NYC Week 3

Hard to believe that another week has gone by.  It has been so fun to be here in the city, having amazing conversations with people of all different ethnicities and nationalities, and learning so much about other cultures.  While we haven’t had the privilege of seeing anyone place their faith in Christ, we recognize that we are ministering on hard soil and planting seeds, none the less.  It has been exciting to share with some people about the name of Jesus for the very first time.  Everyone here has had significant conversations and we have seen the students grow by leaps and bounds in their walks with the Lord and in sharing their faith.  At the end of last week, we counted that we have had over 75 gospel conversations (where the Gospel was clearly communicated) on 8 different campuses in the city.  In my eyes, that constitutes a successful project thus far.  Here are some highlights from this week:

Jubilee (one of our students from Campbell University) and a guy student are doing Solarium (a picture survey we use to engage in spiritual conversation) with a group of students.

Garrett (another of our students who goes to school at Wake Tech Community College) is sharing his testimony (faith story) during our Dinner and Discussion time.

Our ethnic dinner this week was at a Senegalese restaurant.  Ed was so excited to introduce us to the food he came to love last year in Senegal and honestly, it was really good!  The girls even ate it!  It was also fun to hear from the owner about how he came to America, why he opened a restaurant, and how many Senegalese people live in the city.

This is how New York City does the World Cup – under the Manhattan Bridge with a huge screen and big speakers!

On Tuesday night, we went as a project to see Wicked.  It was so fun to get dressed up and see this awesome play!  Even better?  Getting to meet the lady who plays Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West).

Ed and I also got to go on a late anniversary date.  We had dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant, went to this really cool local store, toured Chelsea Market, saw this amazing view (below) of the Hudson, and visited the famous Kleinfields.

This weekend, we also got to take the girls to American Girl doll store, FAO Schwartz, and Coney Island.  They loved it all – from playing on the big piano, to seeing all the dolls and outfits, to eating Nathan’s Original Hot Dogs, to riding rides, to seeing the beach.  Emerson is, so far, our adventurous, dare-devil kid.  Kinsley could take or leave some rides while Emerson wanted to do them all.  See the picture below of the girls and Ed riding the swing ride?  Lets just say, we thought Kinsley was going to lose her dinner while Emerson was all smiles.  It was a great weekend – but man, are we tired today!

This is our last full week of project.  Please pray that we will stay engaged, students will stay engaged, God will allow us to have significant conversations that will make an eternal difference, and that we would get rest as we are trying to fit everything in.  Thanks for your prayers and supports – God is working in this city!


NYC Week 2

This week was a lot more of a normal week for us.  It was filled with Bible study, discipleship, training for staff and students, prayer time, time in the Word, dinner and discussion, campus time, ethnic dinner at a Turkish restaurant, and then a full day where students and a few staff served with Cru Inner City ministry working with after school programs and at risk youth.  We also had a men/womens time where we separated and talked about men and women things (the women talked about “Beauty to Ashes” – finding your identity in Christ and how that affects relationships with God, relationships with others, and relationship with self).

This week, I went to campus at City College.  Colin Powell is a graduate of City College which again reminded me of the importance of reaching students here in this city. I loved interacting with people from all different faiths who didn’t know hardly anything about Jesus.  For instance, to start off with, we talked to 3 students – 1 was from a Islamic family, 1 was from a Hindu family, and 1 was from a family that practices Sikhism.  It was really interesting to hear all of them describe that they are searching for what is true for them and not just for what they have been raised to think, how they felt they shouldn’t obey God and pray because of fear of what he would do if they didn’t, and that they didn’t think religion should be about do’s and don’ts.  We had a great conversation with them and when we asked about Jesus, the Muslim guy said that he heard Jesus described as Son of God but that he didn’t understand why anyone would want to serve a God who was human and messes up just like we do.  We were able to not only have great conversation with them about what they believe and value, but also to clearly share who Jesus was, what grace was, and how they could have a relationship with Him and not just a religion.

The next conversation we were able to have was with two girls, both of who were raised Catholic but no longer attend church.  After some really interesting conversation, we were able to ask them the question “If you think humanity is mostly good and everyone wants to do good, love others, and better themselves, then why isn’t the world getting better?”  They told us they wanted to think about it some more and then get together more to talk about it.  We are hoping to meet with them again this next week for some followup conversation.

Ed also got to travel to Columbia University this week and have some really great conversations with students.  People here in NYC are very open to talking about what they believe or are thinking and we love dialoguing with them about God.  Please pray the Lord continues to allow us to have great conversations, that he opens hearts and minds, and that he brings us into contact with the people whose hearts he is pursuing.  Also pray that we continue to interact with and share Christ with everyone we come into contact with, whether students or the people who are living in our communities.

We were able to squeeze some fun things into this week – lunch with some dear friends of ours who are serving with Destino here in the city (Cru’s ministry reaching out to Hispanic students), a trip to the NYC library to see their children’s book exhibit (the picture below shows Patience, one of the lions who sits outside the NYC public library), our first time eating Thai food, a trip to the carousel and pirate park near Brooklyn bridge, and a walk across the bridge.  When we were walking down from the bridge (just this morning actually), we came up against a parade rally going up the bridge full of hundreds of people protesting gun violence.  They even had a band!!  It was major madness going against the flow.  Their was even an article posted on MSN about it (its there now!).  Just our luck right?!?

We had our first big storm here in the city last night.  It was fun to see the wall cloud of rain moving across the city and hitting us.  And then, because we were stuck inside, this is how we passed the time.

Thank you for praying for us!  We have two more weeks here and are excited to finish well – but Kinsley (our homebody) keeps asking when we are going home, so pray we stay engaged, finish well, and the Lord allows us to see fruit these last few weeks!


NYC – Week 1 Part 2

Dinner and discussion Wednesday night went well…we had one new guy there and are making flyers to hand out on campus this week in hopes we will have more in the future.  We also got to hear the testimonies from 2 of our students (all of the students are being trained and are crafting their testimonies to give them at some point) which was neat to hear their stories and how the Lord has worked and is working in their lives.

Thursday, Ed and another staff guy went with the students to do rebuilding work for Hurricane Sandy.  Almost 1.5 years later, work is still being done and help is still needed.  They spent all day priming and painting an entire house.

Then, as soon as they got back, we headed with our staff team for a social at the Chocolate Room in Brooklyn.  We have heard people rave about this place, so of course we had to try it out for ourselves.  We got the fondue pot and while it was good, it was real rich and real chocolatey.  Probably not a place I would say everyone needs to go, but it was fun to kick back with our staff team and have some good laughs.

Friday, while the students spent extended time with the Lord, we had staff meeting.  That afternoon, everyone went to the Museum of Natural History for a scavenger hunt, Central Park, and then headed to the Top of the Rock observation tower to see the city.  Because one of the other moms and I had stayed behind with the kids for naps, we met the dads in the city to eat dinner and then head to Top of the Rock.  This was one of the most crowded subway rides we had ever taken to date and the kids hung in there but started breaking down.  I kept thinking, as everyone kept piling in, they can’t all fit, can they?  Uh yes, they did.  We ate at the Shake Shack which all New Yorkers rave about.  I have to say, it was really good.  The shakes weren’t anything abnormal but the burgers were really, really good. They have a special sauce they put on it that seriously makes it.

When we arrived at the Top of the Rock, we went first by the Today Show studio to show Kinsley where it is filmed.  I love The Today Show and while Ed and I have been before on the patio while they were filming, it was fun to see it remodeled and to show Kinsley.  We even got to see the Orange Room through the windows.  I also got to stop and buy a Today Show mug so I can drink my coffee in it while I watch the show 🙂

Here are some pictures of us on Top of the Rock.  The group picture is a picture of us and all our students that came from Eastern NC.


On the way home, we stopped off at Magnolia’s Bakery for cupcakes (everyone raves about this place but it was only so-so in my opinion) and I had my first celebrity sighting!  We saw the girl who plays Nicky (the daughter of the single mom) on Blue Bloods.  Ed saw her first and didn’t think anything of it until he heard her speak and then it all clicked.  He made sure to get my attention since I made sure everyone knew it was a project norm to alert me when a celeb is around 🙂  Seriously, it was fun to see her in person!

Saturday, we had the day off so we headed to Times Square to visit Toys R Us, the M&M store, and the Disney Store.  We had planned on buying the girls the Anna doll from Frozen but they literally had hardly any Frozen merchandise, didn’t know when they would get it in, and couldn’t tell us if they did know because of security purposes (crazy right?!?).  The girls enjoyed all these places – from getting M&Ms, to the magic mirror at the Disney Store where Ariel appeared when you waved a Magic Wand, to seeing the big ferris wheel in Toys R Us (it was broken so we didn’t get to ride it :(, to the lanterns hung over the escalator at the Disney store which makes it look like part of Tangled.  The adults enjoyed it too!

We spent the rest of Saturday resting and grocery shopping.  Then, today, the students arrived at church early to help serve.  Today is also a day off, and then tomorrow resumes the week of going to campuses and sharing the Gospel.  Because the weeks are so heavy with Bible study, going to campus, and sharing the Gospel, it is nice to have a few days to recharge and see the city :).

Enjoy this photo of one of our staff and one of our students exploring and meeting students at Columbia University.  Pray that the Lord draws students to Himself and allows us to be a part of it!

NYC Wk 1 – Part 1

Halfway through the first full week on project.  How do we feel?  Tired, but so excited and hopeful!  The students arrived, we hit the ground running, and have not stopped since.

Saturday, we had student orientation, dinner with our campus groups, a stop to see Grand Central Station and then a bus tour of NYC.  We did one of these when we here years ago on vacation, but it was neat to do another one and learn more about this city.  I was truly amazed at the beauty of this place and all the different cultures.  Every where you go, there are things to do, restaurants to try, and amazing views of the city.  While the tour was hard for Emerson being that she doesn’t like to be still for that long, especially right before and during bedtime, the icing on the cake was ending the tour in Times Square.  The girls had never been there and were amazed at the lights, the actual live video of people surfing in front of the Hollister store, the characters to take pictures with, and the list goes on and on.  Because it was bedtime, we didn’t get to stay, but are excited to make another trip there during our free time.  Here is a picture of Grand Central Station.

Sunday, everyone went to church together at Apostles, which is a church plant in Brooklyn of a church that started in Manhattan.  It was fun to unite with other believers who have a heart to grow in their faith and to reach others in this city.  Then, we had the afternoon off, and spent it relaxing at the apartment, doing some laundry (again, shell shocked at the price to do laundry in this city!), and cooking dinner.

Monday, we had training for the students and then the students went their assigned campuses for the first time.  This is a picture of one of the campuses our students are working with – Queens College.

The students got to learn about the campuses they are working with and some even got in good spiritual conversations.  One of our staff, Dan, and a student of ours from UNCP, Mike, had a really great conversation with some Muslim guys who were very open to talking about spiritual things.

That evening, we had ethnic dinner as a project.  Because of the varying cultures and people groups in this city, we are taking every Monday night to eat at a restaurant that contains cultural food, to learn about that country, and to pray for them.  Of course, since Chinatown is such a big part of this city, our first Ethnic dinner was there.  Kinsley is a very picky eater, so this will be a great stretch and learning thing for her, but she downed a lot of the food here.  She even said the soup (not sure exactly what it was) was grits…not quite baby girl, but just keep thinking that.

Then, yesterday, after prayer time as a team, everyone went to campus again.  Ed stayed with the girls so that I could go visit Metgars Evers college with my campus team and the girl I am discipling this summer.  We were going to go to the college, but learned that the group of current students were hosting a cookout at the local park.  We stopped by to meet them, ask questions about the campus, and to interact with the nonbelievers who were there.

Metgars Evers is a historically black college but attracts a lot of students that are originally from the Caribbean.  We were told ahead of time that they run on island time but we really got to see this for ourselves when our 12 lunch actually was served at 3:15.  One person arrived with part of it, an hour later another person arrived with another part, and so on, and so forth.  Even when we did finally eat, people were still showing up with things.  It was a great day though, and we discovered that a good portion of the 25 or so students they had come were actually non-believers.  We had significant conversations and loved seeing these students love on each other, no matter what they believed.  We were told that they are very real and welcoming so nonbelievers are drawn to them, and we got to see just that.  We also realized that quite a few of the students there didn’t even go to Medgars Evers, but were from neighboring colleges.  It gave us a good picture of the influence reaching even a few of the universities here can make as they interact with friend groups from other campuses.

Then, last night, I got to attend our Bible study.  We are studying 1 John this summer and it was great to see the girls begin to open up and share what is going on in their lives.

Today, students spent extended time reading the Word and fellowshipping with God before heading out to campus.  Ed will be going to the Fashion Institute of Technology today and I have to say, I am a little jealous.  All those Project Runways he watched with me are going to pay off!

Tonight, we have invited students who are not believers to dinner and discussion with us at an Italian restaurant.  I am excited to see 1 – who comes and 2 – the conversations that surface as a result.

And I am sure that the next few days will hold more of this:

We are seriously going to spend a good fortune in horse rides by the time the summer is over 🙂

Thank you for praying with us, supporting and encouraging us, and being a part of this summer.  Please continue to pray for good rest for everyone – all the extra walking and the long commutes to campuses are really taking their tolls on everyone.