Thursday, September 24, 2015

Back to School Bash

On September 10, we held a "Back to School Bash" for the children and families living in Jackson Heights.  We had games, snacks, a Bible story, and of course, a school supply giveaway!  A BIG shout out goes to the VBS kids of Heritage Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama who donated hundreds of pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, and many more supplies.  

We are hoping to go bigger next year and make this an annual event for the community.  Our plan is to set-up the event in Diversity Plaza, the heart of Jackson Heights and invite many more families to join the fun.  We would love to partner with churches so if your church is interested, shoot us an e-mail and we'll get you the information to start planning and recruiting now! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Southern Road Trip

Whew!!!! What a fun-filled and very busy trip we had back to the Promise Land! Our family was very excited to make our first trip back since the big move and I'm pretty sure many of "our peeps" were just as excited to have us for the first visit back! We were fortunate to be able to see lots of family, friends, and churches that spanned 3 different states. One of the highlights of our trip was getting to share with several of our supporting churches what God is already doing among South Asians in Jackson Heights. We want to say a big hearty "Thank You" to FBC Prattville, Heritage Baptist, FBC Blairsville, Central Baptist, and Trinity Anglican Mission for having us! Our love tank was overflowing by the time we had to say good-bye (which, for the record, was still no easier than it was the first time we said good-bye.)  Sniff, Sniff!! If we didn't get to see you this trip, we hope to see you on our next one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Gathering

The Parable of the Lost Son was our Bible story and theme for our Church Plant Gathering on June 27. We expected a small crowd due to Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Mohammad. We were blessed by having several Buddhist and Hindu background people along with several Muslims join us! Our Muslim friends could not break their fast until after our meeting but they stayed for the entire service. We had great discussions on how God is our Father who loves and forgives us. He never gives up and he is always there for us. We praise God for the great turn out and the opportunities we had to share the gospel with South Asians in Jackson Heights.

Monday, June 1, 2015

May Gathering

We had a wonderful time at our May Church Plant Gathering! We celebrated our students from the past semester by honoring them with a graduation ceremony. Our theme for the evening was wisdom and Proverbs 1:7. We were blessed to have people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Columbia, China, Nepal, and Tibet join us for the evening. We had great table discussions on where one gets wisdom. We were able to share that we get wisdom from reading God's Word and through a relationship with Jesus. Please continue to pray for seeds of the gospel that were planted that night.

WMU and Ministry to South Asian Women

The month of May flew right past us and we didn’t really even know it had come and gone!  We had two awesome groups come and serve with us, one of them being a group of six young women on a National WMU mission trip. This group had a special place in Erin’s heart because of her history working for Alabama WMU. She had a wonderful time showing this young women around Jackson Heights, serving with them at the church plant gathering, and teaching class with them. Her favorite thing however, was a South Asian women’s event the WMU ladies sponsored along with our South Asian Center. Between our South Asian friends, their children, and our helpers, our very small South Asian Center had over 40 people stuffed in every nook and cranny of the rooms. The women had an absolute blast as we taught them about rest and relaxation and did so by making 2 fun crafts -- their own coasters they can use to relax with a cup of tea, and lavender scented bath salts! These precious women could not believe that the crafts were free for them to take home. Some of them even tried to give them back to us after they finished making them but we said, “no, these are for you just because we love you!” Thank you National WMU women for making these ladies feel loved and special!!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Church Plant Gathering

Last Saturday, we had our April Church Plant Gathering. We had a great turn out and enjoyed a great Indian meal, worship, and a time of sharing. Our theme of the evening was the Resurrection of Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 was the discussion verse. It says, "Say with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord.' Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved. With your heart you believe and are made right with God. With your mouth you say what you believe. And so you are saved."

Talk about an amazing time of presenting the gospel! This verse brought about some very rich and meaningful conversations. Each table had several South Asian students and their families along with one or two of our church planting leaders. This "table talk" set-up gave believers the opportunity to share the gospel while also allowing our guests to ask questions and comment on the passage. Several of our South Asian friends are starting to show more interest in Jesus. One Muslim man said, "this Jesus is a good man and I want to know more about him." 

Please pray for us as we continue to reach out through English classes and relationships.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hello Spring!

Our first Easter in New York City was fantastic!  Although we definitely missed our Heritage family in Montgomery, we were reminded many times throughout Holy Week that God has called us to serve Him in this amazing place and we are blown away by his goodness to us!

Easter Egg Hunt

We had our first mission team from sweet home Alabama come and serve the week leading up to Easter.  A group of college students from Judson College came and taught ESL, prayer walked Jackson Heights, and helped us pull off a great Easter Egg Hunt for one of the Jackson Heights neighborhoods!  We even got our hands on an Easter Bunny costume which one of the students wore throughout the day.  Let's just say she was a hit and definitely the most popular one in the park that afternoon!  Our Egg Hunt festivities included face painting, balloon animals, the resurrection eggs story, and of course, an egg hunt.  It was a very windy day and with no grass in the park, you can imagine what happened to all of the well hidden eggs.  They were rolling all over the place and the kids were in chasing them trying to get to the candy before it blew away!  The egg hunt itself seemed to only last about 5 minutes before they were all gathered and scoured for the lout.  We made several contacts with the moms who were there, sharing with them about the South Asian Center's free ESL classes as well as kid's club throughout the year kid's camp in the parks during the summer months.

ESL and Monks

Adam has started teaching 4 Thai Buddhists Monks ESL and he loves it!!  These monks are part of a Buddhist Temple that we visit frequently.  The abbot (temple leader) asked Adam if he would teach them weekly so they've been coming to the South Asian Center for 2 weeks.  These guys are lots of fun and keep the class very entertained with their humor and excitement over learning more English.  Sunday is Thai New Year and the monks invited us to come to their New Year Festival.  The abbot is allowing us to hand out information about ESL classes and kids' club to the families who will be there.  What great opportunities the Lord is literally dropping into our laps!!

Summer Interns

Erin is working with Urban Nation Outreach to interview and hire summer interns.  She has been able to talk with several college students about coming and is excited to help them through the process of getting here in June and developing a discipleship program for them while they serve this summer.

Spring Break

Our family time has been rich this week as the kids have been home for spring break.  We took a quick trip to Baltimore to visit seminary friends (Lance and Debra Conklin) we hadn't seen in 10 years.  Between both families there were 7 kids.  Let's just say it was a wild and crazy time but oh so fun! Thank you Conklins for a wonderful time!!

Prayer and Praises

  • Praise God for mission teams from Judson College, Southeast Christian Church, and FBC Haleyville for prayerwalking Jackson Heights and doing ministry alongside us.
  • Praise God for old friends (Dickeys and McAdams) who recently visited us in NYC. It is refreshing to see familiar faces!
  • Pray for continual relationship building with the South Asian men and women in our ESL classes.
  • Pray for our presence at the Thai New Year Festival on Sunday to be welcomed by all and that we could make contacts with some of the families.
  • Pray for our upcoming monthly gathering on April 25.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bishops in the Big Apple

February Church Plant Gathering
On February 21, we were blessed to be a part of our February Jackson Heights Church Plant Gathering.  ESL students from Urban Nations Outreach's South Asian Center were invited for dinner and a Valentine's Day themed evening.  We had 17 people show up along with many volunteers from local churches that helped provide food, serve, and setup/teardown.  The weather did play a part in keeping many people at home.  It snowed all day and the weather was not good for traveling, so we were so thankful for the people who did showed up.  We enjoyed an Indian dinner while interacting with the students in small groups and then being encouraged by a short testimony about God's Love (1 Corinthians 13).  The Gospel was boldly and clearly communicated.  We praise God for the people who were able to attend and the opportunity to build relationships and share the Gospel.  Our next Church Plant Gathering will be March 14.

Happy New Year!
On February 22, we went to the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown Manhattan.  It was very crazy and crowded, but we had a great time.  It was the first time the kids got to see Manhattan and the parade was full of cool floats and amazing dragons! (see below)  After the parade, we walked around and enjoyed some fresh steamed buns. Yummy!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We are Here!!

The last few days have been exciting, overwhelming, crazy, and COLD!  But we finally made it and are moved into our apartment. 

Our 1000 mile trek to NYC was very smooth and the kids were great! God blessed us with good weather.  We hit some rain but that was about it. The kids were great and driving into NYC for the first time was eye opening to say the least.  We arrived on Wednesday and were able to see our apartment, unload our car, and make a quick trip to Target.  The Pod came on Thursday afternoon and it took Adam, 3 movers, and a couple of guys from a local church to get everything in our 4th floor walk-up!  Although we spent our first night among boxes and on mattresses on the floor, we were so thrilled and excited to finally be in our New York City apartment.  We thank God for His amazing provision for us!

Move-in day was mildly cold (by NYC standards) but the next day was COLD...even for New Yorkers.   We were so glad we moved in on Thursday and not Friday!  Max and Addy have really seemed to enjoy the snow and all three kids have adjusted well, so far, to the drastic change in temperature.

Friday morning we walked a block up the street to Max's new school and got him registered and ready to go.  He was quiet and you could tell he was taking it all in!  Max's first day will be on 2/23 because the public schools are on Winter Break next week.  After our school outing, we decided to find a grocery store.  We were all tired of sharing the same 4 plastic cups, eating Cheez-its for breakfast, and ordering take-out!

We found a grocery store you could actually drive to and park in a real parking lot (this is not common in our area so we were thankful to have this convenience).  Stop N Shop is our new preferred place for big grocery trips!  We can walk right across the street from our apartment for necessities and have our choice of produce markets in our neighborhood.  However, the Stop N Shop was great for getting any and everything we need to fill our fridge and pantry.

Tonight we went to New Hope Christian Church for our first church visit.  This church is very heavily involved in Urban Nations Outreach and is excited that we are planting a church to reach South Asians.  It is a diverse church made up of many ethnicities and ages.  It's only about 4 blocks from St. John's University so it has several college students as well as young families.  Although we miss our church in Alabama a lot (especially today) we were encouraged and loved on by the wonderful people at New Hope.  Max made his first friend and we've already scheduled a play-date later this week. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Almost There!!

We are in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  And yes, it smells like a hershey kiss everywhere... Seriously, totally not kidding. This is our stop overnight stop before we hit NYC! We are about 3 hours away and with weather permitting we should be there without trouble. The car ride has been a breeze with the kids. They have been amazing! We are taking the kids to Hershey Chocolate World today and looking forward to some good family time.  We should be in Queens tonight and we will move in tomorrow.  It is supposed to snow but hopefully it won't be too bad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Big Apple Road Trip

We are 2 days into our drive to our new city and home.  I am happy to report that everything is going smoothly with no delays and surprisingly, no grumpy kiddos!  Victory!!  We spent the first half of the day on Sunday telling our church family goodbye.  Boy was that rough!

Sunday night we stayed in the Atlanta metro area after having a great farewell meal with Erin's parents and Mee-Maw.  Monday we made it to Roanoke, Virginia.  Did I mention the kids were happy? No crying baby!?!

Today we're headed to Hershey, PA.  We're hoping to take the kids to Chocolate World for a little fun either today or tomorrow!  Weather is getting colder & a wintry mix is expected today/tonight around Hershey.  Pray for no weather delays & that the kids will acclimate to the cold weather quickly.  
Thank you for your prayers for our trip already!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mission Accomplished!!

God has been so good to us! He has shown off His faithfulness and power! We have found and secured an amazing apartment in Queens.  There is even a nail salon on the first level so Erin & Addy can get their nails done!

We will be living at the very top. This is a great apartment for our family and very close to subway and Jackson Heights for hospitality with our future South Asian friends. We look forward to having you visit us! Thank you so much for praying for us and supporting us. We hope to move in the next several weeks. Check back here for updates.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Hunt is On!

We have just landed in what seems like an arctic tundra! But it is just New York City. We will be here for the rest of the week hunting for an apartment for our family. God has been so good to us in recent months as we prepare to relocate to plant a church among South Asians in Jackson Heights. Please pray for us in this search. Pray that God will provide the right place for us with a great school and a price we can afford. Pray also for all the people we hope to impact for the Kingdom!