Mission Discovery Goes to New York City

New York City was the destination for 14 of us who served with the Billy Graham Prayer Center last week. The Mission Discovery team from Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Florida and Mississippi were assigned to different areas of the Manhattan each day. Some served in counseling centers, some in restaurants that fed police and firefighters. Others were assigned to parks and ferries, and a Salvation Army toy store for children of victims.
But all were given one task?to listen. The people of the city have changed since September 11. There?s more eye contact, and a willingness to interact, even with strangers. Everyone has a story of where they were, what they were doing, friends that were lost.
I was assigned to work at Nino?s Restaurant. Nino closed his restaurant on September 12 and reopened it to feed firefighters and police officers for free. I worked with Deborah, Dede, and Joanna in the kitchen peeling potatoes.
Deborah had been a cook one block from the Trade Towers and lost her job as a result of the disaster. She was caught in the debris of the falling buildings but escaped unharmed, except for a cough that lingers from inhaling the dust of the buildings. Dede and Joanne were homemakers from New Jersey who volunteered to help in the kitchen one day a week. Many of their neighbors worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services company that lost nearly 700 employees.
In every conversation, God and His power surfaced as a theme. Our team sowed seeds for a great harvest. When I asked Dede how she had changed since September 11, she said, ?I just want to be closer to my family.? The rearranging of priorities is evident throughout the city. ?I wrote my daughter a love letter this morning,? was Joann?s response to the question. The work of the Billy Graham Prayer Center will continue through the end of this month, then a church, Harvest Christian Center, will follow-up with more outreach.

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