Over the course of Super Bowl weekend, a Send Relief team from Los Angeles was battling “intense spiritual warfare” as they fought child trafficking in Phoenix, the group reported.
Twice, the team avoided car crashes where drivers would have T-boned the vehicle had they kept spinning out. Shaken but comforted by God’s protection, Send Relief Journeyman Jacob Gonzales — along with other team members — joined In Our Backyard teams in canvasing nearly 600 convenience stores in the area, passing out booklets of missing children and training materials for recognizing the red flags of trafficking while posting hotline numbers on more than 1,000 store windows and bathroom stalls. Send Relief is a compassion ministry of the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board.
Through the concerted efforts of Send Relief, In Our Backyard and local churches, 13 children have already been rescued since the Super Bowl, Send Relief reported.
Gonzales noted, “One of the most impactful moments for those of us canvasing in Phoenix was seeing how heartbroken local workers were when they were made aware of the rampant child trafficking that typically happens over this weekend.
“We were worried that people might be annoyed or not want to help since it’s not their job,” he said, “but God moved ahead of us in softening the hearts of locals and paving the path beforehand so that operations could run smoothly.”
Across the many hotels and gas stations canvassed, he said, every single employee the team approached was eager to help and willing to put in the effort to help locate the children.
On one occasion, a convenience store worker flipped through the booklet of missing teens and immediately recognized several, enabling ministry partners to notify local police and report the specific locations of where they were last seen.
From there, FBI task forces combed through video footage until the children were found and rescued from their traffickers.
“The reality set in immediately that this is a real issue that impacts real children, not just numbers and pictures,” Gonzales shared.
Call for prayers
“We’re one day out and 13 kids have already been found,” Gonzales noted on Monday (Feb. 13), “so we ask for your prayers for continued rescues this week and this year, for more workers in the field and for everyone across the world who has entered the fight against the evils of human trafficking to be given stamina and resilience.”
Pray for the Los Angeles team as they continue to work with locating exploited children across America. To learn how you can help, click here.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Natalie Sarrett and originally published by Send Relief.