I was an acquaintance of this woman, Heather Veitch, a former [exotic] dancer. She attended my church [Sandals Church in Riverside, California]. Last February, I found out that she was a hairdresser, so I started going to her to have my hair done.
[One day] while she was doing my hair she started talking about how she is so crazy in love with God. She told me how he’s totally changed her life. She told me she had a friend in the industry who had passed away and she only learned about it later on. Her girlfriends, who were strippers, didn't know what to do, so to celebrate [her life] they all poured alcohol on her grave. Heather really felt bad about her friend's sad, lonely death, and started to think, "I could have told her about God."
Heather's passion started to move in me the passion that I felt when I first became a Christian. She told me she felt she should go back to the strip clubs and tell the girls about God. I thought there was no reason I could not help her.
On Good Friday last March , we organized a team of six girls at our church to go to a local strip club. Each of us was to choose a girl that we would buy a private dance from. Once we were back in the booth, we would, of course, tell them we wouldn’t want a private dance, and then just talk to them about God and see if they were receptive.
Tell me about your experience approaching a stripper for the first time.
I asked a girl for a dance, and she said yes. This girl was adorable—she looked like any girl on a college campus. We start walking back to the booth and she said, "I have never had a girl ask me to dance before." And I said, "I have never asked a girl to dance before." It was a little weird for me, too. [laughs]
We were laughing and building a rapport before we ever got [to a private area], and once we did, I told her, "I really don't want you to dance for me. We're just here because we love you girls and we want you to know that there's a God out there who loves you, too." And she said, "I cannot believe that girls like you would come to a place like this to tell us about God."
I said, "We just want you to know that if you want God in your life, he's there for you. There's nothing you've ever done that's so bad that he would not forgive you." [Her eyes] instantly started welling with tears, and she was like, "Thank you so much. I keep feeling like I want to go into church, but I feel like I'm going to turn into a pillar of fire."
I told her, "Absolutely not. There is nobody in that church who is better than you are. God wants you as much as he wants anybody." I then asked her if I could pray for her, and she said, "Please, pray for me." Then she grabbed my hand, and I just prayed that she would remember this moment in time when God came to her right where she —and that God would protect her, because she's in a dangerous job. That was really it. It was very simple and short—the length of one song, about three minutes.
|JC's Girls at the Las Vegas Adult Expo: (left to right) Lori Albee, Tanya Huerter, and Heather Veitch |
So your group is supportive of these strippers even if they continue stripping?
We have strippers in our church right now. They come to church, but they’re still at their jobs. We don’t ask them to stop their jobs. That’s just not realistic. What we do is give them an opportunity to know God if they want to. We let God and them decide what needs to change in their [lives].
Have any of the strippers you've talked to reached out for help in leaving their jobs? Have you tried to help them find new ones?
One of the girls who we have coming to our church right now, Roxanne, wound up becoming pregnant. She went to get an abortion, but while she was there she could not go through with it. She was like, “I have God in my life and I know he doesn’t want this for me.” Now that Roxanne is pregnant, she does need to change her career. But the good thing about being part of a church is that you have a big support system—there are a lot of people who could pull together resources to help her seek out something different, a new lifestyle, new employment. We’re actually in the process of helping Roxanne do that right now.
How many girls do you think you've reached?
When we went into the clubs that first night, we realized that there are way more girls than we can reach. We reached six girls [that night], but we had to find a way to reach more. That’s when the idea came to us that we could do a website. Instead of reaching six in a day, we could be reaching thousands.
Jimmy D, a pornographer and an excellent glamour photographer, offered to do all our pictures for the website for free, which was great, because we're broke. Then, we found Maria, who is our website developer. She actually designs soft-core porn websites, so she was just naturally able to give it that feel.
The site has been up since August 2005. We had well over 60,000 hits on our website just in December. And we've had as many as 15,000 in one day.
Do you still do the personal ministry--going into strip clubs?
Yes, we make it a goal to go out once or twice a month, locally.