Mission Statements:

Sending Flores exists to show the unconditional love of Christ to the world. We serve locally and globally and have a calling to be HIS hands and feet.
Velvet Hearts exists to show the unconditional love of Christ to women and men who work in the sex industry and to renew and reaffirm hope and a future to them.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Power of Prayer


I imagine when the Lord called Bambi Flores to begin ministry for dancers that she did not anticipate meeting the women of CLUB X. While the strip clubs that we see are not like how the movies portray, this one is certainly not what anyone could expect. The dancers are several decades beyond the average dancer that we typically meet The neighbors of this establishment are a liquor store, an “adult” store, and a gas station. The entire stretch of road feels desolate and lonely, though it is almost always busy. In front of the door stands a tall, iron knight whose shadow covers the few cars that dot the parking lot. Inside, the women usually are gathered around a television set watching something altogether. 
Compared to the ever-rotating roster of dancers at other clubs, CLUB X consistently holds the same women. Many of the women are old enough to be our parents or grandparents even. There are several Asian women who struggle with English, but nod in greeting us before disappearing to the back. In all the times we’ve been in CLUB X, very few customers have come by. We often wonder how they stay in business at all, but for 30 years it has been open. Websites that review bars and clubs have detailed accounts of men visiting and partaking in what the women offered, only to speak horrifying things and describe these women as objects to be used and thrown away, and not revered and cherished. 
 At first, the women of CLUB X had no interest in Velvet Hearts. The Go Team was met with cold greetings and awkward thanks as they took the gifts. Likely disappointed that they door opening gave way to a group of women instead of paying customers, they offered only a little in the way of hospitality at first. But God, in His faithfulness, continued to call Velvet Hearts to go and meet these women every other week, and the walls began to come down. These women who are daughters, and sisters, and mothers, and grandmothers, who were once just children with dreams in their hearts, who have loved and lost, who have known heartache and pain...these women began to open up their hearts to us. They would yell “The church ladies are here!” And someone would dip behind the bar to grab bottles of water for us. Standard greetings eventually gave way to hugs, and surface conversations soon became deep. Questions started to come like ‘why did Jesus die?’, ‘is my nephew in Heaven’, and ‘what is Heaven like?’ They told us that they look forward to seeing us and are sad when they realize it isn’t our week to come. They shared difficult family topics and prayer requests. We became like regulars to them, each time seeming less and less threatening as we remembered details of their lives and asked for updates on their children or a sick spouse. Little by little, we got to be part of the lives of these incredibly strong women. 
From the very beginning of me joining Velvet Hearts, I have had the prayerful support of an older woman at my church. In her thick, Ecuadorian accent, she told me that for years she has been driving by a club on her way to see family.  She ALWAYS prays, “Lord, destroy the place, but save the people.” Nearly every Sunday we talk about the exciting things that God is doing in the ministry and she continued to encourage me. I found out that the club she drives by and has prayed for all this time is CLUB X. I explained to her how much this meant to me, and that God is doing incredible things there. She asked if she could provide gifts for us to hand out. And I said yes. She brought beautiful bags filled with full sized Bath & Body Works soaps and lotions, pocket-sized New Testament Bibles, and small toiletries. She prayed over the gifts with her husband and brought them to me at church one Sunday. She said “The Lord’s word will not return void. He is faithful.” What I later learned, was that this woman and her husband were not financially in the place to give such an extravagant gift. She felt the Lord’s call and responded without hesitation, such a gracious picture of the widow who gave her two small coins, all that she had. She prayed and she believed that God is bigger than the club. He is bigger than her finances. And He is bigger than the chains that have bound these women.
The next outreach we took the gifts my sweet friend made. When we arrived it was apparent the place was dead.  No cars outside and so dark.  We went in as usual and find out from the women that CLUB X is closing its doors for good. After 30 years, these women, some who have worked at this same place for 30 years, are out of work. Closing, CLUB X is closing.  The prayers of a righteous women have been heard.  No longer will a man enter this establishment demanding sexual favors and call them demeaning names. No longer will they undress under dim lights and hope, somewhat dreadfully, for a patron to bring money. No longer do they have to pretend to enjoy whatever fetish and perversion a customer has just so they might be able to afford to eat this week. How amazing is it that the very outreach for which this woman’s gifts are provided is the same week the club is closing?  Some might call this coincidence, but I know it is favor from the Most High.
The prayers of His people are heard. He hears, and His word does not return void. He is so faithful. We don’t believe that CLUB X closing is just happenstance. We believe that we have seen spiritual victory over that club. For the women, this is only the beginning. They are fearful because of this displacement and what it will mean for their income and livelihood. They are being forced out of the only life they have ever known, with no education and no experience outside of this sexually oriented business. At 40-65 years of age, they don’t know where to turn. BUT GOD, in His sovereignty and faithfulness knows each and every one of these fantastically, unique women. He is not surprised by the dramatic shift in their lives. And we believe that He is ABLE to do immeasurably more than what we can think or imagine for them. 
Please continue to pray for our friends. Pray that they will be willing to meet with us and let us love on them. Pray that they will feel the Peace that surpasses all understanding and that they would encounter a God who is bigger than all their needs. A God who sees them where they are, loves them more than they know, and is calling them near. 

With so much love and thankfulness,


Katie Gregg

Velvet Hearts Go Team

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Testimony of Rochelle






I was recently told I needed to share more success stories from the many things we have been able to see happen inside Velvet Hearts.  The changed lives. The ones who choose to leave. The true 180s!!!!!! What was actually said was: 

“Tell me more than, ‘We take lip gloss into the dressing rooms.” Thank you, Matthew Kirby!  So, here is one of the testimonies from the mouth of Rochelle. We met her 3 years ago and she has been out for over two years.  She is successful in her sobriety, love Jesus and has started her own Facebook page called Broken Chains, anchors of Hope for those who have dealt with or are dealing with addiction and recovery.  Rochelle is a success story- she is the face of many others who want to remain anonymous still or those who are still in the process.  Rochelle is bold and fierce.  She is a warrior and I am beyond thankful for her salvation and redemption. 


This girl is me, this woman, hated herself in more ways than one, this night I went to a concert, I was on alcohol, Xanax and hydro’s and zero cocaine, I started the night off with Rumple Minze, 100 proof liquor with water chaser. I literally took 14 shots of Rumple, and was blacked out drunk - out of my mind. My fellow bartenders put me in the green room and talked me into laying down as I could not walk anymore or even function. They put security on the other side of the door because I literally was free game if someone had decided to take advantage of me. I wouldn’t have been able to fight back or even get away if need be. I slept in my throw up for 5 hours, and came to life about 2 am.  I partied for a few more hours. It would be months later when I would realize I had truly lost myself. I needed to get help and get away from this life style. I was in self-destruct mode. I was so tired, irresponsible, and self-centered. I didn’t want to be a responsible mom and I was tired of doing everything alone. I wanted that night was cocaine and couldn’t get my hands on it so I did everything else. I was working 3 jobs and was utterly exhausted. It’s like something snapped and I went into a roller coaster of destructive behavior. I was most definitely blowing more than steam. I was one year out of an abusive relationship, but ironically even leaving my abuser didn’t make me happy. I only felt happy when I balanced with cocaine and hard liquor.  That made me feel alive and socially acceptable. A false sense of happiness.  BUT what it really was doing was taking me farther away from my kids, from my family and myself.  I was living with my own dirty secret that made me feel gross and fake around those who actually cared about me. I have so many pictures like these and pictures are worth a thousand words. You can see here how truly lost and how far from the person I was to who I am today. The girl in these pictures loathed herself, she was massively depressed, she was a train wreck hauling ass down a broken track at full steam. This girl actually wanted to die and even begged God a few times to allow it to happen.  She wore many masks. She had a terrible distrust and hated people.  She was cold hearted and distanced herself from anything that might, could or would hurt her. She was callous and full of hate. She trusted no one, not a soul. This girl was me.

I’m thankful that this girl has been put to rest, I’m thankful that regardless of how often I begged to die, that God didn’t allow it to happen, because He had other plans, I’m thankful that I got a third chance at life. And I’m glad that I met Bambi with Velvet Hearts. She found me in a dark club in the heart of the sex industry. Bambi was my light. Bambi is every bit of what being a light in Christ is supposed to be. To know Bambi is to know what real love, grace and mercy is. I thank her so much for praying and interceding for me in the midst of the ugliness. For basically holding my hand through recovery and being my cheerleader. Bambi made herself available to talk anytime of the day.  And oh how I hold those conversations in my heart. I thank her for guiding me out of the dark lost world and back to my original purpose in Jesus. Sometimes I wonder if this amazing woman of God had not listened faithfully to Jesus and stepped into her calling would I still be lost on the sex industry? Would I still be a raging alcoholic with a massive cocaine habit? Or worse would I be dead? I’m thankful for my recovery. I am thankful for Jesus.  I am thankful to be alive again.






Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Reflection

I've been taking time to reflect on all that God has done in Velvet Hearts since we began 3 years ago. Social media often only shows the shiny happy parts of who we are and all the wonderful parts of what we do. We post the wins, the happy things, the donor dollar attractors. 

But the truth is, God has brought us through a lot the past three years.  There have been moments of complete hopelessness, heart ache, and frustration. There have been deaths, and people go missing.  There have been pimps, club owners, abusers and systems that seem to never untangle, systems that seem to never work in favor of a victim. So much that leaves me wanting to scream in frustration. There have been days no one showed up to a coffee meet up. Where almost every volunteer bailed on me. Where the funding wasn’t looking good. Where it seemed like I would never figure out how to do this thing I’m called to. Where I definitely said the wrong thing or did something stupid. I’ve forgotten important things. There have been nights I’ve cried and wondered what in the world I’m even doing with my life.  

I share all this not be “woe is me” but to say, through it all, God has shown up. In the hardest darkest moments. In bad news and the good. I can’t believe all God has done, but also, I can’t believe how he’s never once left my side. And to also say, dreams and fruit don’t happen overnight. Countless seeds of encouragement and prayers have been planted all over Fort Worth. Dreams take 

Time- Courage-Steadfastness-
Stamina- Grit -Determination

These first three years of Velvet Hearts have felt incredibly hard. And I probably quit at least once a month inside my brain for the first two years. But I’m really glad I didn’t. It had been the best experience of my life.

So, if you’re out there grinding on your dream, or overcoming obstacles, keep going! You can do it and you’re not alone!! It’s okay if it feels like disaster right now. It won’t feel that way forever.

It is truly a time to grow. We are not the new kids on the block anymore. We have worked out and trouble shot a million things. We have found our rhythm and settled into normal. We have cut ties to the big-name ministry we once thought we needed and are doing a new thing. I’ve been blessed by so many others with wisdom to ask questions and seek help from. I have those I can call for and ear when needed.  We will be creating our own training specific to us and  we are excited about the future.