The Concrete Jungle

This week was challenging in unexpected ways, but God’s glory was multiplied and revealed to me beyond comprehension. It’s going to be really difficult to merge all God showed me in New York onto one blog post, but I am going to try my best.

Day One / It’s Memorial Day, but we are lifting up the nations. We went prayer walking and God moved indeed. We walked over 10 miles lifting up requests and worship to God along the streets of Southeast Asian neighborhoods.We were laying the foundations for the rest of the week where we would be knocking on doors to hopefully share the truth among the unreached people groups (who are conveniently at our backdoor).

Being in Queens showed me another side of NYC that was not glamorous, but overflowing with darkness. Satan had such a stronghold on the neighborhood we were in, but at the same time it was a real picture of what was to come. Every nation will one day bow down to His throne and every nation was right there was in New York. Spanish, Indian, Pakistani, Bengali, Black and White all in one neighborhood. 

I was tired from praying through the streets for eight hours straight, yet at the same time it was glorious. We could have been the first to lift up praise to Jesus on that street ever. That was the first day in my whole life that I had spent the entire day with my Father, focused solely on Him. Starting with my devotion onto prayer onto debriefing with my fellow community on all the stories. 

That was the first day in my whole life that I had spent the entire day with my Father, focused solely on Him. 

Starting with my devotion onto prayer onto debriefing with my fellow community on all the stories. God not only filled me with the Spirit, but answered prayer immediately. I prayed for those of lower education levels to have knowledge that would transcend through Christ. I also prayed that the Spirit would lead us beyond boundaries and we would follow faithfully. He answered through David reaching out to us (who just so happened to be out of our territory in the neighborhood). He revealed to us that he always felt subordinate because of his lower education. I prayed He would discover the simplicity of the good news and continue seeking His savior after we had explained the Gospel to Him.

Day Two / I started off the day exhausted and ended it the same exact way. I am truly weary, but blessed God gave me strength when we were prayer walking and sharing today. God used us even before we were in the neighborhood, which reminded me that we are always commissioned not just in the neighborhoods. There was a huge fight on the bus and God transformed that into a conversation about him between us and those on the bus around us.

When we got to the East Elmhurst it started off with a lot of open doors but no one more open than that. Someone invited us to come back and we were overjoyed that they would invite us in and potentially be a person of peace (an unreached person who would invite us in and accept the truth of Jesus as well as the mission to share the good news with their unreached neighbors), but that wasn’t the plan and she invited us back just for her husband to turn us away.

I was discouraged deeply. I mourned for a woman I met that couldn’t understand English, but wanted to understand what I was saying. The language barrier was real, but God is a truth that surpasses all languages. I was taught patience that God was sovereign over these people because he loves them more than I ever could, I don’t even know their names.

Finally there were no open doors on a street and we prayed desperately. Then we ask a guy on the street about a local restaurant to go. It turned out he invited us onto the porch and he was on our list of houses to knock on!  His wife was attentive and he was open to listening, but they didn’t seem like a person of peace. I felt desperate to share with the wife, but I could not get around the man without being disrespectful. God held my tongue purposely and released it in the power of prayer. He reminded me that prayer holds more strength than speaking the truth itself.

Day Three / Today was distressing for me emotionally. I can’t quite explain why, but I felt very tugged at and distressed even though it was the free day. I felt angry that I had to knock on doors this week when I felt that ineffective for the way it looks. I didn’t want to look like a salesperson and undermine that this gift I’m trying to tell them about is much more than this survey! But who am I to question his methods? I writing this ashamed that today has all been about me. I feel drained from people, wanting to get lost in the blur of New York and disappear so easily into the crowd.

But the Lord has a better plan to me. He wants my whole hearted obedience.He wants me to listen to my teammates without shoving in my opinion that I think is always right. He wants my trust to be placed in him despite circumstances. He may not have revealed a person of peace to invite us in because I don’t believe in my soul that he can change their heart from a lie they’ve been so invested in their whole lives. I prayed for cleansing from the Lord that He strip me of my own self-interest and give me a heart of selflessness.

Day Four / My heart shattered today and through the Holy Spirit and my teammates it was mended back together. I started today radiating with happiness God had thrown at me. I’m hype after spending the morning with my team and drinking a milkshake. We got to Astoria with a late start, but we quickly started moving. The answered doors were all no’s and I was so desperate enough to attempt to speak to a lady through the window – a picture of true darkness.The stronghold of evil in this neighborhood was real. The spiritual warfare was even realer.

Toward the end of the day we talked to these men who were throwing all these tough questions against what we believed. The frustrating part is that they asked all the questions I had prepared myself to speak and I couldn’t answer because I was a woman who in their culture should only talk to other women. My heart ached with the desire to talk and share the good news I’d been given. I felt helpless. I looked into their eyes and saw them as people eternally destined for destruction – people that I may never see in eternity.

I lost it. I started weeping over their separation and then from my frustration. I hadn’t shared the gospel once this week because no women would let me speak long enough before they got their husbands. I know we aren’t here to “make” people of peace, that only God can grow their hearts. I do trust Gods sovereignty. I know he loves them more than I ever could. I know I may not see fruit and if I do I am reaping harvest I didn’t plant. I just cried out to merely tell the good news. I wanted to share more than anything.

Luckily I had my team to encourage me, lift me and strengthen me. I was told God pushes us in what is most difficult for us and uses that to test our trust of him. For a lot of people, that means sharing with strangers. For me, it could mean trusting he will use me when he will and that he is moving through my obedience. Even if I’m not sharing and sowing the seed, I am spreading prayer over this community that will blossom. I don’t doubt he answers prayer, but maybe the person of peace I prayed for will be found by someone else. He will continually pursue them like he did me, after all being raised in a shadow filled with distorted idol their minds are polluted. The devil put just enough truth into their faith that it is believable, but it’s far enough to separate them from God for eternity. They aren’t going to accept a message that seems too good to be true the first time they hear it when they’ve been working so hard for their salvation their whole life. I needed to realize the prayer I lift up when my team mates share is greater than anything they could speak because I’m directly talking to God.

This week he is working in my heart if nothing else and gave me a fire of prayer this week. He gave me a brokenness for the lost that I can transfer to view my campuses that way. I should be desperate crying out for their salvation when I’m so compassionate over those I don’t even know.

Day Five / God is good! I will delight in him for the rest of my days because he fulfills me with a deep joy that sends me into worship. Today was the best day at all, which is funny because if you look at success wise it was far from it. But I was exuberant. I felt radiant. The Spirit rejoiced inside me!

Anyway so I read this verse (Habakkuk 3:17-18) and it really started my day off right. At the end of the week we hadn’t met a person of peace, I hadn’t been invited into a home, I hadn’t even been able to share the truth!!!!! But through that, God showed me my reliance on him that I should trust his sovereignty over his people he loves so much more. Yesterday I wrestled with not having women to share with. Today I realized I did exactly what God wanted me to do and planned for me to do before the beginning of time. I was faithful to him because he was faithful to me first. He worked through me and gave me boldness I couldn’t contain (something I prayed for before City Project).

I really did force people to hear the Gospel when I would ask them if they wanted prayer making sure to explain to them who gave me the ability to speak to God (Jesus). I desired their change of hearts so passionately that I literally chased them down the street. He gave me this urgency to remember that our days our numbered and we aren’t guaranteed any time. The Lord doesn’t work slowly. He could come back right now, but he is patient and longs for all his children to come to him.

So yeah, I was pretty much denied all week, but my Father who has every reason to deny me loves me enough to send his son in my place so I may have the eternal inheritance of his kingdom. He loved me so much to pursue me while even on the cross and so much more so he pursues me now. He delights in me and all his children when they follow him faithfully and even when we have pride or we fall, he graciously accepts our repentance. His will will be done in this neighborhood. It’s crazy that he even uses us to share the gospel. We are such broken vessels, but through the Spirit we can do even greater works than Jesus himself showing his ultimate omniscience over all.

I was able to be apart of something so much larger than myself.

Just to be a small sliver of his plan for NYC and truly be commissioned with Jesus (not for- because I could not do anything for him lets be real) was really life changing.

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