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.
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.