I figure one blog post about this weekend was not going to be enough to explain what I experienced. So much happened in so little time that I have to decompress and really think about it all. I met so many people this weekend, probably most of which I will never see again. They will continue on with their lives and may even forget that they met me, the short, blonde, non-porn star at the Jesus booth at the eXXXotica porn convention. But there are a few… just a few that I pray to God I get to see again. I pray that I can encounter them somewhere, even at the next eXXXotica later this year. I have their names written down with descriptions in case I forget them, though I doubt I will. With all the people- the hundreds of people I personally met this weekend, there was only one person that had me thinking about beyond just hoping they open the Bible and read it. Let me preface this for a second… I was not thinking about him sexually, romantically or any other way that someone could turn my words around. I can’t fully explain it, I just know… there was something about JJ.
The story of meeting JJ actually starting by meeting Jason [I think]. So let me start from the beginning:
Sunday evening the expo started to wrap things up and crowds were dwindling down. It was actually a common occurrence when guys would walk to our XXXchurch booth and flirt with the girls [me being one of them] hoping to get one or more of us to go out with them later. So with our booth being empty of passers-by and a lot of our team, two guys walked toward my friend and I to, of course, find out if we were indeed porn stars. Surprised by their lack of disappointment, they proceeded to ask my friend and I to the club and bar after we tore down our booth. After some small talk I asked for their names. The first, and most talkative of the two, proclaimed that his name was Jason. He then said “this is my friend John”… to which John heard and jokingly responded “you told them my real name?” I couldn’t help by laugh. To some level John was trying to hide his real name from the people he was meeting at the expo. His real name was John, but he introduced himself to me as JJ. So having met Jason and John I introduced myself as Mandy, however, I did tell John that he could call me MJ. It may sound simple but on some small level I was trying to relate with him.
I don’t know JJ or Jason’s stories. I don’t know their backgrounds. But there were a few things I could pick up on based on our 10 minute conversation. We gave each of them a “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” book (Bible) and then slapped stickers on their arms and chests. It was actually the typical reaction to every guy that came by our booth. Women too for that matter. But something here was different. I noticed that Jason controlled the conversation, which isn’t necessarily bad. He was excited to be at the expo because as he proclaimed, he also loves porn stars and sex. He loves to drink and party. For at least 5 to 10 minutes he tried impressing my friend and I with his stories of drunken ridiculousness: having to walk 10 or so miles because he didn’t have a ride, breaking things while drunk, etc. JJ stood and listened, occasionally responding with a comment, but for the most part he let Jason speak. And speak. And speak. I was definitely not annoyed nor did I feel uncomfortable. Also, to point out, I was not impressed by his stories, though he was definitely a funny story teller. I noticed that every time we would share something about Jesus or XXXchurch, especially porn addiction, he would have to change the subject to something else he has done. What I found interesting was that the moment his phone rang, he walked away leaving JJ behind.
That is when things became a little more real. JJ and I were left alone at one corner of our XXXchurch booth to chat and I am honestly so glad. The moment Jason had walked away, I felt like suddenly JJ opened up and wanted to talk more about XXXchurch and porn addiction. Eventually the conversation even found its way to why I have become a part of XXXchurch. He was amazed at the truth behind porn addiction. He was challenged by the fact that I was simply at the convention, unthreatened nor freaked out, just to tell people that Jesus loved them, even them. The whole time JJ and I were talking, I had this gut feeling, almost like God was speaking into my heart from his (JJ’s). I felt like JJ wanted more… more than sex, more than porn, more than partying. Just more. More depth, more love, more truth. It didn’t even seem like JJ wanted to be there, at the expo. He explained some of his story to me- where he went to college, what he does now, and how he is trying to figure things out for what’s next. He wanted to know my story. He let me talk. He invited me into his world, not to get laid, not be like so many of the guys at the expo, but to know more about my world and Jesus. He was so incredibly nice and respectful. Ironically, I’d even go as far to say gentlemanly.
Whatever his story is in the details I don’t know, I know this: Jesus loves JJ. At the end of the conversation I wish I had given him some form of contact information. I know that there was and is something tugging at his heart. I can’t explain it, I just know. For what its worth, I hope JJ knows that Jesus loves him, that his story isn’t over, that God has more for him. All I know is that JJ is from Brigantine, went to F.I.T. and now makes furniture down the shore. Those are the details he told me, but that’s definitely not all I know. I pray that somewhere, some way I can reconnect with him. I pray that somehow our paths will cross again. He has the XXXchurch book “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” which actually has contact info inside… I hope and pray he not only reads the book, but contacts XXXchurch; that he finds the love of Jesus to be deeply true, that his life can be greater than ever imagined.
So to you JJ, I pray for you. I have been since I met you on Sunday. I have been intentionally praying that you discover who Jesus really is and can be for you! I pray that you read the Bible and contact us. I pray that we meet again and that when we do, we can have honest conversation again and you can tell me how Jesus loves you and that you have your hope in Him. But no matter what happens, I will pray for you.
Jesus loves you JJ.