(A Much Needed) Spring Update!
Well the past couple months have been filled with some incredible moments where we’ve seen God provide, guide, gather people, and give vision!
I want to say thank you to so many of you have been following along and praying for me as I’ve preached at Journey Queens while they were looking for a Pastor. Through the first part of 2022, we worked through the entire book of Ephesians on Sunday mornings and it was a blast! As that commitment wrapped up at the end of March, I’ve reflected on how encouraging that time was for me personally. The community at Journey Queens is such a kind group of individuals and were so affirming to me as I was able to get back into a regular rhythm of preaching weekly. During my time with Journey Queens, we saw rising attendance and several decisions from members and attenders to take steps toward Jesus!
Melissa is back in school
We’ve been so proud of Melissa these past few months as she has gone back to school to be licensed in Cosmetology! She is attending The Aveda Institute in Manhattan. For the past several weeks, she has been attending classes and learning the ins and outs of cutting and coloring hair. She has excelled in her classes and has moved from mannequins to cutting the hair of real people! She will continue this program through the Summer and will graduate from the program in the early Fall. At that point, she’ll be able to get a job in a salon and begin building her clientele base. We are so excited for her as this is something that she has dreamed of doing for several year. It has been so fun cheering her on as she develops the skills she needs to thrive in the hair industry!
Many of you have been praying for us in our transition to a new unit in our apartment building. We moved from the second floor to the first and were able to gain some more space! Not only did we go from two bedrooms to three, we also gained a larger living room and access to our building’s coveted outdoor space! While we’ve only been in this new unit for a couple weeks, it’s been clear as to why God provided us with this additional space.
We’ve already hosted quite a few gatherings of people and will be hosting a weekly small group called Alpha beginning later this week. Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. We are really excited to see how God uses these groups to be a platform for our neighbors to consider the way of Jesus and experience His love! Please be praying for these groups who will be meeting in our home for these conversations!
Friends of Noonan
Over the past year and a half, we have partnered with a local neighborhood group called Friends of Noonan. This group was organized to mobilize volunteers to serve at our local park, Thomas P. Noonan Playground. Through partnering with this group, we’ve been able to serve our neighborhood in a tangible while building many friendships and connections. Earlier this Spring, the leader of this organization let me know that she would be stepping down due to increased demands with work and family. As a result, she asked if I’d be willing to step into the lead role and lead out in mobilizing volunteers to serve the park. This was a huge opportunity and I was excited to accept. Already, we’ve held multiple cleanup events this Spring and are looking ahead to numerous more service opportunities as well as community events that will give us an opportunity to care for our neighbors.
Partnership with Mosaic Church
If you’ve been on a short-term mission trip with us, chances are we’ve shared with you about Mosaic Church. Mosaic is an evangelical church that was planted in the neighborhood in 2019 and is four blocks from our apartment. Throughout our time in New York, I’ve been able to partner with the Mosaic Community Center to help provide meals for families in our neighborhood. As our partnership with Mosaic has grown, my presence at the community center has also grown. I’ve been able to be a regular Pastoral presence at the community center. Currently, we have a faithful group of amazing volunteers who serve twice a week to distribute food. Many of these volunteers are neighbors who love their neighbors but don’t affiliate with any local church. By stepping into this role, my hope is that I can help care for our neighbors who pickup food along with these who serve regularly. Each week, we give food to about 400 families in Sunnyside! I also have been leading our team inside in prayer twice a week and have been able to have many spiritual conversations with them!
A couple months back, we were having lunch with a couple of Mosaic’s Pastors thinking through ways we could better partner together to communicate the Gospel to our neighbors. Following this meeting, the Lead Pastor asked if there would be any interest in joining our efforts together by combining our congregations for a season. As he explained, Mosaic was still very much in a church planting phase. While they officially launched in 2019, several of the individuals who were part of their congregation have moved away from the city during the pandemic. We also recognized how much we could learn from this congregation as we continued to minister to our neighbors. Initially, we were hesitant about joining along with them, however, as we prayed, God began to make it clear that we should take this step.
At this time, we’re entering into a 6 month residency and season of discernment to discover which direction God will be taking us in. Our team we’ve been serving with is bought in and excited about moving forward in this new direction. At the end of these 6 months, we envision either continuing with Mosaic in a full-time capacity to lead at Mosaic West Queens in Sunnyside or be sent from Mosaic to continue planting a new church in Western Queens with people and resources from Mosaic.
We feel this is a great move! Mosaic has had an incredible presence in our neighborhood. As we reflected on the vision of the church God was calling us to plant, in many ways, it looked a lot like Mosaic. Mosaic is a church that prioritizes the neighborhood, nations, the next generation, and creating a new family. By combining with them in this time, we’re able to work together to see more people take steps toward Jesus which is something we’re extremely excited about!
What do these next steps mean in regard to church planting?
First of all, we are still very much planting a church! We believe that this step toward collaboration and partnership will strengthen our ability to plant a Gospel-centered and transformational church in Queens. While Mosaic launched in 2019, the fact is that they are still very much in a church planting season. Because of this, we are still very much in need of of your prayer, teams, and financial partnership.
Secondly, we are still forming our team and leading out in ministry here in Sunnyside Queens. We’ve recently had an amazing young couple move to our neighborhood for the purpose of planting alongside of us. The Peñas have already been a valuable addition to our team! Dean is a videographer and Hannah is a worship leader. They moved into our old apartment upstairs and have already been a huge asset to our ministry efforts here!
Third, we’re gaining an incredible church family here locally who are committing to walk alongside to provide much needed care and support to our family. They’re also generous in the way they share their people and resources in our ministry efforts here in the neighborhood. With their people, we’re also able to borrow their credibility in our neighborhood to form more relationships with individuals who would be interested in being part of our church. We’re able to worship alongside them on Sunday mornings and use our gifts to serve. I will be preaching on the teaching rotation beginning May 15! We believe that together, we can accomplish more than we can alone.
How can you be praying for us in this season?
Please pray for wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit as we step into this new season
Pray for our family as Melissa continues in school full time throughout the next couple of months
Pray for Annie and Judson as they continue with school this Spring
Pray for continued financial support. As we ramp up ministry efforts, the costs associated will also continue to increase
Pray for our Alpha group that is beginning this Friday night in our apartment. Pray that we have great conversations about Jesus and that our friends/neighbors tangibly experience Christ’s love
Pray for our neighbors who receive food each week as well as those who serve at Mosaic Community Center. Pray that they take steps toward following Jesus and are able to find life in Him as well as connection with our local body of believers
Pray for Friends of Noonan and the many opportunities we have to serve and care for our neighborhood through this group