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Woman Turns Porn Shop Into Bible Store

Dexter, Missouri- Retail spaces change occupants all the time—a corner hardware store becomes a Starbucks, a seafood restaurant gets bumped for a new Walgreens. But rarely is a change in businesses as radical as the one Sue Tinsley Robinson initiated last year when she converted her Erotic Temptations porn shop into a Christian store called Heaven’s Grace: Bible, Bridal and Lace.

Robinson, who lives in Dexter, Missouri, began the unusual switch in late 2005 after she vowed to follow Jesus Christ. That decision came after a serious accident involving her boyfriend (now her husband), which led him to rededicate his life to God.

Six weeks after closing her porn shop, which generated its revenues from a wide assortment of sex toys, books, and videos, Robinson watched as a bonfire destroyed $6,500 worth of inventory. The Greater Vision Worship Center in nearby Puxico helped organize the fire at a public park. Says Pastor Marty Bryant, “We were happy to give someone a chance to change their lifestyle.”

After the bonfire, Robinson reopened her business as a Christian bookstore and bridal shop in the same downtown location. Even though sales initially were only a third of former levels, Robinson says numerous customers have stopped by to offer encouragement.

“They say they know God has His hand on this,” says the longtime businesswoman. “They see the difference in me as I grow and God is number one in my life.”

Still, closing Erotic Temptations wasn’t easy, since it had proved lucrative during the three years she ran it. While struggling with that decision, Robinson found an answer when she learned a local Christian bookstore was closing.

Although the owner wanted to sell her inventory, Robinson needed $6,800 to buy it. Through a series of donations from area churches and individuals, and a $3,000 loan from an elderly woman, she raised the funds.

By last spring, additional donations from area residents had helped reduce the loan balance to $2,200. And although times are a lot tougher than when she sold porn, she sees a blessing in her current circumstances. Not only did her story generate national media attention, she knows friends and neighbors are watching to see how she reacts to pressure.

“If we got all the money at once, God wouldn’t get the glory as we go step by step,” Robinson said. “God wants people to hear about the things He can do, even in a little town in southeast Missouri.”

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