Three states in three days. Bring it, baby, bring it.
My day started early today (4am) after ending last night at 1am. I got up, grabbed my luggage, kissed my wife goodbye...
Steph--I miss you tons... you have no idea how much I would love to have you here...
... and went and had a quick breakfast at Waffle House. I was at the church by 530a, and met up with everyone, loaded into a van and got on a plane at 810am. It was a Delta small plane, 52 seats, and it flew a 1:52 nonstop flight to NYC's La Guardia airport. EVERYONE had luggage with handles on it that rolled, except guess who? My suitcase has wheels on it, but the strap is missing, so I have to pick it up.
And pick it up I did, onto a bus that took us through Harlem to our hotel. Interesting what you see as you ride... we saw Blockbusters, McD's, all sorts of hair places, a woman riding a horse down the sidewalk, you know, the usual.
We arrived at hour stop, but had to walk a couple of blocks to get to the West Side Inn... everyone pulled their stuff along, I carried mine. Rough mission work, I tell ya.
So, from what I understand, the West Side Inn doesnt look as good in person as it does on the 'net, so sayeth Josh & Staci. They didnt have all of our rooms ready yet, so they got us one. In a very tiny elevator, we pushed luggage into it, then ran 5 floors up to get it. We put it all in one room, then headed back out for lunch. There was this KFC/Pizza Hut combo joint that everyone wanted to go to, but Natalie, Geryl & I went down the block to a little place called Carne's. We had real burgers and real fries, and it rocked. We alos met Leslie, the bartnder, who told us she had just moved to Harlem after years in the Village. She was very sleepy, because gunfire in her neighborhood had kept her awake all night. Love it.
After lunch, we caught a subway ride to Grand Central Station... the place is majestic. In two trips here, I had never been there before... it was awesome. We even indulged in a little Ben & Jerry's to pass the time. We dozed on the train over to Stamford, CT, where we met up with Todd & Sharon, who are working to plant Encounter Church there in Stamford.
--Stamford is home to several of the 1,000 biggest companies in the world, like Xerox, Clarol and Pitney Bowes, even though it is a community of only 120,000 people.
--55% of people here claim no religion whatsoever, while 94% of people say they dont attend a church service of ANY kind
--It is a mostly affluent kind of town, where a decent apartment runs you around 1200 per month or so. Todd said if you made $50K per year, you would struggle to survive.
We prayer walked with them around parts of Stamford, praying over the UBC headquarters, part of the UConn-Stamford college campus, one of the government buildings and more. We stopped and had lunch at Luckie's, which was alot like Johnny Rockets. We walked and prayed some more, then headed back to NYC, riding in the now-defuncy "bar car" of the train.
On the subway, we were treated to a semon of a Jamaican preacher, who was walking the car saying out the Truth of Jesus. It was fascinating to watch reactions of people, as some ignored him, so listened, one lady put her hands on her ears, and one drunk guy shouted "Shut up!" before stumbling off at the next stop. Rev. Jamaica kept bringing it, though.
We stopped at the drug store for some supplies, and then came back to get the rest of our rooms. Well, it turns out, there are only two bathrooms per floor. Apparently, the West Side Inn usually houses foreign soccer players, and the building is styled after European dorms. Also, some of the rooms dont have AC, which is sad, because I have dont nothing but sweat like a pig today, just walking.
So, Natalie, Staci and Paula are in one AC room, Josh, Josh, Mark & Brandon are in an AC room, while the Harringtons have a fan, Colby and Philip have a fan, and Larry Long and I have have a fan. This is good for me, though, because Steph's allergies cant take those fans... so I will have one blowing on me all night long!!!! Good times, good times.
God is already bending the man-made plans we have, and I'm eager to see what happens. Josh's internet connection isnt working right, either, so i'm using a "pay for surf" computer downstairs in the lobby... $5 for 50 minutes. So if the spelling is bad here, know that this computer is slow, the clock is running, and I cant copy and paste, so I've had to type today's events twice... once for posting on valleydale.org/nyc, and once for you fine people here.
--Todd & Sharon, for their continued commitment to the calling
--Leslie, for a beginning with Christ, and Rev. Jamaica, for his boldness to continue
--Continued team unity for us (this is the best team i could imagine being with)
--High spirits when--not if --things dont go as planned
Love you guys... if you dont get a post tomorrow, its because i couldnt get to a computer!