The man plopped into the zebra-striped chair, and grinned suggestively. "What do I get if I sit here?" he asked.
A JC's Girl answered boldly: "You get prayer."
The man's faced dropped. But he let himself be prayed over by the troop of brave women from the Rock Church who had come to share Jesus Christ at AdultCon, the adult entertainment convention held at the Los Angeles Convention Center last April.
Half a dozen volunteers from the Rock's JC's Girls ministry occupied an eye-catching glittery fuchsia and black booth during the weekend, and reached out to members of the porn industry. A brightly lit sign hung at the back, announcing JC's Girls at the Rock Church San Diego. More than 300 people were praying throughout the three long and demanding days April 9-11, 2010.
"The light shines brightest in the darkest places," said one participant, "and this place was a black hole."
"We Just Want to Tell You About God's Love"
The JC's Girls ministry at the Rock Church is the San Diego chapter of a larger ministry started by Heather Veitch, a former stripper in Las Vegas. It is dedicated to reaching out to women who are, and have been, involved in the adult entertainment industry. The purpose is to minister to these women in love and without condemnation.
A half dozen volunteers participated in AdultCon. Arriving Friday, April 9, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the excitement and anticipation blunted any fears they had. They laid down a carpet, set up cozy black and white striped chairs, and plumped up fluffy pink pillows to create a welcoming living room-like atmosphere. They began to walk the convention floor, two by two.
"The light shines brightest in the darkest places, and this place was a black hole," said one participant.
"God is going to move mightily this weekend, I can just feel it," said JC's Girls founder Theresa Scher.
He did indeed--sometimes in unexpected ways.
Some convention attenders rushed past the booth, looking indifferent, or perplexed. A few stopped and stared. "Why are you here?" was a typical question. Or, "What are you?" Team members ignored the often provocative costumes and responded, "We want to tell you all about God's love for you." It usually disarmed the defensiveness, the volunteers reported, leading to more conversation.
The booth was filled with beautiful gift bags stuffed with a "love letter from God," candy, makeup, and a pink embossed Bible. Some conventioneers would stop to ask how much they were. The JC's Girls would grab a bag and answer, "They cost nothing. We want you to have this gift from us." (Men who stopped at the booth received a leather Bible and a brochure.)
One woman named Laura working at the convention stopped by and listened as a smiling JC's Girl told her that "Jesus loves you. He changed my life and delivered me from sex addiction, and I now live my life for Him."
Laura seemed captivated by the volunteer's warm glow, and she relaxed and sat down. Several team members gathered around. Sheri Brown, co-leader of JC's Girls, asked, "Would you like to ask Jesus Christ into your life?"
Laura's eyes lit up. "Yes!" Team members laid hands on her as Sheri led her through a prayer of repentance.
"If Not Us, Then Who?"
JC's Girls wasn't the only Christian presence in the "dark hole" of AdultCon. Walking the convention floor, JC's Girls spotted another bright booth. This one was occupied by Pink Cross, a ministry based in Bakersfield, California. Pink Cross volunteers were veterans of AdultCon, and embraced the newbies warmly.
The brave solitary male volunteer with the JC's Girls team, Rick Sainz, cruised the floor most of the weekend, seeking divine appointments.
At one point, an angry man accosted him, swinging a Bible in the air. "Why are you here?" he demanded. "I don't understand why I have to get a Bible."
Rick calmly responded, "We are here to share God's love with these women. Many are dying and are in need of a lifeline to freedom."
Slowly the man quieted down.
"If not us, then who is going to come?" continued Rick.
At the end of the conversation, the man extended his hand to Rick, and thanked him.
At the Porn Convention to Encounter God
The entire weekend was being upheld in prayer by a network of 300 "intercessors," intensely focused prayer volunteers. Sometimes an intercessor would feel led to relay the team a "download from heaven" via e-mail or texting.
The entire weekend was being upheld in prayer by a network of 300 intercessors.
Out of the blue on Friday, one intercessor sent this message: "A person is going to be healed of smoking addiction."
Not a predictable topic to grapple with at an adult entertainment industry convention. But the team members kept their eyes out.
On Saturday afternoon, a woman stopped the booth and began to chat. Her boyfriend had brought her to the convention on a "date." That led to some deep conversation. "I cried out to God last night. I'm done. I desperately need help," she admitted, with tears starting to spill. Her name was Pauline.
Two volunteers took Pauline to a corner of the convention hall, where drapes provided a more private place to pray with her. Standing amidst overflowing trash cans, the women started to pray with Pauline. A security guard came by. When they explained what they were doing, he said he would stand guard. "I'll make sure no one bothers you."
Pauline confessed a list of sins. A JC's Girl sternly said, "I can't pray for you until you promise to stop having sex with your boyfriend." Pauline agreed.
Then as they were wrapping up the prayer, Pauline admitted one more thing. "I have a smoking addiction," she said. The shocked team members prayed for a total healing, remembering the intercession's e-mail message.
"You went to a porn convention to have an encounter with God!" exclaimed a JC's Girl. "Praise God!" The women embraced before parting.
"I'm Ready for the Prayer Now"
On the last day, two hours prior to the close of the event, the JC's Girls team received another text message. "You will be staying after for someone." They had no idea what that referred to.
All day Sunday, one man working the convention named Chase kept coming back to the booth. He even brought the women a flier from a church service he had attended that morning. "See, I am a Christian and go to church," he said, sitting on one of the zebra stools.
"Are you sure you don't want some prayer?" a JC's Girl asked.
"Nope," he replied. He said he was happy being addicted to women and food."
"What if you found true love?" she asked. "Would you abandon all the sex and food?"
"God is faithful to you, and won't cheat on you or lie to you."
"Oh yes. When I find the right person, I am faithful."
The woman looked at Chase and smiled. "God is faithful to you, and won't cheat on you or lie to you."
At the end of the day, the team was packing up the booth when Chase reappeared.
"Okay. I'm ready for that prayer now," he said.
No more glitter or fuchsia backdrops. No sign or funky chairs. The crowds had gone. All that remained was a bare cement floor, and a circle of love surrounding this man as the JC's Girls team laid hand on him in prayer.
Afterwards, Chase lifted his head with a look of awe on his face. "Wow. I feel so much lighter."
Thinking through the challenging weekend, Theresa said, "God did His thing. We handed out almost 500 Bibles, and we ran out before the event was over. Four people gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Prayer touched lives and impacted a dark realm with God's amazing love."
-------- ---------- ---------
Maria Sainz is a volunteer with the Rock Church Writers Ministry. For info, visit www.sdrock.com/writers.
For more info on JC's Girls, visit http://www.sdrock.com/ministries/jcsgirls/