it might be time to go home...
Monday was St. Patrick's Day and the MIDNIGHT Outreach Team decided to extend our ministry once again to the New Orleans area. Church of the King, whom we partnered with last month for the Valentine's Day outreach, invited us to join them on Bourbon Street to pass out green carnations to the strippers and prostitutes and chocolates to the men. (Check out the pics on Carole's blog!)
Can I just say, Monday night made Valentine's Day look BORING!
Bourbon Street was jam-packed, wall-to-wall- with people.
We arrived just as a St. Paddy's parade was ending and the throng of people made movement nearly impossible. I've never been to a Mardi Gras parade in the Quarter, but if this was any indication of what it's like, I never will!
Unfortunately, BECAUSE it was so crowded, the club owners and bouncers were more reticent to let us in the clubs than they were on Valentine's Day. You could tell that they were tired and a bit wary of anything out of the ordinary...
The cool thing was that the clubs where we DID make contact with the girls, our gifts were met with surprised joy. And SOME of the ladies remembered us from when we were there before handing out red roses! They seemed glad to see us back. =)
One of the young ladies from Church of the King went in to a strip club with me and Charity. Charity signaled for her to give a flower to the girl who was dancing on the stage. When the girl caught her eye, she asked what the flower was FOR.
"It's for YOU."
"Yeah, but WHY? What do you want?"
"It's free; It's for you because we care about you."
I almost cried when I heard her retell this chance encounter.
For those of you who might think this stripper outreach thing is a waste of time, let me tell you:
When you see the eyes of those (usually very young) women as they take the rose from your hand, you know that it's important.
And when you realize that many of them will go home and awake the next morning and see that rose -- a reminder that SOMEONE cares about them,
-- that SOMEONE does not look at them as a piece of meat,
-- that SOMEONE does not judge them or condescend to them -- and they read the card that invites them to the church that was willing to meet them where they are right now -- then you know it's making a difference.
And it's never a waste of time.