One of the biggest things the Lord taught me was about prayer. Earlier in this semester our college pastor had been challenging us to look at the way we pray, and if we truly believed God would do what He says He is capable of doing. I had thought about it, but not much after that week. I can know see how God was planting a seed in my heart that was leading up to something. In New York we had the opportunity to be a part of three churches, experiencing their prayer meetings, and sunday gatherings. It is in these churches that God showed me how I am to think and pray. I am so guilty of praying without fully believing that God can do what He says He can do. Each and everyone of these churches pray with expectancy, with passion, that God is faithful, and is capable of doing something. They whole heartedly believe that He can if it His will. It taught me a lot about how I should praying, with as much fervor and passion as I can, and the reason I don't see things is because I haven't been asking for them.
The churches up there are so different. Not just the worship or the way they pray, but they all feel like home. Each member of those churches truly wants to be there, and many are sacrificing things to be there. Genuine is the word we all kept using to describe them, because they are so different than anything else we had all experienced. They could care less about the smell of the church, looks of the church, amount of people in the church, or type of music played. They would praise God in nothing, and i think that is just the kind of complete abandonment some of our churches need. Church is not about any of those things anyway. It strictly about the people. Being the hands and feet. Seriously wish you guys could see these people, they can't contain the joy of the Lord, and are such an inspiration.
Another thing God taught me a lot about was about His people. I had to many preconceived notions about other religions. I feared the people were harsh, rude, and radical. They totally proved me wrong. The people group we worked with, were more welcoming than many people in my classes, or people I share pews with. They welcomed us into their lives, talking, and freely sharing with us about their past, family, and beliefs. God showed me His love for all His people, even the ones that don't acknowledge Him, even those that scoff, and scorn, He loves them just the same as me. That is what is so different about our God. He is so unique. We serve a LIVING God, not a stone statue who is limited in so many ways.
I also was able to see how big God is, how he stretches across the continents, and using relationships in New York to build churches in Africa. The missionaries we worked with have an amazing story, and while they didn't expect to be used in New York the same way they would have thought they could be used directly in Africa, God always has different plans. They are able to directly effect the lives of the west african muslims in new york who in return travel home to change their families and villages. It is cool to see how big and in control He is.
And another thing that really stood out to me while we were there was the power in Jesus name. I have never realized before that week how powerful it is to say something In Jesus Name. It really is the most beautiful name ever, and simply marvelous.
I also think you all should go listen to "Jesus Messiah" by Chris Tomlin, because it seemed to be the theme song of the week among all the churches. And funnily enough, mine the weeks leading up to New york. Coincidence? I think not.
For the harlem team is was very much a planting seeds kind of trip, but relationships were built, and God always proves to be faithful. I know that He will use those c.d.s with His word to penetrate the lives of His people.
Please keep in prayer our west african friends: Modou, Mohammed, Iesha, Omar, and many others who received c.d.s from our table.
I could not have asked for a better way to spend spring break. Thank you for the opportunity to go.