When I applied to Go Now Missions, I was very compelled to be able to connect with the Asian culture. I initially applied to go to the East Asia trip and upon hearing that I was not appointed there, I was confused. I felt that it was the spot the Lord wanted me to be. However, God opened a new horizon to a completely different place, and it was right here in the states in New York.
Because I wanted to be obedient to the call, regardless where I was, I accepted the appointment. I was joyful to learn that I would still be able to connect with the Asian people but in a different setting. I know I was still being used for God’s purpose. Our team participated in several outreach opportunities, including prayer walking, surveying, passing out goodie bags with a purpose and just talking to people with intention.
The most rewarding experience took place in Jackson Heights when I came across a Buddhist monk praying aloud at a street corner. I felt the urge to go and speak with him. I simply approached him and asked what exactly he was praying about. From there, conversation sparked. Our encounter consisted of a lot of listening for me. My mindset was to be slow to speak and allow the Spirit to guide the conversation. He iterated that one doesn’t need religion when a person can just pursue joy and happiness. I explained following Christ is what brings me joy.
That provided the transition for me share the gospel with him. He respected what I had to say, but he was firm in his own beliefs. However, I noticed as I continued to share my own experience about how God has been ever present in my life, his demeanor changed. I could tell he was touched by what he was hearing. Though this wasn’t a moment of repentance, he allowed me to pray for him before I left. I placed my hand on him and asked the Lord to reveal himself to the man.
Upon parting ways, he said that I was the most well-mannered Christian he had ever conversed with. He appreciated not having Christianity thrown in his face. Humbled, I explained I was simply acting as Christ did when he was here on earth. This was a reminder to show love as Christ did in our everyday ministry. This man was thankful for someone to listen to him. I know that the Lord is working on his heart, and I am grateful that the Lord allowed me to have a part in it. This is the whole reason why we go.
Gabriel A. Garcia, a student at Dallas Baptist University, served with Go Now Missions as part of the International Christmas in New York team, focused on reaching the Asian population in New York city.