Heather Veitch: Rescuing J.C.'s Girls (Part 2)
The 700 Club
THE MINISTRY BEGINS
Two years after Heather's conversion, one of her friends from the industry died from alcoholism. Heather found out and was distraught to learn that her friend died alone. Heather realized that she had turned her back on her friends and that no one was reaching out to girls like her. The seed for the ministry was planted. Two years later, Heather felt led to another church which is the church she attends now, Sandals Church, Riverside. She didn't realize why she was called at the time but now she knows why, she needed to attend a church that was going to take "the heat" for the ministry she was starting. After being in her new church for some time, Heather approached her pastor with her idea of having a ministry that reaches out to strippers and people in the sex industry, and immediately he gave his blessing for her to start it. Heather then talked with her girlfriends at the church, none of which had been in the sex industry, to give them insight into the sex industry culture - what to expect, how the girls might react, etc. The group consisted of moms and single college girls. JC's (Jesus Christ's) Girls was born out of a small group, Matthew's House, at Sandals Church. The strip club outreach they have goes to local strip clubs in the Riverside, Southern California area. Heather says she lost a huge portion of her Christian beauty clients when she told them she was going to talk to porn stars, but she also says girls deserve a chance to learn about God and know about God.
The ministry took off and has gone on from there. Now there is a wide spectrum of women who minister with the group - those that were in the sex industry, those who aren't students, moms, etc. The group chooses a night they would like to meet and confirm it. Then they meet at the hair salon where Heather works. The group goes into the strip club together, and each of them picks a girl they want to minister to. The group member asks the girl for a private dance. When the girl takes the group member back for a private dance, the group member tells them they don't really want a dance and that the group member is there to share that God loves her and forgives her. The group member then gives the girl a card where she can contact the church. Group members will pray and invite the girls to church. After the group outreach, the team regroups and debriefs about what happened throughout the evening. One of the main messages the ministry shares is that nothing that they (those that have been in the sex industry) have ever done in their lives is too big for God to forgive them. The girls they minister to are usually shocked that God has forgiven them. The ministry does not just focus on local strip clubs. They have even had an outreach to porn conventions and online. They don't put demands on people. All kinds of people come to Sandals Church and the growth comes from people who see that the church accepts strippers – the church gets homosexuals, men addicted to porn, etc. They like that the church is nonjudgmental. Heather cites that hosts from the radio show "stripper society" are the ministry's biggest fans- the sex industry feels like they are on their side. Heather says that she has had girls that she's prayed for cry in the clubs. One time one of the girls she was ministering to wanted to be prayed for at the center of the club.
Heather says that they are a Bible based, non self help, "stage one" ministry. They are the 'greeters' – people can come and learn. They keep the Gospel message simple. If the people they reach are serious about learning more about the Christian faith, the ministry will refer them to a church group that deals with sexual sin. She says that there are a lot of people that come and go, but there are major life changes. An example of this is Roxanne, a stripper who is leaving the business. Heather also says sex industry people are flaky, they need to come and go as they please- if they think they've upset you by not attending a few times they won't come back. Heather says God will touch them. Her church encourages life changes, small groups, and a good support system.
PORN CONVENTION OUTREACH
Porn is a $56 billion dollar industry that is making more than the major networks. JC's Girls got a booth at the Las Vegas porn convention, which is the biggest industry trade show. They went to minister to girls at the convention by giving them a gift that would direct the girls to the JC's Girls booth. At the booth Heather and her group would give them Bibles wrapped in t-shirts that said 'Holy Hotties.' Most of the girls that JC's Girls reached out to were really receptive and open. Though they went to mainly reach out to women at the convention, JC's Girls found that they had the opportunity to minister to a lot of men. Men who thought that they were getting pornography found that they were hit by the Gospel message in a cleverly worded ad that caught their attention. Also, JC's Girls were also giving away DVDs with what seemed to be free pornography, but what it really had on it was a convicting message from Heather's pastor about how God feels about pornography and the Gospel message. They also prayed with some Christian men at the convention who were convicted about their use of pornography and even being at the convention.
JC's Girls felt like they accomplished a lot at the convention by just having the opportunity to share the Gospel with people who might not have heard the message otherwise.
MINISTERING TO THE CHURCH
Another part of the ministry is to the churches. They tell churches not to judge. Before they refer a girl to a church, the ministry "clears" it. They call churches in the area; give them a questionnaire and info packet. The church will go through an approval process. Then three women from the church, whom all have gone through an approval process, will befriend the girl. As part of this referral, the ministry tells the church to make the congregation aware of the girl as well. Ninety churches have been contacted nationally and more of these girls are going to church. The ministry is even spreading to England, Scotland, and Ireland. Since Heather has greater media exposure, calls have come in from overseas.
Heather says Christians should not be judgmental of people in the sex industry like they are people that are less than others. When Jesus Christ died, the prostitute stayed at His feet. Jesus reached out to these ladies and relate with women crying at His feet. Heather shares the parable about people in debt. The one in greater debt was more grateful - the person forgiven of a greater sin debt loves Jesus more. Heather says the Church should think of who Jesus ministered to. He reached out to people like Paul, who was a murderer of Christians, we forget. Christians live like Pharisees. Strippers are modern day prostitutes and we need to reach out to them because Jesus cares for them. There is no difference between glutton and stripper in God's eyes – the glutton is just as much a sinner as the stripper. We've made strippers to be worse than we are. Heather remembers when she was first in church. There were rumors about her and there was a lot of emphasis on her past. She felt that there was a definite distance between her and others. Other women in the church were afraid and jealous of her and thought she would steal their husbands or boyfriends. There was an air of perfection she felt like she couldn't reach. Heather says the bar in the church is set high and no one really told her that all that she needed to know was that she needed to call on Jesus daily.
One of Heather's favorite testimonials is the story of Roxanne. She was in the sex industry for over six years and it was starting to wear on her. She started to hate men, she could not function sober, and she had to stay on a drug to help her make it through the work. She had been very rich, but very unhappy. Heather was able to talk and relate to her and even invite her to church. Roxanne went to church with Heather. Now, Roxanne is leaving the sex industry. She's had several abortions. She had become pregnant again and was thinking of getting an abortion when she was three months pregnant. Now she is six months pregnant and is leaving the industry. God had His way and worked it out the way He wanted it. Heather says because of this ministry a baby is alive and if that is all the ministry did, that would be enough.
Want to know how it all got started? Read part one of Heather's testimony.
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