Friday, October 4, 2019

Pushing Back Fear

I am eternally grateful for my time spent at Street LIFE Ministries. It will always be what I refer to as a milestone in my walk of faith with Christ. Before coming I had many wrong mindsets and preconceived notions about what it meant to follow Christ and what success as a Christian looked like. 

As I spent 2 1/2 months with SLM, God began reshaping my perspective and molding my heart. My understanding of following Christ shifted from fulfilling some idolized idea of success to a calling to serving him and others out of sacrificial obedience and love.

From this simple yet profound shift in perspective, there has been a noticeable change in the way I treat myself, how I relate with others and how I live my day to day life. 

I've found that before, life was filled with so much negativity, misery and struggle to get ahead to some projected, picturesque, future me.  Now life has become something to enjoy where I am able to meet God in the present moment and enjoy my time here with him day by day, resting in the fact that He has accepted me, and knowing that my call as a Christian is simply to be faithful and obedient to what He's placed in front of me and to serve Him and others out of love. 

Fieldwork has a way of revealing the contradictions between our professed beliefs and the ones we truly walk out in life. Although I had spent 4 years at bible college and had a mental concept of what it meant to follow Christ, it wasn’t until I found myself serving on the field that what I thought I believed and what I actually believed was exposed as two different things.

Before leaving I remember how fearful I was of going to serve as an intern at Street LIFE Ministries. Many people choose not to answer the call of going and serving because of the fear of not being ready or not being good enough. One teaching I will always remember from David is about how God sent the disciples out even before they were what we would consider as "ready to go." God has called us to GO. If we are obedient to his call, in the midst of the going he is faithful to walk us through our shortcomings and failures. 
I am so glad that I chose to push past the fear of inadequacy in order to answer the call to serve NYC with SLM. This internship helped to tear down an old, shaky foundation of wrong mindsets, teachings, and beliefs in order to lay down a new and solid foundation in Christ!

David, Robin & Carol, I can’t thank you enough for being faithful servants and answering the call God has placed on your lives! It has truly been a blessing to learn from and serve alongside you. Your hard work and sacrifices for the Kingdom of God are a blessing to me and many others! I will always cherish my time at Street LIFE Ministries, for this is the first mission trip that I have participated in where I can look back with confidence and say, "My life has been forever changed." 

Brazil Team

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Shattering the New York City Stereotype

Team from Wyoming for Worship/Warfare Week

"I loved seeing the Lord work in so many cultures, ethnicities, ages, and walks of life.  The New York City stereotype has been shattered for this Wyoming girl.  New York is loved!"   

This is the testimony of one woman named Kay who came to serve with us during Worship/Warfare Week, a week where we take worship to the streets with a full band, face painting for kids, and a prayer station to pray. 

She shares about her time at the Jamaica Bus Depot in Jamaica, Queens. " When we were in the subway, a man with gnarled hands and a weathered face was screaming at everyone who walked by.  The Lord spoke or rustled in me after watching the man for several minutes.  I approached him.  I asked if I could pray with him and he aggressively yelled (incomprehensibly) at me. My husband kept tugging on my arm to let this one go but I wanted him to know he was loved.  I kept listening, nodding, and seeking his humanness in his eyes.  

Finally, the man gave up.  I could only understand very few angry words.  My husband and 13-year-old daughter stopped and prayed right there.  Later that afternoon, we saw him again.  This time there was light in his eyes and a smile on his face.  He pointed to the sky and pounded his heart.  I knew then our prayers gave him peace through the Lord.  I mouthed "YOU ARE LOVED", crossed my hands over my heart and pointed back at him.  Later, at Street LIFE Ministries, I heard stories of others who had reached out as well and spoke to him and witnessed his peace. 

This man will always be an example of something lost
that can be redeemed with faith and prayer.

People listening to the music

Here was David and one of our team helping the man down the stairs

Worshipping at the Bus Depot

Praise, Prayer, and Play

This is a unique outreach every year where our worship on the streets IS warfare against the enemy.  We declare through our worship that OUR GOD REIGNS in NYC and the Nations.  And there are people from all the nations in the different parks we go to!  People are prayed for; children are loved and enjoy the facepainting and games.

One person on our outreach team wrote, "I really felt the Lord talking to me and showing me and teaching me, what being a Christian and a missionary is all about."

Take a listen......

Interested in coming next year?  Plan now for August 17-23rd, 2020!

Call or email - 718-539-2324  or
The Worship Band Members

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."