Finally, a chance to breathe. We've been in NYC for 26 days now. The first two weeks we were here we tried to get acclimated to the area. The last two weeks we've worked with four mission teams. We've had college students from the University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, Alabama University, Auburn University, Alabama State, University of Montevallo, and University of Hawaii. The groups have spent time working in Shore Road Park and picking up trash along 3rd and 5th avenues in Bay Ridge. The people here are noticing! With out fail, people stop us and ask us why we're doing what we're doing. Its been great to hear these college students tell the locals, "Hey, we're from Hawaii (or any of these schools) and we're here to serve in your community. We're working with Cornerstone Church." Anyone who talks to these students receives a card with our church information on it. The people in the community are amazed that people come from all over to literally pick up trash and sweep sidewalks. Its been incredible for us to see the response.
I'm literally blown away how God is using us here and how God is at work here. We're seeing visitors come through our church doors and we're meeting new people. I had the chance to attend a worship conference in Brooklyn. It was a small intimate group but it was a great time to reflect as well. God has called us to serve people and to lead people. What a sweet time that was and I made some connections with some people in the city. I'm thankful I had the opportunity to go.
We're really enjoying getting to know the people in our church. We've attended small groups and its neat to hear their stories. Some are native to Brooklyn and some have come from other places. None the less, the stories are incredible how God has brought people into this community. We have a couple that randomly showed up to church b/c of a crazy woman. This couple was walking the street w/ their family. A lady was literally acting crazy on the street and they stopped to see what was going on. One looked to the business beside them and saw a flyer for the church…the next week they showed up, and they haven't left! They are a sweet family that serves faithfully in our church. Another couple noticed the people serving in the park and decided to come to church…they've not left either!
It's been exciting here the last little bit. On March 15th, I was sitting at my computer on Facebook about ready to call it a night. A friend jumped on their and said, "Nice article in the USA TODAY! I'm praying for your ministry." I asked, "Well thanks for praying but what are you talking about?" A few weeks prior, thanks to the Baptist and Reflector, they ran an article about Kristi and I going to NYC. The Tennessean (Nashville's newspaper) contacted us about doing an interview. The reporter must have been a contributor to the USA TODAY because the same article was sent to the USA TODAY. You can view the article here. http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-03-13/baptist-mormon-missionaries/53553360/1
Last night, we had a meet and greet with our church family. It was an opportunity for our church family to get to know us and see our new place. We had 16 people in our one bedroom apartment! Talk about a tight fit but it was a lot of fun.
I'll leave you with an INCREDIBLE story that happened at our church yesterday. This past weekend we had a couple from Alabama and a retired businessman from another part of Alabama visit NYC to check out Cornerstone Church. At church, near the end of the service a visiting couple showed up. They looked like they were unsure of where to go. I got up and greeted them and told them we were finishing up our service and invited them to have a seat. The gentleman was in a suit and his friend was dressed very nice as well. I'm wondering to myself, how did they hear about our service? I'm glad they found it but i'm thinking what's their story. Once the service was over, the businessman from Alabama stood up and said, "can i say something?" He then said, "I want to thank "Joe" (Name changed for sensitive reasons) for being here today." He was referring to the couple that came in at the end of the service. w "Joe" was my cab driver from the airport to the hotel. I shared with "Joe" about this church and invited him here today. "Joe" and I began to talk about the Bible and he had a lot of questions. He shared with me that he has began studying the Bible. "Joe" is from Africa and he is a Muslim." Can I tell you that the air in our church was sucked out and literally in awe of how God had worked. The look on everyones face was priceless! "Joe" left with some great books about Christianity and a new Bible. I don't think I'll forget that story for a long time.
God is at work in NYC and we would love for you to be a part. You can be a part by getting involved here. You can be involved by supporting Kristi and I prayerfully. You can be involved by supporting Kristi and I financially through the North American Mission Board. Regardless, just get involved! God is a work.
Pray that we would find jobs
Pray that God would send us churches/individuals to partner with us
Pray for our work with Cornerstone Church of Bay Ridge
Pray that the people of Bay Ridge would connect with our church
Pray for us as we serve