Laugh if you will... but, that's how I always feel when I head to big cities. I've never been one that longed for busy streets filled with scantily clad people... taxi's everywhere and the smell of garbage. But, alas, we had a wonderful week of ministry in NYC this past week - that indeed left an impression on the rest of my life. We served with First Baptist church of Manhattan - right on the corner of 79th and Broadway - fantastic! I couldn't have chosen a better "home away from home". We had multiple opportunities to stamp tracts for hand outs, open the church doors and hang out with the lost on the stairs...and in my experience, meet believers from all over the world.
Min, a lady who moved to the USA from Korea 30 years ago, was a strong believer. She and her husband had come to the states so he could get a theological education at Yale. She came into the church one day during the "doors open" time... and sat in the sanctuary just looking around. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to speak with a stranger... so I approached her. We spoke about hymns and the beautiful complexity of their words - we spoke of her past life in Korea and her children who are now all in Manhattan, minus one. Even though I had intended for my visit with her to evangelistic... I found she was already there. So we talked about faith, about the church in America and she noted some things she felt convictions about. She then broke into tears as she shared her concern for this country. She said 100 years ago missionaries came to her country to bring "God" there... and now this country needs someone to bring him here. Very profound thought. Here we are sitting in the most religiously "free" place on earth... and this woman is weeping for the unsaved, corrupt Americans. She told me multiple times that she was very conservative... which sounds so cute in a korean accent. My time with her was precious. She then closed our time by getting very quiet and crying again. Her son, Paul, was not walking with the Lord -he lives in NC and has no interest in God. Her heart was broken and she didn't understand his choice. We prayed together and what a neat opportunity to wrap your arms around someone who is from the other side of the world. We spoke the same language of faith...knowing that God can answer any prayer. It was such a cool opportunity.
The rest of our week was spent in the Bronx. Totally different experience.
Pray for the people there - they are lost, the pastor is discouraged and negative... it feels very hopeless...but GOD does have a plan for even there.