Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Story

Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some it represents a time of celebration and hope; for others it’s simply a painful reminder of loneliness and disappointment. This week we got to be a part of sharing the love of Christ and reminding them that they are not forgotten.

All week we were gearing up for our Christmas Festival at the Baton Rouge Dream Center. Planning, counting, strategizing and recounting…all part of trying to safely plan for a thousand plus visitors at one of Healing Place’s newest campuses. In the midst of renting bounce houses, buying popcorn and ironing the angel outfits we decided that throwing a Midnight Outreach into the mix would be fun. So at 4:00pm Friday afternoon we loaded up the shuttle with Christmas cookies, gift bags and decorations and headed down Airline to a couple of strip clubs that we frequent. (That sounds worse than it is).

Last year we had the opportunity to decorate the girls’ dressing rooms and take them gifts, but this year we were able to provide gifts for their children too. Talk about a humbling experience. The clubs were almost empty when we decorated the rooms but they were jumping when we came back with the roses five hours later. Typically we are in and out quick; hand them a rose, quick smile, next girl. This time I had girls grabbing me by the arm, hugging me, asking me who we are and where we are from. They couldn’t believe we were there; they couldn’t believe we were there for them. The ladies got t-shirts, bracelets, chocolate and whatever else we could gather from HP Women’s events. Their kids got Miss Kitty bags and silly string soap. You would have thought we were handing out new cars. The gratitude the girls showed was unbelievable. Like I said, a humbling experience.

From those clubs we headed across town to Gold’s. We don’t get to go in there yet, but we’re believing that door will open soon. One of our new volunteers couldn’t believe there were fifty girls working that night. Yep, sad but true. We gave roses and gift bags to the bouncer so he could take them to the ladies. As we were leaving he said, “I just want you to know how much this means to the girls. They talk about y’all all the time. What you do really means something”. Pretty cool, huh?

After Gold’s we stopped by Bennie’s Bar and then the Top 10 Social Club. Lots of people out on the town; lots of liquor, lots of partying, lots of pain. We got to give them bracelets and chocolate. We also invited them to church. It’s so cool that we can point down the street and say, “Come see us tomorrow, we’ll be looking for you”.

I love that Christmas at Healing Place includes everyone. We are not just about the beautiful people, although God loves them too. Christmas at HPC means handing roses to strippers and giving toys to kids who have been orphaned by drugs and violence. It means standing with families in the midst of their chaos; offering hope to a lost and dying world.

I love Jesus. I love that He came for me. I love that my church sends me out to tell others that He came for them too. Blessed to be a blessing…today and every day. Merry Christmas and God bless. All glory to Him!