Every spring, BJA sends a high school mission team to NYC to minister to pastors, missionaries and local residents for one week. Updates and pictures from each team will be posted daily.
On Thursday morning the Brooklyn Baptist group traveled to Memorial Baptist and together with the Memorial Baptist group, heard a presentation from Craig Hartman from Shalom Ministries about ministering to the Jews in New York and around the world. The teams then walked through an orthodox Jewish neighborhood and visited a Jewish bookstore there before heading to a large subway station where they sang hymns and passed out hundreds of tracts. The evening concluded with a special time of fellowship with and a challenge from Pastor Sam Gage and his wife, Dana. On the subway Justin gave an older man a tract about Todd Lurtey. At first the man rejected the tract; but once he heard Todd’s story, the man accepted the tract and asked Justin questions about suffering and heaven. Emaley was encouraged by a Christian lady she met on the subway who expressed her thankfulness for young people who boldly give the Gospel. Emaley was thankful to the Lord for sending a sister in Christ when often so many others have rejected the tracts.
After the time spent with the Brooklyn Baptist group for Craig Hartman’s presentation and their visit to the Jewish neighborhood, the groups went to the subway station near the Barclays Center to sing and pass out tracts. While riding the subway, Michael and Ethan shared a Todd Lurtey tract and friendly conversation with an Italian construction worker who helped build Trump Tower. Emma and Kara also shared a Todd tract on the subway with a young mother and her talkative four-year-old son who were interested in Academy life. In the evening, the team again provided special music and a children’s church program.
After a late breakfast the Memorial team returned to Manhattan for a walk down 5th Avenue and lunch in Central Park. While on the subway and using the Todd Lurtey tracts, Lyndsie, Emma and Kara were able to engage in conversations with several people. Additionally, while in Manhattan, the team toured parts of Temple Emanu-El (the largest Reform Jewish synagogue in the world) and stopped at Grand Central Station on their return trip to Brooklyn. The team then split up in Prospect Park to pass out flyers for the evening’s evangelistic services. After dinner, the majority of the team traveled to Bethel Baptist Church in Sheepshead Bay to minister through music followed by Dr. Ericson’s preaching on Gods sovereignty over time. A few team members remained at Memorial Baptist to participate in the children’s ministries, and the Brooklyn Baptist team visited for the evangelistic service in the evening.
After a late breakfast the Brooklyn Baptist group returned to Manhattan to visit Central Park and to see some of 5th Avenue. While at Central Park they ate a picnic lunch and visited the famous Balto statue. After lunch they had the opportunity to learn about Temple Emanu-El through a comparative religious lecture/commentary about Judaism through the centuries. They also toured Jewish displays at the temple. In the evening the team traveled to Memorial Baptist Church and provided special music for the evangelistic service there. On the subway ride into Manhattan, Ethan (who is planning to major in Cell Biology) talked to a man who is studying science. As he and this man discussed their similar interests, Ethan was able to talk not only about science but also about God’s creation and design in this world. Abby was excited to use the language skills she had learned in Spanish class to explain a gospel tract to a lady who spoke only Spanish.
On Tuesday the Brooklyn Baptist group 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 along the Hudson River, 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 thousands of fliers promoting Grace Baptist Church’s new outreach website (www.greatnews.nyc). On the way home, the team rode a subway car so packed that several New Yorkers remarked that they had never experienced such crowding before. It was a funny and adventurous 45-minute ride home. At the end of the day, Ghevont relayed to the team how excited she was to meet several Christians today while she was passing out tracts and fliers. She was encouraged by these fellow believers’ excitement to see young people serving the Lord.
In the morning the Memorial team made their way into lower Manhattan. They visited the 9/11 Memorial, stopped by Trinity Church and walked through Wall Street on their way to ride the Staten Island Ferry across the Hudson River and view the Statue of Liberty. After returning to Brooklyn the team split into two groups with several students passing out flyers and balloon animals in the neighborhood while others set up for the “Kids Karnival” at the church. Lauren was able to invite an Australian family to the Karnival after making balloon animals for their children, and the family attended the event. The “Kids Karnival” included games, prizes and a Bible lesson time where Pastor Christopher had the opportunity to share the plan of salvation with the children and their parents. The Lord graciously answered prayer by bringing in almost twice as many children as last year.
Monday morning began with a slight rain which sent the Memorial Team underground on the subway system and traveling to the Barclays Center area in Brooklyn. At the underground crossing point of a few major train lines, the team assisted Pastor Klaus by singing songs and passing out tracts as he did some street preaching. Many people accepted the literature, and several members of the team were able to have conversations with the people walking through the area. After lunch, the team went across the road to the Boardman Apartments and ministered to the residents through music. The late afternoon was occupied with a few of the team members passing out flyers in the neighborhood for the Kids Karnival on Tuesday and others staying behind to work on setting up the Karnival. The evening concluded with the week’s first evangelistic service followed by a time of fellowship with the church.
On Monday the Brooklyn Baptist Team headed to Manhattan and saw the United Nations building and toured Grand Central Terminal. After picnicking inside the terminal because of the pouring rain, the team headed out to meet with church planter Tim Richmond, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Queens. Pastor Richmond explained a new ministry outreach website that clearly gives the Gospel for people who are looking for good news. The team then went to nearby subway stops to pass out several thousand fliers promoting the website. At the end of the evening, the team visited the 9/11 Memorial reflecting pools. During team devotions, Elliott shared an answer to prayer–he had prayed that morning that not only could he pass out many tracts but that he could also have a spiritual conversation with someone before the day was over. While passing out fliers for the website, a man approached Elliott and began asking specific spiritual questions about salvation. Elliott is thankful for how the Lord orchestrated their meeting.
Days 1 and 2
After arriving at Brooklyn Baptist Church on Saturday, the team cleaned the church and prepared for the Sunday services and then walked the Brooklyn Bridge. On Sunday the team members traveled to Bethel Baptist Fellowship (pastored by Jim Bickel) in Sheepshead Bay. There they provided several special selections of sacred music and taught children’s church. In the evening the team visited the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the students observed part of a Roman Catholic Mass—helping to give perspective on religion in the city. At the end of the day, RJ told about an opportunity to pass out a tract that tells the story of Todd Lurtey (the students’ classmate who passed away from cancer) to a lady on her way to a cancer awareness convention. The lady read the tract, told RJ that she would share this story with her friends, and even asked for more tracts. RJ was so thankful for how the Lord orchestrated this “chance” meeting today.
After arriving in New York City Saturday morning, the Memorial team ate lunch, practiced some music and set off on a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Halfway across, a few of the guys stopped to buy some artwork from a street artist. As they were leaving, Ethan gave him a tract about Todd. The man looked at it and recalled that someone had given him that exact same tract two years ago, and he promised to read it. On Sunday, half of the Memorial team traveled to Grace Baptist Church in Queens for the afternoon service and ministered by providing special music and helping with the children’s church. The students at Memorial Baptist Church also ministered through music and children’s church and enjoyed the opportunity to fellowship with fellow believers. Later, they passed out invitations in the neighborhood and parks for the evangelistic services and Tuesday’s Kids Karnival. While on the subway Matthew had the opportunity to share the plan of salvation with a teenage boy. Although no decision was made, the gospel seed was planted.