Early in the summer, my biggest preoccupation was figuring out how to start a conversation. What do I do? What do I say? Do I need to know the whole Bible and go to seminary before I speak a lost person?
Looking back at my doubts and questions, I have learned that sharing the love of Jesus is one of the easiest things to do, and it’s a privilege as a follower of Christ. A simple question—“How are you?”—matters to most immigrants in New York. The desire to feel appreciated and respected is big, since they have only lived here for a small amount of time. They don’t know how to connect with the western culture a lot of the time. South Asian women usually are stuck working in jewelry or clothing stores. Most women I met this summer work 13-hour shifts to be able to make a living and send money back to their country.
As mission teams arrived in New York to work among South Asians, most of the time women have outnumbered men on those teams. So, we sent the women out to do one of the things nearly every woman loves—go shopping. We encouraged them to try on traditional South Asian clothing with the intention of sharing the gospel. We encouraged them to get a henna tattoo from a local shop and engage South Asian women in a gospel story. Many of our missionaries prayed with these local South Asians, and we asked those missionaries to go back and talk to the women, since their jobs don’t allow them to go outside of their business.
Over the weeks, we were able to see results and a response from the local South Asian community. The community was able to witness the love, the intentionally and the service of missionaries who visited their shops to engage in conversations. Many were asked to make a decision to follow Jesus. A hair stylist asked one of our team members to pray for her baby who will be born soon. The missionary and the hair stylist maintain a long-distance friendship. Please pray that the Holy Spirit keeps sending more laborers to work in the field of Queens.
Alexandra Granda, a campus missionary from the University of Texas Pan-American, is serving with Go Now Missions in New York City.