Unashamed Love 2/3: Pastor Donna

In Part 1 Donna Engvall returned to Christ through a counselor at a secular rehab program. In time she found the freedom from drug addiction she sought and a new purpose in life. A revival in a Florida church launched her into full time ministry. Click Here to read Part 1.

Donna loved living in the school’s dorm with fiery young adults who believed they would go out and change the world. Night after night Donna saw people in need closer to home as she drove from the dorm to the church – prostitutes. One day, she decided to stop driving past them. Donna approached the schools leaders. “Who is ministering to the prostitutes?” They were not sure and sent her to a ministry they ministered to prostitutes, which sent her to another ministry, which sent her to another ministry. Each ministry gave her the same answer. “We see them, but we don’t minister to them.”

“Nobody is ministering to the prostitutes,” she told the school’s leaders.

The leaders discussed the need, prayed and summoned Donna. “We believe God has called you for this work. We bless you to start a ministry.”

Donna and her team prayed about the ministry to prostitutes for a long time and set the launch date as September 11, 2001. They awoke on the 11th to a national tragedy. Terrorist had hijacked two airplanes and destroyed New York’s Twin Towers. They debated setting a new date to launch the ministry, but decided to continue as planned. Sack lunches for the working girls opened the door to build relationships. Night after night they met with prostitutes eventually winning their trust. God gave Donna’s team great favor. They were allowed to enter motel rooms to share the gospel and pray for the prostitutes. Donna prayed with hundreds of young women.

The strip clubs became Donna’s next target for ministry. Again she approached the schools leaders. “Who is ministering to the strippers?” Again she received the same answer. “No one.” The school gave Donna their blessing to expand her ministry to strip clubs.

Donna and her team entered the strip clubs with gifts for the strippers. At one of the clubs some of the strippers stopped them as they were leaving. They had collected an offering from their earnings for Donna’s ministry. “These are gifts,” Donna exclaimed. “You don’t have to pay for them.” The strippers insisted. Donna perceived she would offend them if she declined the offering, so she received it for the ministry.

One of the strip clubs adopted Donna as their pastor. When the club’s disc jockey developed a brain aneurysm, the owner called Donna to meet them at the hospital. She arrived to a room full of the clubs employee’s and their families. The owner announced, “This is Pastor Donna. She is part of our family.” Later the disc Jockey died. The owner called Donna to minister to her employees in their grief. When Donna arrived, the owner asked the patrons to leave. That afternoon the strip club became a church. Pastor Donna preached the gospel and prayed for them.

“Street corners, crack houses, brothels and strip clubs are my favorite places,” said Donna. “We strived to give the girls gifts that were meaningful. There were many cold nights in Pensacola. I had no greater joy than wrapping the ladies in warm coats, putting gloves on their hands and scarves around their necks. Most of them were homeless living in crack houses, brothels, motel rooms or abandoned homes. I looked for any way I could show them love. In the summer, we gave them bottles of cold water. On Mother’s Day we gave them roses. One Easter a children’s ministry had a surplus of Easter bunnies and gave them to us. The ladies loved them.”

Donna was nicknamed the “drive by evangelist”. The “johns” drove the streets looking for sex. Donna drove the streets looking for someone to pray for. When she saw a prostitute she had a relationship with, she rolled down her car window and called her by name.

“Blondie, get over here I want to pray for you.”

“You’re not praying for me. You mess up business when you pray for me. I can’t make any money.”

Donna would refuse to leave. “I am praying for you. Get over here and give me your hand.”

Blondie would back up to the car, stick her hand in the window, and say, “Pray.”

Sometimes the ladies tested Donna’s commitment. One night, she saw a woman with long blond hair standing by a tree with a mixed drink in her hand making a commotion. Donna recognized an experienced working girl. “Hi, I’m Pastor Donna. What is your name?”

“One eyed Rhonda.”

“I have never seen you out here before, and I am out here all the time. Where have you been?”

“I’m not like these other skanky hoes. I don’t walk the streets. Ya know, I like women, and I have always wanted to get with an older woman. You’re a good looking woman. I think I’d like to get with you.”

Donna called her bluff. “Ronda you keep talking, because I’m listening. When you shut up, I am going to tell you what I have to say and you’re going to listen.” Rhonda laughed and allowed Donna to share the gospel with her.

Donna would stand on street corners with the prostitutes or sit with a prostitute on a bus bench. When a john would pass by Donna would say, “Look at me. Don’t look at them. You look at me,” and they would obey her. She could tell them anything, because they knew she loved them.

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