“In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bore them, and carried them all the days of old.” This saying of the prophet Isaiah demonstrates in tender terms the Lord’s care of His people in days of old. In similar fashion, His tender mercies are apparent to those in Christ today, both Jew and Gentile, as He carries us and sympathizes with our weaknesses.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, togive the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair…
Sometimes when the weight of the world seems to come down upon our shoulders, we as ministers of the Gospel of Christ best realize that our sufficiency is not of ourselves. “The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.” …through Him, the line goes. Our standing in grace is our being in Christ justified, and our sufficiency as ministers of the Word of God is through His Spirit, not our mortal efforts.
Recounting events at the mission: I reiterate again this week my amazement at the Lord’s provision of a mission team from Wisconsin, whose visit last week overlapped perfectly the time I had to spend away from the city following my grandmother’s unexpected death. My grandmother was a Christian, and I rejoice at her homegoing after years of pain. But to think that God had already lined up a team of young people (including former-NYGM intern Galen Balinsky) to take my place here for the week causes amazement and thankfulness in my heart.
For each of the months of January, Febrary, and March, the mission averaged around 1500 attendees per month in our chapel services. These are hearing the Gospel. They come for food and receive it. Some have told me that they come for the Word of God as well as the food. In fact, one has even told me he comes for the Word of God primarily. I used to walk past one of our avid listeners quite often on the sidewalk. A dear elderly Spanish man who may have moved away at this point, he would always smile brilliantly as he said to me “hello, pastor,” an accolade I really don’t feel worthy of. His was the smile of a regenerate heart rejoicing on account of the preaching of the Word of God as far as I could tell, and I myself have experienced the same. The Spirit bares witness with my spirit that this one is a child of God and not an empty professor.
Right here in the city, some years ago, mission worker Fanny Crosby came face to face with the poor spiritual conditions in a certain area of town and penned the lines, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.” A century and a half before her time, the Methodist movement (originally called the “Great Evangelical Revival” in England) was spreading the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ throughout the then-colonies of America. George Whitfield left New York on horseback, preaching itinerantly as he journeyed toward Savannah, Georgia. South of Richmond, on the boundary between Virginia colony and North Carolina, Francis Asbury deemed Salem Chapel, near the present-day town of South Hill, as “our finest chapel in the country part of Virginia.” The Virginia annual convention of Methodists was held there in 1795, 98, 1802, and 04. In the 1930’s, a Fundamentalist from South Hill Methodist Church founded an afternoon Sunday school which later became a non-denominational church itself. This was my church in my youth, and though I didn’t appreciate it then, I have since returned volitionally, now as a Christian in full faith of the Gospel. Recently, as I was looking through some old donor records of the New York Gospel Mission, I noticed that someone from my church had been supporting this mission in Manhattan in years gone by. I never cease to be amazed at the interconnectedness of God’s dealings and His people throughout all generations, as many as know the salvation of God in truth. Along these lines, I mention in closing that our Chinese preacher here at the mission today is actually an immigrant from Ghana, West Africa. He knows the Lord and is zealous for the truth, and he speaks and preaches in Chinese. I have included his picture above. How Great are the works of Jehovah; sought out of all that delight in them. (Psalm 111:2, Darby’s translation)
Please continue to offer request to the Lord that He would send us additional help. We need an additional intern for at least the summer, and we need a Spanish preacher for our Spanish crowd who desires a service in their own language.
May God encourage every one in heart through the simple testimonies of this week’s report.
Christopher Love, NYGM Intern