coronavirus seems to be causing panic among many here in the city, we're thankful as of yet, it doesn't appear to be affecting
how we are able to minister. As a matter of fact, when conflict and fear are on the rise, it's always a good opportunity to
share with others the hope we have in Jesus. With 212 cases of the virus being in New York state, 48 of those have been confirmed
within the five boroughs of our city and many others in Long Island and just outside our city borders. State officials created
a one mile containment area just north of Manhattan in an area called New Rochelle. The National Guard will move in. Schools,
churches, and synagogues will be shut down and large indoor gatherings will be officially banned. Thankfully, officials have
not called for that in our city, however it seems as though we are headed that direction. Please pray for protection and health
of those affected and that God would allow opportunities for us to minister in ways only moments such as these provide. Ultimately,
we trust God is in control.
Aside from this virus, one of the
hardest things about ministering in NYC is how transient the community can be sometimes. People come for a short time, realize
how hard it is to live here, and then leave. It's hard to watch those you've invested so much time in say goodbye. We're a
stepping stone for many on their spiritual journey. However, one positive way we've decided to look at this unique aspect
of this mission field is that what happens in NYC does not stay in NYC. A diverse culture means that the Gospel moves well
beyond the five boroughs and often times into other countries. You can quite literally reach the world through New York City
and for that we are grateful. No time invested in one's spiritual journey is a waste, no matter how short. We must never under
estimate what God can do in taking His Gospel to the uttermost.
of a transient community, that's one of the reasons we've had to refocus full time on restructuring Beach Church. Our long
term vision is to plant 5 churches in all five boroughs of the city, however some plants take longer than others. Rockaway
is a very diverse and transient community. We've trained many people and prepared them for leadership roles within the church,
only for them to move to better themselves and their families. It's been hard getting people to stick. Right now, our main
focus is reorganizing the church and facilitating growth opportunities that will lead to stability before we can move on and
plant another. Our hearts continue to be in the Rego Park area of Queens for our next plant. God willing the summer will provide
opportunities to minister in that area with the many mission teams we have scheduled.
As we look at facilitating growth opportunities, one thing God has been burdening our hearts for is
the Spanish speaking community of the Rockaways. Hispanic and Latino Americans make up over one-quarter of Queens' populations.
Much of our church is made up of Spanish speaking people, with some not speaking English at all. With the help of a translator,
we once asked one of our most faithful Spanish speaking families, "Why is it that you come so faithfully to church each
Sunday when you cannot fully understand the language?" They very quickly replied, "We don't have to understand,
we just feel loved!" What a compliment to our church; hugs, smiles, and Jesus' love knows no bounds. However, we want
to effectively communicate the Gospel, so very soon we will begin ESL classes. With volunteers from our church, we will be
teaching a weekly course to teach English as a second language through a Bible based curriculum. And Lord willing, we would
love to one day have a weekly Spanish service should the Lord build up leaders through this unique opportunity. Please pray
God will bless this endeavor.
Please continue to pray for the
Connect NYC team as they are out raising support. The Fraley family (Tony and Melissa) and Betty Fey are on full time deputation
and hoping to move as soon as possible. Elvis Leon, a convert from our first church plant in Brooklyn, is finishing up Bible
college in Springfield, MO and will eventually be moving back as well. Their being here is vital to the "5 in Five"
goal of planting 5 churches in all five of the boroughs. As far as we're concerned, they can't get here soon enough.