By Emily Couch
New York – The city moves like a breath, like a heartbeat. There is a rhythm, a pace. Men and women move from location to location in set solidarity with straight faces. In a place where dreams of life are promised it is impossible to overlook the death that permeates the air. As Christ-followers we disturb that monotonous shuffle and breathe new life into dead, dry bones by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is through His working that the dead rise. Our job is simply to carry the message of life, hope, grace, and love in obedience to and out of overflow from the love that we have for Christ. I had the opportunity to spend my Spring Break (March 21-29) in New York City with a group of eight others from the University of Alabama. We worked with Nathan Creitz and City Life Church. Nathan is originally from Tuscaloosa, and several of us had worked with him in previous years. It was exciting to see how God had been faithful to reap the harvest that had been sown by the ones who had come before us. City Life Church is located in Ridgewood, a part of the larger borough of Queens. The area is incredibly diverse, with immigrants of Eastern European and Hispanic descent making up a large part of the population. City Life Church is hosting a community-wide worship event entitled “Justice Rising;” its goal is to shed light on the mounting issue of human trafficking throughout Ridgewood, Queens, and the Greater New York Metro Area. In the beginning of the week our team helped to promote this event to the community. For the remainder of the week we were simply on the streets being intentional about the love of Christ. Using packs of gum and crackers as a means to start conversation I was able to share the Gospel with at least five different people and was able to pray with a multitude more. I encountered spiritual warfare in very real ways and was able to see how victorious and powerful our God is. I had conversations with people who were broken and people who thought they had it all together. I prayed with people who were sick or were interceding for another. I was embraced and welcomed by some and outright rejected and ridiculed by others. Through it all, the love story of the Gospel of Christ was proclaimed, and I was able to see God move throughout New York like a breath of fresh air. I was used on the streets, on the subway, and on the train to speak the truth of Christ into people’s lives. It just reminded me of the importance of intentionality – we are continually going and making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). We don’t pause; we run the race with perseverance (Hebrews 12). Above all we open ourselves up to the Father, knowing that He is the God who can do abundantly more than all than we think or ask (Ephesians 3:20-21), and the good work He has started He will carry on to completion at the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
Emily lives in Tuscaloosa and serves as the “Director of Multi-Housing Ministries at Forest Lake Baptist Church, commissioned as a missionary through the North American Mission Board and the Alabama State Board of Missions. She is also pursuing her Master’s at NOBTS Birmingham.