Roger came to us out of the blue.
Roger was a regular at the strip club we visit to bring God’s love to women who work there. Roger was a little sloshy and a lot broken. I didn’t want to see Roger. Roger challenged the very love I was called to share. To be honest, I wanted to despise Roger for multiple reasons. I tried to ignore Roger, just glaze right over him. But God wouldn’t let me.
It happened like this… before we gained enough trust for the club owners to let us into the dressing rooms, we would sit at the bar and order a soda, then chit chat with girls on the floor. It was a great start, minus the patrons. Roger wanted to get in on our conversation. Errrggghhh. Dude! Come on! Every time we’d just get to start to know one of our new dancing friends… there was Roger moving in on our quality time. I was friendly enough but I knew in my own heart I was nasty-ugly.
I was challenged the morning after one of our evening adventures. I was praying for the lovelies I was blessed to rub shoulders and share conversation with… then Roger popped into my mind. I was annoyed… there he was again. Then I remembered part of the conversation that Roger moved in on. He was the first individual to ask, “What’s your deal?” And when I responded with the truth, “We are church girls… just here to expose God’s love to some women who work real hard and might need to be reminded, no strings attached.” Roger excitedly yelled out, “I KNEW IT!” He went on to expound that he once attended church but life and disappointment had got in the way. He shared that someone he loved desperately was back in rehab and that his heart had been recently overwhelmed (again) by loss through death. I saw sad eyes through Roger’s plastered smile. I was ashamed of my cold small heart toward Roger. With repentance my heart grew that day. Not only to include precious dancers but also patrons, bouncers and owners. I love these people…. with a Jesus kind of grace-filled love.
Fast forward a few months.
We were about 6 months old in our ministry and still had yet to earn the privilege of hangiing out with the girls in their dressing rooms. We were praying… a lot. One evening adventure led us to Club #1 a little later than usual. It was packed. There were many faces we didn’t recognize. The cutie at the door looked at us with ‘deer in the headlights’ eyes as we asked if we could just bring the gifts to the dressing room. Just then… a few feet deep into the club we heard a slurry voice yell out, “LET THEM IN! LET THEM IN! THOSE GIRLS ARE GOOD! THEY ARE THE REAL DEAL!” Up to the dressing room we went and have been going in ever since.
Roger, you are loved with an everlasting love. You were also the catalyst to enlarge my heart.
Annie Bullard |Strip Church Network Partner
Co-Leader 99|ONE Syracuse, NY