Everyone has heard that rules are made to be broken. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not. Rules are often created for a valid reason, so I personally think that before you break them, you should examine your motives and go from there.
However, I do believe that assumptions should be tested and shattered.
The erotic massage parlors of Dallas have largely been ignored by well-meaning people for years. They are considered off-limits by nonprofits and other groups. I don’t consider myself to be a naïve person. I have a good idea of what happens inside these places, as do other people. I can understand the perspective of people who think the parlors are too difficult to go to. They are difficult. There’s no denying that. I get why outreach to them has been so limited.
However, just because something hasn’t been tried does not mean it can’t be done.
In the nearly two years that The Flashlight Project has been doing outreach at the parlors, we have tested and shattered some key assumptions:
They don’t want visitors.
Yes, we have been turned away at some places, and unfortunately, this will always happen to some extent. Rejection sometimes is inevitable simply because of the nature of the businesses we visit.
What we have found, however, is that many women are glad to see us. They seem happy to come face to face with people who do not judge them and who are friendly. We are a welcome break in their day. Whether we stay for a few moments or a few minutes, many end up smiling because we are there.
The women are scary to talk to.
I’ll admit it – it takes some guts to make the first move. I’ve been nervous more than once, and I’ll be nervous again, no doubt. Ringing the doorbell and introducing yourself takes some courage, especially since you don’t know what reaction you’re going to get.
Once that hurdle is past us, however, the fear evaporates. We talk naturally with them, and sometimes we are privileged to hear their concerns and to pray for them. They may even remember us from previous visits and ask how we have been. Those visits that are positive are exhilarating.
It can’t be done. The parlors cannot be visited.
Yes, it can be done. The Flashlight Project’s outreach team has been doing it for the last few years. We have gathered our gifts, learned some Korean, driven to the parlors, rung doorbells, delivered the gifts and affirmations, and formed relationships with women in the parlors.
It can be done.
I cannot stress this one enough: just because something hasn’t been done before does not mean it can’t be done. It only means it hasn’t been done before. That’s all.
All it takes is a group of people who decide that they will do it and who then follow through. When that happens, everything changes. What wasn’t possible before is suddenly happening. All the assumptions have been shattered. Now a completely different future is being written. It will require boldness and faith to develop, but it will happen.
It can be done.
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