Saturday night was an emotional experience for sure as our team navigated our way through delivering food to three different strip clubs in Dauphin Co., PA (shown here).
With a little help from the general manager, we set the food out and started making plates for ourselves to create a ‘breaking of the bread together’ atmosphere. The girls were appreciative, especially of the left-overs they planned to take home!
"B" came in for the meal even though she wasn’t on the schedule, and it was just good to hang out with her for that brief time! We’re starting to get to know some of the girls and getting a better sense of how to connect, bless, and interact.
After we left last night, "B" sent this text message: "thanku n plz thank the ladies n the church. U made me smile tonight."
This was the most heart breaking experience of the evening. The owner wouldn't accept the food and told us not to come back. She doesn’t want us disturbing them and making them lose money. We didn't even get to see the girls.
My heart breaks for the girl with the new-born baby, and another girl with her bright pink lipstick and shy smile – just a couple of the faces etched in our minds and on our hearts - because we long to know how they are doing since we last visited.
We will pray for guidance, and continue to pray for the owner and the girls.
Time to regroup:
With emotions ranging wide and deep, we regrouped in the car for a few minutes. We couldn’t have timed the next moment any better.
One of our more outspoken team members pointed to a truck full of men, who appeared to be just sitting in the back of the parking lot and said, “Look at them! They must be so ashamed they won’t even get out of their truck and go into the club until we leave! They don’t want to walk past us!”
After a moment of silence, another team member very quietly said, “Um, yea, remember, that’s my husband and the men from our church praying and watching over us tonight!!” The laughter in our car at that moment definitely helped to lighten our hearts, if only briefly.
We tag teamed this visit as two of us sat in the back of the club to hand out salads and fruit to the girls, while the other two stayed behind in the owner’s office talking and listening as he shared what resources he thinks should be offered to his girls. I hate to disappoint him but I don’t think we’ll be researching strip club etiquette or best sanitary tips anytime soon! However, this owner was visibly upset when we told him that Club #2 wouldn’t let us in or even leave the food behind for the girls.
One of the most profound moments of the night played out when my team partner offered a chicken salad to one of the girls and said something like: "we’re just here to love!” I watched this girls eyes as she stared back so intensely my friend had to look away. It became that uncomfortable.
After reflecting on this later, what was happening in that moment is that this girl’s perception of love has been so sexually skewed she literally was trying to compute what was being offered, what was being asked of her, and how she was supposed to respond. She just said she’d come back later and walked away.
While we were rather amused at the time for obvious reasons, the implications of this are heart rendering. It fully captures why we are there and certainly confirms the call to “just go and love them”.
Valentine’s Day – the day of Love – is approaching. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” Well, we've decided the girls deserve a little pampering. This will be the theme of the gift bags for our next visit, planned for February 15th!