Monday, August 5, 2019

Breaking Ground in Flushing Sex Industry

On the heels of coming back from our Brazil Outreach and ministering to women in the brothels, we were so "pumped" to see more breakthrough here in NYC for the women in the massage parlors. 
We hosted our very first Beautiful One Human Trafficking Outreach open to others. Unlike Brazil, where the brothels are out in the open and do not conceal what they do, the women in the massage parlors hide behind the business of massage therapy.  

Some of the women are forced into this service and can only make money through tips and "special illegal services" and others are legitimate. In Flushing, there are massage parlors everywhere and we are considered "ground zero" for the women coming into the United States to work at these places. The businesses open and close, then assume other names, relocate and reopen.  It is a vicious cycle. Even when we try to get to know some of the women, they often move on and relocate if the business closes or if the owners choose to put them elsewhere which could be out of state.

So you may ask, 
"Then why do you even bother?"  

We go because Jesus says to "GO" and 
He Himself went into dark places to set people free.  
We go to let them know they are loved and cherished for who they are and that they were created for a purpose.  
We LOVE because He first loved us.  
We lavish them with gifts to show they have value and we pray for their needs when we are there.  

Often, we have to work through a translator because most speak Mandarin and we are grateful for the few volunteer translators that come. Some like to practice what little English they may know.

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me." 
Song of Songs 2:10(NIV)

David Praying over the Area
We had two BRAVE women from different parts of Ohio and our summer intern come to this mini outreach in July. We were so thankful to have these ladies who were eager to learn, grow, and GO.  We had an orientation evening and then some worship in the morning, prayer walking the sites in the afternoon, and going to the massage parlors in the evening.  We found a lot of new places to go for the future as a result of prayer walking.  We did a lot of praying and walking and it was HARD GROUND but we believe this is the key to seeing spiritual breakthrough for these women.  Many doors were closed and were not available for us to come in but we kept knocking and leaving gifts, planting seeds that will be watered as we keep going back.

One of the areas in Flushing where there are multiple massage parlors
On one occasion, the ladies went into one of the massage parlors that we have been building friendships with but the owner was always aloof and not very open. Surprisingly, there were not any customers in the waiting area and the Lord opened the door for conversation and prayer.  These are the "divine" moments we pray for, because God can do what no man can ever do and that is, to speak the language of their heart.  We came away from that outreach week knowing we broke more ground in Flushing, and laying the groundwork to keep going back.  We know the Lord loves these Chinese women and so do we.  Pray about joining us for the next "open" outreach or if you are local, come monthly.

The “Gringo” Gives HUGS!

David shares this story from the one night at Plaza 7 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  It can be likened to Times Square in NYC.  Our band was playing for some time, worshipping the Lord and testifying.  It was during the break when I looked out into the crowd and loved what I saw.  Everyone on our team had a translator and were talking and praying with individuals.  And as I looked around, I then saw behind me three guys who were listening and watching intently. They were semi-drunk and everything in their demeanor was screaming, “I am hopeless, I’m in despair, I have nothing left in my life, I am homeless, I’m poor and I’m a hopeless drunk." And I knew that some of them did not even care. I knew I had to give them some love. So I just started hugging them. One guy had a very large cut on his chin, and he had a wipe to keep it from bleeding. And I knew they were shocked that this great big "gringo" they didn't even know wanted to hug THEM. And I just started praying over them.  I declared the Father’s love over them, His care over them, binding the strongman over their lives; drugs and alcohol, lust and perversions because as soon as I started hugging them I could sense these things from them. And I’m very sensitive to lust because of my life with lust before Christ saved me. 
And all of a sudden, Samuel (musician/translator) comes up out of nowhere. And it was so cool and timely.

They had an incredible conversation, and Holy Spirit was upon them. We found out that one guy used to be a believer. He used to know the Lord, and at one point he said, I wish I never knew the Lord. And I knew what he meant, and I quoted back with scripture, But God's greater than your heart because you know the truth but you don’t want to live the truth anymore and therefore your own heart condemns you. And he looked back at me and said, “That’s exactly what it is. I wish I didn’t know because I know God.” And then he starts telling me, “God’s loving! God is gracious! And I knew it!” And I thought, “Oh Lord, He’s getting closer to the kingdom every time he speaks.” 

We got three fish right here ready to get brought in, it’s the harvest time for them. One guy couldn’t even lift up his head because he was so guilt-ridden and ashamed. And we prayed and prayed, and I thought we should get Tio Pedro (the leader) involved.  I believed that God could get these guys into a rehab. So we brought them over to Tio Pedro and he got out his pad and paper and started writing down the addresses of where it is. Of course, we prayed over them that they would make the right choice. 

We really hoped the "leader" of the group, the backslider, would "break" and would just once again believe, and come home to the Father who would accept him on the spot and the other two would just follow him. It would be like James and John who just followed Peter wherever he went. Tio Pedro prayed for them too, and his prayer was that these men who were ready to go would have a bed open for them at these rehabs. When he called, there was room!

Proof of His Love at the Brothels

One of the Brothels
Robin shares her experience at the brothels in Belo Horizonte Brazil...  We went into one of the brothels and got permission at the front desk to go door to door inviting the ladies to a special luncheon on Sunday.  It was a hard, dark, place to be and yet, didn't Jesus minister to the woman caught in adultery?  And so, I was willing to go despite my own fears and apprehension.  

If a woman was standing at or near the open door, then it meant she was available and open to customers.  We walked down the one narrow hallway and our one team of two started talking with one woman.  Then, Weslea (my partner) and I both fixed our eyes on the woman at the end of the hall.  She was very beautiful and I wondered why she would be in a place like this.  She didn't belong here but neither did so many others.  Most who work there need the money to provide for their family.  She immediately invited us into her room so we could pray for her.  Her name was Debra and I quickly connected with her because my sister's name was Debra which I told her. She shared that she had children and her youngest was 13.  
Not actual picture of Debra  

I started praying first and tears flowed from her face.  She was visibly being touched by the Father and Weslea followed with more prayer and declarations over her.  We prayed for Father's love to be revealed to her and declared the favor of the Lord in her life, blessings and not curses, provision for her family, etc...  

Afterward, she kept saying, "This is proof that God loves me, that you all are in a brothel praying for me." She was weeping the whole time as she had just returned to the brothels that very weekend after 3 years of absence.  That Sunday at the ladies luncheon, I did not see Debra.  My hope was that she listened to God and received the courage to leave the brothels for good.  

Weslea later wrote, "It was heartbreaking, but at the same time so moving because there needs to be proof of His love and that proof comes through us."

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A Muslim Woman Meets Jesus

Recently at the Flushing Prayer Station we met a woman who once was a devout Muslim.  Fifteen years ago she began to seek God, wanting to know who he really is.  After looking into other religions, she decided to read the Bible.  “I’m going to read the red words because those words are the words of Christ!” is what she thought to herself.  His Words came alive to her.  At one point, she felt something like liquid flowing over her as she was reading and praying.  Eventually she gave her life to Jesus after a journey that took over a year.

She has experienced many difficulties for converting from Islam to Christianity.  Although these trials were difficult to face, she would do it all over again because Jesus is worth any pain and persecution! There was such a light and joy in her eyes as she recounted all that Jesus had done and continues to do in her and other people’s lives.  Sadly her husband, also a Muslim, chose to leave her and her two children.  Her kids are being raised in the ways of the Lord.

In fact, she felt the Lord leading her to go to Philadelphia to minister to people.  She brought both of her kids.  There were a number of people she had a chance to encourage and tell about Jesus.  She encouraged us in our outreach and recounted how the Lord had placed it on her heart to go and witness in downtown Flushing.   

Meeting her was a testimony of the many prayers going up for Muslims around the world that they would have an encounter with the Living Christ.  Many Muslims are closed off to hearing the Gospel or are in closed nations where preaching the Gospel is not allowed.  Our prayers make a difference in seeing them come to the Lord.  For this woman, a formerly devoted Muslim, if someone had tried to talk about Jesus with her, she most likely would not have listened.  But the Lord met her anyways.  Therefore we can be encouraged to share the Gospel with Muslims and if they don’t receive it, prayer has a powerful impact. 

Meet Emily...

My name is Emily Angelucci and I am a student at Northpoint Bible College located in Haverhill, Massachusetts. I am interning with Street LIFE Ministries this summer for my senior missions internship. As I prayed about where to intern for this summer, God placed New York City on my heart through dreams and confirmations.  However He did not give me a specific ministry. Eventually I had to take a step of faith when no further direction came, so I searched on the internet for missions internships in NYC. 

After reading through a few opportunities I came across Street LIFE Ministries. What drew me to them was their expression of their heart for serving the many different people of NYC.  Also I noticed their genuine desire to see those who join their team to not only be equipped for outreach and service, but also to grow in their relationship with God. As I prayed further about this opportunity, God gave me an unshakeable sense that this internship would be where a true deepening of my relationship with Him would take place. 

It is the start of my third week here and I can attest to already seeing the first fruits of this deepening taking place! From the outreach on the streets to the community living and fellowship, God has been using each moment to engrave his priorities of servanthood, humility and love upon my heart. I know I will be eternally grateful for following the call of God to come and serve at Street LIFE Ministries in NYC and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer holds for us! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Around the World in One Afternoon!

David shares this story....I had a chance to go to a new park in Elmhurst, Queens with the team that came from North Carolina in May.  I was praying as we set up games. Then a young girl named Lameha came by and I invited her to get her face painted but she declined.  A few minutes later, she came back after getting permission from her mom and said YES! We talked a little and she played some games and then I invited her to read a book that we brought. I asked her to read it to me and she began to read.  

The book shared the Gospel and Lameha was reading it aloud and hearing about God's love for her as she spoke the words from this story! It was so wonderful. As she read about how much God loves her, this little girl from Bangladesh was declaring the Word over herself.  What an opportunity! Her mom also allowed her to take the book home, which I’m praying she’ll continue to read and even share with her brothers and sisters since they knew nothing of Jesus! 

Another young boy came by who also was a little fearful at first but then he came back and we had a wonderful opportunity to talk.  He played some games and then he said “I want to do something for you.  I'm gonna make hopscotch and you and I are going to do it."  I responded with, "OK it’s been a long time since I’ve done that". He just smiled and with the chalk, made a big hopscotch.  Proudly, he went first and then he told me that it’s time for you to do it. 

So here I am, nearly 61 years old, playing hopscotch in the park with Tenzin who was from Tibet.  I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and even did a couple extra moves to make him laugh a little! Except for a few friends, he shared that he was typically alone in the park so, in the short amount of time we spent together, he felt loved, valued, and cared for.

Just before we left I  had seen a young girl so I went up to her.  I felt led to let her know I cared about her, and she told me her name was Archana, and she was from Nepal. I began to share my story of teaching in a Bible school in Northern India.  There was a man that I met who had left his family in the mountains of Nepal, to come to learn the Bible so he could go back home to Nepal and preach the gospel and win his people to Jesus! I shared with her how much the Lord loves her as well as all the people of Nepal!

It is so amazing living here in Queens, New York with nearly 200 languages/people groups. The opportunities are at our doorstep to minister to people from all over the earth that God has brought here (Ps107) in order to know Him, love Him, and worship Him above all other gods! There truly is no greater place on earth to share the great news of the king of all kings who loved us so much that he gave his only son that we might receive forgiveness and eternal life! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Don't Be Fooled by Appearances...

On a beautiful spring day at Tompkins Square Park, a middle-aged man approached the step van for a hot meal.  After enjoying his soup, he struck up a conversation.  “I know I may not look like it but I’m staying in a shelter right now.  Could you help me with finding a job?” 

We always have on hand listings of various resources to pass out to people who ask.  So we gave him an employment resource sheet. 

“I’m a carpenter but I got hurt.  After living in the same place for a while, my landlord evicted me.  First I stayed at a shelter in Brooklyn and now I’m here.”  He talked about his living conditions, especially about not being allowed to cook.  Through our conversation, I could tell he wanted OUT. 

After a little while, he had to leave. So I offered to pray with him and also let him know what we have to offer if he needs anything.  He gladly accepted prayer.  We trust the Lord to open doors for him so that he can get back on his feet again.  We hope to see him again soon to find out what has happened since we met and continue to actively pray for him.