I recently returned from a mission trip hosted by Centre for Student Missions (CSM) that enabled my team to explore urban ministry.
New York, New York was a whole new world for my team of first year Youth Ministry Institute students of Vanguard College.
Dia Tomada is part of the family at North Pointe, a student at Vanguard College and serves as a volunteer youth leader in the Anomaly Youth Ministry with Pastor Jeremy Gifford. She shares her insights having just returned from a missions trip to New York City.
The nickname “The City that Never Sleeps” became very real, very quickly as we jumped straight into ministry at 6:00 in the morning, a mere ten hours after settling into the Brooklyn church at which we were staying.
Over the course of the week we had the privilege of volunteering in several different ministries, many of which provide alleviation for countless people suffering from homelessness or extreme poverty.
(Dia is on the left.)
God Wink – Spanish!
Being stationed in the Bronx, a primary Hispanic borough, many clients had trouble communicating their needs to volunteers. God – in His infinite strategy – had me take Spanish throughout school, which allowed me to translate and speak to many people.
Every ministry we visited firmly believed in the tangibility of God’s presence in NYC.
My two favorite organizations were extremely relational… my favorite way to do ministry!
At The Relief Bus (a traveling soup kitchen), I was able to cycle through different stations of serving clients soup, bread and fellowship. God blessed me abundantly through being able to provide prayer for the clients.
A Boy Named Alejandro
Another ministry we visited was the after-school care program at Living Waters Fellowship, in Brooklyn. The after-school care program caters (in majority) to the children of illegal immigrants, so they get all their homework help from tutors, as their parents can’t speak English.
Here, I had the chance to interact with a beautiful young boy named Alejandro. I tutored him and we read together for hours in silly voices, laughing the time away. Somewhere, in this process, he stole my heart. He was shy at first but so eager to learn… and eventually, to laugh and love.
Throughout the week God had shown Himself to me in the most unexpected ways. Isn’t that always how it goes?
I never expect to see God where I end up finding Him shine most radiantly. He loves to surprise us.
Good thing I love being surprised!
New York is a city full of people who are desperate for food, shelter, and love. It is also a city full of believers taking a hands-on approach to this great need and demonstrating God’s love in a tangible way. I was so blessed to serve Jesus by serving those who He loves.
Through these experiences, God taught me to be fearless in the pursuit of awakening His love in hopeless hearts.
APPLICATION: Surprise, Dia. Leave a comment for her below and share this post on your Social Media platforms.
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