By Maia Straube (10th grade) on July 1, 2021.
Hello Friends and Hola Familia! First of all, I want to say thank you so much for making it possible for me—and everyone else—to go to New York. It was an amazing trip! I believe that we impacted so many people and planted seeds in so many hearts.
About the People
We got to be around, see, and speak to many different cultures, religions and ethnicities. There were people from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Dominican Republic, West Africa, Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia. Each and every person had a different culture. A lot were Hindus. Some were Buddhist. Some were Muslim. We also met Catholics. Everyone we met had a deep need for Christ no matter where they came from or what religion they practiced. In a way they were all chained to their religion, held down by the weight of their sins and burdens, constant slaves to the practices that had to be done every day.
Temples and Spiritual Battles
During our time there, we visited a Buddhist temple, where we saw an elderly woman doing a movement meant to praise Buddha. This movement was almost like a burpee, although it is very hard to explain, and in doing this movement the woman seemed so out of breath and not only that but in pain because she did it for more than 10 minutes without stopping.
We also visited a Hindu temple, where we learned that people were not allowed to pray to their god/deities for themselves without paying money. They were only allowed to pray for others. When I entered the temple, immediately this strange feeling came over me—a feeling of fear and a sense of danger. Over the speakers they played over and over again a man saying “ohmmm.” That alone made me uncomfortable. I knew at once there was a fierce spiritual battle going on around me. Although I knew that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we were safe, but I was still uncomfortable and anxious. It saddened not only me but our whole group to know people believed in this religion and followed it. And it was infuriating to know that Satan had a lot of power in that room.
English Classes and Park Work
Every day we were sent to go help teach English classes to the people that would show up in the UNO (Urban Nations Outreach) facilities. We met so many Bengali men and women—and others—who needed English classes, but more importantly, who needed Jesus!
Many people asked us, “Why are you doing this for free?” They didn’t understand what it meant to truly give from the heart. At one point, a man come up to me and asked, “But why? Why do you do this? What is the reason because it definitely doesn’t help you.” I explained to him (in Spanish) that we did it because we wanted to help as many people as possible to get jobs and provide for their families or simply help them to make new friends or help them to be able to speak with Americans in everyday life. He was still so confused and kept asking why should we help anyone. I explained that we wanted people to see the love of Jesus Christ, and we wanted to pour into others and serve them. Finally he relaxed. He was disarmed, took a flyer of the time and place, smiled and said he wanted to come with his wife the next week. I hope he will go! I hope they see Jesus. There were SO many people like that, people that made us cry when they said goodbye knowing we would probably never see them again on this earth but hopefully we’ll see them one day in Heaven with God.
Regarding our Park Ministry, we prepared a lesson, a song, and a craft. We went to the same park twice and established relationships with a lot of kids. We began with chalk and then a parachute blanket and then bubbles which drew the kids in. Then we asked enthusiastically if they wanted to hear a story and would read the Bible lessons we had prepared. The kids loved it, and we were able to speak to some of the parents as well. So many asked a lot—and I mean A LOT—of questions about Jesus. But sadly, on the other hand, a couple of kids were hardened toward Christianity and hated God because that’s how they had been raised. I met a six-year-old boy who had watched a bunch of PG-13 movies that had desensitized him to so many awful things a kid his age shouldn’t see. He kept saying God wasn’t real. I was able to speak with him a little more. Please pray that the Lord will put people in his life to lead him to Christ.
An Incredible Week
The one week we spent in New York, spending hours upon hours in busses and the metro just trying to get to places and sleeping in rickety bunk beds with humidity and hot air, was the most impactful, beautiful, eye-opening week of my life. God not only worked through us, but I also believe seeds were also planted in our hearts to maybe one day go back and do ministry or go somewhere else and become a missionary.
I was truly blessed with every single dollar you gave me—and by every prayer for me—to go towards this trip. But not only was I blessed, everyone else was as well. We met so many beautiful people who needed Jesus’s love and hope and light. I know we gave it to them and we’re trusting that will grow as we continue with prayer. Lots and lots of it.
The student team was also published in the Watauga Democrat for their service in a laundry service. Read the article here: Alliance Bible Fellowship volunteers in NYC pop-up Laundry Project
Here’s an Instagram post that was shared by the organization: