We Are From Britain and We Don’t Know Anything

“We are from Britain and we don’t know anything…” was their introduction upon approaching our group. It was a rather odd way of introducing one’s self, I have to agree, but it wasn’t the first time someone had come up to me or the group I was with, and wanted to know what I was, or rather “what is that thing on your head.” When I was younger, I dreaded the question, but now? Now, I love when people ask me because it leads me to share my faith and I know God can work through that conversation.

But back to the British.

It all started out with that alarm clocking beckoning me to get out of bed at five AM; A morning that I usually slept in till seven. Not today. To tell you the truth, I would have loved to turn off that alarm and go back to sleep but I had a trip to take, one that was going to stretch me. But stretching is good right?

We all met at church. Our goal? To head to New York City for a day of evangelism.

During the last six months a bunch of young ladies and I have been meeting biweekly to learn how to better incorporate witnessing into our everyday lives. Easy? Yea not for me. For some people it comes very naturally, but for others…not so much. The idea is nice; to walk up to a complete stranger and start an in-depth conversation in a matter of seconds like Ray Comfort, but in reality, yea…not happening.

This trip to NYC was for us to take what we learned and have fun with it as we did some touring around the city. So like I said, we met at church and put together sixteen brown paper lunches and off we went.

We found the parking garage ok. We got to the Brooklyn Tabernacle all well and dandy. We even got to Little Italy without a problem…it was getting to Central Park that was the biggest problem. I have never known a subway system I can’t handle. I lived in NYC for six weeks…how hard could it be? Well it turns out that when the subway system is under construction, even the locals are confused. Long story short, it took longer than expected to get to the park but we eventually made it.

I’ve said it before, but that day it was especially true, “When you’re looking for homeless people, you can’t find them, but stop looking and they are everywhere.” {Does anyone else have the experience or is it only me?} We probably walked the half of Central Park, and found one homeless person, and he was sleeping. Another thing we wanted to do was hand out tracks and what excuse did we have with people EVERYWHERE in one of the only wide open green places in NYC? Well let’s just say after trying to hand those tracks {the cool million dollar ones} to what feels like a million people, who reject your offer, you give up. We just found other ways to ‘hand’ them out. Like folding them in the fence, or letting them drop as we walked. Hey someone will pick them up, right?

We eventually did find more homeless people to hand the lunches out to. Some were really appreciative of them. Others we left by their blankets as they slept. But I kid you not. Ten minutes after we handed out our last packed lunch, the homeless people seemed to be everywhere.

By this time our feet are sore and I know for me, my heart seemed a bit forlorn. To be completely honest, the ‘successful’ trip I imagined didn’t turn out so successful. Sure, we got our lunches handed out, but I had hoped to talk to people, for them to be more receptive and to hold a conversation with at least ONE person. The verse, “My ways are not your ways” definitely comes to mind. I guess I shouldn’t measure my idea of success by my standards.

Just before we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and head home, we stopped by the World Trade Center Memorial. After looking at the fountains we found a block of rock to sit on {literally} and took a break. It had been a loooong day. That’s when it happened.

“Excuse me, we are from Britain and we don’t know anything. But we saw you ladies over here with those pretty things on your head and we were wondering what they are.”

One of the girls referenced 1 Corinthians 11. Turns out, they were from Britain {if they accent hadn’t given that away} and they were visiting New York City for a week. They asked us more about ourselves and after mentioning that we were from PA which is also Pennsylvania, we had to explain that Pennsylvania is a state, not a city. I asked them if they knew about Amish people, to which of course they said they had heard of them {why do people know about Amish and not Mennonites is a mystery to me}. I’m not sure the conversation went much further than that, but the one lady did mention that she would google us when she had a chance. Rather amusing to be googled about if you think about it.

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The walk across the bridge was long but worth it. There aren’t many things more special than spending time with people who desire to further God’s kingdom through the giving of themselves.

All in all it was an exhausting but day, but also a learning experience. I’m not sure what I wanted to get out of the trip and I’m not disappointed exactly, but it turned out a bit different than expected. I can only hope that God took what little good I seemed to contribute and use that for profit.

For His word shall not return void.

That your life, no matter where you are, declare who you serve!