Be an Abraham, not Lot.

In Genesis 13:1-13 the bible talks about Abraham and Lot living together and being blessed with so many possessions that the land could not hold them. Quarreling arose between Abraham and Lot’s herders. Abraham sought the Lord and prayed for guidance from the Lord. Lot looked around and saw that the land looked like Egypt and very pleasing to the eye. He made a decision based on what he saw with HIS OWN eyes and decided to move his family near Sodom. So Abraham went opposite of Lot to the land of Canaan to live.

Abraham had faith in God to lead him blindly. Lot thought that the land that looked beautiful would be the best choice for his family. Not knowing that Sodom was full of wickedness and that his family and him could be easily tempted and destroyed. Abraham was obedient and followed God to the land of the unknown and trusted that God would protect and provide for his family.

Coming to New York so many of us were anxious and nervous about what we would be doing and the road ahead of us. We were scared about stepping out of our comfort zone, engaging in a conversation with a complete stranger about God. We became like Abraham, trusting in God for whatever we were walking into, blindly. We had to put our faith in Him, trusting that He would guide us and show us what He has planned for us. If we were to be like Lot and go by our own eyesight most of us may not of come.

The days are hot here, standing on the street all day long, being ignored or snubbed by New Yorker’s, having doubts about what you are doing, it could be so tempting to give up. It’s about having faith that God will send you a divine encounter with the broken soul that needs to hear His word. And then it happens! You get to share His word and “The Story” with a person who is suffering and has no hope, who is thinking about suicide or has just lost a loved one. And you are so blessed to be able to pray with them and ask God that the “seed” would be planted.

We were fortunate enough to attend the Brooklyn Tabernacle tonight for an AMAZING night of worship. It was like no nothing I have ever seen before. After being on the streets all day trying to share God’s word with non-believers it was so great to see people of New York in a church singing their hearts out worshiping God. We were blessed with a message by Jim Cymbala on trusting God and not going on our own judgment and eyesight. We had such an amazing experience at the Tabernacle tonight, feeling very fortunate to be able to be here.

Do not go by what your eyes tell you – trust God – he sees what you can not.

—Emma Smith

 

 

Bringing the Word to Union Park

First off, I wanna start off by thanking all the prayer warriors out there who have sending their prayers our way. We can feel them, and I just gotta say that y’all are rock stars!!

On our first night, we started off with amazing worship service and hilarious, yet relatable message from a pastor from Brooklyn Tabernacle. All us were falling towards the temptation of falling asleep, but he gave us encouragement to keep from standing under the pomegranate tree. To step out of the shade and into the light that God is shining on us.

Day 1 can be summed up in word… interesting.

Our cord of people went to Union Square Park to spark up Godly conversations with the folks there. It was so interesting to see the diversity in such a little park. When walking out of the subway, the idea of having to start a conversation made me BEYOND worried. Thoughts of saying the wrong thing, not knowing what to say, and having to answer any of there questions filled my mind. However, the man that I walked with prayed with me and helped put me a little more at ease. Our first two conversations went great. I was especially encourage by a man named Abdul, who told us his story of divorce, abandonment, and becoming “houseless”. We were able to pray with this broken-down man, after a 30 minute conversation of hearing Abdul’s story and introducing God’s story.

What really stood out to me was something Abdul told me. People pass by him everyday, giving him Bibles, places to shower, food to eat, etc. But not once has someone cared enough to stop and listen to him talk. And that hurt me. Living life with the world just passing by him. Not being acknowledged as a person. All these people need is love. Our job as Christ followers is to show the love that we receive from God. Sometimes this can come from subway performers singing “This Little Light Of Mine.”

Even though all our conversations didn’t go as well as our first couple did, I still praise God for the seeds we planted. And for all the people we met. I get to come back to Illinois with some crazy stories… and it´s only day one!

So to wrap it up (cause it´s getting late and I´ve got some people to minister to tomorrow) please keep praying for us, cause it´s working! Pray for divine interventions and for God to stir in the hearts of the people of New York City. So many people need Jesus here.

Oh and if anyone is at wondering about Jake and his soon to be adventure to the pool in some fashionable jorts, come back Wednesday for pics and POTENTIALLY videos!

We love y’all and can´t wait to see y’all next week!!

~Nate

 

Day One: A Roller Coaster Ride

Last night, after making it to the hotel and exploring the city a little bit, everyone here in Brooklyn with SpreadTruth met in the ballroom. We got to meet the other people we would be traveling with for the week. We sang and worshipped God, and we also had a couple speakers. Pastor Tim from the Brooklyn Tabernacle spoke to us. He has worked with this organization many times before, and he had some very wise words for all of us.

Let me just start by saying he is an extremely funny guy. I was crying I was laughing so hard. Having past experience with this trip, Pastor Tim warned us of some emotions we may feel during the week. For example, he said that we may not be able to fall asleep the first night. But, seriously, that is only the first night because it’s only been one day, but I am already exhausted. So gold star for Pastor Tim; he was spot on. Another thing he told us was that we may miraculously be feeling “not very good” in the morning. Welp. Let’s just say I woke up and thought, ‘Dang. That Pastor Tim is good.

So after overcoming my brief moment of anticipated sickness, we went to the ballroom for more worship time with all the team members. We’ll have this worship time every morning this week. I was pretty nervous to be going out into the parks talking to complete strangers. I’m just not that type of person. Today, we were at Union Park in Manhattan. Once we got to the park, we went out in pairs for safety reasons, but also so we had someone to help us out when we were evangelizing. Before lunch, I was with a girl named Rachel from Cincinnati, Ohio. Everyone in our cord (or group of people that we travel with every day) blended really well, and I can’t wait to spend this week with them! Rachel and I started out and we had some decent conversations with people. Some of them turned us down pretty quickly, but we would just move on and find someone else to talk to. We talked with about six different people, although none of them made any life-changing decisions.

We went to McDonald’s for lunch… exciting, I know. This city is the polar opposite of Lisbon. The amount of people in this city is overwhelming. And the restaurants go up and down instead of out, which is just weird. And nothing is fast except the train. Seriously, lines are like a million people long. I don’t think this city life is for me, guys.

But, anyways, moving on! We headed back out after eating, and we also got new partners. I was with Rachel’s mom, Karen. She is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. She is extremely good at starting conversations with strangers. So we headed back out into the park. The first six or seven people we walked up to either weren’t interested or claimed they didn’t feel they could give adequate answers to our four worldview questions. This was really discouraging. It did make me a little upset.

After that, Karen was just saying that we should sit down and pray that God would show us who He wanted us to speak with. As she said that, she spotted a homeless man sitting by the entrance to the subway. We walked over and Karen struck up a conversation with him about his leg that was all wrapped up in gauze and medical tape. He started telling us about this big book he had. It was kind of like a National Geographic; it had lots of pictures of all these different places from around the world. He was saying how he had visited all of these places through lots of meditation. I was thinking, ‘Oh, boy. God, why this one?’ After some friendly, funny conversation we started to inch towards the reason we were in the park in the first place.

He started to realize what we were trying to say, and he got more aggressive really quickly. He was trying to tell us how there was no mathematical or scientifical proof that anything in the bible was true. He was not accepting anything we were saying. He was trying to convince us that belief in anything is foolish and pointless because the word begins with “be lie” as in all beliefs are lies. As the conversation went on, it only got worse. He accused Karen of hiding behind her sunglasses even though it was sunny and 90 degrees outside. So we started to walk away, and he kept at it, saying, “You shouldn’t be here. New York doesn’t want Christianity.”

This sent me over the edge. I started crying uncontrollably. Karen suggested we sit down and take some time to just calm down and spend some time in prayer. Pastor Rex and another guy from our cord, Will, walked by and prayed with me and Karen. I was a little too upset to go any longer this afternoon, so Karen and I ‘prayer walked’ as she called it. We just took a stroll through the park and prayed quietly for each person sitting on the benches. The fact that we were just walking around and seeing how broken this city is crushed me. It’s so unbelievable until you see it for yourself. At one point, Karen said, “There are so many hardened hearts here.” And that is so true. So many lost, confused people who either can’t or won’t admit their need for God and His mercy.

We ended the day about an hour early due to mine and Karen’s fiasco with Mr. Grumpy Pants and also because it was pretty warm outside. We got some soft serve fruit from Chloe’s before heading for the subway. SUPER good, and we need to petition to get one in Yorkville.

I went to the 9/11 Museum with some of the people from our group tonight. It was so unbelievable. There are no words to describe how powerful it is to see and learn about everything related to that day. I can’t even describe it to you how absolutely amazing it is to experience that museum and memorial.

So, yes, today was a roller coaster of emotions; discouraging, but also eye-opening. I’m asking for prayer that we would be given the strength and courage to get back out on the streets and in the parks tomorrow, even though some of us had some rough experiences today. We need prayers for the people here in NYC, that their hearts would be softened and their ears and eyes would be opened. Also, prayers for safe travels for everyone throughout the city.

I can’t wait to see how God uses me this week, and I want to thank each and every person that has been praying for me and for the West Lisbon team. We wouldn’t be here without you all (:

~Emma Nelson

Perhaps, the Lord Will Work for Us

Last night, we had our first large group meeting. Honestly, we were all quite exhausted; however, the gathering proved to be exactly what we needed to encourage for the days ahead.

First, we got a front row seat to watch the new The Story animation of the Creation, Fall, Rescue, and Restoration of God’s story. It is an awesome and inspiring depiction of the revelation of God in Scripture. Check it out here if you have not already done so: http://viewthestory.com. Just click “Watch.”

Second, one of the pastors from Brooklyn Tabernacle preached to us last night, and it was the word from God that we needed to hear. He preached from 1 Samuel 14, particularly verse 6. Here, Saul and numerous soldiers and the priest are all sitting around deciding what to do about the Philistine army. Meanwhile, Jonathan and his armor bearer go out from among them to find out what the Lord may do. They believed that the Lord wanted to do something, and they trusted him to do it. Jonathan says, “Perhaps, the Lord will work for us.” And boy does he work for them! He causes confusion in the Philistine camp and causes an earthquake. We learn at the end of the story that the Lord had it in his mind to save Israel that day, and he did it. Jonathan trusted him to do what he wanted to do. That’s us this week. We are trusting God with what he wants to do in us and through us this week.

Some of our team members are bubbling with anticipation and a little bit of anxiety this morning. Keep us in your prayers, and perhaps, the Lord will work for us!

In Christ,

Pastor Rex

NYC Double Decker Bus Trip

90 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky, and a slight breeze. We were on the top of a double decker bus in the heart of Brooklyn. We took a 1 1/2 hour tour through different parts of the city. We went through China Town, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. In China Town, we saw many different aspects of their culture. They had a lot of little places to eat and shop. We also got the chance to see a movie being filmed. We saw lots of open markets with fresh food and merchandise. When we were driving through Manhattan, we got to cross the Manhattan Bridge. The tour guide said that the Manhattan Bridge was the prettiest bridge in the city. She said that it was also the trendiest, most expensive place to live in the city. On Atlantic St., there were many shops that had hand-made items, such as: toys, clothes, jewelry, etc. We also had the opportunity to drive past the Kardashian’s store, Dash. The tour guide told us that the cheapest thing you could buy there is a $10 bottle of water. Most people walked out of the store empty-handed. They had a good reason though. As we drove down the street, we saw a pizza place that sold pizza for $1. Who knew that you could buy pizza for a dollar in the city, when a fruit cup at the airport cost $7? Since Brooklyn is the burrow of the city we are staying in, this was the last place we visited. We got to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, which they said people saw as the lesser of the bridges. We also got to view the Promenade and the Hudson Bay. This experience was a very cool way that we could see the main attractions of the city.

God Bless,

Olivia Nelson and Caeley Larson

The Eagle Has Landed . . .

We have landed! Jake Larson did catch the plane, but he almost got on under the name of Marissa Friestad. Once that was all settled he did make it on time, but will be referred to as Marissa for the rest of the week. The plane ride was a little scary for us first time flyers (Meggie, Kyle, Marissa, and me). The flight steward helped us get through some jitters by cracking lots of jokes. When the stewardesses were showing us how to use the oxygen masks, he told us that the oxygen would cost 25 cents for the first minute and 10 cents for every minute after that. Then he asked who was all from the spread truth group and told us to spread the good word. He encouraged us all to be kind to everyone we’ll see in New York. It’s a good reminder of how the little things, like a smile, can go a long way even in a big city like New York. The flight attendant told us the keys to life are to eat your vegetables (especially broccoli) and wash your hands. So all you moms should know we are in good hands. Today everyone has been swimming, walking around town, and exploring the good food options for the week. Some of us kids and Rex decided to play a game with Jake while eating lunch. Since he lost he must swim in the pool wearing jorts (for those of you who don’t know what those are, they are jean cut off shorts and they will be home made by Jake himself-someone will take a picture for tomorrow). Tomorrow everyone will start their first day of their tracks. The tracks are street ministry, VBS, Basketball, and Soccer. We are all excited to start! Please pray for safety for the whole group, open hearts of the people we will be talking to, that we grow as a group and individually with the challenges that will come. I personally hope that getting out of my comfort zone will help me trust God more with small and big things. It is so easy to get into our little bubbles in the small town of Lisbon and Newark. It is very neat to be able to see how big this world really is and how many people need to hear about the truth. Can’t wait to tell about all the exciting things God is going to do this week!

 

And…..WE NEED SLEEP.

 

— Maddawg