This month, Park Street Church is highlighting some of their members who are living out their faith in their day-to-day lives. Below, we introduce Mary Speta, member of Park Street Church and Development Director at Amirah. (Reprinted with permission)
If you’ve ever met Mary Speta, you might know that she is a self-proclaimed foodie, who loves to sing jazz, tell stories, and who hails from western New York, where they boast a higher cow population than people. She has been around Park Street Church for the last five years and is involved in the Café young adults ministry.
What you might not know about Mary, is that she is passionate about elevating women and women’s issues both locally and globally. Because of her own story of healing, Mary has a heart for helping other women find freedom and healing from trauma. This led her to a position as the Development Director of Amirah, a multifaceted aftercare organization for survivors of domestic sex trafficking.
Amirah, from the Persian word for “princess,” has a mission to provide refuge to those seeking to break free from exploitation, offering healing in a community setting. Amirah strives to help each survivor recognize her inherent value as a person in the aftermath of being trafficked. Most women being trafficked in New England were actually born and raised here. Traffickers target and take advantage of vulnerable girls and women, often through the lens of “love.” They tell their victims they love them, act like a boyfriend, but then tell them to do this work for a while.
This happened to Jessie. She was in a vulnerable position and along came a guy who paid attention to her, showering her in affection, until one day he asked her to sell her body. This went on for years, and by the time Jessie came to Amirah, she was so mixed up about what love really was. She distrusted everyone — there was no way, in her mind, that she was going to be able to get her life back. But that’s exactly what happened as she moved into Amirah’s residence program. As the months went on, she began to see, through the staff and volunteers, that real love was not exploitive and she connected all this love back to God. One day, she said to her mentor, “I don’t want to be bought and sold anymore.” Her mentor replied, “Jessie, Jesus bought you once, and he will never sell you.” And that day, Jessie believed.
Watch this video below to hear more about Jessie’s journey, the existence of sex trafficking right here in our backyard in Boston, and how Amirah provides refuge for those seeking to break free from exploitation and heal in community on their journey toward lasting hope.
If you are interested in how you might make an impact in the lives of trafficked women in the Boston area, check out Amirah’s website. They need volunteers, as well as financial and prayer partners, in order to sustain this vital ministry.
OTHER GREAT ORGANIZATIONS FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
There are other great Christian ministries that are fighting human trafficking here in the Greater Boston area, including:
Route One Ministry, which ministers to women exploited by the sex industry. Through building relationships with the women, they hope to be the light of Christ and provide for physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
Bags of Hope Ministries, which provides bags of hope as a practical way to minister to women in the trafficking industry. Anita, a recovery coach and mentor for Bags of Hope recently saw a woman come to faith and baptized because of their ministry. You can read this story here.