Katie (who asked that her last name not be used) was divorced with two small children. In an effort to provide for her family, she turned to stripping. While it provided the income she needed, she often had to drink to cope. What she didn’t expect was to meet Erin Stevens and her Stripper Ministry Team. We interviewed Katie two years ago and talked with her what it was like to leave the club and how she decided to pursue Criminal Justice.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:37-40
Katie reflects on what it was like when she first met Stevens and how a visit to church made her decide to leave the club.
“There was another church group that had come down and they would grab you and pray with you. So I guess I was a bit standoffish. And then one day when Erin was there and some of the ladies from her church had brought a meal I though, ‘Hey that looks good.’ I went over and Erin asked me, ‘How are you today?’ What is your family like? Tell me about your kids.’ And my kids are my hook, line and sinker. All you have to do is mention my kids and I will talk to you for at least an hour…The next time I saw her, maybe a month or two later, Erin said, ‘Hey how are Kaelyn and Arley doing?’ [Names of Katie’s kids] and I was like, ‘She listened to me?’ That’s when I started to realize she wasn’t trying to pressure me or change me; she was just trying to love me. And then she brought us Mary Kay cosmetics which had her business card attached to it and I went home and thought, ‘Maybe this is something I should think about a little bit. Maybe I should go to church.’…I went the first time there [Friendship Community Church] and Erin had saved me a seat. She saw me walk in the door and gave me a big hug and told me she had saved me a seat. And that Sunday was baptism, so I thought maybe that was a sign. I enjoyed it and went home thinking about it and trying to figuring out what was going through my head, and what this feeling was in my heart – something was right, and there was something that wasn’t right too. And I decided, ‘I’m not going to work tonight. And I’m not going to work tomorrow night. I’m not going to work again.’
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Katie shares why she pursued a career in Criminal Justice.
“I had a passion for it for a long time, but I think [was more enforced by] being in a club and seeing so many things go wrong and realizing children grow up in an environment where their parents are showing them these things are acceptable. I want to help children realize that maybe mommy or daddy do this [stripping] but they don’t have to. There are ways to make money without being immoral or illegal. I want to go into the police department and eventually forensic investigations.”
Befriend someone. God wants us to love others just as He loves us. Sometimes, that can be challenging if someone has a different background than us, does things differently, has different beliefs or does things you don’t agree with. But it is important to remember that everyone is made in God’s image. While we may not agree with what they do or their actions, it is important that we love them. Ask God to show you someone that He wants you to befriend. Grab coffee with them and listen to their life story. Offer to pray with them.
Join an outreach ministry or go on an outreach. Pray and ask God to direct you to a ministry or event that is reaching out to the community or a group of people. Often times, we think of ourselves as better than the people that we are helping, when in fact we all have sin and fall short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). Ask God to humble you as you serve others and for Him to help you to see others as He sees them. Pray for the people that you are serving.
Turn from sin. Whether you need to leave the club, an addiction or a bad attitude, as God convicts you through the Holy Spirit, it is important to be obedient. Sometimes it can be hard to turn away from sin. Ask others to help you. It can be a friend, small group or pastor. Have them pray with you and check in on you to see how you are doing. If you are willing, share with them specific things they can do to hold you accountable. It also can be helpful to leave situations, places or relationships that are going to pull us down or cause us to fall back into sin. Instead, look for opportunities and friends that are going to encourage you in your relationship with God.
To read our entire interview with Katie and Erin Stevens from the Stripper Ministry Team, click here. Have a friend that needs to read this article, share it with them and give them a subscription as a gift.