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New York Internship Updates
July 24th, Day 54

A particular confusing day as far as communication is concerned. An inexplicable group split taking two different subway routes…

MIDSUMMER
INTERSHIP
UPDATE

I went into this internship with no idea what to expect and with very little details on what exactly it entailed. Well, It’s been a month since I arrived in New York and I have a much better idea now. Let me tell you about it…

Where I Live

Three of the Interns and I have been assigned to work with Steve Chambers who is trying to plant a church in the Upper West Side focusing on 72nd to 89th street. For most of our weeks, we’ve been tasked to simply live here, observing and engaging with the community in order to build relationships that could propel the ministry here.

Where I Serve

Long Island City is home to New City Church who the internship is with. Every week we have a development day in their office to touch base on connections we’ve made in our respective neighborhoods and to be trained in various areas of ministry. Each Sunday we serve with the staff  for our church service which takes place in Hunter’s Point Middle School.

Where I Sleep

Our summer residency is the Long Island University Dorms. Found in Brooklyn on Flatbush and Dekalb Ave. the location is great considering the great food and grocery spots within just a short walk from the campus. For those who supported me getting here, it’s worth noting that a surprising majority of the cost covers our dorms… but this is New York after all

Summer Read Not God Enough by J.D. Greear

It’s encouraging to see a pastor of such an influential church speak so candidly on his own doubts and struggles. The messages are powerful and the truths challenging. This book is amazing and I have zero reservations recommending this book to anyone. It’s timely as well considering J.D. Greear was recently elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention, the youngest in decades.

Seriously… read this book.

  • Day 1

    Arrival

    A delayed flight was remedied by a new friend. Turns out one of the other interns also attends Kennesaw State AND we had the same flight! Upon arrival, we got the hottest (literally) taxi in New York and after the longest four-mile drive of my life, we made it to our new summer home Long Island University in Brooklyn. After grabbing dinner at my new favorite place ever, The Dekalb Market, and some shopping at Target, we hit the town taking in the sights, the sounds the smells… the smells…

    Prayer: That God would use and grow me this summer in ways that I could never expect.

    THANKS to EVERYONE who helped me get here! 

  • Day 2

    The Run

    A delayed subway trip made us a little late to the 2nd annual Long Island City 5K, however, everything went smoothly from there on out. Some of us ran while the rest volunteered to help in various areas. I ended up a course marshal cheering folks on while stopping cars and guiding runners in the right direction. One of our intern guys ran first place in his age group. it was a great way to get involved in the city right off the bat. Afterword we finally met Pastor Patrick of New City Church who treated us for lunch. After an expensive trip to Target and a solid nap, we met with our coordinator for a look at the next few days and a glimpse of our responsibilities this summer.

    Prayer: That I am able to handle my responsibilities and fulfill them well.

    King’s Kaleidoscope’s version of “How Deep the Fathers Love” is really good… must use at Navs…

  • Day 3

    Welcome Dinner

    First Sunday in New York and I was surprised at how similar the Church Plant reality is up here to back home. Setting up for New City Church felt just like being back at Mercy Hill. Today we were introduced to Jason Dasilva, creator of AXS Maps, a tool for rating business accessibility for those who are disabled. That night the New City Church team treated us to a formal welcome dinner on a rooftop with an incredible view. We had some really good conversations with the staff, especially one for me about serving by living, or more accurately, the importance of 1st Thessalonians 2:8. 

    Prayer: That I can embody the mindset and mission of 1st Thessalonians 2:8

    Need to watch the “When I Walk” documentary by and about Jason Dasilva.

  • Day 4

    Scanvenger Hunt

    In order to help familurize ourself with the city, today, was scavenger hunt day. Split into our two teams of four that will be our serving teams this summer, we were loosed into the city on our own with a list, some hints, and a countain for us to return. We walked miles and miles, transering from subway to tsubway in search of the picture spots and hidden coordinates to a secrete final location. Ending teh day with leftovers and cheescake, as well as some intense “Uno” and “Avalon,” I know that after today, my knees will not forgive me.

    Prayer: That I can keep my head straight and my heart focused on the mission

    Ephesians 4:29 – just be positive

  • Day 5

    Orientation

    Orientation day began with a trip to the church office for some vision casting, covering responsibilities, and a very educational NY etiquette video by THE “Johnny T.” from there the interns split into our teams for the summer and my group took the B train to the Upper West Side where we will be serving alongside Steve Chambers to begin the long process of starting a church in that Neighborhood. Later, the guys started our impromptu “Bible Study” together looking at the letters, another fun game night followed, AND… we finally have the INTERNET!!

    Prayer: That we can grow closer together as a community being vulnerable and building each other up.

    Kevin Bacon lives in the upper west side…

  • Day 6

    First Orientation

    Our first mission team arrive this week and today we ran through the orientation and walked them around the Neighborhood. Some really interesting folks from various churches and organizations in Mississippi. A lot of walking, a lot of praying. There isn’t much else to say about today but that’s not such a bad thing. Well… I can say that there’s this small bakery in the Upper West Side with amazing big Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies.

    Prayer: That we can lead our mission team well and engage with the community.

    “FEAR… he is a liar…” is a song… that is all

  • Day 7

    Riverside Park Clean Up

    Working with our visiting mission team today we pulled weeds and cleared out an area of Riverside Park where the Non-Profit Conservancy is trying to remove the invasive species and promote the growth of local plants and flowers. Our coordinator was really impressed with our efforts getting way more done than he planed for us. The rest of the day was introvert time for me which meant cleaning and organizing our dorm and finally trying the Brooklyn BBQ place in Dekalb Market.

    Prayer: That I can be fully present and joyful while serving our neighborhood.

    Extra Prayer Request: That I can grow close to the other interns and bond well with them

  • Day 8

    Observe and Engage

    Working once again with our visiting mission team today we walked with them through the neighborhood to observe and engage. For us, this is an opportunity to get fresh eyes looking into the community and seeing the needs there that we may not see ourselves. We had a brief survey to use as a general guide for talking with anyone when we had the opportunity. Some good conversations happened today.

    Prayer: Energy and a welcoming attitude. I’ve felt very tired recently. The city is exhausting.

    Sleep… Sleep… Sleep…

  • Day 15

    West Park Open Mic

    A relatively uneventful neighborhood day. As a means to exemplify the mission of “Finding where the Gospel is not and placing ourselves there” a sort of goal for each of us has been to find places, we can regularly go to in order to engage with the same people week after week and build relationships within the neighborhood. Everone has found groups, events, and venues they can regularly place themselves, only it’s been a little difficult for me. Tonight, however, I attended a weekly open mic in a rented out Presbyterian chapel. It was… interesting. It was a little uncomfortable to me given some of the acts subject matter and the open bar in the back, but there were some of the most genuinely talented people there that I’ve seen and a very clear need for Jesus in some of these folks lives. This is the place. This is where God is implanting me this summer to just exist as a reflection of him amongst those that need Him whom I can build relationships with.

    Prayer: That God will bless my time and conversations at this open mic, with a few in particular.

    A Jewish Comedian walks into a Presbyterian chapel… I wish that was only the start of a joke…

  • Day 17

    The Grand Bazaar

    A great service today with a visiting choir and 3 baptisms. Afterword I spent a few hours wandering the “Grand Bazaar” weekly Flea Market in my assigned neighborhood in Upper West Side Manhatten. Had great conversations with some of the vendors that I definitely want to rep. Runamok Maple Syrup, Pepplish Provisions hot sauce, and Toaster Central were stand out tents to visit. They shared with me some info on other markets in the area that they visit so I’m excited to try those and to build relationships with these awesome people. The other interns went to the Hillsong NYC service but I sat out because I really wasn’t feeling well but also because I’m working through some convictions regarding their theology. It’s difficult being in music ministry and being unsure if you should lead some of the most popular songs in Christian music today.

    Prayer: Guidance regarding the scriptural scrutiny of worship songs and lyrics as well as the theologies and intents of their authors. 

    There is a deep end and shallow end to this pool… “In over my head, I want to be.”

  • Day 22

    Upside Down Ministry

    Today we visited Graffiti Church in the East Village with many other groups of interns with the New York Baptist Association (NMYBA). With them, most of the day was spent with training in their mode of ministry which was really interesting. Basically, their approach is the opposite of the norm (Upside down, if you will). While typically a group will start a Church, bring people to Faith, and begin a Ministry, Grafiti presents that we should do Ministry, that brings people to Faith, with whom we can start a Church. It’s Good stuff.

    Later we had dinner with our church planter Steve and his family who also invited a marketing intern we met earlier and two girls who knew their daughter in the city with an architecture program. Ended the night once again visiting the West Park Open Mic, planning on playing their next week.

    PrayerThat we can continue to be fully present in our neighborhoods and to those we get to engage with.

    $10 is too much for two slices.

  • Day 24

    Guitar Acquired

    Always great to be apart of the worship team. Another intern and I sang backup vocals today. For lunch, two of us headed to Prospect Park for the weekly “Smorgasburg” food fest where I got to try grilled Squid which was delicious. Afterward, I returned to the Grand Bazaar Flea market on a mission. I saw a guitar there last week and after some long thinking, I decided I was going to buy it. It’s been difficult not having any of my instruments up here with me and with the opportunities to be apart of worship and my desire to engage with the community at a local open mic I knew it would be great to have one on hand to practice with and maybe start some conversations. The vendor’s tag price was $80, last week he told me he’d take $65, I offered him $50 and he accepted. 

    >Retrospective Update< Not a week later somebody back home passed along a check for $50 to my parents to give to me in support of being in New York. Essentially, he bought that guitar for me! God works in awesome ways.

    Prayer: That consistently engaging with the musical community in the Upper West Side God will open doors and lead conversations.

    Seriously though… squid is great

  • Day 26

    Blue-Green Personality

    This week’s development day was focused on the Equilibria Personality Diversity Indicator facilitated by John from the MNYBA. The Equilibria inventory relates personalities to a combination of 2 of 4 colors relating to 4 traits, the 2 you receive being your dominant traits. Almost all of us surprisingly are Blue-Green making us “Relating Thinkers.” We each picked two of the descriptors that we though most reflected us revealing the diversity in our similarities. For me, those two things were “Secure Relationships” which for me means that I am selective in my relationships but I’m incredibly close to those few people and I value them above anything else, and the other personality point is that I “Like Details and Gathering Information” because Details and Information are more interesting and easier to process than unknowns and ambiguity.

    Prayer: That we as a team can work well together using our personalities to our advantage in approaching our responsibilities.

    I’m an INFP, and now you know more about me than you should.

  • Day 29

    Open Mic Set

    Caught up with Steve at Irving Farm’s Coffee Shop for our weekly meeting to touch base with conversations we’ve had in the neighborhood. Steve shared some ideas he’s had for a vision of the church he’ll be planting. One such idea being a slogan of sorts: “The Proof is in the People.” Unfortunately, that sentiment isn’t always true but it should be what we strive for. Fittingly he’ll be starting an open Bible Study in James this weekend which is about the outward proofs of faith. Later the interns met up for dinner to celebrate one of our own’s birthday and following I headed out to the West Park Open Mic. I actually played this week: “At the Table” by Josh Garrels and “Where Were You?” by Ghost Ship  (songs definitely worth Checking out). Staying to the very end was daunting as it was very late but I ended up having a good conversation with two of the guys in charge about what I’m up here for. 

    Prayer: There’s a guy at the open mic I really wanted to meet up with and talk too but he hasn’t shown up the past two weeks. He’s super talented but definitely in need of Jesus. Pray for him.

    “The Proof is in the Pudding” definitely wouldn’t work as a mission statement.

  • Day 31

    Bible Study

    First Sunday on the guitar for worship. Didn’t get to lead any but it felt good to finally have an instrument in front of me. A visit to the Grand Bazaar almost felt like a mistake as it was likely the hottest day of the summer so far. Absolute miserable. However, it was cool to see that an episode of “Flea Market Flip” was being filmed. Maybe you can spot me in the back when it airs. Ended the evening with Bible study at the Chambers Apartment looking at the first chapter of James. I’m really excited for this. James has so much to say about everything we’re about in this ministry. “The Proof is in the people,” as we place ourselves where the Gospel isn’t it’s our reflection of the gospel that allows for those conversations. Our existence in this community being open and loving to everyone is our witness.

    Prayer: That the proof of Christ will be in us throughout our lives and that our very existence will implant the questions in others that will point them to Christ.

    I should have pitched them our TV show “Flip n Thrift”

  • Day 34

    Independence Day

    Over 5 hours of sitting on a pier in the New York Summer Heat waiting for the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. Was it worth it? Maybe. But it certainly wasn’t worth the mob of people al leaving in the same direction and the over packed subways heading back. But in all seriousness is was a good time. We secured our spot on the pier at Hunters Point around 4 and the fireworks started at 9:30. I had an interest conversation with a lady on the pier. She was asking where we were all from and about our internship. I’m still not sure if she was a believer but I got to share part of my testimony with her and she asked a lot of questions. Maybe that’s a sign there’s something working in her heart.

    Prayer: The woman on the pier, that our conversation sparked a curiosity that will lead her to Christ.

    Fireworks will always impress me

  • Day 36

    Music in the Park

    This evening the Upper West Side Intern team joined the Chambers for dinner to touch base and catch up for our weekly meeting together. Afterward it would have proved to be an entertaining open mic at West Park Presbyterian as Steve and Charles (one of the New City Church Worship team members) would be joining me and they planned to perform… however the open mic was canceled. To not let our time together be wasted we had a great evening of making music together in the park. Always encouraging to jam with some talented believers.

    Prayer: More opportunities to engage the musical community in the Upper West Side

    No clever addition today.

  • Day 38

    300 Pink Shirted Students From Texas

    Today marks the beginning of an interest week. Our latest mission team from Prestonwood Baptist Church has come to New York with their 300 Student choir performing concerts in various parks across the city. In lieu of a service this Sunday New City Church hosted the choir at Hunter’s Point Park for their concert and a brunch for the community. They were pretty great performing a half pops, half worship concert. They will be working along side us in our planting neighborhoods throughout the week serving and engaging in the community. It’s taking a lot of coordination and responsibility to handle them all but we’re glad their here. We also had our second James study, this week in the park with some new faces. After everything I had a really encouraging conversation with Steve.

    Prayer: That the Prestonwood Students will work well with us staying motivated to serve with a great attitude.

    Everything is bigger in Texas, especially student church show choirs

  • Day 39

    Prestenwood Prayer walk and Orientation

    Somehow fitting 40 people into our tiny church office, we rotated through groups of students giving the orientation for how they will be serving with us during their time here in New York. After our orientation, we shuffled a new group in and took ours to the Upper West Side to meet with Steve for a prayer walk in the city. We split up, took our routes, and set out. My students were… less than enthusiastic to be walking around, and I couldn’t entirely blame them. Their schedule was pretty intense.

    Prayer: Double up on the last prayer for motivation and great attitudes… some of them really need it.

    No… it’s not ok to stop and get cookies on our prayer walk

  • Day 40

    Trash Pick Up

    We coordinated our Prestenwood Team to clean up our neighborhood by splitting up into smaller groups, one for each of the avenues and going down every street from 72nd to 89th pick up trash and bagging it. It was SO HOT. Not as hot as it’s been but pretty bad. For the most part, the students were really positive, understandably uncomfortable, but better than I worked with the first day. I think they’re getting a perspective on the city they weren’t expecting, and that’s a good thing.

    Prayer: That the heat would let up and that these students understand how much they’re work helps us to build up a reputation for the church in our neighborhood.

    It’s amazing what people just… throw away 

  • Day 41a

    Narrative Mapping and Milk Bone Prep

    Letting loose the Prestenwood students into the neighborhood to observe and engage I headed to two of my favorite spots, the First Baptist Church and Plant Shed Cafe, only to find that the church’s open Sanctuary Hours hadn’t started yet and the Cafe was full, so I proceeded to prayer walk for our students out talking to people. After lunch we had the students help us prep Milk-bone Dog treats that we tied info cards for Steve’s Church plant that we will be giving out in the parks tomorrow. Incredible news came from our fellow team members working with the rest of the Prestenwood folks in Queens-borough Plaza that a Muslim man had accepted Christ! His wife is a christian and had been praying for him for months now to find Jesus. He had a conversation with some of the students and gave his life to Christ! Praise the Lord. 

    Prayer: That the man who came to faith will connect with the church and continue to grow closer to God through the word and prayer, and that God would further transform his life for his glory.

    The Holy Spirit goes before us

  • Day 41b

    Come From Away

    I felt like this deserved it’s own point in the timeline. Tonight I had the opportunity to see the incredible Broadway show Come From Away thanks to one of my adoptive parents for the summer Geno Carr who is IN the show!! It’s the story of a town in Newfoundland, Canada called Gander and how the people there offered shelter and provided everything they could to the 7,000 displaced travelers from 38 planes downed due to the 9/11 attacks. The story is moving and show spectacular. The small but talented cast believably portrayed multiple characters presented and entertaining while sobering stroy of incredible acts of kindness overcoming such a tragic event. I cried. As someone who is very empathetic, the story of this town moved me in a serious way. My age makes that event odd for me. I was too young to remember the attacks, but I was old enough to definitely know the world was different before and after. This musical helped me wrestle with those memories and put the provocative images of the 9/11 memorials that we visited earlier in the summer into a new perspective.

  • Day 42

    The Final Show

    Schooling some students in basketball (and getting schooled some too) we spent the first half of the day in the parks, hanging out, engaging with people, giving out our Milkbones. Aside from one or two trouble students, I can really begin to see this trip working on some of them. The way they’ve begun talking about the city and the people and what they’re seeing is mature and shows an understanding of the mission. Later on we had out, accompanying them to their final performance location in central park. They’re really good, it’s a good show. The crowd of passerby’s draws in and many conversations were had. I had a few good conversations with some of the students and they’re some great kids. They’ll be going places one day.

    Prayer: As this team transitions home pray that they wont forget this experience or the needs here in this city.

    Today I had my first and last food cart experience in New York… Never Again

  • Day 46

    LIC Prayer Walk and NCC Fellowship

    Breakfast at Court Square Diner, a place with amazing french toast, and straight into an orientation with one of this weeks many mission teams. Me and one other intern from the Upper West Side group worked with Lakeside, a church from Georgia where New City Church’s pastor Patrick’s brother serves. This week is especially interesting for us, as we’ve spent most if not all of our time in the Upper West Side and are less than well equipped to speak for Long Island City. Nevertheless, the prayer walk went really well. Later that evening I attended New City’s monthly fellowship where they choose a restaurant in the area and order appetizers keeping an open bill to meet and hangout with people from the community interested in New City. We had some really good conversations despite what seemed to be a lower than average turnout. Still a great time.

    Prayer: That Kathryn and I can lead well in an area of the city we are not accustomed to leading mission teams in.

    Got to Skype and catch up with a great friend of mine about to start a two year internship with the Navigators!!

  • Day 47

    Hunter's Point's Weeds Part 1

    Park day! Working with the Hunter’s Point Conservancy and a couple of our mission teams we began our week of weed pulling. it was actually a really good time. It was crazy hot, but, luckily for most of us we worked along the river and the breeze was much appreciated. It was cool to find out that a leader from one of the teams, Ricky, actually works with my dad at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. We had plenty to talk about. The Park’s Workers are all awesome. We broke for lunch at Food Cellar and cut the day short for the threat of rain. One incredible thing I learned this week is that New City Church is the only group permitted to host events in the park for entire days BECAUSE of how much volunteer work they put into the park. Thanks to all of the mission teams that come up in support and work throughout the summer they’re able to do things like their annual carnival and get togethers.

    Prayer: That the teams this week will help us maintain the reputation we have with the parks and well represent New City Church

    There may actually be such thing as too much salad

  • Day 48

    Hunter's Point's Weeds 2: Electric Boogaloo

    Day two of working in hunters point, this time with only Lakeside. One of their guys had a genuinely fantastic Bluetooth speaker fanny-pack so we had some music with our work today. Lunch again at Food Cellar (great place) and after another couple hours of weed pulling we called it a day. Thanks to the 7 train having delays, I finally got to ride the ferry. I know I could have done that sooner, but it felt right today. Wandered around east Manhattan, saw the Empire State Building up close and personally. Most of us interns got together and had dinner at the worlds largest Chick-Fil-A and closed out a pretty good day with a decent amount of card games.

    Prayer: That even though we’re drawing near to the end of the summer, we have more opportunities to grow closer together.

    Why we go to Chick-Fil-A in a city so full of great unique food choices I will never know

  • Day 49

    Hunter's Point's Weeds: The Final Chapter

    The third day of pulling weed’s in the park with our mission teams in Long Island City. The Weed Apocalypse does not end today though, another variation of our groups is pulling weeds tomorrow as well but I will have the day off in exchange for working with the teams on Saturday. As expected: Lunch at Food Cellar, little more work, call it a day. Later that evening some of us got together to go Kayaking but unfortunately didn’t make it in time for the free sessions. Afterward we went and explored Little Italy and had a nice dinner together.

    Prayer: Double up on the previous prayer for opportunities to spend time together as a team because it’s getting close to the end.

    I had to resist quoting all of the Godfather in Little Italy

  • Day 51

    Narrative Mapping and PUFFS!

    My last day working in Long Island City. Today we did not pull any weeds but instead engaged the community with surveys and spent some time just being in the park with people. Played some basketball and had a few good conversations. Pretty uneventful but a great way to cap off a great week with a great group of mission teams. Seriously, it was a very good week for me. I think all the garden work in the parks was very restful despite it being pretty hot. That evening, however, an arguably better way to end a week. Thanks to a great Groupon deal I got a ticket to see the off-Broadway show PUFFS! -or- Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic I’m a huge nerd, and by extension, a fan of the Harry Potter series. Now I would LOVE to go see the actual Broadway play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child… but that’s a little out of my budget, so it’s great to get to see the next best thing. It was hilarious. One of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while.

    Prayer: As we enter into our final week in New York, I pray we stay strong and motivated leading well our final mission teams.

    Note to reader: If you’ve never read or watched ALL the Harry Potter books or movies and/or do not identify as a Hufflepuff… PUFFS! is not for you…

  • Day 53

    Last Mission Team Orientation

    We’ve now entered the week of lasts. A bittersweet notion. A lot that happens this week may very well be the last time we do those things. Starting with mission team orientation. Our last mission team is a small group of seven from Louisianan. Working exclusively with Steve in the Upper West Side, the orientation took place at their apartment. After the orientation, Steve took them out for a prayer walk and we headed back to the dorms. For dinner some of us got together and went to Sticky’s Finger Joint, returning to the dorms now long to be expected… card games.

    Prayer: That this mission team will see Steve’s passion for his neighborhood and consider partnering with him in the future.

    “Sticky’s Finger Joint”… not to be confused with “Sticky Fingers”

  • Day 54

    Book Wrap Up and Debriefs

    A particular confusing day as far as communication is concerned. An inexplicable group split taking two different subway routes to get to the same place at the same time. Some thought it was a race… not really. At the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association we met with Michael Hill for one last look at Not God Enough by J. D. Greear which we’ve all finished by now. It is a seriously Awesome book and I recommend it for everyone. Our Upper West Side mission team worked Trash Pickup today which we tried to help with but our schedule left us little time to join them. We had lunch with Steve to debrief the summer and talk about what needs we see in the neighborhood, what we think Grace City Church can do to reach the community, and what we gained from this experience. It was a good talk. I’ve spent the rest of the afternoon updating this very timeline you are reading right now. I look forward to emailing my supporters the updates from the last two weeks.

    Prayer: I’m trying not to think about leaving New York in a week, Pray that I can transition well back home.

    One week from this moment… I will be back