New York City Mission Trip

Typically when one thinks of Time Square or the Statue of Liberty or China-Town or any of the other various tourist attractions in NYC they think of vacation, not gospel-mission. This summer I had the privilege of traveling to New York City with a NAOBC mission team to partner with Gallery Church, located in city-center Manhattan, in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for NAOBC sending me on this trip.

We left Louisville, KY on June 26th and returned on July 1st. It was a quick and intense trip.  Our team partnered with a few other churches in an effort to: 1) prayer walk the Chelsea district in which Gallery Church is located 2) do a two-day block party for families located in the Chelsea district and 3) pass out 65,000 invitations to Gallery Church in a section of The City that has 66,000 people every square mile! It was hard-work, it was rewarding gospel-work.

On two occasions over the course of our time in NYC I had the opportunity to share the full gospel of Jesus Christ with New Yorkers who had no gospel knowledge (they had inklings of Christian knowledge, but they understood nothing about the gospel of Jesus Christ); on three occasions I had the opportunity to pray with New Yorkers on the busy streets of Manhattan (please pray for Tony and Taylor, the two men I had the privilege to share Christ with; pray that the gospel took root and did not fall on hard soil).

I’ve been to 16 countries, a couple of U.S. territories, and 20 states (ish), most of these to preach the gospel, but our trip to NYC was one of the most spiritual-transforming trip that I’ve been on. For the first time I realized that one of Satan’s great devices is not necessarily overtly demonic activity (though many of his devices are obviously demonic). Rather, he has blinded people to the gospel of Jesus Christ by raising up a plethora of people who “appear” to have made it in this life without the gospel–movie stars, broadway actors, professional athletes, wealthy CEOs.

Since leaving NYC, I’ve been overwhelmed. Not by the sites we saw, but by the vast lostness of those we interacted with in our own “backyard.”


Breakfast with Friends & Meghan’s 26th BDay

The Graigs and The Johnsons

This week Meghan and I had the opportunity to spend some time with another NAOBC couple preparing leave Louisville (we meet to part and part to meet). Like good Southern Baptists, we fellowshipped over food-breakfast to be exact.  It was great, we ate Adam’s burnt biscuits with some gravy, eggs, and fruit while we talked about family and what the next several months of their life will look like.

On another note, Meghan celebrated her 26th birthday this week!  When we came home today, our front door had been decorated by one of Meghan’s best friends-Rebekah Drahosh.  To celebrate, I took Meghan for a birthday breakfast at IHOP.  While there, I asked her “How does it feel being 26?”  She replied, “It feels great! After a year of being odd (i.e. 25) it feels great being even again (i.e. 26).”

It is Better to Give than to Keep

The Edneys

The Edneys

Commissioning the Edneys

Pastor Bill Cook leading the commissioning of the Edneys at NAOBC on 12/19/10

On Sunday night, December 19, 2010, Raymond and I, with the rest of Ninth & O Baptist Church, said an official goodbye to our dear friends Jonathan, Becca, Benjamin, and unnamed baby Edney.  They are headed to Virginia at the beginning of next year to complete a couple months of training for a long-term mission assignment in the jungles of Brazil.  The Edneys will fly to Brazil in March, have a baby in May, and begin 1 year of language school soon after.

We met the Edneys right after we were married – Becca joined us on a 10-day mission trip to Ecuador through our church NAOBC in July of 2008 (we celebrated 1 month of marriage during this trip and Becca was still in her first trimester with Ben!).  6 weeks after Jonathan and Becca had Ben, Raymond and I began babysitting once a week so that Becca could work a little bit at Gymboree Play and Music.  We continued watching him until this past July when we were getting ready to have Abigail.  It was during this year and a half that our friendship with the Edneys truly blossomed.  Aside from watching Ben we would play Quiddler/Monopoly Deal/Golf/Spades every Sunday night after church at the Edneys over frozen pizza, calzones, and chili (they truly blessed us through these meals by providing the food for us).  These times of covenant fellowship often lead to intimate conversations, pray requests, and hearty laughs – we truly have bore one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2).

Raymond and I have learned so much from them, especially as we watched them parent Benjamin – we have learned from their successes and mistakes!  We have also watched the call of God work itself in their life (this has been a true blessing); they have prepared for a life in Brazil away from family/friends, away from the comforts of America, away from the church they love so that they can share the gospel of Jesus Christ and disciple believers.

Raymond teaching Ben to read

Raymond teaching Ben to read

This holiday season, as we prayerfully and painfully let our friends go, the phrase in Basil Manly Jr.’s hymn, Soldiers of Christ, in Truth Arrayed, “we meet to part and part to meet” has a new meaning.  This holiday season, we are learning that it is better to graciously give than to keep as we look forward to an eternal reward provided for us through Jesus Christ.  This holiday season, as we meditate on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the one who gave his life so that we might be forgiven of the sins that condemn us, we are thankful to know that our friends (the Edneys) are following his example and laying down their lives so that others may have life.

Ecuador 2008

Ecuador 2008

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Prayer Shower

NAOBC members praying for the Edneys on 12/20/10 as they prepare to leave Louisville, KY.

Johnsons & Edneys

Johnsons & Edneys - Ben and Abigail are pledged to be married.