Tuesday, July 22, 2014

John's Story

We had a meaningful encounter with a man named John* at the Gay Pride Parade.  John was a kind, unassuming man who was willing to stop and discuss the questions on our survey.  As we went through the first several topics, John gave relatively basic answers, until we asked him about the importance of gender roles in society.  “Well, I didn’t use to believe they were important, but now I see that they are.”  He slowly began to open up about his difficult past.  John had been born a woman and had identified as a lesbian woman for fifty years of his life.  When he was diagnosed with breast cancer, he underwent chemotherapy and a double-mastectomy to try to rid his body of the cancer.  After losing his hair to the chemotherapy and losing his breasts, he continued to dress as a woman, but he was severely ridiculed and harassed for his appearance, even just walking the streets.  He was shocked and horrified at the persecution he received from strangers “in a place as accepting as New York.”  After a year of being mocked and maltreated, John decided to take testosterone drugs to make his appearance more masculine, and he began dressing in more masculine clothing.  He now identifies as a transgender, bisexual man, and he noted how much “simpler” it is this way.  As we continued through the survey, hearing more pieces of John’s story, we eventually got to ask him about faith.  He said somberly, “I love all faiths, but they don’t all love me.”  Our hearts broke for John; my partner and I each got to give him a hug and share about the incredible love of God for him.  We invited him to Street Life’s Sunday night service, and we told him we would love to have him there.  He thanked us both sincerely and took our service information.  As John walked away, we were again astounded by the love of the Father: the way God reaches out to the deepest places of hurt and rejection, and offers His love and healing!  We are praying for healing for John’s body, as his cancer has been diagnosed as stage four, and we are praying for his salvation, that the love of God and the freedom in Christ would be made known to him!

*Name has been changed to protect his privacy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Healing at the Prayer Station

In the subway station, Justin and Erica offered prayer to a woman passing by. She said no and Justin replied they would pray for her anyway as she went on. They bowed their heads and prayed a simple prayer for the woman and continued talking and praying with people. It was time to rotate so they switched with the next pair unaware that as they prayed for the woman, her foot - which had been in a lot of pain - stopped hurting. When she realized the pain was gone she came back and told the pair who took Justin and Erica's spot what had happened thanking them for praying. This was a tremendous sign to the woman that God cares for her personally. Justin and Erica, the two teenagers who prayed for her, were greatly encouraged to see how God hears and answers their prayers. They were both rocked by that experience. We too were overjoyed to hear that God is moving on the streets of New York City and pouring out tangible signs of His mercy and grace. 

Team Testimonies

God moved in a unique and undeniable way among the individuals of our most recent team. Two of the youth felt God specifically calling them into ministry, one of which said that she is going to use her remaining high school years to let God pour into her as she prepares for ministry. The other said, “I just want to be obedient to God and go wherever he wants me. That’s all I want out of life.” Other members of the team said that God gave them a burden for reaching the lost and they now have an inflamed desire to start sharing their faith in their hometown. Some expressed how important it is not to live as “fake” Christians, but to be strongly connected to Christ and live a life that reflects his character to the rest of the world.