by Carole Turner, Healing Place Church, Baton Rouge, LA
The first time I walked into a strip club, I knew I was doing the right thing.
Sometimes I get to answer the question “what is midnight outreach?” I love talking about it because I think it is one of the most amazing outreaches I get to be a part of. What’s even cooler is I get to do it once a month.
Midnight outreach is to strip clubs, and the streets of north Baton Rouge. We go into the strip clubs (only ladies go into the clubs, men stay outside and talk to the bouncers and give them Chocolate) and we give every lady in the club a rose. Tied onto the rose with pretty ribbon is a business card from Healing Place Church which reads “We hope this small gift brightens your day. It is a simple way to say God loves you – no strings attached. Let us know if we can help you.” also on the card is the church web site address, map to the church, service times and church phone numbers.
The managers and owners of these strip clubs know what these cards say, they know we are from a church, Aliece (the leader of Midnight outreach) tells them who we are when she talks to them about coming into the clubs. They know we just want to be nice to the ladies, give them a rose and treat them like a daughter of the king, not a piece of meat. The patrons know who we are, we have on bright red shirts that say “HPC” on the front and “SERVE” on the back. We drive up in a big shuttle that has “Healing Place Church” on the side of it. So, for some supernatural reason, they let us come in and give a rose to every dancer, bar maid, and female patron there. We don’t give roses to any men, even if they ask for one to give a lady, we simply tell them we can only give them to the ladies ourselves.
About twice a year the team gets to go into the dancers dressing rooms and decorate them, like at Christmas and Valentines Day. Some of these girls get no gifts on these holidays, they are alone and they love that we give them gifts and treat them with dignity especially around the holidays.
I had wanted to go on Midnight Outreach for awhile before I actually did. Dean was afraid for me to go. Then he agreed to let me go as long as Summer went with me, within a few months Dean started driving the shuttle for every midnight outreach.
The first time I walked into a strip club I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew that first night that we were doing something completely unexpected in the spirit world. I mean, where is one sure fire place the devil knows he is safe from THE love of Jesus? Here are men treating a woman like a piece of meat, getting their kicks off of looking at a mostly naked girl completely torn down in her self worth to the point that she thinks all she can do for a living is take her clothes off for money. Girls so addicted to drugs that they feel they have to strip to get the money they need? When you walk in you can literally feel the darkness separating. The LOVE of Jesus does that. It’s like the Devil is confused by the angels that surround us. The bewilderment on the faces of the male patrons, The dancers who look shocked and puzzled by this free rose handed to her by a smiling, unintimidated face of love. The smile we give, the eye contact and the lack of fear, is all God reaching out to show love to someone living in hell.
After we go to the two local strip clubs we then head down to north Baton Rouge. We go to two different inner city night clubs and the Alamo Hotel to hand out roses and chocolates but here we also give out fliers for the Baton Rouge Dream Center church services. After that we hit the streets. I love the streets cuz’ we get to pray with people, talk to them, give them information about the church, the ladies roses and the guys chocolate.
We have had the privilege of praying with many prostitutes, drug dealers, crack heads, gang bangers, children, homeless people and just normal lost souls out late at night. And some of them have come to church, gotten saved and attend regularly.
After only 2 years of being a part of midnight outreach, we are becoming a constant in their lives, they are seeing that we are committed to showing them the love of Jesus, not condemn them or preach at them but love them and offer a place they can come for real hope.
I can’t think of anything more fulfilling in life than knowing I am walking into hell on earth to spread the love of Jesus.
THAT is midnight outreach.
About the author:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States
41 yr old story teller, singer, artist, Orphan care advocate. Married 14 yrs to Dean. Mother of Evangeline, who has Juvenile Diabetes, miracle of birth. Steele, first adoption miracle and Abel our second adoption miracle from Ethiopia.