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.