Creating a nonprofit and building it from the ground up can be overwhelming sometimes. It most definitely is not something you can do alone. There have been - and will be - plenty of times that I have wanted to bang my head against a wall and shove it all aside. Sometimes I have taken some time off so that I could just breathe, feel somewhat normal again, and get some much needed perspective.
Every time I returned, volunteers were waiting for me. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped me. Our board members have been wonderful. My partner on outreach has been through thick and thin with me, and she has never hesitated to tell me the truth about anything. She has analyzed what we know of the parlors so that we can be effective and safe. She has laughed with me, walked through the rain, heat, and cold, celebrated with me, and shared my frustration and fear at times. She has been there when God showed us yet another woman who was so glad to see a friendly face on her doorstep.
I would also be nowhere without the Koreans who have stepped up to translate materials for me. One Korean woman I worked with in South Korea now lives in China, and in August, she translated 3 pages of English for our prayer/encouragement line's advertisement. Another Korean is one of my former students from my ESL teacher days. All I have to do is send her the sentences, and within a few hours, she has responded with corrections and confirmations. Another American friend I knew in South Korea is married to a Korean, and he has translated sentences, too. Yet another Korean is a member of a Korean church in Carrollton, and she's done some translation, too. She's even answered my questions about how to use a phone in both English and Korean.
The help goes on and on.
Today, I begin putting together the guidelines and policies for our prayer/encouragement line. Last night, I made an outline of subjects to include. There are at least 21! And that doesn't include the subtopics. If there's one thing I know how to do, it's how to break a concept down into all of its excruciatingly tiny parts. I admit I sighed a little as I looked at it, but it's important to do it right. One thing I realized last night was something about the line's voice mail. We won't be accepting phone calls although that could always change somewhere down the line. Even so, in case someone does call, there will still need to be a message about only accepting texts. It will have to be in Korean and English, so I realized I will need a Korean friend to record that message for us. It's crazy sometimes the things you can think of suddenly.
The Flashlight Project is a nonprofit that I want to last for generations to come. I care deeply about all women in Dallas' erotic massage parlors. I want all of those women brought out of isolation. I want all of them to hear our message: you are loved. You are not despised. You are not alone. You have value. You are intelligent. There is hope for you. You are so much more than you may believe. You have potential you may have never dreamed of having. You define who and what you are.
It's mornings like these that I am profoundly grateful that even though I get overwhelmed, even though there have been and will be plenty of days that I want to throw in the towel and go off to a secluded Hawaiian beach, it is happening.
The years of isolation are being broken. Customers are not the only ones telling these women who they are. God is there. He is using The Flashlight Project to tell women in Dallas' erotic massage parlors that He loves them. This is happening, and we see women who are so glad to hear this message.
Thank you, to everyone, for helping us. Words are not enough to convey how I feel. Thank you. There are many times that I get too focused on the small details. Then there are moments like this morning where I step back and see what's happening, and all I can feel is gratitude. I am thankful. Thanks to God that He is using us to change the picture in Dallas.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!