Tag Archives: iserve

The Least of These

For the first time ever, iServe included 3 events in a single day, which was great, just a lot.  We brought a children’s program to the Missionary Church in Brooklyn (oldest MC in NYC) in the morning and to Fountain for the Nations Church (2nd newest MC in NYC) in the evening, but in between we went out to the apartment complex in Patterson, NJ.

It was my third time in the NJ neighborhood, but it still blows me away.  I was really hoping that I would run into the little girl that played my shadow last time I was there (read about here), but she wasn’t out today.

I’m comfortable doing a lot of bold tasks, but, though I think I do a good job hiding it, canvassing still always makes me a little uneasy.  To put the kids program on, we arrive about 30 minutes before we want to start and walk up to everyone hanging outside in the neighborhood, say hi, and invite them to our party.  I feel really uncomfortable approaching the small children, but they are often hanging out alone and unsupervised.   As a little kid, I would have run away and called the police if an adult stranger invited me to a party, but a lot of these kids really do fend for themselves in a lot of ways.  And I saw that more today than I ever have before.

Just as we were about to start, I grabbed a student and ran back across the street to tell all the kids on the playground to come over.  At the park, a little boy, couldn’t have been more than three or four years old, stood grabbing his bloodied arm.  It wasn’t anything serious, just a nice scratch from a tumble on the sidewalk.  He cried and held his arm, but didn’t make nearly the scene you’d expect a three year old to make in that kind of situation.

Two sweet, little girls (maybe five or six) were trying to comfort him.  I had talked to the girls extensively in my first sweep through the neighborhood, so I was able to stop and try to help the little boy without being an absolute stranger.  Somebody’s mother walked out on the patio of a third or fourth floor apartment and yelled at a few of the kids the little boy had been playing with, but she totally ignored the injured child.  Plenty of adults were in the general area, but nobody except the girls, who I later found out were his sisters, stopped to help a bleeding three year old.

As I was on my knees trying to comfort the boy, I could not get the image of Jesus inviting the little children out of my mind  (Matthew 19), and the phrase “the least of these” from Matthew 25 repeated over and over in my head.

I left the student with little boy to run across the street with the hopes of finding a first aid kit in the van.  I wasn’t able to scrounge anything up to cover the wound, which I felt terrible about.  By the time I ran back he had stopped bleeding and seemed to be doing okay, so we left him with his sisters and hug.  But I can’t get the tug of the the hurt little boy that everyone saw and nobody else stopped to help out of my heart. 

Circling Third

So I’m not quite sure what the mileage was that I put on my new tennis shoes today, but needless to say, they are thoroughly broken in.  My last two teams arrived last night and this morning.  The day started with a hike to the Staten Island Ferry, which we take because it gets within several hundred yards of the Statue of Liberty.  I walked them down Wall St, by the famous Wall Street Bull, in front of the New York Stock Exchange, to Federal Hall (sight of Washington’s inauguration), past Trinity Church, through St. Paul’s Chapel, and to Ground Zero.  …And that was all before lunch 🙂

I’ve been taking teams all over the Greater New York area alone all summer, but this was the first time I led (with the new intern) the big trip through parts of the city that I don’t often go through.  (read: my father should finally believe me when I say that I know how to read a map. [love you dad]).  Jeff was picking team two up at the airport, so we really were on our own.

After lunch, I joined the team on the citywide prayer walk, which I must admit is by far my favorite part of iServe.  I like hanging out with the kids when they are able to connect to God in the chaos of Manhattan.  Its more than just being able to tune out of the craziness and focus on God, it’s doing that and then realizing how badly the mess around needs Him.  I like that.      

The evening hours were spent hanging out with the Getz’s on Roosevelt Island, which was great as always.   I am thoroughly beat though.  I can’t believe that the summer is basically over or that I’ve been here since mid-May.  That seems so long ago.

iServe Video (check it out!)

This is the iServe video I made for General Conference.  It will also soon be on the new NewYorkIsCalling.com website.


It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty proud of it.  Video editing is like digital scrapbooking, beautiful, but time consuming.  Wordpress will charge me $60 if I upload a video to this site (rip off), so instead, I’m sending you to youtube.  So please, click on the link and see what I’ve been doing while the teams are here.

And I thought I was young…

First team from Swan Creek Community Church in Delta, Ohio arrived yesterday.  In the 24 hour period they’ve been here we’ve done a lot, including meeting up with some folks with Urban Impact.  We worked at a South Asian Community Center and advertised for their English Language Classes.  That was an experience.

Normally, something like passing out flyers to strangers wouldn’t phase me at all, but having been in the city for a couple weeks, it actually did.  I knew that the information we were handing out was really needed and would be well accepted, but since I’ve been here, people have constantly been trying to shove stuff in my hands.  I was afraid of being blown-off.  That couldn’t have been further from what actually happened.

Sure, people on the street won’t take paper from a stranger, but the small restaurants and stores did, eagerly.  Many people in the community we were working in do not speak English.  It is predominantly Muslim and has many immigrants.  Free English classes aren’t just a pastime.  The ability to speak English opens huge opportunities, allowing individuals to better provide for themselves and their families.

One group knocked on the door of a law office.  The lawyer came out and took our flyer.  He circled the phone number and the address and said that he would be getting the information to lots of people who would be contacting us.  The man also asked us why we were doing what we were doing, and like lots of people, asked how we were able to help people out for free.

It was only a couple of hours, but the man from Urban Impact said that he expects 80 new people to show up on Monday because of what we did.  Jeff said he anticipated us having a positive experience, but even he was a little overwhelmed with how well everything went.

The afternoon was jam-packed with cross city walking and part 1 of our prayer walk.  I’d been to Ground Zero before, but being at St. Paul’s, where all the rescue workers rested after 9/11 was unbelievable.  There’s something amazing about how the whole space was used, looking at the pew George Washington sat in and reading on the plaque behind it how in a time of need, even this great piece of American history was used to provide for rescue workers.

Reconstruction at Ground Zero

inside St. Paul's

We had dinner in China town, and I had my first try at haggling.  After that, I ran the group through Central Park, and we sat down for a devotional time.

Even though it takes the few extra minutes I have, I’ve made a point of talking to the girls on the team every time I can.  I figure the work we are doing is great, but the relationships, among ourselves and those we are serving is how God’s going to be working.  The point of everything that we are doing is to build those relationships.

I’m young and energetic, but after a day like yesterday, today, and what’s coming tomorrow and Monday, whew let’s just say it’s a lot of work.  Good work though.