Iglesia Bautista Canaan is a church with a lot of hunger for sharing the love of Jesus. This church participates a lot in the life of its community. It offers services such as helping people secure immigration documents, education and health care.
A few weeks ago, the church organized a block party. In New York, you need a permit for everything. You can’t just close a street or organize events without the permission of the city. Thank God, we were able to conduct the block party and share our faith among the community of Corona. God placed people of peace in our path to speed up the permits.
The block party was five days long. The first day was at the street, and the rest were in parks. A group of wonderful people from Tennessee came to help us with the activities for the kids and to evangelize. I have never shared my faith as I did those days. It’s a domino effect—you share once, then twice and you keep going.
The first day of the block party, I met someone really special. One of the sisters from church asked me if we had English Bibles. We focus more in giving out Spanish Bibles, because Corona’s community is mostly composed of Ecuadorians, Mexicans and Dominicans. But I remembered we had some English Bibles at the office of the church, where I spend most of my time. The sister who asked me about the Bible guided a lady to me, telling her I had an English Bible. She and I walked to the church office, and as we walked, we talked a little bit.
Her name is Alid, and she is from Mexico. God had prepared the way for us to meet. It was something special. When we got to the church office, I gave her the English Bible, and we talked for more than an hour. We got along so well. Alid is a social anthropologist, so we talk about our similar career interests. In a matter of minutes, we were sharing difficult experiences, such as the death of my father and the death of her parents. We established trust through an exchange of multiple ideas and smiles. She told me about her experience in being a mother and wife. She told me about her husband. He is a tattoo artist, and her arms were full of tattoos he drew. We exchanged phone numbers, and she told me the Bible was for her 15-year-old daughter. Alid grew up reading the Bible, and she wants the same for her daughter.
Time went on. The five days that we had the block party were busy and full of a lot of activities—a banquet for the police department, going to the park to play basketball with Ecuadorian girls and sharing my faith. By the grace of God and the help of Pastor Edison and my church, we were able to share Jesus with a lot of people, mostly women.
After the block party, I have been working on decorations for Vacation Bible School. Even when I spend most of the time in the church office, I have met really special people. People like:
- Maria, who sells Mexican food in the street and is from Puebla, Mexico.
- Oscar, a young man who sells natural juices besides my church and who also is Mexican.
- Gustavo, who sells Mexican food as well, besides my church and who is from Cuernavaca , Morelos, Mexico.
They have been really kind to me. They share their food and juices with me for free sometimes and tell me about their lives. Many times, we think ministry is being focused on big crowds of people, when in reality, it goes down to sharing life with a few. Alid, Maria, Oscar and Gustavo are those few for me.
On Monday, Alid called. She told me she didn’t believe we just met as a coincidence. She told me that I had something so difficult to explain, but she knew it was good. Then she told me her husband had died, and she wanted me to be with her through this difficult time. I told her that I was with her.
The funeral was on Thursday, and I was there. Alid hugged me and told me God had made it possible for us to meet, so I can be with her in this time of her life. At the funeral, there were a lot of tattoo artists and beautiful tattoo models who had worked with Alid’s husband. Before I left the funeral, Alid told that before I go back to Texas, she wants to go with me to my church and hear the word of God.
I know only God and his wonderful grace can do this. It doesn’t matter how many things in common we have with people, only God can bring us together in the most genuine way.
Joy Brown, a student at the University of Texas at El Paso, is serving with Go Now Missions this summer as an intern at a church in Queens, New York City, working with Metropolitan New York Baptist Association.