Sunday, March 18, 2012

New York

New York I've pretty much quit blogging, but for those interested in how the New York trip went, I thought I'd post about it. The night before we left I was a wreck. I was so nervous about leaving the kids that long I was literally ill. I'd gotten some phenergan to help me sleep, but I had to take it for nausea! Cried like a baby after putting Elijah and Levi to bed. It was all I could do to hold it together so they didn't get upset! I was extremely grateful the trip was for 6 days and no longer. Saturday morning I got up earlier than I needed to. Plane ride was smooth and I wasn't too nervous. We arrived at the hotel, unpacked a bit, went to dinner, then met at the Metropolitan New York Baptist building to learn about the activities for the week.  We walked to Times Square after the meeting.  I got to stand in front of the live Earth Cam there and wave at the kids that night.  Noah was apparently the most upset that I wasn't home. Sunday morning we went to Redeemer Presbyterian.  The music was traditional and so well done.  There was a brass quintet that played songs composed by one of the members.  Unbelievable talent.  Loved it.  Then the message was one of the best I'd heard filled with truth that wasn't watered down at all.  Loved it.  I was surprised by how big the church was.  I thought any New York church that was that big would be a liberal kind of place.  But it wasn't like that at all.  First suprise of the week for me. We caught lunch on the street then got ready to go to the MNYBA to go to an Indonesian church in Queens.  We were able to lead worship there and heard their pastor preach in English and their native language.  We ate with the congregation afterwards.  No idea what it was, but it tasted good!  The girls and I went back to Times Square that night.  The boys didn't join us.  They needed more down time than we did :)  I got to wave at my kids again on the Earth Cam :) Monday was a scavenger hunt put on by MNYBA.  We got to see a lot of New York, saw Rockefeller Plaza, Battery Park (where one of my girls was part of a street show) Trinity church, heard a choir rehearse at another small chapel, saw where the towers used to stand and talked to one of the construction workers, but we didnt go all the way to ground zero. We were supposed to rush all over New York but we decided to take it slow and take our time rather than try to win the scavenger hunt. We went back to the MNYBA building afterwards (this is when One of my girls got on with MNYBA people but not us, we saw that she was with people in our group, they knew who she was and told us they would hang onto her or I would have blocked the door).  We picnicked in Central Park for dinner and sang some worship songs. The girls walked through the park to return for evening worship at MNYBA, the boys went back to the hotel to play with the legos they'd bought earlier in the day. We worshipped with all of the Passport New York college students and heard Tom Richter from New Hope Baptist in Queens.  He is a gifted preacher who again spoke unwatered down truth!  It was encouraging.  He was hysterical and very good at keeping your attention.  I think the girls once again went to Times Square afterwards.  Seems we did that every it kind of runs together. Tuesday was another new experience.  Teen Challenge was nothing like I thought it would be.  We lead worship with a group of people who worshipped no matter what was going on up on that stage.  It wouldn't have mattered if we were terrible, I know they would have worshipped anyway.  That was another surprise.  Never been a part of anything like that.  I've personally worshipped regardless of what was going on around me, but I've never been in a room where it seemed every single person in it was joining me.  The kids loved it.   Most of them picked that experience as their favorite for the week.  Zach (the other chaperone) preached and got the nickname "Pastor Zach"... that is what he was called throughout the day by the people of Teen Challenge.  We then heard testimony from several residents.  One person was a kid member of the bloods and was a part of that gang when it was founded.  But  now he lives for Jesus.  It was unreal listening to his life story.  Another was a pastor's kid from a small town in the South.  She looked like someone who would have gone to AB.  She said our girls were such a blessing to her b/c she could tell they were really worshipping and she didn't think there were any young girls who chose to praise the Lord in their teenage years.  That was a huge encouragement to them.  She just went on and on about what an encouragment those four beautiful girls were and then told them never to lose sight of Jesus.  We then ate lunch with the residents and toured their facilities and learned about the program.  GREAT program.  Would definitely want to return and help them any way we could. The girls and I walked across the Brooklyn bridge afterwards.  The boys went back to the hotel then took a cab somewhere (they took cabs a lot, the girls rode the subway all the time... and we never messed up!!)  We got back to the hotel just in time to get ready for dinner and the Broadway show Godspell (girls made a quick shopping stop at Strawberry's in between) ... Godspell wasn't what I'd hoped but wasn't awful.  It was entertaining, but the storyline was almost nonexistent.  Really hard to follow even knowing the Bible!  It was pretty much just a bunch of songs with funny stuff added in.  It was entertaining and the girls definitely enjoyed it.  Really not sure about the boys?  I think they did.  They again went back to the hotel to play with legos and the girls walked around Times Square again  (there is a reason the back of my heal has a lovely bruise on it...) Wednesday we went to the Forest Hills area of Queens to prayer walk.  We were told to pray for the people as we walked the streets and tweet pictures that prompted us to pray for specific things (perfect job for me!).  We had a few good encounters with people.  Most people didn't want us to pray for them.  But we were able to talk with Eric, Jay, and Charlie.  Charlie was sitting down where we were meeting everyone afterwards so he got the most in depth conversation.  All of them were told about Nathan Creitz and the church he hopes to start in Queens.  The prayer walking and random walking up to people asking them if I could pray for them was probably the most awkward time for me.  But that is what Nathan wanted so I was going to do it, comfortable or not. Girls did some quick shopping at H&M before meeting back up with the boys at Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I think one of the boys and I may have been the only ones who enjoyed it... Not real sure.  I loved seeing the original works I studied when I took Fine Arts.  Thursday morning didn't give us enough time to do much of anything.  The girls really wanted to go eat "breakfast at Tiffany's" so we got food to go and headed there.  I took pictures :)  Other than almost missing our flight from Atlanta to Little Rock due to the NY flight coming in late... everything went as smoothly as it could have.  There were some unexpected changes, but everything was flexible enough that we could handle it.  I loved how the week went.  I loved that we were right in the thick of it and weren't watching NY from the outside.  We were there amongst the people.  I loved that we saw so much of NY and the wide variety of churches. It would be easy to go back and plan a similar trip but do nothing the same!  The only part I would for sure want to repeat is Teen Challenge.  Great trip, great kids.  Loved taking younger ones full of excitement.  I think it was good for them to see what we saw.  I think it may have ignited a spark in them a bit to do more than they do.  We had some good conversations in the evenings where Zach and I could talk to them about life in general.  I hope they took it to heart. I prayed that the kids I am supposed to take would sign up to go.  I really didn't want to eliminate anyone.  I think I got the perfect group and it was the perfect size.  Any bigger would have been hard to manage. I think I could take a few more since I'm familiar with the subway now, but for this year, it was perfect. It was a great trip but I was ready to be home! Levi keeps saying "mommy, are you home?" I got the kids 'I <3 NY' shirts in different colors. Elijah calls it his 'I love mommy' shirt. He just told me he prayed for me while I was gone. I asked him if he did that at school and he said 'no I did it at home by myself'. So sweet.   Pictures are posted individually following this post...

Sunday, March 11, 2012