Sometimes I find no time or inspiration to write a blogpost. Right now though I feel as if I’ve entered a decompression chamber. Yesterday was extremely busy, as Thursdays often are. My grandmother died this past week, and even now I am en route to Richmond, Virginia to preach her funeral. This grandmother was a Christian, and I am happy to hear of her peaceful homegoing after many years of physical pain. She has entered into rest. In Jesus, she is safe evermore.
A group of students from Maranatha Baptist Bible College is arriving in New York today to help in the work of the mission. Included in this group is Galen Balenski, a former NYGM intern who is familiar with our ministry, vehicles, and operation. God has providentially provided help for us just as I was about to have to take an unexpected trip home.
As I cleaned my living quarters in the basement of the church last night to make room for the Maranatha group, I thought about the words of a pastor who facetiously told me prior to my coming to New York that the church building which we occupy is “outside, New York, inside, Haiti.” Well, I chuckle at that statement. Honestly, our facilities have come a long way in the past year and are reasonably comfortable. Just having space for ministry in the city is amazing in itself, whether that space is old or new, dilapidated or comfortable, built as a church building or not. And our accommodations at old Manor Church get the job done, so to speak. Manor Church wears workclothes. Whether facilitating the bringing in of van loads of food then storing and distributing them, hosting chapel services for crowds commonly numbering a hundred and more, processing the cardboard in which our food donations arrive, or any of the other tasks routine to our ministry and operation, Manor sees a lot of work in its space on 26th Street. (In regard to the statement above about the cardboard, it’s not uncommon for several of us to spend upwards of an hour or longer Thursday at midnight just to get the cardboard and garbage out to the street for pickup.) Thank God there is still an evangelical ministry at 350 West 26th Street after all these years. People are hearing the Gospel through God’s ministry here. They are hearing whole books of the Bible exposited and are learning how to read their Bibles, and they are being helped with physical needs.
This past week in Tuesday chapel, we sang a capella as Pastor Bill was away and no recorded music was available. The congregation sang all the stanzas of Amazing Grace, and how well they sang! A good number knew the song, and I had wired my old rhinoceros of a laptop (for which I am very thankful) to a projector and projected the lyrics up onto the wall. I thought I heard someone singing even a harmony part out in the congregation. After my sermon on Hebrews 6, I sang them all the stanzas of “My Anchor Holds.” They applauded. I told them I had sung it for their benefit.
What an amazing mix of people the Lord brings through our doors. People from many diverse nations and backgrounds visit our chapel and church services. These vary in spiritual need and knowledge of the Word of God and salvation. Some profess Christ. Some not only profess but show works wrought in the Holy Spirit who testifies of their faith in Christ.
We have enjoyed having Lynnette Jones, Pastor Bill’s daughter, in town for the past three months. Lynnette arrived after a missionary trip to Poland and studied for a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certification which she recently obtained. She hopes to be involved in English teaching abroad in the future as God leads.
Two church attendees have recently expressed interest to me, unsolicited, in taking online Bible classes. I have referred them to the Bible Broadcasting Network’s online Bible institute, and one has told me that both he and his mother are greatly enjoying the classes. What a joy that people are being saved and growing in the Lord, desiring His Word. We encourage them to grow in the Lord and to be Gospel men and women as God enables them. We try our best to provoke them to love and good works in ways that please the Lord. We seek to provide a warm place for them to come to church. (Speaking of which, thank God the oil-buying season is coming to an end. I didn’t mean “warm” in that sense, but we also try to provide a literally warm auditorium for our chapel guests and church attendees.) We don’t see conversions every week or every month as some ministries earnestly hope to see, but once in a while someone comes to faith of the same kind as we, and the apostles of old, have possessed in Christ. Pastor Bill tells me he hopes to see and believes God will soon bring in a harvest of new believers.