Friday, February 27, 2009

the open road



a few more











the lone gas pump for over 100 miles - super old!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brothel visit # 2 pics

I really do want to say thank you so much for reading and supporting and encouraging through all of this. All the kind words and prayers are so valuable to me! I am grateful for YOU. Now photos for you..

What's the only place to stop for lunch? Your local gas station/bank/grocery store/restaurant:


Rachel is learning her new toy!

Stopping to play along the way



The little town itself:



Today I received an email with an article suggesting cheating could save your marriage. Wow. Arranged sleeping around with rules? No thank you.
I also read an article about two 16 year old girls who were prostituting girls out that they had recruited from their high school. They were suggesting it was better than with some pimp who would beat them up. I don't think I knew what prostitution was when I was 16, let alone that I could prostitute others. The things I hear from high schoolers I know and stories like this break my heart. Where do they learn this? What makes them do things I never know existed or that I could access? I mean, I get it, everything is accessible, all the cool kids are doing it, etc. I know things are more available and prevalent today than even 10 years ago, but it is sad none the less. I am not sure where this came from.. random ramblings from within I guess!

So, on a positive note:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith
goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge,
self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to
perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly
kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you
possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will
keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:5-8

EVERY EFFORT. Are we making every effort in our lives?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

a thank you email

from the brothel owner's girlfriend (She's in charge of some of the day to day when she gets to the Brothel from Vegas).

"I just wanted to say thank you for having your girls go up to the ranch again. The ladies appreciate it more than you know and so do Steve* and I. They said they had a blast and that the enchilada casserole was excellent! As you well know, there's not much to do around there which I think is a big part of the reason there is so much drama between the girls....too much down time, so it's very nice when someone comes up and pampers them and gives them something positive to focus on. Well, I just wanted to say thanks again and you're more than welcome up there anytime."

*name changed.

Good stuff! I am so thankful. Good night.

Back to the brothel.

So monday Rachel, Heidi and I geared up and hit the highway for another trip to the brothel.
Heidi made dinner and cup caked, Rachel did make up and I did hair.

This visit was great! It was totally different. It was like we were welcomed friends, not foreign outsiders!

The girls didnt have their guard up and in being more comfortable with us the conversations were great!

We met one bartender who wants working last time (who came just to meet us cause she heard great things - and brought us gifts) and she was excited which was great because that meant that she heard good things from the other girls. We also met one working girl we didn't meet!

Dinner was delicious and good hang time followed by cupcakes! Go Heidi. Rachel and I went to the back to do make up and hair which was great for bonding time. The girls had been reading the JLPS (Jesus Loves Porn Stars) bibles we left last time and had great things to say. Cutting hair and talking to one of the bar tenders who previously was very guarded was great. She shared the pain she feels working there and what she sees the girl experience. She hears the guys say things like, "which whore do you want?" and they ask her if she can go into the back with them. She knows her body is a temple. She wants out of even bartending - young, 2 kids, wants more than this!

A groups of guys came and were quite drunk and into the party in the brothel. One chose the new working girl we met. She came back from having sex with him and was in so much pain because she was on her period, bloaded, and crampy and so uncomfortable. We felt horrible for her and the despair you could see. She told us she read the bible when someone gave it to her and she has a lot of questions and things she wants to talk about next time - yes!

The girls, bartenders and working girls alike, couldnt stop asking us when we are coming back! One asked why we came back (in shock that we would) and we told her we had fun and wanted to spend more time with them. Her disbelief was heartbreaking. We want to go back mid march before one girl potentially ends her time and goes home for good!

It was such a great second visit! It is sad seeing the girls consistently get drunk but I understand that they want to avoid the pain they feel and are bored stuck in that house/business. It feels like you are just spending time in a run down house but when you think about how it would possibly feel to entirely live and work there and experience what they do, it really does break your heart. But I am so blessed to be in relationship with these women, affirm them and spend time with them.

Pictures to come! Thanks for all the support and prayer!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The pluses and minuses..

of living in Las Vegas:

*no humidity = no frizzy hair
*a place of great need for ministry and God's love
*24 hours food options/places to explore
*It really is beautiful (wait and see how I feel in Summer)
*Friends come here often for Birthdays, etc. = visitors for me
(andrea, hannah/karen swaney, christina/lisa swaney and fam so far)
*Newly developed area means nice homes and places to hang

*super dry = dehydration/dry skin
*The heat will be listed here come May
*Traffic with the 15 fwy/strip area
*Having your car, clothes and yourself often smelling like a casino
*Newly developed area means road construction and confusion

That is all I can think of for now.

Basically, like any city, there is the good and the bad. But I like it. Opportunity and adventure await.

tomorrow: back to the brothel! Please pray. I am excited that we can go back and hopefully form better relationships now that the awkwardness of the first visit is over. Details to come.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I bet you have been waiting..

for pictures from the Brothel Visit!

I am not showing you everything but I will give you a little sneak peak into our trip!

In the car: 4 hours to go

The snowy Nevada nowhere



the deluxe hot tub suite


the hang out table in their living room - where Rach set up for make up

men in the kitchen

The Hotel Nevada itself


The interestingly decorated hallway

Rachel, Heidi and I are headed back to the brothel (and Hotel Nevada) on Monday. Please pray for this venture. We excited to go back so soon and spend more time with the ladies now that the awkward getting acquainted is over.

Check it out..

The latest podcast from xxxchurch featuring HeartSupport.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Check out this video...

.. that Sam put together from our Brothel Visit..

brothel video from sam sanchez on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

post brothel thoughts.

I am all recovered from our 24 hours brothel trip.

Most of us have probably never been to a brothel. In this case it is basically communal living but really low end - run down, small, smelly, leaky roof, stuffy, old, no private space, etc.

We arrive and meet three of the four working girls. Two are smoking and playing rummy and one is watching Charmed on the fuzzy tv. There is the initial distance and uncertainty. So Rachel and I watch Charmed until our new friend until she fell asleep. We then ventured from the spa side back to the bar in the brothel side and chatted with the owner and his girlfriend. Eventually the girls are ready for some primping. I head to the bathroom to give three haircuts and Rachel does their make up. This was great because it was the perfect time for conversation. The girls had let their guard down at this point. It was interesting to find out where they had come from, a little about their families and how long they had worked in this industry. One of them is in the process of become a sex therapist and figured this would be a good opportunity to do study of this area. While she seemed the most logical and untainted by this field I can't quite see that being the most beneficial form of study. You could tell that she wasn't as concerned with the money or building clientele. My heart breaks for one woman, about 40, who has two grown children but one 12 year old daughter who "stays with friends" back home in Utah. They don't get out much and even if they did there is not much in the little town and nothing for hundreds of miles. They bond with each other, fight each other and compete with each other.

Craig and Sam prepared a great pasta, salad, bread dinner for the ladies, bartenders and owners. We all ate together to the sounds of the juke box. It was good time to just be together and converse like you would with anyone you eat with. After dinner Sam and Craig went to buy the girls the things on their grocery list as well as bring them back gift cards.

The "Line up": When we are about to leave the girls were called to "line up" for a customer. Rachel and I jumped on the opportunity to see how this worked. They change from slippers to heels, lose the robes and reapply lip gloss. They proceed to line up at the bar only to come back and tell us, "He didn't want any of us." In asking her how that made her feel she explained the obvious waste of effort and time and the frustration that comes with that. He ended of proceeding to the spa side with one of the girls after witnessing a fifteen minute yelling match between the owner's girlfriend and the girls over respecting space. It was just as degrading as you might imagine. But this is where we needed to be; loving them right where they are just as Jesus does. I hope they saw not just free food and beauty services but genuine care and love that points to the true love and hope.

We left them with fresh baked cookies and the new Jesus Loves Porn Stars bibles as well. They were so thankful for everything and kept inviting us back. We are already planning the next visit and how we can further love them.
Rachel and I sat at the cafe in our hotel, The historic Hotel Nevada, and debriefed and wrote our thoughts and experiences. When our interesting hotel was built it was the tallest hotel in Nevada at 6 stories! You cannot help but wonder what people do in such an isolated town.

pictures to come..

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

from the club to the brothel.

A great opportunity presented itself starting with a conversation with a company who does graphic skateboards.

A woman associated the skateboard company is an owner (or something like that) of a Nevada Brothel. She happens to need community service hours. We happen to want to spend time at a brothel. Sound like a deal? Perfect!

So tomorrow at 11 we embark on a 4 hour car ride with the owners to then arrive at the brothel. Sam will be cooking a delicious dinner. Rachel will be doing make up. I will be doing hair. Craig (and us as well) will be spending time with all the ladies and staff.

I am so excited to have a good amount time to spend with these girls. I hope to form relationships that go beyond this one day and are affective at conveying Gods genuine love for each of them. I am not totally sure what to expect but anxious for this experience.

Details to follow. Time to pack and sleep.

More on Bowlfest..

This is a really great way to get involved with Fireproof Ministries.

If you want to bowl and commit to trying to get 25 people to sponsor you at $1 per frame (bowling 100 frames = $100) Fireproof will pay for your airfare and stay at the Red Rock Casino. So.. free lunch, round trip airfare, lots of bowling with awesome people and a stay at the super luxurious Red Rock.. You want in, huh? Team Phylicia!

Check out the promo video and you can read more here.

You can also sponsor bowlers online of commit to sponsoring and Fireproof with collect your donation after the event in May.

My Donation site is here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Strip Clubs

So Friday night was the big night (see previous post).

     We headed to our first club with 80 gifts of Sephora make up all donated! We we're a little nervous because we knew that a different group got fully rejected at this club and last time Krissee tried to take gifts they wouldn't even let her leave them. BUT to our amazement, even though the front desk girl was hesitant, two of us were allowed into the dressing room! Rachel and Laura headed back. The results were amazing. The girls loved them and wanted hugs. They even invited us to staff dinner! And the 'house mom' goes to a local church. Doors were totally opened! They said they could use water for all the girls in the future so we will be back fully loaded with refreshments. We were and still are so stoked on the way God opened up hearts and opportunities. There are closer to 400 girls working - lots of relationships to be made. 
      Then we are off to club number two (a smaller club) with 30 gifts. The manager remember us from a previous visit and Let the other three of us back. Unfortunately the house mom was a little apprehensive to our purpose so we were not allowed into the dressing room this time. But she was excited about the gifts and the special one we made for her so heading back is in the near future! 
     It really went far better than we imagined. The openness was surprising and such a blessing. My heart is so anxious to go back and interact with them more. 
     Now.. How to fund raise lots of money to bring lots more gifts next time! We have things planned but BowlFest will be huge as well! 

Here's a few pics from the night:

Fancy Dessert before:


Pretty much haven't laughed this much in a looong time.

In the parking lot



Thanks to everyone for the encouragement, prayer and support.
We are headed to the Brothel in Eli, Nevada on Wednesday! Big update to come on that!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thoughts before the club:

Ok, So in less than a half an hour we are departing for the clubs - strips clubs that is. Well first we are going out for gourmet dessert but then to the clubs!

Rachel, Krissee, Heidi, Laura and I are fully loaded with over $2000 worth of Sephora Make Up in cute little bags along with our contact information for X3 and Danger Make Up services.

The Goal? To show these ladies we love them and more importantly they are so desired and loved by God. I hope the attitude received is one that we are equals that genuinely care for them.

I am praying for favor to get in the back of the strip clubs to hand over the gifts, converse and whatever God allows. I am not sure how it will work but I pray it does work; that we are extensions of God's practical love. I pray that this will be an opening of doors to further relationships.

I am excited, anxious, nervous, ready.

Update to follow!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hello all.

I am participating in Fireproof Ministries (HeartSupport, XXXchurch, Difted, Strip Church) Bowlfest in which I am bowling 100 frames and looking for sponsors to help me raise money. If you or someone you know might be interested in a tax deductible donation please read more here.

Thank you!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

a night on the town

Last weekend we all went out for the first real time together. We went to Red Rock Casino which is not on the strip but not far and super nice. If you were super rich you could live there and never need to leave - bowling alley, spa, coffee, etc. We all gathered to go bowling and it is super nice. Plasmas line the entire alley wall to wall. Bowlfest (go here and click on bowlfest for more info) is at Red Rock in the VIP lounge!
Here are a few photos from the night:

Rachel, Alex and I


Stephen, Kaleb and I

Krissee and I

Sam, Alex and I

Do not worry, there is more where this craziness came from..