Subject: West Side Update – August 25
August 25, 2014
Joan Ng’ongolo is originally from Tanzania, from a town called Ubungo in Dar-Es-Salaam City. She also spent part of her childhood in Kenya, where her parents were stationed for diplomatic work.
“When I was 15 years old, my oldest sister passed away under unfortunate circumstances. She was only 25 years old. It was sudden, shocking, and impossible to believe,” says Joan. “I felt like God had abandoned me and I didn’t understand why he would allow my sister to die and my family to go through that kind of pain. Even though I struggled with that, the only way that I could ever possibly go through a day was by crying out to God.
“During the course of my suffering, God met me in my pain and confusion, and the process of discovering God for myself began for me. His kind of comfort was like no other,” says Joan. “Every day, I would read about his crucifixion and resurrection, and I began to understand that God cared about my pain and he had been through it all. It was something that he was deeply familiar with. I found strength, new hope and joy in Jesus’ death and resurrection.”
A few years later, in 2004, Joan and her family moved to the North Shore section of Long Island for her parents’ work. Joan moved to NYC in 2009. She lives in Sugar Hill Harlem and is a science teacher, working primarily with middle school children.
Joan visited Redeemer for several years and began attending regularly a year ago. She attends the West Side Women Bible study group on Tuesday nights, serves with various Hope for New York affiliates, and tutors with Operation Exodus.
Joan volunteers at the sermon table after both West Side morning services and facilitates making sermons available on CDs and ready for distribution right after the services. “Our team also greets and fellowships with church attenders during coffee hour and acts as a point of contact for visitors and people new to the church,” she says.The UWS is one of Joan’s favorite places in the city. “Summers in the city remind me so much of my home country in that I get to sit outside and eat with friends,” says Joan. “I love everything outdoors. I enjoy camping, long walks and summer concerts in the city.”
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.
By now you have likely heard that Leo Schuster has resigned his position as lead pastor of the East Side congregation to move to Texas, where his three daughters and elderly parents live. Personally, I want to thank Leo for his friendship and counsel over the last four years and am very sorry to see him go. Alice and I will miss Leo and Ellen greatly. Professionally, I also want to acknowledge and thank Leo for his leadership and valuable contribution to the development of the collegiate model we now inhabit.
As you may know the theme for our upcoming ministry year is prayer. The news of Leo’s departure is one of the many circumstances that evoke a range of emotions and a sense of uncertainty, especially in a transient place like NYC where we are regularly saying goodbye to people we love. And it is in times like this that I am reminded of the powerful gift God has given us in prayer. Eugene Peterson summarizes prayer this way:
Prayer is social energy. Prayer is public good. Far more of our nation’s life is shaped by prayer than is formed by legislation. That we have not collapsed into anarchy is due more to prayer than to the police. . . . The single most important action contributing to whatever health and strength there is in our land is prayer.
The same can be said about our church. So please join me in praying for the following things:
Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Rev. David Bisgrove
Multiply mercy’s impact, nominate a candidate for the Diaconate
In case you’re just coming back to the city and usually go to an evening service, know that the 7 p.m. service has permanently moved up 15 minutes to 6:45 p.m. And, if you’re feeling crowded at the earlier services, know there’s ample room for you and your friends at that service, so come!
How’s your coordination?
Q: What makes a good Beta Group host?
If you’re looking for opportunities to serve the city, as always, you can check Hope for New York’s Volunteer page (newly redesigned!) to see opportunities by date, neighborhood, service type and more.
HFNY mentoring info session tonight!
Kindergarten Welcome Dinner
Children’s Ministry Promotion Sunday
Musicians pizza party
Faith & Work Conference 2014 theme and speakers announced
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