Guest Blogger Jay McKenney
I remember the first time I heard the phrase “sex trafficking.” I didn’t quite understand it. When I did hear what it meant I saw it as happening somewhere else, far away from my life or ability to do anything about it.
About 10 years ago someone told me it happens here, in Oregon, all the time. It rocked my world, especially now that I am a father of two daughters who I would give my life for. There are so many things I want for my daughters. I want them to know they are loved, by me and by God. I want the men in their life to treat them with the same respect and care that I do. I know there are many things I will not be able to shield them from in this life, but there are some that I would die trying.
I was at a leadership conference about four years ago and one of the speakers challenged everyone with a question, “What’s the evil in the world that you can’t live with, that you can’t stand more than any other?” For me, sex trafficking was the obvious answer. The thought of men stalking my or anyone else’s daughter, to bring her into a world of pain and agony for financial gain, fills me with more emotion than I know how to handle on my own. And I know there are many girls who don’t have a dad around like me to care, and they need dads like me to step up and become educated and take action on their behalf.
Like a lot of things in life, after some time had passed, I settled back into my comfortable American routine and forgot about that question and my answer, pushing both to the back of my mind.
The comfort was short lived as I suddenly began a three year battle with cancer. Three brutal surgeries followed by three even more brutal recoveries. My priorities in life changed, and my gratefulness for each day grew exponentially. By the grace of God I have been cancer free for a year now. And it is possible life could go back to a temporary season of comfort.
But I feel like God has something else in mind for me than my old view of the American dream. When a friend reached out about the upcoming JuST Faith Summit, I knew immediately I was supposed to go. I know God is putting things in place in my life to bring that question, and the answer, back into the forefront. I am meant to go beyond just thinking about how much I hate the idea of sex trafficking, to getting really practical about what I can actually do to help the problem.
At this point I don’t know what that looks like, but I’m excited to find out. I’m excited the second chance I have in life right now could intersect with a meaningful and intentional mission in whatever time I have left.
Jay McKenney is the Minister of Creative Arts at Sunset Presbyterian where he has served for 10 years. He has been married to his wife of 20 years, and has two daughters. In addition to family time, Jay enjoys photography, videography and health coaching. You can see some of his love for photography at Mac in Black Productions on Facebook or @macinblackproductions on Instagram.
This blog post was originally part of our 2016 Faith Summit Speaker Blog Series.