Merry Christmas! Holiday festivities are in full swing here in the city, and we’ve taken advantage of some of the opportunities to enjoy Christmastime in the city. We went ice-skating in Bryant Park on Saturday night and really had a wonderful time! It was great to get away from everything and just take a break and enjoy the evening.
Even now, as I begin to prepare to fly home tomorrow, I’m very glad for the break. This semester I formally worked on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This left Wednesdays and Fridays for doing school-work. I nearly always ended up doing work-related things on my “day off” but I did try to avoid getting drawn into the food sorting process on Wednesday afternoons. All of that to say, I’m looking forward to my trip home to Florida tomorrow! Rumor has it that the weather is in the 70s. Hopefully I can keep my streak alive of wearing shorts and flip flops on Christmas day every year.
On the subject of crime and safety in NYC, I wrote this in response to some other comments on Facebook recently. I think it might be helpful for some of our readers who are concerned about safety in NYC.
I think it would be really helpful if people everywhere would forget the idea that being in NYC is putting your life in serious danger.
The reality is that there are 4 times more murders per capita in my home town than in all of the 5 boroughs of NYC.
My home town is officially around 6,000 people, and there's about 1 murder per year. So the rate is 1/6,000 in Dade City, Florida.
NYC is around 1 per day in 8.4 million people. Then divide 8.4 million by 365 days and you get around 23,000. The murder rate in NYC is about 1/23,000.
In other words, you are 4 times more likely to get murdered in my home town, which people call "Mayberry" for it's quaint, old fashioned feel, than you are likely to get murdered in NYC.
Lately in our services we’ve had attendance into the mid 140s. Continue to pray for the Spirit to open the hearts of attenders to receive the Gospel and to regenerate the many who do not know Christ. We finally got the chairs assembled and installed so we have comfortable seating for approximately 150.
If you would pray about considering making a contribution to New York Gospel Mission, we would really appreciate it. I attended a service of another church in the area recently and found their financial figures posted in the bulletin. A church of 300-400 regular attenders and maybe 100 members is renting a building and operating on a budget of $750,000 per year. Now because their church is marketed to a young, employed, demographic, that’s what their church looks like, and their income reflects a budget where offerings are given through a mobile app, and they begin at $20, rather than $.50 or $1. The purpose of these figures is not to compare but to inform and give you, the readers an idea of where things stand, as well as provide a tangible way to make a difference in the lives of literally hundreds of people directly, and thousands, indirectly. Over 700 different people have attended our services over the last 3 months or so, and many of them have families that they are seeking to provide for. In some cases, even children are coming to get food to bring back for their siblings and grandparents.
I’ve learned so much over this last semester, living and working here in the heart of Chelsea. I’m very excited to see what God has for us as we continue His work in the new year. I would like to take this moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! And for those who are alone this Christmas and don’t have family to spend it with, I’ve found that serving others never fails to lift my spirits. Go find a homeless person and buy them a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, and ask them about their life. If you’re in a less urban area, go sing Christmas carols at a nursing home, or visit the shut-ins. There are many ways to bring a smile to others faces this Christmas, and I’d venture to say that you’ll bring a smile to the face of God if you do. James 1:27.
Andy Woodard completed Bachelors and Masters degrees at Bob Jones University before moving to New York City to serve as Director of Ministry Development at New...
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