What's Right: Former stripper using ministry to help others in the business

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by Sherry Williams / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM

HOUSTON -- Seven years ago, Teri Burrell worked in a strip club. It was raided and she went to jail.

The attorney the club hired advised her to leave the business, and he hired her as a receptionist.

That was the end of stripping for Burrell and the beginning of her ministry.

"Unconditional Love Ministries -- we are a ministry that reaches out to the women in the sexually oriented businesses." Burrell said.

She goes to strippers in the clubs and to prostitutes on the streets and gives them bags with Starbucks gift cards, beauty products and a message: When you're ready to leave this life, we will help you.

"They're always saying, 'Why are you doing this?' At first they're really stand-offish, like, 'What's this for?' And when you say, 'I just want to love on you.' I just want to give you some love. There's love in the bag,'" Burrell said.

Stacy Schindler started stripping at age 18 and was in the business for 10 years.

"I wasn't thinking about the guy that was stuffing money in my G-string. I was thinking about the song (that was playing)," Schindler recalled.

Then one day, she fell in the club.

"It's like my feet just got yanked out from under me and I feel and I fractured my back in two places," Schindler said.

Broke and broken, Schindler learned about Burrell's ministry.

Unconditional Love Ministries collected money for Schindler. With tears in her eyes, she said that the money was just enough to cover her rent.

Schindler now works in advertising and volunteers with Burrell's ministry.

"They're going into places where churches won't go," said their pastor, Jeremy Foster, of The 429 Church. "That's exactly what Jesus did."

The women want to expand the ministry to include job training, parenting classes, free housing and child care.

"I know that I've been redeemed," Schindler said.

They won't rest, they said, until many other Houston women working in the sex trade can say that too.

"This is where God has brought me," Burrell said. "I came from that dark place. Why would I not reach out to girls that were left behind?"

Click here to visit Burrell's Unconditional Love Ministries Facebook page.

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