Last week we had a team from Freedom Gate Church in Marietta, Ohio join us for a week of outreach here in NYC. The ministry times went very well, and after hearing them share at the final night debrief, it was obvious that God did a real work in their hearts. I've never seen so many tears! They each had their own testimonies of how the Lord had opened their eyes and softened their hearts through the experiences they had with us on the streets. However, there was one testimony that was particularly special, and we wanted to share it with you all.
Playing Parachute with the kids at Moore Playground
On Saturday the team joined us for our Children's Outreach at Moore Playground in Queens. We go there to minister to the children through free face painting stations, bubbles, fun activities, and doing a Bible story time. It's in the very diverse neighborhood of Elmhurst. Due to the diversity, we frequently meet children who are being raised in non-Christian homes, many of whom have never even heard of Jesus. Naturally, this opens up tremendous opportunities for us to introduce the gospel to these unreached children at a very young age. Very exciting!
While we were there, a little girl named Angela asked a guy on the team named Derek if he would come swing with her. As they walked over to the swing set, Angela started telling him that she frequently gets very scary nightmares. It was obvious that she was troubled by these dreams, and Derek listened carefully as she explained. He was patiently waiting to tell her about Jesus and to encourage her to call out to him when she gets bad dreams and feels scared. Derek was just about to mention these things when, all of the sudden, a group of her friends came running over and asked her to come play tag with them. Her attention was diverted. She ran off with her friends. Derek never got to tell her about Jesus. It seemed like the opportunity had come and gone. He was crushed.
|Nathan reading the Children's Bible with all the kids!|
Derek's heart became burdened for this little girl. She was experiencing horrible nightmares, but she couldn't call upon Jesus because she didn't know He existed! Derek began to pace back and forth quietly interceding for Angela under his breath. "God, please bring someone into Angela's life to tell her about Jesus. She has to know about you. Please, Lord, she must know who you are!" Derek prayed for a solid 15 minutes, not knowing he would eventually see the answers to his prayers. Some time later, Derek returned to playing with the other children. At one point he looked up from the games and, much to his surprise, he saw Angela again, but this time she was not playing tag. She was with one of the other team members, named Nathan, reading stories about Jesus from the Children's Bible! Derek's prayers were answered in an incredible way! Nathan later reported that Angela comes from a non-Christian home, and when he first mentioned Jesus, all of her curiosity was seized. They laid down on the ground and went through the Children's Bible for over 30 minutes, telling her all about Jesus and answering all of her questions. At the end, she asked, "Why can't I see Jesus? I want to see Jesus!" At that point, Nathan and a few other team members laid hands on her and prayed for her, and encouraged her to ask Jesus to show himself to her in her dreams. She did ask Jesus to show himself to her - and she asked enthusiastically!
At the end of the day, both Derek and Nathan were amazed at what God had done. Derek was amazed at the immediate answer to prayer and the attentiveness of God towards this little girl. Nathan was also amazed. He said it was the deepest, gospel-centered conversation he had ever had with a child. We are all believing that a seed was planted in Angela that day - a seed that will go on to produce bountiful fruit!