Subject: West Side Update – June 9
June 9, 2014
“I moved here to New York City from Minnesota for a job. I had no friends or family nearby. I felt so alone and almost did not keep the original three-month commitment I had made with the family I was nannying for,” says Jean-Marie Paul, who moved to NYC in September 2010. “I am from a big family and am used to having my siblings and parents always near. This was one of the first times I had left them, and I was feeling very homesick. I was upset with God for pulling me so far away from the people I love.”
Jean-Marie lives on the Upper West Side and is a preschool teacher for a neighborhood school. In the fall of 2013, she began volunteering with our West Side Children’s Ministry: “I was there just about every Sunday that I could be. I began to see a change happening in me. I was coming to see how God was and is working in my life through the children, the volunteers and staff. God was showing me that he will take care of me wherever I am — whether that is within minutes of my family, halfway across the country, or on the other side of the world,” says Jean-Marie. “As I served week after week I realized how much I was learning through the children. Even little things like watching them separate from their parents and how that can be a struggle some Sundays and easily done on others showed me how very much I was just like them. I was struggling to separate from my parents, siblings and friends back home.”
Jean-Marie has found friends and community amongst the Children’s Ministry staff and volunteers. “We have spent time playing games, picnicking, and hanging out in Sheep Meadow in Central Park,” she says. And since she grew up figure skating and playing ice hokey, she’s always looking to get friends to go skating with her.“The Lord has used my involvement at Redeemer and specifically volunteering in Children’s Ministry to grow me in my understanding of the gospel and what it really means to have a relationship with Jesus. When I am alone or sad or afraid all I have to do is call out to him — he is always with me.”
As a church of Jesus Christ, Redeemer exists to help build a great city for all people through a movement of the gospel that brings personal conversion, community formation, social justice and cultural renewal to New York City and, through it, to the world.
Our younger daughter, Charlotte, has recently become enthralled with C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A few days ago she wandered out to where my wife was in the apartment sobbing. When Alice asked her why she was so upset, Charlotte blurted out that she wanted Aslan to be real. Relief quickly came as Alice assured her, “He is.”
Charlotte’s cry of the soul is shared by all of us and is beautifully captured in another of Lewis’ writings, “The Weight of Glory” (pdf):
At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so.
As we head into the summer months explore some books like the Narnian Chronicles that feed your soul, including the rustling pages of the Book that remind us that Aslan is more than just a fairy tale hero.
Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:20-21)
Rev. David Bisgrove
Lead a seven-week Beta Group!
Ei Forum recap
Get the Redeemer app
Our busiest service needs volunteers!
Here are some highlighted opportunities to serve from Hope for New York. As always, you can check their Volunteer page to see opportunities by neighborhood and service type.
Deliver meals to homebound elderly on the UWS
Build relationships with teen moms
Do you love to cook?
Also thank you to all our West Siders who’ve been serving up at The Bridge! Here are some photos from the Park West outreach.
Diaconate’s Community Closet drop-off
Wednesday through Friday, June 25–27, 1359 Broadway
Bring pristine women’s clothing and accessories for our unemployed sisters who are interviewing to Redeemer’s Midtown offices. Please mark the clothes “For Diaconate” and include hangers. We welcome surprises if you are in the fashion business! For more, contact Suzy at email@example.com.
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