Sunday evening I arrived home after what seems like a whirlwind trip to New York City. Several people from our church and a group from The Remnant served with Metro World Child Thursday through Saturday. It was incredible. (You can learn more about Metro at metroworldchild.org.)
Today I want to share some moments of the trip and our serving.
Psalm 34:11 NLT
Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
We arrived early Thursday morning after the long drive and getting a bit turned around trying to get in to the city. Once we arrived at Metro campus we got settled in. The ladies in our group staying in a large room over their auditorium, and us guys stayed in their gym that is also where preschoolers meet for indoor Sunday School every Saturday.
Thursday was spent being part of their incredible ministry called “sidewalk Sunday school”. Tuesday through Friday there are numerous teams that go out across New York City in many directions to have Sunday School. The group I was with included David Terry, drummer in our church worship band, Susie from Canada who has been at Metro for over 15 years, a staffer lady from Cuba and “O” who is an intern from Switzerland (call her “O” because her same is hard to pronounce).
We did two sessions of sidewalk Sunday school in the Cyprus Hills area of Brooklyn. The truck would park on the side of the road or in a parking lot and set up for Sunday school. Over the next half hour or so we would gather a crowd, place some games and get ready for the Bible lesson. The lesson was very creative and to the point. Kids heard the Gospel and were so excited. They were also given candy and loads and loads of encouragement. It was an amazing time.
One a side note when I got home I read a newspaper article about an NYC police officer who was killed in Cyprus Hills early Friday morning. I was told this was a very tough area. The article proved that point and reminds me to pray for the 100 or so children and their family.
Friday morning stated with staff meeting where we learned about the ministries of Metro World Child. It ended with an inspiring message from Bill Wilson who founded the ministry 34 years ago. I will share some of the message with you at a later time. It reminded me of why The Community Fellowship is alive today.
Friday was filled with rain as well as several hours visiting children and their families in East New York. Each Saturday is indoor Sunday School at Metro’s campus where between 3,000 and 5,000 are bused in for a high energy huge version of what happens on the sidewalk during the week. Ricky from our church and myself met Stacy from upstate New York who has been on staff for over 6 years at Metro. We took the subway and a bus. Then we walked about 8 miles meeting children as they got out of school as well as going to many of their apartments or homes. During our walk we spent time with 2 middle school girls are leaders in the Sunday school program. Awesome time pouring into these folks and hearing stories of how God is changing their lives.
Late Friday I met a church planter who is a friend of my brother. Daniel Torres and his wife are planting a Lifechurch.tv network church called Swerve Church in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn that is also where Metro is located. It was so good hearing this young man’s passion to win his home area to Christ. Daniel explained how the area was changing which made planting a new church difficult. A quote that I took from our conversation was this: “the only thing that can bridge ‘hip hop’ and ‘hipster’ is the Gospel”. What a powerful thought. I love church planters. Pray for Daniel and Swerve!
Saturday morning was indoor Sunday school. There are 6 sessions throughout the day with up to 5,000 children 3 to 12 years old taking part. Most of those children ride a bus to Sunday school. All of our team rode buses and interacted with kids. I was on bus 21. They were great kids, but many of them were from difficult homes and have a tough life. That was obvious. The ride to Sunday school and back home was eye opening. Another huge reminder to pray for kids that live in places and with families who don’t know God. Lots of those kids don’t see hope and are rarely encouraged. That is heart breaking.
Indoor Sunday school was a high energy time of singing, games and lots and lots of fun. It ended with the Christmas story and a call to know Jesus as Savior. The kids received a Christmas stocking filled with candy and such as they went home. It was awesome. Probably my favorite part was Nathaniel. I sat in front of him and his 2 brothers. Nathaniel is about 3 years old and speaks mostly Spanish. He crawled up on my lap a couple times early in the service. He loved using hand sanitizer and giving high 5’s. During the lesson Nathaniel got back on my lap and fell asleep. He heard some of the message, but his brothers got to listen even more because I was taking care of their little brother. This was so eye opening.
Saturday afternoon we went in to New York City to sight see. NYC is beautiful, but the rain was horrible. I enjoyed being with people from our church. Rockefeller Center and the Christmas tree where beautiful. Times square was a mad house. Bubba Gump Shrimp Company had good eats. The subway was a great experience.
But what I leave with is an increased sense that I am and our church is doing what God made us to do. We are to impact lives for Christ and invite people to get to know Jesus. We are to meet needs and to love people where they leave while encouraging and inspiring them to reach higher with their life.
I want to thank Seth Robertson for allowing our folks to be part of this trip. Some of you might want to consider taking a trip to New York City and working with Metro World Child. I will be going back.
Acts 4:12 NLT
There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.
Isaiah 45:22 NLT
Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.