Sunday, July 27, 2008

New York City- a memorable week

What an incredible week. I have pages full of the journaling that I did, a brain filled with memories from this past week, and a heart that is bursting with emotion. Not once did I actually cry while in New York but the tears have arrived now that I'm back!!! This post will be quite an emotional rollercoaster for me!! God was so incredibly faithful and I feel like I experienced a new depth to His love. I so want to share ALL of my stories but it would take me forever. So I'm hoping to capture some of the most monumental parts of the week and record the major lessons that God taught me. I put a slideshow of pics. at the bottom.

The week was, of course, filled with lots of evangelizing and praying for people. The prayer stations were my favorite. The parks were alot harder for me. We would go up to people and ask if they would be willing to take a survey. The majority said no but some did say yes. After asking them the 6 questions we would transition into the gospel message and try to share with them, also offering to pray with them for anything.

I went into the trip a little prideful, thinking that I was going to be the one that would be blessing all of these people. But THEY were the ones that ministered to me!!! I'm in awe of how blessed I felt at the end of the day, especially after the prayer stations. I met so many strong Christians who encouraged me in what we were doing. I had one woman ask if she could pray a blessing over me. It was incredibly powerful. We held onto eachother at the end of her prayer, knowing that the Spirit was indeed there. So I was totally humbled by the fact that I was being ministered to, even while I was ministering to them.

The second huge thing that God did starts with my passion for children. One of the pastors spoke about how God gives us burdens. It was a very thought-provoking sermon and I actually walked away feeling very encouraged. As soon as he began speaking about burdens I immediately knew what mine was!! God has burdened me with the orphans and children. He lit a fire in me several years ago, a passion for nurturing young hearts and showing them all the love that I possibly can. The best feeling in the world is holding a child's small hand, or cuddling a tiny baby. So, of course, God touched me where I feel it most- my heart for kids. Looking back on the trip, I stand amazed at how He intricately wove my love for children into each and every day. God used two kids in particular to work in me throughout the week.

On Sunday, they sent us out to Central Park to do a survey. It was my first survey ever, my first time really evangelizing ever, and I was super nervous. So my little team walks up to this family- mom, dad, and a little boy. My partner starts off with the questionnaire and I go and kneel by the little guy to talk with him. I KNEW that this was totally God. He gave me this little boy to talk with and I was going to show Him Jesus. So I drew out my bracelet and without hesititation the gospel message flowed. If it had been an adult, I would've been like um...and so...umm...have a nice day!!! :) But my heart melts with children and I wanted nothing more than for this little guy to know Jesus!!! His parents were very uncomfortable with Christianity and so they quickly made a run for it after they realized what we were doing. But I had just enough time to get through the whole story and if nothing else, a seed was planted in his little heart.

This second child that I want to mention next has made an imprint on my heart forever. Suzanne, one of the ladies from my church, was sitting next this little girl on the subway. It was pretty typical for us to hand out tracts and bracelets on the subway and so I didn't pay any attention when I saw her giving this girl a bracelet. After I finished my conversation I glanced her way again and my eyes were glued to this little girl. She was a beautiful hispanic girl, with big brown eyes, and a precious smile. My heart broke when I watched her because she looked like Claudia, the girl I fell in love with in Guatemala. The rest of the ride, I stared at that little girl and the image of her sweet face has not left my mind since. This happened in Guatemala too, after I met Claudia. It's so hard to explain, because it doesn't make sense for me to keep thinking about this little random girl I saw in New York City on the subway. But for some reason, the Lord keeps bringing her to my mind. So everytime I think about her, I pray. I don't know her name or where she lives and I feel so helpless. When Suzanne was sharing the gospel story with her, she told her the blue bead represented the sadness of the world. She asked the girl if she ever cried. With a serious look on her face, the little sweetheart responded, "Yes I do. I cry when my mommy tells me she hates me." No small child should have an answer like that!! My heart aches for her, for her family, for the hurt that she experiences everyday. So that was a really important part of my week. I doubt I'll ever see her again, but she has been lathered in prayer this week, and I love her more than she knows!!! Oh what I would give to be able to wrap my arms around her.

An amazing part of last week was getting to know people. Jeff and Lisa, a young couple fairly new to our church, came on the trip. It was SO MUCH FUN getting to know them!!! I really connected with both of them and I'm so thankful that God blessed our group with them. They were both very funny and Lisa was an encouragement to me throughout the week. It was also really cool to be able to watch them interact with eachother. They've been married for only 9 months and I felt blessed to be able to witness such a Godly marriage. I pray that my marriage will be like that as well (whenever that may be!!). The week wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable had they not been there. Their presence was truly a gift to me and the rest of the group.

The other people I got to know better were my room mates. Kristen and I stayed with Mrs. Hanes and Mrs. Gregory, some really nice women we both knew. Within the first hour of being with them, I quickly they discovered they were hysterical as well. So that's 4 new people who were incredibly funny. Of course, there were the hilarious people in the group who I knew already.

It was also great to spend time with people that I already knew. I feel like we all grew closer over the past week and we certainly made some memories. Today I'm actually feeling kind of lonely. I miss the fellowship we had. I miss the conversations I shared with people. I miss worshiping together, lifting our hands in praise to our great and awesome God. We were united in Christ and it was beautiful but I really miss everybody!!! :(

The entire week was filled with laughter and by the end of each night, my mouth hurt from smiling and my stomach from laughing. I felt like God surrounded me with people for those 7 days who were so joyful. On Wednesday night Spencer, Mrs. Haynes, Mrs. Gregory, Suzanne, Brock, and myself all went to Times Square. We went shopping and then stopped for dessert When we came out it was pouring. So we pulled out our umbrellas and went running through the rain. I laughed SOO hard! I immediately decided that running through the streets of New York city in the rain was the best activity yet. By the time we got off the subway it was raining so hard that we gave up on using umbrellas. So we ran to our hotel laughing and arrived soaking wet. The silliness, joy, laughter, and fun that we had that evening was like a little piece of heaven. When we got into our room, Mrs. Gregory said, "Oh my goodness. God must have been laughing at us tonight!" I'd never really thought of that before but after she said that I realized how much of a gift it is that we can laugh. What an incredible blessing that in this depraved world we can still laugh, smile, love, and sing!!! So thank you to all who made me laugh last week. I came back home determined to smile a little more, laugh a little harder, be silly sometimes, and give hugs more often. We have to hang onto those simple things!! They're such great gifts from God!!

I could probably write more but I feel like this is a good summary of some of the highlights. I brought home an "I love NYC" magnet and I put it on our refrigerator. I told my family that whenever they see it they can pray about next year. I really want my parents and brothers to come with. It'd be such a good experience for our family and I'm praying it'll work out!!

Thank you so much to all who prayed for me and supported me financially. The results of this trip have been life-changing and amazing. Praise be to our God.



kim said...


I love your blogs. You remind me a lot of me when I was younger. Your passion and maturity is amazing for a girl of your age. God is doing some wonderful things in your life! I wanted to share my husband's blog so you could follow him while he is in China. He's there with Bring Me Hope, ministering to special-needs kids from an orphanage. Feel free to comment on his blog!

Love, Kim

Anonymous said...

God is so good...all the time. He had certainly used you this past week, Molly. He loves you and always will. Keep up your willingness to be molded by Him. It's so worth it :)

Lucia said...

Hi Molly:

What a beautiful expression of your NYC experience and how God touched your life on the streets, parks, corners and subways.

You should really think of writing an article and sending it into a Christian magazine. I loved your writing style and "personal" view.

Living here, of course is different than evangelizing here. We New Yorkers tend to become conditioned to look forward, ignore others and mind our own business.

It warms my heart to know that there are some that come and are willing to reach out, touch and offer kindness and a spirit of compassion. This is a big city with many troubled people. It is easy to escape here and be swallowed up by all the rushing around.

I can see that you were doing important work while you were here. Just so you know, the prayer stations were mentioned on our local TV. A "good thing" for New Yorkers.

Keep doing God's work! :-)
Hugs and kisses, Aunt Lucia

juliethomas said...

Molly, As usual, you made me cry and warmed my heart. Your honest, heartfelt expressions are just so precious. You saw the people of New York with eyes of Christ, with compassion that was unending, and He truly directed your paths, and equipped you as you went, didn't He? Thank you so much for this blog, as it was my first real "window" into your trip (other than a just a short hour or so we were able to spend with Spence before he headed off to the angel wk at camp as a counselor. I loved the photo's as well, and it brought home a lot of what you and spence shared throughout the wk. Made it more real for me.
Lucia is right, you have a gift/and should consider writing an "article" format story of your experience in New York. Neat that the local t.v. found the prayerstations "newsworthy" as well. God is indeed good. As Lucia pointed out re: the city of troubled people, and yet also the work you were involved w/ being goes along with what I've always said...."Life is hard, but God is good." Funny you mention the magnet and praying your family could go as a Spence says the same thing/really desires us to go as a family. Well..I want to hear more...keep posting. love, Julie (Thomas).