Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Update: First day in NYC

I've been told that every summer, more people pass through New York City than passed through Ellis Island in decades that it was open. The world is going to walk past us in these next few weeks, and we have the amazing opportunity to tell each of them about Jesus.

If you had talked to me even a year ago, I wouldn't have imagined that I would be here volunteering in New York City with Jews for Jesus, much less standing out on the street telling people about the Jewish Messiah. Since then, I have learned that God has both a sense of humor and sense of purpose for my life. He knew, and he knows that I would be here. Looking back, I know that he put things along my path to lead me to this time and place.

Training at Moody Bible Institute was long and straining, but overall, it was a stressless experience. I almost always get stressed when I encounter the unknown. Chicago was not an unknown, in fact, I enjoyed showing my fellow campaigners around and sharing my wisdom of the El and geography. Not completely unexpectedly, an unwelcomed feeling of fear welled up inside me as I arrived in New York City this morning. I felt no control, and that scared me. But God is good, and I am remembering that our weaknesses are His strength!

As a part of orientation, we were divided into teams and sent out on a scavenger hunt. This was my first time walking in New York, first time on the subway, first time trying to navigate. But oddly enough, things felt familiar. The spaces did not seem like uncharted territory. When I emerged from the subway station, I knew which way to walk. This may have something to do with my familiarty with living in a big city, but I like to think that God was showing his steadfastness and presense in the footsteps of those who choose to follow Him.
In Isaiah 58:8 it says, "Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard."

We have been called, trained, and given everything we need to dive deep into this campaign. My prayer is that God will mightily use the work of our hands and the words of our mouths to glorify His name in this city.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer update: one week of training complete

People who have gone on Summer Witnessing Campaign before kept telling me how difficult training was going to be. Not that I didn't believe them, but I thought, "I'm tough, I can handle it." Well I've discovered that I can handle it. Not by my own might, however, but by God's goodness and mercy.

Waking up at 5:45 each morning was a total shock. The first couple days my body rebelled and I was nauseous for almost the rest of the day. After a bus day of classes and sorties, I am exhausted. But then comes the fun part: studying. Each morning we are quizzed on what we learned the day before. For the most part we study as a group. These sessions, while profitable, means we don't get to bed until at least 11pm.

I haven't quite gotten used to it, but I have realized one thing central to our survival as a team and effectiveness as witnesses: I would not be able to keep up the rigors of this schedule without ten or so other people keeping me accountable and and encouraged. We are a machine!

I am getting better at handing out broadsides and sorties, but there are still days when I am discouraged at the effectiveness of my work on the streets. But God is good. Yesterday I was stationed in front of the Art Institute, catching people as they walked to Millennium Park. I more invigorated by my love for that area of the loop, but also, I got to speak to lots of people about Jesus! I met one group of students from New Zealand. A couple of them were Jewish, and curious about Jesus. Please pray that God's message penetrates their hearts.

This year we are incorporating street theatre into our campaign. We've been rehersing the last couple days and hope to present the skit at least once in Chicago before we take it to NYC. Please pray for stamina as we have to memorize lines on top of all the other scripture verses and class work we have to memorize throughout the week.



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Update: And I'm off . . .

This is it folks. My suitcase, backpack and a purse are packed for my seven week adventure. This afternoon, right after church, I'll be heading down to Moody for two weeks of training. I'm glad is trip is in steps, or else I'd be a whole lot more nervous than I already am.

In addition to praying for God's blessing in our ministry, here are some other areas where I covet your prayers:
1. Pray for me as I step out of my comfort zone and devote all my energies to God’s work.
2. Pray that I remain healthy and focused, and that God would bless the words of my mouth and the works of my hands and feet.
3. Pray for our team to have a smooth transition from training to ministry, and for unity in the group.

This morning I woke up with the song "From the Inside Out" stuck in my head. I think that's a good sign.

A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
my heart and my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out Lord, my soul cries out.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Update: Getting ready

In a few days I will be heading downtown to Moody Bible Institute to begin training for Jews for Jesus' Summer Witnessing Campaign. After two weeks of intensive learning, we will gather in NYC for a month of street evangelism, discipleship and worship.

On Friday, I officially moved into my new apartment. I have lots of unpacking to do . . . all so that I can repack for my adventure. People keep asking me if I am excited, and honestly, I stand awkwardly between worry, anticipation and excitement. I keep telling myself that I'll feel ready once I am packed. But thinking back, I am usually not ready (emotionally) for the unknown until I am thrust into the new and sometimes-frightening situations.

One of the things I was not looking forward to about training are the assignments I have to be working on for next week. Only one month removed from finishing my Masters, I was wary of doing more homework. So even though I've had the books for a long time, I'd been putting it off. There is no more pushing. This is crunch time. And amazingly, the books are rather interesting.

To witness to NYC's Jewish population, it is imperative that we know the Jewish mind and identity. Herman Wouk's This is My God does just that. It is a unique blend of Jewish musings, history lessons and cultural understanding. Wouk wrote the book in 1959, smack dab in the post-war era of Jewish identity shifting towards a White American identity. It is facinating to read a Jew's decription of the state of Judaism in the 1950s, knowing fully what was going on at the same time, historically.

Thinking back, I know that God has prepared me intellectually for this trip. I am fairly well grounded in Jewish history and have a desire to learn as much as I can. I am so grateful for ways that God is working in my life. But I still have uncertainty about how God will use me this summer, spiritually and emotionally. So. this is where you can pray for me. Pray that God pushes me smoothly and forcefully out of my comfort zone, and into a great community of fellow servants. Pray that I have boldness, health, and an openness to receive what God is doing in my life and those around me.

Through this blog, I will be posting updates and new prayer requests. Feel free to send me an encouraging note via facebook or my email at
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