Spring Break in the Big City

Shew, what a week!  In a very good way, but a very tiring way.  We traveled by car the 9.5 hours to NYC (make that 10.5 hours on the way home because of traffic delays) to participate in a Spring Break trip with 90 college students (14 of those were from NC State).  I realized a few things while we were there:

1.  I am not as young as I used to be – man, I struggled to keep up with them as they went on campus all day, went all over the city at night, and walked tons and tons.

2.  My daughter is a trooper.  We left Blake and Emerson with Ed’s parents, but since Kinsley was tracked out, we took her with us.  She not only kept up with us as we walked around the entire city (we didn’t take a stroller so she didn’t have much of a choice), but she endured many late nights and did a great job sitting through meetings and being drug around the city.

3.  I love this city.  Seriously, knew this before, but realized it all over again.

So, rather than just bore you with writing through all the details, let me share some highlights of our trip through pictures.  And know that this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the trip, but that I am just really bad at remembering to take pictures.

Our NC State group the first night in Times Square.  Ed traveled with them this night, but after being awake since 3 am that morning, I was happily in bed 🙂

A phenomenal picture of this city that I know and love.  We stayed in Long Island City, which is technically in Queens right across the river from Manhattan.  While I wasn’t super familiar with Queens, seeing this view when I was running in the mornings won me over.

This guy, whose name is Chris, was a student leader at a college in Brooklyn and is now on staff with Cru in the city.  Wanna know how he came to know the Lord personally?  Through hearing the Gospel through a Cru group who came to the city for Spring Break.  He shared his story as a great reminder of the impact these students can have as they are used by the Lord, even if they are only in town for a few days.

We had a few different trainings/meetings during the week – a few on crossing cultures and valuing diversity, a few on learning tools that you can use to initiate spiritual conversations, and a few on how to effectively share your faith.  Here is a picture of Ed doing a training on how to share the Knowing God Personally booklet.

This is a picture of our group at “Top of the Rock” observatory in Manhattan.  We had a half of a day where we visited this location as well as a local church and used a printed list of prayer requests to pray for the city.  Very sobering to look out over this city, to realize it’s influence, to think of the massive number of people here who don’t know the Lord, but yet encouraging to know that God is still and will always be the God of this city.

Our students spent two whole days sharing the Gospel at college campuses all throughout the city.  One day, Ed went with a group of students to Queens College, pictured above.  Our students and staff had great conversations with people of all different ethnicities, from all different countries, and of all different beliefs.  One of our NC State students shared with us that one day, she had three different conversations – one with someone from Albania, one with someone from Niger, and one with someone from Argentina.  Such a great example of the influence NYC can have in reaching the world!

These pictures show students actually sharing the good news of Christ with students that they met.  We saw 3 students trust Christ this week, which is almost unheard of in NYC – to see fruit like this on such hard soil.

And, because we can’t come to NYC without enjoying all the good food, entertainment, and fun happenings, here are a few pictures of some fun things that we did.

No trip would be complete without a visit by Two Little Red Hens – one of our favorite bakeries in the city.  Man, it would be dangerous to live close to this place!

We took Kinsley to visit the American Girl store and she even brought “Ginger” her Target brand American Girl doll.  She loved walking with her through the store, using the doll holder in the restroom, and buying her an ice skating outfit.  What a little girl’s dream (and a frugal parent’s nightmare!)

At the suggestion of many people, we went to dinner at Ellen’s Stardust diner – a restaurant where many Broadway stars work.  They play fun songs and the servers take turns singing the songs for those who are eating.  It was definitely entertaining and the food was okay, but super overpriced.  Kinsley loved watching them sing and had to eat her food back at the hotel since we was too busy watching to eat at the restaurant.

Walking to dinner one night in Queens, we passed this TV set.  It was really fun to see all the people there for the filming (who knew it required so many people?), the food spread for the cast and crew, and to be mesmerized by all this.  We found out the filming was for the show “Mr. Robot”, which I had never heard of, but apparently, as we asked around and checked, it is a BIG deal in the film world.

Like I said, this girly was a trooper.  She hardly ever falls asleep anywhere other than her bed, but a few nights she passed out on the subway.  We had lots of fun being with just her, and she had a great time in the city with students, staff, and visiting a few fun friends.

While we were in the city, we got to see my brother and his new apartment (he is only a half block or so from the High Line and can see it from his window – talk about fun!), see a few staff friends and their kids, and visit their small, but fully functional and well organized apartments.  We also got to eat at a few of our favorite restaurants and soak in great views (have you seen the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn riverfront at night? – absolutely gorgeous and nothing like it).

Now to spend the next two weeks recovering…..

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