article details how God called our family to leave our rural, pastorate
in Western Pennsylvania and begin a ministry of spreading the message
of Purifying Grace in New York City.
are built on a hill or series of hills. New York City is not noted
for its hills but for its Port. The greatest numbers of visitors and
immigrants to the United States have come through this great and scenic
harbor. New York City is a missionary's paradise. There are not many
places in the world where you can meet and talk with people from Russia,
China, Taiwan, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia,
India, Afghanistan, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Israel, Turkey, Ukraine,
Poland, Romania, Greece, Albania, Italy, Sicily, Finland, Norway,
France, Spain, Ireland, England, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Cameroon,
Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad, Grenada,
Barbados, Antigua, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica,
Cuba, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico. This is our constant privilege. I
recorded meeting people from every country listed above in our first
two years here.
talking with and sharing the gospel with Muslims, Black Militants,
Hindus, Moonies, Satanists, Mormons, Buddhists, Jehovah Witness's,
Jews, Taoists. Living here in New York City has provided us with this
these vast numbers of ethnically diverse people that fueled my great
excitement as I considered the possibility of beginning an urban ministry
in NYC. I wanted to spread the clear message of Gods Victorious
Grace where it is seldom heard. Since being here these 13 years we
have realized many times the ones we minister to today may carry this
message to others around the world. Urban ministry was not entirely
new to me. I was involved with the city ministries at Gods Bible
School in Cincinnati, Ohio. I had chosen GBS for my ministry training
because of their urban ministry opportunities. However I did not go
directly to New York City after graduation. God led us to pastor a
small church in rural Pennsylvania. The "us", at that time,
included my wife, Faith and our first son, Seth.
7 years in this pastorate and the church was united behind us. We
enjoyed the country setting and the kind hearted people we ministered
to. However in our 7th year there I began to feel a burden
for reaching people who had never heard the message of salvation.
In the spring of 1989, I made a trip to New York City. I did not know
the layout of the city or any ministry there. I had, though, a growing
conviction that it was likely that God was calling us to go there.
amazed that on this first trip to New York City I was offered a free
place to stay and use as an office in Manhattan. In God's Providence
an old lady on the street directed me to speak to an officer at the
the Salvation Army located on 14th Street in Manhattan. I shared my
burden for starting a ministry in the city with this man. He was very
interested and directed me to speak to the Lieutenant at the Salvation
Army Corp on 52nd Street. To my surprise the Officer in charge offered
me the use of a storage room in their basement. Except for cleaning
out the junk and refinishing the room it was rent-free. New York is
the earths center of finance, Media, Publishing and Fashion.
Commercial Space there in Midtown Manhattan was known to rent for
$200 a month, per square foot. People who live in this "Neighborhood"
have the highest per capita income in the USA. I had barely enough
to keep the car running. I wasn't even looking for a place to stay
and God had thrown open the door to a free office and sleeping quarters
to start our ministry from.
sought for Gods will we realized there were many great logistical
considerations to overcome to make such a radical move possible. How
do we start? Where will our family live? How will we pay the bills?
lead to go first to my conference council with my desire to begin
a work in New York City. I am an ordained Minister with the Pilgrim
Holiness Church of New York Inc. While I had the encouragement and
blessing of the conference council it was clear that there were not
finances to support a work such as this. This meant that we would
be real pioneers and pioneering is a lot of real hard and sometimes
late summer of 1989 we left our home of 7 years in Pennsylvania and
moved our family to upstate New York to be near family and friends
while I prepared the way for them into the city. I started by working
2 days a week delivering rats and mice to various labs in the Northeast
United States. That left 5 days to split between our goals in New
York City and being a husband to my wife and a dad to our 2 sons and
delivering rats for 5 months, I left the rat job and joined the New
York City "rat race." I became a messenger delivering packages
all over the metro area. It became a crash course on the city. I learned
the way to get from here to there. I learned where to park and where
not to park. That part of my training enriched the city quite a few
times. Parking tickets are serious business in New York.
I learned the basic distribution of ethnic groups in the five boroughs
and about the racial tensions. I learned were the gays congregated.
I learned the safe times to be in certain areas and what times required
extra caution. I have learned no place is completely safe. I had my
personal laptop stolen from my office at work. I know first hand the
fatigue of long commutes on mass transit.
the pressures of working and losing jobs. I left the delivery job
to work in a hotel in their sales department. Business is brutal in
New York and our company downsized and I was left with good references
but no job. I did temporary work until I networked to a position in
another hotel. This is a thumb nail sketch of what it means to be
a resident of New York. These hardships have been a great school.
I arrived in New York City with Pastoral Experience. In God's wonderful
providence I now know the stresses and responsibilities of the business
March 18th 2003 my wife and I were crying out to God about our ministry
needs. The demands on us had grown too great to continue working at
the hotel 5 days each week to support our ministry. Faced with great
opportunities to touch peoples lives but not having sufficient funds
coming in to support us full-time in the ministry had brought us to
a time of desperate prayer and seeking God's face. We knew
we must have some answers that only God could provide. I cried out
to God: "Lord, you have to provide for us in our great need,
it's your job." We spent time thanking God for his provision
and acknowledged that we knew He was making all things work together
for our good. The following day my boss at the New York Palace Hotel
told me the hotel was doing away with my position. This was a wonderful
answer to prayer because we knew we couldn't carry on with our ministry
while carrying the load of full-time secular work. This also has challenged
us to look to the Lord for our daily bread in a way we have never
had to before. Our rent is $1200 a month, food costs us about $1000
a month for our family of 10 and our ministry up to this time has
provided us with only about $50 a week.
City is a stressful, expensive place to live. Some will consider this
as the the down side of living in the city. But the difficulties are
also great blessings! Because life is tough in the city people are
hungry for answers. There are a multitude of people here who have
a real commitment to Jesus Christ. It is comparatively easy to talk
about spiritual things to people in this city. The opportunities to
share the Gospel and disciple believers are very many.
this summary of our New York adventure with a Bible quotation from
Matthew 5. "A city that is set on a hill can not be hid."
Neither can we hide a family with 8 children. This verse finishes
by saying to "let your light shine so that people will see your
light and be drawn to God."
here has often been shaped quite naturally around our family. As other
missionaries have found, children are a major drawing attraction to
people. Our first challenge was to show an alternative way of raising
children. We did this by home schooling our children and by teaching
and expecting charactered behavior from each of our children. This
caused some in our neighborhood to ask how to raise their children.
We began a Parenting Ministry using material called "Growing
Kids Gods Way." This 18-week program has been a benefit
to those who come and has given us greater exposure in our community.
of our children brought a man in our community to offer his newly
remodeled home to us. He had remodeled his home for himself. Circumstances
forced him to move his family from the city and he wanted to be careful
in renting. The children had impressed him and he offered his home
for a rate far less than the market. We have been in this home for
the past 8 years and our relationship with our landlord remains very
schooling of our children became another shaping aspect of our ministry.
We are founding members of the "Kings Choice" home school
support group for Brooklyn and have served on its steering committee
since its inception. There have been numerous ways that we have been
able to touch lives through our association with this group. It is
a our great joy to network with so many people in New York who call
on God and believe in Jesus as their Savior. Through this we are continually
given opportunities to minister to families.
are an important part of our ministry team. Early in our time here
we began hosting groups from different Bible Schools who come to New
York for weekend mission work and cross-cultural exposure. These groups
of young people pass out tracts and witness to multicultural people
in various parts of this city. These young people get a taste of urban
ministry. We have also been able to host some students for internships
as mission majors.
time our children give up beds and room to allow others to come. They
clean and rearrange our limited space from church room to bedroom
to play room to storeroom to schoolroom. We have learned to get the
most mileage from every inch of space we have. I tell you this because
it might seem as if our children would want to be anywhere but here
in New York City. But, this is not the case. Our oldest boys are planning
and schooling to be servants for Jesus in this ministry. Our girls
are also interested in helping in various jobs.
one session of parenting classes in our Living Room our children conducted
a Character Class for the children of these parents in our multipurpose
church room. They are dedicated members of our Mission Team. They
witness, teach, pass out tracts, call people for prayer requests,
set up accommodations for visitors and serve along side my wife and
I. We thank God for His work in our children. It is a joy to see them
continue to mature in their walk with Christ as they labor for Him
about our Ministry click here: About The Go Forth Alliance