Volunteers share Christ with adult club dancers

ST. LOUIS (BP)--An effort to share the love of Christ with dancers in adult clubs during the annual Crossover emphasis was the largest yet in St. Louis, with 45 individuals distributing 300 gift bags to dancers and other club employees June 7-8.

"Five people have come to know Christ in these last two days," said Lura Sheppard, a North American Mission Board staff member who helped coordinate the effort. "To me that's miraculous in itself, that we would be able to share the gospel and have those kinds of decisions in that kind of atmosphere."

The women went to the clubs in small groups, first asking permission of managers for them to come in and distribute the gift bags, which included a number of personal care items along with a New Testament and a presentation of the gospel. Volunteers said the dancers often were skeptical at first, concerned that the women would be simply trying to condemn them. But their message instead was simply the hope Christ can offer.

Shelly Lewis, a volunteer from Galatia, Ill., said one girl approached them assuming they would be telling her she was going to hell for what she was doing.

"I told her, 'We're not here to tell you what you're doing is right or wrong. We're just here to share the gospel with you.'"

Sheppard said one of the strongest images she recalled was an older woman who likely has never been anywhere close to the sort of lifestyle praying with the dancers in one of the clubs.

"Here was a church lady -- who looked like a church lady -- with her arms around three naked girls praying for them," she said. "And they were all in tears when they lifted their heads. That really touched me."

The volunteers would give dancers a gold U.S. dollar coin as a way of gaining a hearing for God's love. The circle represents God's unending love, the portrait of the Native American heroine Sacagawea represents the special gifts and abilities of women, and the color is a reminder that they are "more precious to God than gold."

Some groups also shared the same message on the streets in some of the worst areas of town. One group talked with a prostitute who gratefully accepted their offer to pray with her.

"She said that she needed prayer for protection for her kids," said volunteer Janet Warren, of Eversville, Ill. "She said she didn't want to cry, but she broke down and cried. And we just led her to the Lord."

Linda Gonzalez, a member of Westview Baptist Church in Belleville, Ill., who coordinated the effort locally, said she hopes the strong response by local volunteers is an indication that the ministry can continue.


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