Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Daughter's Cry:

I'm visiting your grave today, 
I didn't think it would feel this way. 
My heart pounds with all the pain, 
tears are streaming down like rain. 
August 4, 2004 oh can it be,
nine years since God took you away from me? 
Still  that day is crystal clear, 
when we stood in a circle here. 
I felt the tightness in my chest,
that moment is more vivid than the rest. 
Time was moving so very slow, 
as they lowered your coffin down below. 
We threw in stalks of wheat, 
to symbolize a physical defeat. 
But because of our Lord's grace, 
we will again meet face to face. 
I will not fear my final breath,
for Christ has defeated death! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

NYC '13: Thursday

In the morning we split up into our two groups and each went to a different soup kitchen. One group went to St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan, the other to Little Rock Church in Brooklyn. In the afternoon both groups stopped by Central Park and Prospect Park, respectively, before returning to church. 
This evening we had our free night together as a whole group. We jumped on the "Quality Q train" and took it to Coney Island to start. We hung out on the beach having a fun with a coconut for a while. Then we ate dinner at Nathan's famous hotdog stand.  Finally we took the train to Times Square to take some pictures and get in our tourism shopping. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NYC '13: Salt and Sea Mission

This morning my group woke up early, ate breakfast and packed our lunches. We left at 7:00am on the Q train and rode it to the end: Coney Island. 
We were headed to Salt and Sea Mission. This is a food bank that services the poor and homeless in the Coney Island area. We met and talked with pastor Debbe and made an immediate friendship. She shared with us her life story which included drug addiction, alcoholism, brutality and homelessness. Then she met Jesus!! Since then she has spent over 20 years fostering boys from neighborhood gangs, and about 15 years ago, started her food and clothing ministry to the homeless. 
While at Salt and Sea, we helped unload and organize two food shipments that came in. We put together bags of potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes so they were ready for tomorrow's food bank handout. We also sorted and folded clothing donations and talked with people as they came to take the clothes. Finally we talked with mothers and children that came for the Wednesday Enfamil Baby Formula Drive. 
It was a great experience to meet others who serve Christ and have a heart for God's people. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

NYC '13: St. James Presbyterian Church

We got in to our subway groups and walked a few blocks down church street to the subway. We passed a large farmers market along the way. We boarded the B train towards the Bronx. It was 7:30 am so the morning commute was in full swing Our train arrived as we walked down the stairs, so we rushed on to the already full train and grabbed on to the closest available bar. We all made it! 
Our first ride was a long one. We rode all the way to the upper west side of Manhattan, 135th street. 
We ten walked a few blocks north to St. James Presbyterian Church. Now next to this church there is alleyway that is over underground rivers. Because of this it becomes overgrown and water puddles up. The church often gets fines fm the city for "breeding Mosquitos". So our job was to come and help clean up this area. We met up with Mark Hill from the church  to talk about or plan of action. He unformed us that the delivery of topsoil that was supposed to arrive hadn't yet. He challenged us to keep a great attitude anyway. The devil likes to think:  "What can I do to make you stop doing good things?"  
So we grabbed our gloves and trash bags and headed to the alley to get started. We pulled a ton of weeds and plants and put the ground. We cleared a good chuck of it, finding some fun things in the process. 

"Ahhhhhhhhh that's the biggest spider I've ever seen!!" -Jourdan. 

NTC '13: Early Start

Well, the alarm clock went off at 5:30am. After a long journey yesterday, a lot of us slept through it. By 6:15 the guys had packed up all of their belongings and carried them upstairs. (A task the will have to do every morning because the church is used by other groups during the day.) 
Breakfast. Yum. We ate our cereal and fruit, and packed our sack lunches for the day. We spilled a large amount of milk along the way, as we are not yet used to the very squared milk gallons try have here in NYC. :-P 

After doing devotions and meeting as a group we are now splitting up into our two "city groups". This morning we will all be starting at St. James presbyterian church to do some outside yard work. In the afternoon we will split up. One group will head over to Operation Exodus, an after school tutoring program. Then on to dinner at Malecon, a Dominican restaurant. The second group will be doing the "Harlem Plunge" in the afternoon. We will Learn about and explore the neighborhood of Harlem. Group two is planning on heading to Big Arc Chicken a local middle Eastern restaurant for dinner. 
Please pray for us! Pray we have the strength for today. We are all tiered from yesterday's journey. We had a few people who are sick, and one healing sprained ankle. 
More to come later!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

NYC '13: The Long Drive

We all met at the church around 3am, and by 3:45 we were packed in the vans, and ready to go. 
We had a great drive to New York, only having to stop for gas, food and driver changes. Once we got to Newark we got a little split up. But thanks to modern technology (GPS and Siri) and our drivers (Jon, Heidi and myself) we all made it though the crazy traffic that is New York City. 
We are now at our housing site for the week: Flatbush Reformed Church in Brooklyn.  And now, it is time for bed. Early start tomorrow(leaving at 7:15!!) more to come tomorrow.