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JC’s Girls, Part 2: Delivering Daughters from Darkness
By Shawn Maree McCowan
She was out of money and didn’t know what to do, so 24-year-old Mindy turned to the only occupation that she knew would bring her quick income – strip dancing. Only now, she was a new Christian; she didn’t have the heart.

“The night started off in the usual way except now I felt out of place,” said Mindy*. “My stomach was in a knot, I couldn't stop shaking, and I wanted to cry. I gathered myself together and prayed my first prayer: ‘Jesus, please throw me a bone.’

“I felt unworthy of asking for anything, but figured what the heck? About two minutes after, a girl grabbed my arm ... She explained that she was from JC's Girls from the Rock, and that Jesus loves me!" -- Mindy

“I felt unworthy of asking for anything, but figured what the heck?” said Mindy. “About two minutes after, a girl grabbed my arm and asked me for a dance. We went to the back where she explained that she was from JC's Girls from the Rock, and that Jesus loves me! I thought I was going to die on the spot.”

Mindy found a new set of friends, got out of the business, and became the first person to be baptized through the San Diego ministry of JC’s Girls.  “JC’s” stands for Jesus Christ’s.

‘Not Alone Any More’

There are now 20 to 30 women actively involved in the San Diego chapter of JC’s Girls at the Rock Church. Some of whom have worked in the sex industry as dancers, escort girls or prostitutes. Having people admit they have come out of the industry themselves is encouraging to those still working in the business.

“All of a sudden you’re not alone any more,” said “Nicole,” a former prostitute.

When Nicole’s daughter “Natalie” met Theresa, Theresa could identify the flamboyant signs that she was involved in the sex industry. (Please see side story, "JC’s Girls: Theresa’s Story.")

“Theresa and my mom were friends … and she could tell we were living that lifestyle,” said Natalie.

Not only was her mother a former prostitute, but her father was a pimp. “She talked to my mom about it. She said, ‘We have to help Natalie.’ She talked to me and she was very supportive and nonjudgmental. She shared her experiences with me. That was two years ago. I went to church for a year and still was escorting. My mom was supportive, too, but she didn’t know what to say without offending me. Theresa became my accountability partner, and now I’m leading Bible study. Who would have thought it?”

‘So Stoked I Got Connected’

Friendships and Bible studies formed through the ministry help keep the girls accountable, connected and growing in their faith.

At a recent JC’s Girls Bible study, “Missy” described “three years of hell” she went through while dancing in Las Vegas, being addicted to drugs and suffering excruciating back pain.

“I was like a toxic waste dump,” said Missy, a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. “Everyone turned their back on me. I hated God. I think I was subconsciously trying to kill myself.”

“It’s scary thinking of changing. I’m so stoked I got connected [at the Rock].” -- Missy

After four overdoses, Missy finally agreed to get help from her grandparents, who ran a clinic in Washington. “God saved my life,” she said. She is clean and sober and has been attending Rock Church for the last three months.

“It’s scary thinking of changing,” Missy admitted. “I’m so stoked I got connected [at the Rock].” She is especially grateful to meet other girls who have been down a similar road, after being shunned so often by other women.

“They don’t want their boyfriends around me,” Missy said. “They don’t want me to talk about having been a dancer.” She is now studying to be an ultrasound technician.

Hoping for a Home

Anny Donewald shared that after six years of prostitution, dancing and abusive relationships, she was able to leave the industry and spend time in seclusion.

"I had a place to go to heal and to be,” said Anny, adding that she had to allow God to teach her an entirely new way of thinking: “All I knew is this [body] equals money.”

Anny had started a ministry similar to JC’s Girls five years ago, but the idea was not well-received at her church. After hearing about Theresa and JC’s Girls on the news, she moved from Chicago to San Diego to join ranks.

The ministry hopes eventually to be able to get a grant for a home for former prostitutes “so women can have a place to go and become the women God created them to be,” said Anny.

*Some names have been changed to protect the identity of the women in this story.

Related story:
JC's Girls, Part 1
If you would like to help JC’s Girls, visit their website at Donations of funds and toiletries are needed for care packages.

For more information about the JC's Girls Ministry, click here »