Life on Mission in NYC

Dear all,

My mission trip to the beautiful New York City was absolutely incredible! It is remarkable all that God did in and through me/my team in one short week. I learned so much about the love Jesus has for me and for all people, and I know that He was glorified so greatly in using me to share that love with the people of NYC.

Prior to leaving for the trip, my team and I had multiple meetings in which we prayed and prepared for the work we were going to do in NYC. We all understood that because this was a short-term mission trip, our goal was to really encourage and assist the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association and their partnered churches in their long-term ministry efforts, for they would be the ones to continue reaching the city after we left.

Our team from the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at UL atop the MNYBA building in Manhattan.

It was upon arriving in New York City on Good Friday that we were given our itinerary for the following week, and man, what amazing ways we were able to serve there! On Easter Sunday, we attended New City Church in Queens in the morning and First Polish Baptist Church in Brooklyn in the afternoon. The Polish church, in an effort to become more multi-cultural, was holding its first English service that day, and it was a blessing to be part of and encourage their church in that. We also took time that day to do street evangelism there in Brooklyn, which was so rewarding. On Monday and Tuesday, we partnered with Christian Bible Church in the city of Yonkers; this church was a predominantly Filipino congregation and, similar to the Polish church, was striving for more diversity. We received training from the pastor on the first day on how to intentionally (and non-awkwardly) have Gospel conversations with people, and then we put that training to work by doing outreach at the church involving free coffee and face painting. The conversations we had with people of all backgrounds were so eye-opening, and we were able to help the church really get their name and Jesus’ name out into a community that is only about 3% evangelical Christian. Wednesday happened to be my favorite day of the trip; we spent the day in Jackson Heights, a community in Queens that is known to have the most diverse population in the world. We partnered with an Indian pastor who was in the process of planting a church in Jackson Heights that would focus on making disciples of people of other world religions. This pastor did a great job of explaining the Buddhist history and beliefs to our team (none of us had strong knowledge of it beforehand), and we then were able to go into a Buddhist temple as people were saying prayers and going through rituals. Never in my life has my heart been as broken for people as it was in that moment. I couldn’t help but sob, and not just for these Buddhists going through such futile efforts to achieve hope and peace, but even for people back home that I know are worshiping false gods just as intently, only in less conspicuous ways. God just really gave me a taste in that moment of how devastating and disgusting sin is to Him and how deeply He loves us in spite of it, and that experience is something I’ll never forget. That day, we were also able to pray with and pour into other believers in Jackson Heights (who were few and far between, might I add), do a prayer walk throughout it, and do street evangelism in which we shared the Gospel through conversations with people of various other faiths (most of whom had never heard the truth about Jesus that we so often take for granted).

My friend, Coleen, and I were able to pray with and encourage Jackson Heights church planter Boto Joseph (third from right) and other believers pictured here from Nepal and India.

On Thursday, we explored a highly Asian community in Flushing, Queens– yes, the same Flushing, Queens that they sing about in The Nanny theme song!– and were taught more about the rich diversity of the city and how doing ministry in a context like New York City differs so much from doing ministry back home in South Louisiana where the church climate, traditions, ethnic makeup, etc. are so drastically different. On our last day of the trip, we handed out free brownies, coffee, and dog treats to small businesses and residents located near the MNYBA building in which we stayed (which, by the way, was perfectly located in Manhattan right off of Broadway and only a couple blocks from Central Park!) for the sake of ”loving our neighbors”, and many awesome Gospel-centered conversations were had through that, as well. Additionally, we were able to share Christ in various ways with countless people as we took the subway all during the week and on our plane rides to and from NYC!

Getting to see firsthand so many of the props, costumes, and sets from my favorite TV show was absolutely unreal! I may have actually screamed with excitement upon each new room of the exhibit we walked in (to the embarrassment of my friends, of course).

Being that the mission work we did happened during the day, we had most nights off to allow ourselves to be tourists. Some of the things we were able to do included visiting Rockefeller Center, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, venturing through Central Park, touring the Museums of Modern Art and of Natural History, and so on. Personally, getting to see Les Miserables on Broadway and the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Exhibit were the two best touristy things we did; being the total fan I am of both Les Mis and SNL, these were just completely surreal experiences!

All in all, God went above and beyond answering my prayers regarding this trip. I know that through our service, He strengthened His church, planted His Good News into many hearts, and furthered His Kingdom. He also grew my heart even more for serving Him in diverse urban contexts, as He began doing during this past summer I spent on mission in San Diego. My desire going into this NYC trip was that God would give me a renewed sense of urgency for living my life on mission for the Gospel, and He did not hold back in doing so. Every last human on the planet is desperate for Jesus, and I am so eager to use the things I learned through serving in NYC to continue being a missionary at UL and beyond. There is nothing more exciting and fulfilling than spending my life away in loving Jesus and His people wherever He leads me, and knowing that I get to do this for the rest of my life brings me almost too much joy to bear! I cannot thank you enough for your support– through finances, prayers, etc.– that has made this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible for me; I am confident that God will bless you for your commitment to His Kingdom!

All praise to Him,

Hannah Trahan

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