The first three weeks moved at pace that was completely set by me, which had its advantages, but also some significant challenges, like the absence of people. I was completely in control of my own life, but only because I preparing work to reach out to people. I just wasn’t doing it yet. -Well, that’s changed. It’s no longer just about preparing, which I am so excited for.
A group of teens at Swan Creek Community Church just headed back on their bus to Delta, Ohio. I was able to write about a few of my experiences with them while they were here, but just know that so much more happened. The first 48 hours felt more like a week, but in a bad way. We just accomplished a lot.
On Sunday morning the team headed out to a Haitian Missionary Church in Long Island and we all experienced our first service in Creole. After service, Swan Creek put on a children’s program for the kids, which I hear went really well. I didn’t have a part in their little production, so ducked out with Swan Creek’s youth pastor, Josh, to hang out with the teens. I have to say that was definitely one of the highlights of the week for me. Josh asked a couple opening questions without much of a response. He walked the group through a devotional, still without much interaction.
Afterward though, God broke through. One girl started talking, I commented with a question, and the group got going. The formerly totally silent crew started sharing their thoughts about their church and community. It was really cool for me because I’ve led groups like this before, and sometimes I’ve gotten to a point like that, but it usually doesn’t happen in one meeting. I also observed the importance and value of tag teaming. I wasn’t leading the discussion or anything, Josh was, but before people really started talking I jumped in once or twice, which I think helped break the ice. It was nothing major, but I’ve been spending a lot of time studying the interactions between churches, culture, and how ministry is done. Our meeting with the teens just really felt significant.
Heather with several of the girls
Sunday night Swan Creek put on the same program at a Brazilian Church in the Bronx. This time, we swapped the Creole for Portuguese, but I know the team still really enjoyed the worship. I don’t any of us had ever line danced to worship music before, but that’s what they did, so we joined in.
The guys praying before leading games with the kids
On Monday, the team took part 2 of the prayer walk. We stopped a major symbols in the city and took the time to pray on location. Monday’s stops included Bryant Park (culture), Grand Central Station (people in the city), Pfizer World Headquarters (health), the UN (world peace), Trump International Tower (money and greed), and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (closing location/personal reflection and prayer).
All in all, a great trip. Lots of positive experience. Learned lots about how to do it next time too (which is good because 2 more teams are coming in the next week!)