Live from a Bronx McDonalds

1,057 Commentsby   |  07.23.11  |  The Bronx, New York

I am currently in a Bronx McDonalds with a kids drink so that I’m allowed to stay here.

The temperature here has been in the high 90s and 100s the past couple of days, we have no A/C and the city is like a concrete oven. I heard today that 23 people have died in the city over the past few days from this heat and as horribly sad as that is, I have no trouble believing it.

The A/C in this McDonalds is heavenly, my drink is refreshing, and all this with free wifi makes me feel like a king. Compared to the rest of the world – to many of my brothers and sisters posting from other places all over the world – thats not much if any of an exaggeration.

What an amazing experience this continues to be. Noemi arrived a while back and we’ve been attached at the hip since. I am so blessed to have her as a partner and as another full-time intern with the same schedule as me.

We’ve bumped up the prayer station count to 4 and even 5 times a week. They’ve become the mainstay of our outreach and I couldn’t love it more. We are an unconditional presence in the city that doesn’t yell hell-mongering, but rather offers prayer to those only comfortable to write it down, prayer on the spot to those who are comfortable with that, and the offer of Bible study and organic church to anyone feeling especially called in their searching for God. They are such great constants in my week.

Noemi and I have updated all of our fliers to complete spanish and have some tables that are purely spanish. One such table resulted in our first bible study where the person didn’t cancel last-minute (which is apparently really common in this city). Though the study discussion was lead by Noemi and Carol, I was as encouraged as if I had been there with them to hear how well it went and continue to pray for that relationship to be fruitful.

We have also joined a gym, hoping to increase our presence in the community and live in holistic health. The times there have been great for reflection during long runs on the treadmill and in looking for people who we can recognize as the days go by and potentially begin casual relationship with. We want to be in interaction with the people of the Bronx in as many ways as possible, and going to be around a college age group puts us around peers in an unintimidating setting that we are praying the Lord will use for the furthering of His kingdom in any mysterious way He sees fit.

My conversation clubs at Columbia University have changed in form a bit. Where I had been teaching two classes a week – one based off of worksheets & converational exercises and one based off of Bible study – with a partner from a sister organization here in the city, I am now only going to the Bible study and my partner’s time here has expired. My first solo study is this Thursday and I am very anxious to see how it plays out. The people there have genuinely become my friends and many are from Asiatic cultures without any exposure to Biblical text or the Christian message. It is truly unique and wonderful to watch someone learn about the gospel for the very first time with curiosity and interest in learning more. While some are compelled by what looks like a new truth and others are only reading it as an interesting literary means to expanding their English vocabulary, the time there is always a highlight of my week.

Honestly, most days of my week are highlights of my week.

We are praying every morning and continuing to see the answers to those prayers with much more dynamic timing than that which my often impatient heart wants.

Turning 23 this past Monday especially challenged me to continue to grow in discipline and patience, rather than years alone. I am so glad for the work God is doing in me and through me and my partners here.

Thank you for your continued prayers. They are felt every day.

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