I am proud to be part of a church that cares deeply for the oppressed. The people of Parkway Fellowship were working towards ending human trafficking before I even came along. They have been a tremendous financial supporter of the global organization, Love 146, and they have had a task force for several years that would support the work of Love 146 here in Houston. This shared passion for the trafficked victim has made transitioning into my role as Missions Pastor easier here. Last Saturday, I was honored to be part of our church as we received The Abolitionist Award from Love 146.
Having earlier handed Matthew Miller, Rob Morris, and Steve Martin of Love 146 a hefty check on behalf of Parkway, I saw the heartfelt appreciation in their faces. These men know where this money will go and what it can do. They have looked into the eyes of girls and boys who have sold their bodies in order to buy food for their families. They have provided hope and a future to children who otherwise would have none. On a week when our sermon series was called, Speak Up, they knew that this money would go to amplifying the voices of these who had previously gone unheard.
As they presented Mike McGown, our Senior Pastor, with the award, they spoke of Parkway’s value of elaborate generosity. I am so thankful to be amongst people who know how to give. However, we did not only receive the award for the giving of our money, but also for the giving of our time and energy. Just this past January, before the Super Bowl came to town, our hospitality teams visited 32 hotels along the I-10 Interstate. Our dedicated abolitionists understood that the Super Bowl was going to bring in an elevated risk for human trafficking, and so they went out to ask the staff at these hotels to be aware. They left packets of information with red flags to look for, and they left the human trafficking hotline number.
Bec Blakemore, Jamie Peterson, Michelle Taylor, Katie Braden, Karen Sanders, Troy Hobson and Chesley Combs reported an outstanding outcome! They brought back reports of hotels thanking us and appreciating our work! Katie Braden shared that one hotel manager was so passionate that he was giving her more ideas on how we could have a greater impact. Chesley Combs encountered one hotel manager who said that they had just been talking about needing to train their staff, and all of our teams had hotel staff that asked for more training. Troy Hobson has three daughters who attend Katy ISD schools, and the more he learns about what is happening in our community, the more concerned he becomes.
Reports of recent arrests during Super Bowl weekend have families in Katy, Richmond, Rosenberg and Fulshear concerned about their children. These hotels right in our area are being used in advertisements as a meeting place. Love 146 is assisting us in being able to provide training for the hotels and their staff. If our work is able to save even one person from becoming a victim of this horrific industry, then it will be well worth it.
Come to Parkway Fellowship this Sunday as we learn how to Speak Up on behalf of those who are trafficked!