As we drove into Tompkins, we were praying for people to reach a point of saying, “Enough is enough” - especially for those we see each week. One of our regulars, a Spanish man named Rene, hobbled up on crutches to the Mobile Resource Center for some soup. When Carol asked what had happened, he told us that he had surgery on his leg because of an old injury from when he was young. After talking for a while and receiving prayer he asked us where our church was. When we told him about King’s Fellowship, he said, “I want to go there. I need to change my life. I’ve read the Bible but it’s been hard lately because I’ve read other things.” It turns out he had read books about black magic. Carol counseled him saying, “Jesus wants to set you free from that oppression. He can take it completely away if you ask for His forgiveness for reading those things.” Rene looked burdened and said, “I need that. I need to change my life. I only have the New Testament but I want to read the Old Testament too.” Carol found a bilingual Bible which he could read in Spanish and English! Rene was so happy to receive it. God answered our prayer that day and we are believing for complete transformation as we continue to share Christ with him.
Friday, February 20, 2015
Under the awning of the truck on a cold, wintry day at Tompkins Square Park, I huddled with a woman we serve as the snow poured down around us. The weather seemed to echo the hurt she was feeling. With sorrow she explained how she had been quite sick recently yet her husband forced her out of bed to cook for their family. She went on to describe how he often forces her to have sex, cook, and clean, no matter how she is feeling. He never thanks or encourages her for doing any of these things, but instead criticizes any of her efforts that fall below his standards. Sometimes when she desires his affection, she’ll sit down beside him and tell him how much she loves him. He ignores her when she does so.
She is a Muslim who has expressed occasional interest in Jesus, yet she knows her husband would kill her if she ever converts. She is not just in a loveless marriage; she comes from a culture that considers women to be second class citizens. She is one of many who live in oppressive home situations that feel more like a prison than a family. At one point she looked at me and said, “I just wish he would hug me and tell me he loves me sometimes. I just want to feel appreciated sometimes.” In that moment, God whispered to my heart, saying, “Tell her how much you and I love and appreciate her.” I wrapped my arms around her, looked into her eyes, and told her just that. In that moment I saw the anger and hurt begin to fade as she smiled and received the affection of heaven, something she has never truly known. We see her nearly every week at Tompkins Square Park, and I have not heard her speak such clear English as she did that day. I believe God enabled her to share her heart with me so He could share His heart with her. It is encouraging to know that His love never fails. It will not fail her. Please pray with us for her entire family to receive revelation of that!
We are seeing God transform a life right before our very eyes! Back in January the Lord brought a man named John Cappola to the prayer station. After getting laid off at the beginning of the year, he ran into multiple issues with his family that caused him to enter the New York City Shelter System. In the shelter, John was confronted with much pain and suffering. He temporarily lost his job, his family, and his security, but this actually served to lead him to Christ. He said that with everything taken away from him, the only thing he had left to cling to was Jesus. That's exactly what he did. John explained how, prior to this experience, he had seldom attended church but now Jesus has become a reality to him.
After meeting us at the prayer station, John has been regularly attending our gatherings and working through the material at our weekly men's Bible Study. Learning about his Savior has helped him find strength and perseverance to endure his current trials. One of his great motivations for growing in the Lord is to be the father he needs to be for his sixteen year old son. Though there are still tensions in the household, God has recently answered John's prayers in giving him more time with his son. We continue to contend in prayer for full restoration in his family.
The most recent miracle in John's life occurred just this past week. Ever since we met him, we’ve been praying for his job situation. Since then he’s had frequent interviews, but nothing was panning out. This week he was offered three full-time jobs! God took John from having no work to having too much work! Now, instead of looking for a job, John is deciding which one to take. God is so good! Please join us in praying for John, his family, his job, and for continued growth in his relationship with the Lord.