The Flashlight Project's founder, Jeannine Weaver, was deeply affected by her volunteer work in both Angeles City, Philippines, and in Daegu, South Korea. In the Philippines, she went into the sex tourist bars and talked with the women who worked there. She also formed relationships with the women living in an aftercare shelter. In South Korea, she went to red light districts with a church group and learned more about how South Korea's sex industry operates. When she returned to the United States, she knew she had been forever changed by what she had seen and experienced.
Upon returning to the United States, she connected with other like-minded people who were also determined to serve women in Dallas' sex industry. The Flashlight Project was born.
"We realized before too long that we needed information," Jeannine recalls. "We had good intentions and a genuine desire to help, but none of us had ever been to an erotic massage parlor before. So, we decided to go. I was very blessed to have a partner who was as adventurous as I was, and she was enthusiastic about going. Our Board was also supportive, so my partner and I got some cookies, put them in gift bags, made a list of places to go, drove into one of Dallas' red light areas, and started ringing doorbells."
The response was surprising. While it was true that not every door was answered, some were, and the women the outreach team met were friendly. The outreach team went home knowing that they had found an amazing opportunity to reach out to women who are usually either ignored or presumed hostile.
Over the months to come, the Outreach Team would meet many women as they researched the potential for serving the women in Dallas' erotic massage parlors. There were good days and bad days. Sometimes the door did not open. Sometimes it opened, but the woman was hostile.
However, as discouraging as that could be, those moments were nothing compared to the elation team members felt when they got to talk to the women. Some were shy but took the gifts. Other women warmed up over time, and there was genuine affection between everyone. Team members even prayed for some of the women and held hands with them.
That was stage 1 of The Flashlight Project's work in the parlors: understand the potential for ministry to the amazing women who work inside them.
Now The Flashlight Project is in stage 2: improve the self-esteem of the parlor owners, managers, and younger women in prostitution.
It will be an amazing journey to impact how these women see themselves and each other. Women in the sex industry often struggle with addictions, anger management, depression, and low self-esteem. The Flashlight Project is working to show the women that they are loved and accepted as they are.
Will you join us?
ABOVE ALL, WE BELIEVE THAT EACH WOMAN HAS VALUE AND IS UNIQUE.
IF SHE CAN DREAM HER FUTURE, SHE CAN LIVE IT.