For Theresa Scher, it started with dancing.
She was a young, divorced, single mother with a son to raise, so she thought she would try dancing to make extra money; first in San Diego, then in Vegas.
I was so innocent about it, she said. I thought I was a Christian dancer. I really didnt consider anything other than performing.
But the temptation for more money kept her wanting more.
Slowly some guys saw my vulnerability and they started telling me I could make so much more doing private dances, said Theresa. Choosing an exclusive clientele, she began making enough money to finance a lavish lifestyle, including supporting her brother and putting her son in the best private school in San Diego.
I felt I had made it, she said. But slowly, she started drinking, doing cocaine with customers and hanging out with married men. I started to compromise my values.
'What Are You Doing with Your Life?'
Theresa was planning to take her business to the next level with the launch of a website to advertise her profession, when she says her conscience caught up with her: This is going to be forever and your son is going to see this.
I had so many bills and responsibilities, Theresa said. I was in a hotel room one day, depressed and lonely. I had lost all my friends through this lifestyle. My dad called me and said, What are you doing with your life? I broke down and cried and said I need to come home, dad. That was the beginning of the wake up. I didnt get out of the business right away, but I slowly started to come to church.
She had gone to Horizon Christian Fellowship and heard Miles McPherson as a young Christian, so it was natural that she would attend the Rock. Going back to church wasnt easy, she says.
"I felt too guilty to pray... It took one to two years of going [to the Rock] and getting my self-worth back." -- Theresa Scher
I felt too guilty to pray, she admitted. I felt I was living in such darkness. I knew God was there but didnt feel worthy of praying to Him. It took one to two years of going and getting my self-worth back.
'That's What I'm Supposed to Do'
One day, after having finished reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Theresa turned on CNN, and heard a story about Heather Veitch, a former Vegas stripper who started JCs Girls to reach out to those in the sex industry.
That was my Aha! moment, said Theresa. I said, Thats what I am supposed to do. She contacted Veitch and got permission to start a JCs Girls chapter in San Diego, but she needed two volunteers to get the ministry started. She attended the womens retreat for the first time, and was so broke that she needed to get a sponsor to attend.
We were asked to give our testimony. I never wanted to admit what I had done, but I raised my hand, said Theresa. I was terrified. I thought Christian women were the enemy. I felt outcast.
But something life-changing occurred. I was so amazed by the love and support I got from these women. After I had spoken [one woman] said, I used to hate girls like you; now I want to help them. My roommate admitted she would do things for money. By that weekend I had found my girls to start the ministry.Please see accompanying stories, "JC's Girls, Part 1: Easing the Sting," and "JC's Girls, Part 2: Delivering Daughters from Darkness." If you would like to help JCs Girls, visit their website at www.sdrock.com/ministries/jcsgirls. Donations of funds and toiletries are needed for care packages.
For more information about the JC's Girls Ministry, click here »