The Brooklyn Baptist team started the day sharing with one another the lessons they learned from their time in the Jewish neighborhoods and throughout New York City. The team then headed to Manhattan to see Grant’s Tomb, Central Park and Temple Emanu-El (the world’s largest Reformed Jewish Synagogue). In the afternoon the team met with Pastor Richmond in Queens to continue learning about church planting in the city. After he shared from Paul’s example in Colossae and Ephesus, the team split into small groups and handed out hundreds of invitations for Friday’s 7 p.m. evangelistic Bible study webcast on www.graceofforesthills.com. The evening concluded with a special time of testimonies and a challenge from Pastor Sam Gage and his wife, Dana.
Riley said that her time in the Jewish community was very eye-opening for her since she has never experienced anything like it before. Being there made her realize how thankful she is that Christianity is not centered on merely tradition but on God’s grace and love.
After a late breakfast the Memorial team returned to Manhattan for a walk down 5th Avenue and a stop to eat lunch in Central Park. The team was also able to tour parts of Temple Emanu-El. After returning to Brooklyn, the team prepared for the Kids Karnival at the church by continuing to invite children to the Karnival, setting up games and decorating the activity room. There were a number of children and parents from the community who attended, and Evangelist Gleiser shared a gospel message.
A couple of visitors came to the evening service as a direct result of being invited by one of the students. One of the visitors was a Catholic man who heard the team singing on a subway platform and started to videotape the group. Brandon, who had been praying for an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone, gave the man a tract. Later in the day the man looked up BJA online and decided to come to a service. This was an encouraging example of how God answers prayer and in some cases allows us to see in a more immediate way those answers.
The Memorial Baptist and Brooklyn Baptist teams together heard a presentation from Craig Hartman and his son from Shalom Ministries about ministering to the Jews in New York and around the world. The teams then spent several hours passing out invitations in Jewish communities for an upcoming special “Thank God for Israel Day” at Bethel Baptist Fellowship. In the evening, the teams provided special music and children’s church at three local churches.
While passing out tracts, both Jennie and Ann met Christian ladies. These ladies were encouraged by meeting Christian young people who willingly gave of their time to spread the Gospel in the city. Brandon said, “I was praying for more opportunities to share my faith with someone today. On the subway I got to meet a gentleman on his way to Manhattan for work. I was able to give him a tract about Todd and told him that Todd’s last wish was to come to New York. It was great to share with him about Todd’s life and the joy that Todd had that only Christ can give.”
On Tuesday, the Brooklyn Baptist team visited lower Manhattan to see Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange and enjoyed a ride on the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. And to help the team further understand the history of the city, they also visited St. Paul’s Chapel, the Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorial. In the afternoon, some of the students did laundry in local laundromats while the rest of the team distributed over 300 church invitations for Brooklyn Baptist Church. The evening concluded with cleaning the church and preparing music for Wednesday’s Bible study and prayer meeting. Rebecca shared with the team that she was getting a little discouraged when some of the passersby did not take a tract or church invitation; but then an older Christian lady approached her and said, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Those gracious words encouraged Rebecca and the other team members to have an eternal perspective and to be faithful in their work this week.
In the morning the Memorial team made their way into the city for some sightseeing. However, ministry continued as the team sang hymns while waiting for the subway, passed out tracts and struck up conversations with the locals. After navigating the NYC subway system, the team emerged in lower Manhattan and visited the 9/11 Memorial. The team then stopped by Trinity Church and visited Wall Street on its way to ride the Staten Island Ferry to cross the Hudson River and view the Statue of Liberty. In the afternoon the team split into three groups to do laundry, prepare for the Kids Karnival on Thursday, and invite people to the church as well as share the Gospel. Some team members started a game in Prospect Park in the hopes of making a few contacts with young people. Emmaline and Kimberly saw some teens playing on their own and invited them to join the Academy students. As a result, Ambrose had the opportunity to talk with one of the young people for an extended time and all four clearly heard the Gospel. Our students ended the day ministering at MBC with a brass ensemble and other special music and hearing a challenge to not be afraid to share the Gospel.
On Monday the Brooklyn Baptist Team headed to Manhattan to walk the High Line (an old elevated railway converted into an aerial greenway) and see more of the city. After a picnic lunch, the team headed to Queens to meet with church planter Tim Richmond, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Queens. Pastor Richmond took time to explain to the team how the Lord led him and his family to New York to share the Gospel and plant a church. The team then went to nearby subway stops to pass out church fliers promoting a new Bible study which will be webcast weekly on YouTube beginning this Friday night. In three hours, the team distributed nearly 7,000 fliers. Karl later shared with the team that even though some of the people rejected the fliers and tracts that he offered them, he was encouraged by the truths in Matthew 5:11–12, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you … for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” Brooke shared with the team about a Christian lady she met on the subway. The lady was thrilled to see Christian young people passing out tracts and sharing the Gospel. As they continued talking, the lady shared her favorite verse—which also “just happened” to be Brooke’s favorite, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Monday morning just over half of the Memorial Team had the opportunity to travel to the Barclays Center area in Brooklyn and spend time passing out tracts at the nearby intersections. Pastor Daniel Klaus also preached in the subway while the team sang gospel songs. Willy was able to have an extended conversation with one of the men passing by regarding the truth of the Gospel. The remaining members of the team went to Prospect Park to invite children to the Thursday Kids Karnival. After lunch, the team went across the road to Boardman Apartments and ministered to the residents through music. The late afternoon was occupied with a return trip to Prospect Park to invite more children to the Karnival. The evening concluded with the preaching of Evangelist Andy Gleiser.
Days 1 & 2
The team arrived at Brooklyn Baptist Church on Saturday after a long bus ride from Greenville and enjoyed meeting Pastor Sam Gage and his wife, Dana. After preparing for the Sunday services, the team walked the Brooklyn Bridge and went to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck to see the sunset over the city. On Sunday a number of team members traveled to Bethel Baptist Fellowship (pastored by Jim Bickel) near Sheepshead Bay; these students provided several special selections of sacred music and taught children’s church. The students who remained at Brooklyn Baptist had the opportunity to help the church with its special Easter service and fellowship. In the evening the team traveled to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where students observed part of a Roman Catholic Mass—helping to give perspective on religion in the city. At the end of the day during testimony time, Jenna Moore related her conversation with a church member at Bethel who shared how he came to the Lord through a “chance encounter” with a Christian. Jenna encouraged the team to be confident in passing out tracts because they may never know how the Lord can use even one tract.
Upon arriving at Memorial Baptist Church the other team unpacked—and after a quick lunch headed out to experience the busy subways and the Brooklyn Bridge. Later in the evening, the team spent time rehearsing music pieces, settling in, playing a few games and enjoying another meal. Sunday proved to be quite an active first day. The team split into three separate groups to minister in different churches— including Memorial Baptist Church, Bensonhurst Baptist Church and Grace Baptist Church. The groups had the opportunity to sing, minister through instrumental pieces, and serve in nurseries and children’s church. In the evening the groups reunited in central Manhattan and watched the sun set from the “Top of the Rock” (the observation deck at Rockefeller Center). While waiting in a line, Peem Bhumipol noticed two people from Thailand; and he was able to speak to them in Thai and give each of them a tract. This is an example of the kinds of opportunities the team prays for and the Lord graciously gives. The evening finished with a late dinner and preparations for Monday.