Battery Park ~ Times Square ~ Washington Square ~ Union Square ~ Greenwich Village ~ Staten Island
New York City Evangelism Report – August 2011
How to describe five days in New York is going to be difficult because so much happened so fast. There were 26 of us from all over the country gathered together for a five-day marathon of evangelism. Thank you for your prayers as I was able to keep up for the most part. Change Collegian Network hosted this event entitled, “Repent & Witness” which is Statue of Liberty Gospel Tractsfour years in running. There was tremendous unity and love as we worshipped & prayed together before witnessing to the multitudes in NYC. There were four of us from the West Coast and we all knew each other prior to this event. In fact that is how I ended up going was through a brother, Jeff Baron, from the Los Angeles area. Eric & Jill Baxter from the Bay Area also attended. I arrived around midnight of the first day — Thursday and stayed in La Guardia airport until around 9:00 am when I was picked up by the ministry. We all got settled before having our afternoon prayer & evening orientation along with NY pizza. Below I have highlighted the main events along with some other stories. I hope you enjoy because this is the fruit of your labors as well.
Once we hit the streets we went to Battery Park located in Manhattan where the boats leave for the Statue of Liberty. The Staten Island ferry is also located here. We split up into teams of 4 or 5. It is a big park and collectively 26 of us handed out 5,000 tracts that had the NY theme on front. My partner Brad from Wisconsin preached to the people in line for the boat as I handed out tracts. When it was my turn to preach a young man about 20 years old was listening to me and the line started moving. His family came back and tried to physically pull him to come up where they now were. He resisted their urgings and stayed and listened for at least ten minutes. We stayed there most of the day. We also handed out tracts at the ferry entrance. The women took the free ferry to Staten Island.
Moving on the subway to Times Square I was overwhelmed by the amount of people, taxis, buildings and lights. Again our team of five went down to where there was a grandstand. Here is where the people rested and looked at a statue. I open-aired preached here and it was great, tons of people heard the Gospel. Times Square is also the place where we met NYPD officer Rob. He was there to answer a complaint (the only one the whole trip) and he ended up asking us about the Christian faith. He was a Catholic and very open to the truth. We shared awhile and then prayed with him right there. Finishing the evening by having dinner with the group we went to Dallas BBQ it was good food for a good price. That’s right, to get good Texas BBQ you have to go to New York.
Our first stop Saturday was Washington Square, located in Greenwich Village. We were there for about half the day. This is where we talked to Harold, a bearded Jewish man. He was very friendly and seemed to like us. He knew some of the Scriptures from growing up, although his knowledge in overall Judaism was lacking. I told him He was blinded to the truth of the Messiah. He didn’t seem to be offended, but still unconvinced.
I also met “Coci” (street name) a young man who was deeply troubled at the preaching of the Gospel. He is stuck in his sin and homelessness. I was able to teach him the difference from Jesus being homeless and being homeless from an addiction. He received a Bible from brother Robert in our group. Jennifer was a recovering heroin addict and we visited while my partner Brad witnessed and prayed with a man named Brian.
Brad and I witnessed to a medical doctor named Nate in Union Square on Sunday. Nate had many arguments and said he believed we came from apes, although he admitted that sounded crazy. He also conceded that he didn’t save lives, but only prolonged death. My part in the conversation ended as I was asked to preach to a smaller group that was heckling another brother. The strategy was to quiet the mostly street people crowd (addicts and such). As I shared my testimony everyone became quiet and some left, but the heckling stopped for the time being. I was able to share the Gospel after my testimony. On a lighter note; I arranged to meet up with a friend from high school, Lance Warrick, who lives in NY. Lance bought me dinner and we walked to Grand Central Station before taking the subway back to Union Square.
THE SHOCKING & FUNNY THINGS
The picture to the left is a man who followed us from place to place with objections to the Gospel. He had some legitimate interest and was very open to our preaching and sharing with him.
I have a few funny stories to share. We never wasted any time including the rides on the subway. We witnessed and sometimes sang songs in either the subway station or the subway cars themselves. Amazing Grace was one of the most popular, but on one ride back I suggested we sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing. We followed up with Joy to the World. The stern faces of the crowd turn to laughter and joy. I figure we’ll have to come back at Christmas.
Pastor John Chisham from Minnesota was our team leader. He is quite a character. One time we ate at Taco Bell and he asked the manager if he could fill his water container up from the fountain drink dispenser. After getting the ok he pulled out a large container that probably held a couple of gallons that fit inside a special back pack. It has a hose that goes into your mouth so you can drink while you walk. As he lifted the container up to the water spigot, the workers and manager were aghast. It looked like a colostomy bag or something. Nevertheless he was able to fill it. Bye the way John gave a great discourse on the death of Christ defending the empty tomb. Very excellent!
I would like to once again thank all of you who receive this news update. I couldn’t do this without the help of the Lord’s people. If you find a chance to pray for the people mentioned above and for me as I continue to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in this great privilege of sharing about Him and what He has done.