I have seen so many posts on helping the people of Sutherland, Texas and an outpouring of communities and churches helping those who are grieving. And for that I am grateful. We send our deepest condolences to our friends who have been affected by this horrible, senseless act of violence. As the Founder and Executive Director of a Non Profit who reaches out to the broken and hurting in our community it reminds me that the people we serve are so vulnerable. With the Holidays approaching and Facebook reminding me of the tragedies our ministry has seen in the last few years.
One of our girls we were mentoring was shot and killed trying to protect her friend from being shot by her boyfriend.
A young, beautiful Mom of 6 children who loved God will all her heart but was caught up in a really bad situation she was trying so hard to undo.
Then a 26-year-old Mom of 5 beautiful children committed suicide, another overdosed.
When these calls come in from our managers, owners or house Moms, it is heart breaking! Violence, depression, mental health issues and addiction run deep in the veins of the sex industry. Usually loneliness, boredom and depression are what led both parties to go into the clubs. On our last outreach I had a customer approach me as he heard me tell a waitress why we come in, as I was giving her a gift.
After I was done sharing, he leaned over and said, what about me? Do you do anything for the guys who come in here? I came in tonight cause I’m lonely. We need help too! I know he was half-joking but he’s right! The men who frequent the clubs struggle with real, authentic relationships and are loners. Just like the guy who shot up the church in Sutherland. We see them there all the time. The regulars. Someone who just needs someone to talk to. To feel human instead of sitting behind a computer screen all day. So I want to challenge you to find someone you know who isolates and struggles to have relationship and take them out for coffee, a movie, quality time. And start to make it a habit. Not only will it help the one struggling but it too will help you.
And if you’re wanting to invest in something that really goes after the broken and builds community around them and helps them find their voice, their passion and the destiny then please consider a donation to the NSA Girls. Right here in San Antonio we are shifting culture one person at a time and one coffee cup at a time and little by little we are watching men and women grow and reach their potential!
http://www.nsagirls.org is where you can donate any amount helps! Thank you in advance for your generosity as you each sew into the seeds of this ministry to bring hope and love to a hurting community.
#domesticviolence #loneliness #exploitation #hurting #depression #addiction #stopabuse #qualitytime #prevention #nonprofit #texas
This past week has been devastating! Living in San Antonio, Texas starting last Thursday it went from normal everyday life to complete organized chaos. The warnings starting coming in, the gas stations started filling up and the grocery store was a mad house. I sat and watched bottled water disappear from the shelves right in front of my eyes. When I come home we made a shelter under our staircase, lined up our water and started to remove anything outside that could become a projectile. Hurricane Harvey was expected to make a direct line right into San Antonio after crushing Corpus Christi.
We watched, waited, kept our phones close for warnings and had a rough nights sleep. Just heavy winds and light rain. Morning came, same thing. The reports out of the coast were not good. Harvey had been upgraded to a category 4 hurricane after making landfall. We were prepared for the worst but hoped for the best as this storm slowly crept its way towards us. Then Harvey made a slight shift, just enough to completely bypass San Antonio. On my weather radar I snapped a screen shot of just how close it actually came towards us. It was only miles off and I think the entire area of San Antonio took a deep breath and realized we escaped the wrath of Harvey!
I got in my car and started to drive around to look for storm pictures and see what was going on. Our small little town was a complete ghost town, the cars in the dealerships had been taken away to safety, stores closed, no one on the streets. Then the reports started to come in that Houston was under siege. My Facebook feed quickly started to fill up with my Houston friends asking for help, water was coming in their homes . Their families in need of rescue from rooftops. What?? The pictures were unreal. People giving their addresses and saying, we need to be rescued! From Facebook. We were looking at a storm of epic proportions.
While I sat and prayed for my friends and started to gather supplies and donations for Houston I had an ah ha moment! Houston is considered the hub, the epicenter for human trafficking (modern day slavery, for more info on this please check this site out http://www.humantraffickinghotline.org)
I had this thought, wow business as usual has just been brought to a complete halt in Houston! Everyone is in survival mode. Maybe this is a time where girls can escape their horror. An opportunity could really be a reality. So if your out there on the front lines helping rescue people you could have a chance to identify a victim that might be in a situation out of the control. We train our airlines companies, law enforcement, schools, health care workers and the like but are we training disaster relief workers? Are we? I sure hope so. This is probably the only time a pimp/trafficker will be vulnerable and lose control over his tightly woven world of control.
So as I prayed over these traffickers. I’m praying their business is disrupted. They become exhausted. And have a moment to reflect on their life choices and to really take in what they have done with it and to possibly turn around and stop this horrible life they’ve chosen. To stop the hustle, to stop using people and to take this disaster and turn it around for something good.
Call me naive but this is my prayer! This is my hope. There is only one way to find true contentment and happiness in life and this is through a personal relationship with Jesus. To surrender it all to Him and to let go and let God be your ALL! He will give you more than you ever dreamed of, more love and more peace than you can imagine.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
And to all our Houston friends and people in distress, San Antonio has been working feverishly to gather supplies and is on its way to meet your needs. So many churches are rising up and taking action! We are praying for you and know you are NOT alone! Hang in there, help is on its way!
Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows who take refuge in Him.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be Strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Here are some resources.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1 (888) 373-7888
National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 800 656-HOPE (4673)
To report a missing child, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-866-908-9570.
Signs of sex trafficking include:
- Any person under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex acts
- Any person (regardless of age) engaging in pimp-controlled prostitution
- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts / cannot provide previous home address
- Not allowed to speak for themselves / cannot leave
- More signs listed on the link above for the HT Hotline.
Our network we are under Strip Church Network loves to get updates and stories from Outreach night. This is one I submitted today! God sees you, he knows you, your not hiding from Him!! Trust me He knows every detail of our hearts and lives.
One of our favorite things is when we meet a dancer that has a scripture of a tattoo. Last outreach we met a young girl with a tattoo of Matthew 28:20 and her name was biblical. The scripture read, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
She was so excited to meet us and know we visit the clubs. Her tattoo brought up great conversation and allowed us to know why she chose that scripture and to find out more about her upbringing etc.. to begin a friendship with her. She was so taken back that we visited the clubs and now she knows she isn’t alone and God sees her right where she’s at! He really is with her always! How cool is that!
Here is my story. This is why I do what I do today and why I am who I am. Keep fighting for your sanity, your freedom, your healing! Someday you’ll be so thankful you did!
Growing up was tough for me. My dad was a violent, angry man. He was an extreme alcoholic and very abusive. The abuse I encountered from him shattered me. I lived a life of hatred toward men. Addiction filled my existence for 28 years.
My Dad was a bartender and my Mom was a waitress. I grew up in the bars, with Hells Angels, an environment not fit for a child. My parents divorced by the time I was 9. My Mom was violently abused by my Dad. We witnessed many beatings and violence in our home.
With long blond hair, blue eyes, my innocence were stolen from me around the age of 4. All I knew was I was suppose to keep it a secret and what happened was very confusing but since my abuse started so young and was continuous, I thought what I encountered was normal. Then when it began with another perpetrator I went along with everything once again. This time it was a trusted neighbor who was a very vile, twisted, perverse man. He was a pedophile. To this day the things that happened are unspeakable. I had experienced rape, incest, molestation and exploitation for a period of over 10 years.
I had lost my trust in humanity and thought to myself I know dogs that are treated better than I was. To use a little girl for your entertainment and pleasure and sickening things are mind boggling to me now. But then, I knew no difference. Until one day I was diagnosed bi-polar and put on meds to help me cope with my suicidal, confusing altering state of mind. I would self harm, over medicate and do anything to escape the pain I lived with daily in my head.
I was given alcohol before my abuse each time, so by the age of 12 I began to drink on my own and hang out in an alley way on a street in SF known as Broadway. In that alley were 2 back doors. One led to a strip club, the other a heavy metal club. My friends and I were offered fake ID’s and to this day I’m amazed I chose to walk in the door of the heavy metal club. I was introduced to drugs and quickly became an addict. My life spiraled as I lived a very promiscuous lifestyle and while hanging out with my favorite band at the time Poison, I met my first love who was the drummer of an 80’s band who was 12 years older than me. He whisked me away to Maryland after one week of knowing him. I left my family and lived on the road with these 80’s heavy metal bands, Guns & Roses, Poison, Tesla, Great White and the like. The Rock & Roll lifestyle consumed me. After 4 years I came back to California to try to get clean and start AA. I knew the drugs would kill me if I didn’t stop but I didn’t have control.
I went to school to become a makeup artist and on my first day of work in downtown SF at Macy’s I was invited to go to an underground club. I was 21 years old and really wanting to turn my life around, but that night led me into the rave, nightclub scene for almost 8 years. The owner of the club sent me a bottle of Dom Perignon and took me in from that night on. A socialite and influential man, I lived the lifestyle of the rich & famous. Celebrities, wealth, more hardcore drugs and promiscuity slowly ate away at my soul.
I remember the first time I had the realization of what happened to me as a 28 year old woman, partying away and disassociating with my horrific childhood. I will never forget sitting on my couch shaking violently as I listened to a woman on TV publicly uttering the words of abuse I encountered as a little girl. I sat in horror and found myself shouting at her, shh, you can’t say those things, your suppose to keep them secret. But one by one she shattered every lie I held in my head, in my soul, in my existence. I heard things like, you were sexually abused, it wasn’t your fault, you need to tell someone what happened to you! I turned the TV off, with no support system, no idea where to start I sat in disbelief of what I heard and somehow found courage and picked up the phone and called my sister. I told her what I heard, what I remembered and what happened. She confirmed it all and it was the first time I found my voice! A voice within me that was screaming to find breath. A felt empowered, outraged and violently sick to my stomach all at the same time. I wish I could say things turned around for me from that day on but truthfully that was the very first step in my journey of healing. Mentally I was unprepared to deal with the flashbacks and trauma. Night terrors kept me sleeping with the lights on every night. I could not be in any darkness what so ever. Anxiety & fear consumed me. I thought my abusers would come for me.
Then one day a simple invite to church changed my destiny. I was working in a salon doing facials when I client invited me to church on Sunday. I remember laughing hysterically and saying me, church? Why would you ask me to go to church with you? And he looked right in my eyes and said I know, you’re one of the biggest sinners I’ve ever met and you might catch on fire when you walk through the door but I know why you’ll come to church this Sunday. I smugly said, oh ya why? And he said, cause there is really hot guys there! I looked at my watch and said, what time, I’ll be there! I’m telling you only God knew how to get this girl to church. And I went that Sunday. And kept going for all the wrong reasons. I dated half the guys in that church. I’ll admit it, I had bad intentions but every Sunday I kept hearing message about a Fathers love. A love I had not known. A love I desired and felt woo’d by. I was hooked.
One day the Pastor had an alter call and I found myself giving my heart to God. I gave it all away for my one true love. Suddenly He was first and I was second. He came into my life and changed me in many ways. I was delivered of my addiction to drugs, to men and to smoking. But there was one thing that lingered. My sanity. As I started to embrace the act of sobriety and healing from my scars it proved to be too much for me. I met my husband at that same church and we were newly married and I began to crumble mentally. I had no idea of what real intimacy was, relationship was and the life of magnomony. It was all so foreign and began to confuse me.
Thankfully we had a Pastor who took me in and mentored me while I found a psychiatrist who specialized in complex trauma and EMDR therapy. This is when I began the process of healing from my past abuse. I call it finding beauty in my scars. I did find true beauty in each scar. They each tell a story. They each help me in my path of helping others heal. And now I look at my scars as a reminder of how strong I was. How the brain can be rewired and renewed to release the trauma of the past and use it as fuel to propel me into my destiny. For 9 years I went to counseling, fighting for my sanity. I was on medication, diagnosed Bi-polar and pretty much thought this was what my life looked like.
It wasn’t until I started serving and getting my mind off myself that I really started to tap into my calling in life. I now reach out to women who work in the sex industry and help them find their voice, their healing and their destiny. I go out to the streets where girls are working, to strip clubs, brothels and anywhere where I am called to find women just like me. Women who don’t know their potential, who haven’t heard their is hope. Women who need someone to help them begin to understand they can do more with their life. It’s the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I’ve done with my life. My dream is to open a home for the girls to come to a complete healing, in a timelier fashion than I did (if possible) and to find who they are meant to be. A place to belong, to be a part of a community of women going through he same thing and a place of employment. To truly find beauty in their scars too. If you told me 20 years ago, that the long hard road of healing would lead to where I am today, I would not have believed you. I was full of terrifying fear that controlled my every decision in life. I sheltered myself and controlled my environment. Now sober, drug free (street & pharmaceutical) and healed, God calls me to share my story with others. Fear, anxiety and a wasted life have all been replaced by living second, serving my Daddy and helping other women find beauty in their scars.
#MeToo #Abuse #Healing #ItsOkToNotBeOk
Here’s a story of one night on our Strip club outreach. As my hand hit the door, I slowly opened it to the sound of chatter, heavy metal music, and a strong smell of smoke, perfume & despair. On the surface it looked like one big party was going on. Everyone was happy, having fun, and living it up. My steps led me into the back of the club, and I arrived at my destination for the night. A dressing room. Not any dressing room. This one had all of Gods daughter’s in it! Yes, you heard me right. The dancers, strippers, sex workers, whatever the world titles them as but to me I see them as God’s daughter’s.
They are good at their jobs because when you talk with them,the girls are so happy,the money is flowing,and they are seeing their dreams starting to become a reality. It won’t be long before they can return to their former life, their normal life. No one will ever know the things they did to get that degree, to raise that child, to pay the rent, to start that business. No, this will be their little secret, and it will be tucked away so deep in their soul that no one will break down the walls to ever find out how they really survived in their circumstances. Not until we walk in. We ask the questions that pull on their heart strings. We dig deep and find out “who they are” and to get to know them better. We become a friend, a mentor and a positive voice in their life. We look at the root, not the fruit, of their life, and continue on in our relationships this way.
We remind ourselves that it’s not our job to judge their lives, but to be a light and a Godly influence, to draw them closer to a God that is waiting for His daughter to arrive. The Bridegroom is patient, a gentleman, a lover of her soul. He uses us to love on the girls and to show them how valued they are.
Soon they sense a deeper and more profound relationship and begin to ask questions. Some come to church, have coffee or attend events with us. Just knowing we gave them another option is so rewarding because then we know they aren’t left with the only option they once knew. Darkness.
So I sit down and start to watch a young girl do her makeup. I ask questions about what kind she’s using and make small chat. I grab a cupcake from the goodies we brought in and ask if she’d like one. Red Velvet I say, just for you! She stopped doing her makeup and looked at me. I asked her, “have you heard of us or seen us in here?” “No,why are you here, she responded?” Well, we want you to know that you are cared for and not forgotten….. and honestly, I don’t remember the rest, it was God’s words and not mine. He took over and spoke right into this woman’s heart. Tears began to pour our of her eyes and you could visibly see she was shaken by the words that were spoken! She ripped off her false eyelashes and ran into the bathroom and went into a stall and bawled her head off.
I sat there overwhelmed by what God was doing, and tried so hard to hold in my emotional anguish for this young girl. I felt her pain, I knew what she was going through, and it broke my heart to see her hurting! She composed herself, walked back into the room, and embraced me with a hug. Then she cried some more on my shoulder. Tears flowed all over my arm and my shirt. She was overwhelmed, and didn’t realize she had just encountered her Father’s love! She sat down and began to share her story. Her boyfriend was beating her and she didn’t know what to do. She said her grandpa was sick, and she was in town to visit him and if he hadn’t been sick she would of never met me. She began to realize that it was no accident that we met, and was incredibly grateful for this encounter. This is the Fathers love, He knows what the girls need to hear, He knows their needs , He knows what it takes to draw them closer to Him. I love, love, love, watching my Daddy do His work and use me in a way I never even dreamed of.
This story is only one of hundreds I have encountered in the last 6 years. So many ask what we do when we go into the clubs, so I wanted to share one of my stories. As we left the club that night, I walked out into the parking lot with my wet sleeve and the tears still fresh on my arm. I touched them and asked God to dry up His little girls eyes and change her life. I was wishing I could keep them on my arm to remind me of how God moves and loves these women more than we’ll ever know. And if we allow God to use us and step out in faith He will do amazing things! Oh and by the way the room didn’t smell like smoke anymore, there was new song playing and HOPE filled the room!!
Lisa Michelle http://www.twitter.com/nsagirls
Original post Aug. 2013