These past two weeks have been crazy. Last week in all honesty was really difficult for me (reflected in the fact that I didn’t have a blogpost). I was feeling disconnected with the work I was doing and the people I was living with and I felt restless living in this city environment. I have felt really out of my comfort zone and the week was so hectic I was overwhelmed. At the beginning of this week I finally had time to reflect on all of the things I had in my life here to be grateful for. Why spend life focusing on negatives when God has blessed us with so many gifts?
1. My housemates
Yo these girls are the bomb. It has been so cool not only serving with these girls daily but also going home at the end of the day and doing life together. They have been there for me when I’m having a rough day by bringing me home ice cream and have constantly reminded me of God’s love and mercy through my short comings. I have never been a part of a community that has become so vulnerable so fast and I know the friendships I have with these sisters in Christ will last a lifetime.
2. Prayer at the office and Nomi Network
I feel so honored to have the opportunity to be working with this amazing company. Not only do they work with girls who are survivors or are at risk of human trafficking in India and Cambodia, training them in creating fashion products and helping create economic opportunities, but they are also sharing God’s love with them constantly. Nomi is run by an incredible group of women who have used their talents and God given gifts to fight for these girls, so they can fight for themselves and their families. Here in the New York office, we had a time of prayer in our tiny little back office that was so powerful. Not only were we there to lift up the needs of these girls but we were able to support one another in our prayers. I am so grateful for these women and all of the work I am able to create for them!
3. A new commute
Taking the subway sucks. Not only are the lines confusing and it is almost always delayed, but it is so dark and stanky down there. The whole concept is so weird to me: dozens of strangers not speaking to one another shoved into this tiny metal box speeding underneath the city. It’s kind of funny how intimate you get with everyone around you on the subway without ever saying a word: armpit in the face, accidentally falling on each other when the train lurches forward unexpectedly. I feel like this commute had been a big influencer on why I felt so off. On Tuesday of this week my house mom/Nomi boss Maria and I found the BEST ROUTE EVER. Not only does it shorten our commute time and its less crowded (it’s a local train), it’s also ABOVE GROUND so we get to see the skyline and the city as it speeds along.
4. Good food
One of the aspects of the New York City Urban Project is the concept LoGOFF, which stands for Local, Green, Organic, Fair, and Free. This idea is reflective of all of the purchases we make, including the food that we eat here. We are seeking to be more conscious consumers, making sure the goods we buy come from local and organic sources, and that all the workers who created the products were paid fairly and are free from slavery. So not only is the food that we eat here delicious and wholesome because it is organic and local, but also because the people who harvested the crops and made it are treated well. It has been so great getting to try all of these new foods and being able to create incredible meals with my very culinary inclined housemates.
Work. Worship. Serve. In Hebrew avodah literally means “work.” Through our everyday work activities, we must be seeking to worship God through every task we do and serve those around us to bring glory to His name. Through this program that takes place on Sunday and Wednesday nights, I have been able to hear from a variety of professionals who have and are still working on how they can worship and serve God in their workplace. This program has been such a good reminder before the beginning of every week and in the middle of every week to continue seeking to be pursuing Christ even in our everyday menial tasks.
So I’ve made it through my first week of my NYCUP Summer Internship!! So much has happened all ready. God has already drawn me so close to my housemates and has revealed so much of his wisdom to me in this short week.
One major concept of the New York City Urban Project is Feed 500. This idea is based off of Matthew 14:13-21, in which Jesus feeds 5000 men and their families near the Sea of Galilee. What this looks like practically is walking around the city and starting conversations with its homeless population. After listening to the homeless population and getting to know them better, we offer them healthy snacks, such as a piece of fruit or a granola bar. We also offer them maps that show all of the shelters and soup kitchens in the city. At the end of the talk we ask to pray over them and if they don’t want to receive it we say God bless and then walk out of sight and pray for them as a group.
On Tuesday we went to East Harlem for our first Feed 500 of the internship. Two of the other interns and I (holla Anna and Taylor!) started walking around Harlem, searching for people to serve. We weren’t having much luck finding anyone to talk to (which think back was a good thing because it meant all these people had found jobs or were safe in shelter).
We finally walked into a courtyard of an apartment complex. I saw an older woman sitting on one of the benches with her family and the most adorable little dog. I realized in that moment that day was not just for Feed 500 but also to begin making connections and meeting new people in the community. We went up to talk to her and I learned so much. She introduced us to her husband, her granddaughter, and her new puppy, Pebbles. She shared a little about her life with us, how she was born and raised in the city and how the neighborhood had changed since her childhood.
When we asked if we could pray for her, she seemed surprised. She then told us how she has been going through some rough times financially but she continues to pray to God everyday and thank him for all the blessings he has given her. That is what got her up in the morning and that is what gave her peace at the end of the day. Everything happens for a reason.
Laurainne’s words really resonated with me.
I remembered her words as I volunteered at the Nomi Network Gala on Wednesday.
I remembered her words as we watched a scandal episode about how racial reconciliation is so necessary in this country.
I remembered her words as I went to my first day of my internship.
I remembered her words as I tried to attempt to figure out the subway and bus lines.
I remembered her words as my housemates and I took a Sabbath Day and rested.
Laurainne really set up this whole journey for me. I am so grateful to have met her and I can’t wait to be in fellowship with her at her families barbeque that she invited us too!!