so much humanity to these girls. Just simple things like asking their name and telling them we had stopped by to see them seemed to really touch them.  That’s when it really clicked for me – I wasn’t necessarily at THIS show to make connections with anyone here. However, I was being called to learn HOW to make connections with these girls so that I could take that knowledge home with me and put it to use in my community.  THAT’S what my mission was on this trip.

By the end of the show, I met my “one” girl.  Someone that I felt I was able to make a real connection with and plant a seed in.  I am so pumped to start a ministry in my community after this experience.  I can’t wait to make these connections over and over again!  I am so thankful for the opportunity
to get a glimpse into a world I knew very little about but one that is so deeply in need of Christ’s grace, forgiveness and love.

Lynn McKee

_____

I went to Las Vegas, because the p*rn industry seems like a unreachable environment, and I know nothing is impossible with God, so i wanted to go check it out and serve with some awesome people.
I guess what stood out to me most was the realness of everyone there. They were just regular people with interesting to say the least jobs, and that is how they see it as a job.
What stood out to me most, last night we were eating at the airport restaurant when one of the p*rn stars walked in with her boyfriend. The restaurant was incredible crowded, and it was just choose a seat seating, so offered them our table.  She recognized us and asked us about the show and we met her boyfriend, it was a really positive conversation.  As i walked away, I was thinking i wonder if she is looking around all the time, wondering if she is going to be recognized.

I have decided that my life will be forever changed by this experience.  God can not be put in a box. God is passionatly pursuing P*rn stars, He is not this soft, far away, being we make him out to be.  God is close, intense, powerful, an all consuming fire, I am in awe of GOD!

 

Heather Dougan

_____

Preparing for the show was interesting this year. Though this was my third show and I had an idea of what to expect, I was preparing for an entirely new role, that of a makeup artist. I was so excited and so nervous all at once. Basically I spent my days at the show, walking the show with the other girls and passing out Danger*Makeup cards, offering free makeup services.  At first it was a bit discouraging, not only do all of the girls come to the show entirely made up, but also, they are working so they don’t have a ton of time to get their makeup done. Luckily we were able to book some appointments to do a few girls’ hair and makeup before the show, at their hotels. This was probably the coolest part for me because in their hotels, away from the show, they weren’t performing at all. They were just themselves, they didn’t have to play any role for us.  It was so cool to connect with them outside of the showroom floor.

My favorite part of the show was talking with a girl in her mid-20s. She approached one of our volunteers during the show, who invited her to come hang out when she was done working. After the show ended that night, some of us XXXChurch girls, as well as our new friend from the industry went to go hang out at a restaurant in the hotel. For the first 20 minutes we just shot the breeze, learned a little about her, told her a little about us, etc. As the conversation wore on we got to learn more and more about her and how she got involved in the adult industry. She finally was able to say, that she wanted out, but she was incredibly scared. It was amazing to be able to sit there with her and offer her real, tangible help. We were able to look her in the eye and tell her that she no longer had to carry her burden alone… we were able to sit with her and tell her that she was valuable and precious and loved, and that moment has changed my life. She was so worried that God would be mad at her… she felt like she couldnt “come back” because God would be so mad… and as I was telling her that God wasn’t mad… He was just so happy to have her back… I was saying it as much to myself as I was to her.

I think the thing that most impacted her was that we didn’t want ANYTHING from her. She could not wrap her head around the fact that we were there entirely for her, and not to get anything. At the end of the conversation we all prayed together, exchanged contact info and let her know that she was no longer alone in this, whether she stays in porn for 50 more years, or whether she leaves today.
This was by far my best show yet… I never imagined what an amazing tool makeup would be for connecting with these women. I cannot wait to do it again, with more confidence this time!

Krissee

____

In the days and weeks leading up to the ’09 AVN Adult Film Trade Show I
had been preparing myself to wash the proverbial feet of the porn
industry.  I felt ready for the debauchery that I would be confronted
with.  I felt ready to try to shine the light of Jesus’ love for the
women whose work removes all but the shreds of dignity.  What I wasn’t
prepared for was what the consumers showed me.  They held a mirror up
to my face every time I saw an ass grabbed or a lecherous remark made
in passing.  For whatever reason I hadn’t expected to feel the prick of
shame at my past pornography
consumption.

As I handed out bibles I was a little surprised to notice how differently the industry girls would act as soon as I looked them in the eye and made normal small talk.  “How do you stand in those shoes all day?” or “Tired of Evanescence yet?” The far off look and fake smile that every girl at the show gives to the consumers would go away and they would respond with a joke or a genuine smile.  For a couple of seconds it wasn’t a terrorist looking guy handing out bibles and a girl in just her dental floss.  Hopefully for those few seconds or minutes that girl saw how she deserves to be spoken to. In their eyes I saw my sister, my wife, my daughter.  I wanted to protect them to offer the respect and attention that they deserve and to punch every leering face quickly gathering around.  Instead I would offer a t-shirt, sticker or bible and ask how the weekend was going before they walked back
to work.

Jonah

___

WHY I WENT

Hopefully it doesn’t sound cliche but I wanted to go where people need Jesus the most.  Who needs to experience God’s love more than people at a porn convention?

I knew it would give me an opportunity to share with my unchurched buddies why a Christian would go to a porn show.

I wanted to get out of my spiritual rut.

WHAT I EXPERIENCED

The XXX Church booth was the only booth in the entire show where the porn stars and strippers felt safe to hang out.

“The porn industry takes from you… you don’t take from it”

For many years I felt that a successful mission trip was measured by how many people I led to Christ. While I still believe at some point people need to hear the message. This trip helped me to realize how patient God is with all of us and that real success is about consistently showing up for Jesus.

I learned that many of my Christian friends didn’t share the same excitement for passing out bibles at a porn convention as I did. I think that I would have gotten more support from my fellow believers if I had told them I was going to protest.

HOW THIS WEEK CHANGED ME

Before my experience with XXX Church I would have never believed it was possible to reach out in loving way to people in the sex industry. It has given me a greater sense of confidence to hang out with people who don’t know God. What can they possibly say that would make me feel uncomfortable… I just spent five days at a porn show!

It’s got me thinking about how our church could do something radical for Jesus in our own city.

XXX CHURCH TEAM

Craig, Ryan, Jake, Sam, Stephen, Rachel, Rachel and Phylicia,

You guys are awesome! There is nothing to really add. You guys made it a memorable experience.  It was a good mix of ministry and fun.

I would love to go to the LA Show, if you need the help?

Dan Driscoll

____

What an incredible show. Here are some things I won’t soon forget.

-A young porn star who was from a church in Arizona where three of
the team members were involved. So, sad to see but so cool to show back
up in her world at a time like this.

– Rachel’s phone ringing at
our booth. It was a girl named Sara. Sara is a porn star who they took
to dinner the night prior. Sara called and said she wants out and can’t
do this any longer. Conversations continued….

– A brothel
owner who got a DUI and has to serve 80 of community service. She asked
me if we had a place where she could do that.  A brothel owner who needs wants to
volunteer. I explained to her what I wrote about a few posts ago after
my trip to the Chicken Ranch and not only are we in at her place she
will spend her 80 hours working the phones and relationships with other
Nevada brothel owners. God is all over this….

– 3,000 plus bibles gone.
– 300 plus t-shirts handed out
-5,000 stickers and tattoos gone

So much more we will have out next Monday on www.xxxchurch.tv and we will post all the write ups below.

Craig Gross

___

I went because I know that everyone in the porn industry is a person with real needs that Jesus can meet, and because I was excited to be a nice Christian inside the convention not a mean *ss one outside the doors.

I experienced a deep pain for these girls in the industry, my maternal side really ached for the girls at the booths.  I met one gal while she was signing autographs who was totally strung out.  After we talked about her tattoos I gave her a t-shirt and let her know that Jesus loves her no matter what, she said, “I wish I had my head on straight so that I could really talk to you, but I haven’t slept in 3 days”  I felt desperate for her, caught in this cycle of lies and drugs to ease the pain.

What stood out: There were a lot of elderly couples, they could barely walk, but they had their bag of porn – it reminded me that you don’t outgrow this.   Also, how fun it was to hand out bibles at the booth and see the shock and confusion on everyone’s faces…engaging in conversations was easier than I thought it would be too.

I will definitely come back.

Michelle Meeks

_____

i had the time of my life.  my dreams are becoming a reality. sounds cheesy but its so true.  the connections that were made and that were continued from last year was incredible.  trying to get moments with the girls just to hug them or talk for a few moments is what i thrive on.  i really felt stretched in so many ways.  doing makeup for the first time was so exciting to me. they are in their element when they are sitting in your makeup chair.  all of a sudden they are not at the convention or not getting ready for the show but they are just getting their makeup done by a friend.  to have conversations where they could be themselves and not have a line in front of them ready to take their pictures or touch them.  they were just girls wanting to look nice for themselves.  i am hoping that the makeup can continue and be an “in” to build so many more relationships. i have learned so much.
i was able to talk with one of the girls i met last year. she was at the booth next to us and this year was promoting for another club . we have stayed in contact through this year.  it was so nice to see how excited she was that we were at the convention again.

we made plans to hang out soon and she will be living close by. those are the relationships that i pray God continues to grow and make more of. saturday night was an example of the main purpose why we do what we do.  to have a girl go out for drinks with you and by the end of the night say that porn is not what she wants to do is something you can only dream of happening. this is why we are here .  she was a women that had been an escort, in a brothel and now in porn films.  she said over and over that she was not satisfied with life.  krissee, leslie, rachel and i prayed with her in the middle of the casino that night. it was truly amazing.  having her call me the next morning because she didn’t want to go to the convention and needed someone to talk to was the best thing i could have heard.  its easy for us to say “yeah, get out of the business, everything will be ok”. but i cant even imagine how scared she must be.  there are lots of steps to take and i know God is working on her heart.  It is  my goal to stay in good contact with her.  it will take time.

over all……this is where jesus would have been and i see why. lots of hurting people that want to be loved and if i am able to show them just a glimpse of the love that God has for them i will do it.

Rachel Sanchez

____

 

Day3

Bible are all gone. Over 300 t-shirts are out. Rachel met a girl from her high school now in porn. Jake met a girl that used to listen to us speak while she went to Ryan’s old youth group. We met a star that wants to do something else with her life besides porn and shared a drink with her after the show and were able to pray with her.  I talked to two kids that are addicted to porn and are open to getting some help all of this will be in front of the cameras for MTV TRUE LIFE I AM ADDICTED TO PORN. Full recaps will come soon from the whole team. The show rolls through Sunday this year. Headed to church in the morning and then to the show.

 

Day 2

There are many more words for this….but Rex is back! More updates later. So much is happening. We have a great team with us from Eastlake in Seattle. Great people and volunteers. Bibles, makeup, tattoos, stickers, Rex and the biggest display ever. We will get more on the site and just wait for the video recap.

 

 

Day 1
The Vegas porn show is here. The team has arrived from Seattle and the booth is set up and ready to go. We have a bunch of new stuff at the booth this year including a huge new display and some sweet triangle displays. And stickers and tattoos to go along with the Bibles.

Stay tuned here for updates!

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