Texas Strip Club Owner Shuts Down Venue After Meeting ‘Church Ladies’ Who Led her to Jesus Christ

Teresa’s Club was a staple along Highway 80 for 25 years until the owner, Teresa Fears, met Jesus Christ through friendships with members of Mobberly Baptist Church.

Afterward, it was Fears’ idea to close down her adult club in Longview, Texas.

The Mobberly “church ladies,” as Teresa calls them, have changed her life. And she has changed their lives in sharing the Gospel.

Mobberly’s involvement with Fears began more than three years ago when worship team member Laney Wootten began praying about the club.

“The Lord made it clear that I was not just to pray but to do something,” Wootten said. She searched the club’s Facebook page and was surprised that the owner was a woman with a passion for helping special needs children.

Fears accepted Wootten’s friend request and the two began messaging on Facebook. Wooten, the parent of an autistic son, found common ground with Fears, who regularly volunteered at the Truman W. Smith Children’s Care Center for medically fragile children and youth in nearby Gladewater.

“We talked online for two weeks,” Wootten recounted. “I knew we needed to come into the club to really reach her.”

Fears was initially reluctant after visits from groups from other churches. Since she also regularly fed homeless people from the club, she asked for help with that instead.

“We said yes,” Wootten said. “We wanted Teresa to know we were validating what she was doing to help others and wanted to support her.” Wootten talked to Mobberly pastors and invited children’s minister Sharon Brooks to accompany her to Teresa’s.

“They got to be my friends,” said Fears, who has been “on her own” since age 14. “They did not automatically try to shove anything in my face.”

Wootten and Brooks began visiting Teresa’s and continued sending her messages. On Mother’s Day weekend, Fears proved unreachable on Facebook.

“We knew she was depressed and in chronic pain,” Brooks said. Armed with beans, cornbread, flowers and a book, Wootten and Brooks went to Fears’ home for what Brooks called “our first truly meaningful spiritual conversation.”

“Teresa said later the tangible things we brought to meet her physical needs spoke to her and the fact that we went to the trouble to track her down because we were concerned,” Wootten said.

That day Fears asked why God allowed bad things to happen to children, giving Wootten an “open door” to share both the Gospel and her son’s struggles with autism.

Mobberly associate pastor Gregg Zackary and his wife Tina also were instrumental in reaching Teresa. Zachary had formerly struggled with depression, so Brooks and Wootten thought he could minister to Fears alongside their outreach, which had extended to providing meals for her and the ladies who worked there before the club opened Saturday evenings.

“Before I went, I thought and prayed about it seriously.” He consulted accountability partners and other Mobberly pastors asking for prayer.

“We didn’t want anything to happen that would not glorify the Lord,” Zackary said. “My wife and I went to the club. I shared my testimony. We listened to Teresa and were heartbroken over the pain she had endured. We prayed for her.”

Wootten called Zackary’s visit “a huge turning point,” the first time a pastor had come through Teresa’s doors to offer help. The Zackarys also began messaging Fears with Scripture and biblically based questions.

The Zackarys went twice to the club before Fears started attending church at Mobberly’s satellite in Marshall and later at the Longview campus. She brought friends to church including homeless people and club workers, and was welcomed by members who had ministered to her at the club.

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Source: Baptist Press | Jane Rodgers/Southern Baptist TEXAN