If you come to New York City for long-term missions to reach one of the many unreached people groups living here, I can almost guarantee you will hear about and experience “the nudge” sooner or later. Most likely sooner than later. It happens when God has set a divine appointment between you and another. As you stroll down a crowded street with people from around the world, nervously wondering who you should talk to, you get that pull. God tugs at your heart and says, “him.”
Allow me to elaborate with a personal example. Let me tell you the story about how I met Hussein.
The first thing that caught my attention about Hussein was the fact that he was missing his left hand. I almost walked past him but an amputated appendage tends to get my attention. The second thing that struck me was the fact that he was asking for my help. He was not just putting a call out to anyone who would listen. He looked me in the eyes and asked for my help. God nudged me. Would I keep walking or be obedient?
Obedience in sharing the gospel
Let us pause here and add another detail — I was not out on the street looking to share the gospel. I was not “working.” I was running errands. I had copies to make and groceries to buy. It would have been an easy justification to keep walking. I had things to do. But there was the matter of “the nudge.” And this was a definite nudge. I needed to be obedient.
I put my evening on hold and asked Hussein what he needed. He was asking for money to buy food. Hussein was just trying to put food in his stomach for the evening. I do not give money in these situations. I am quite familiar with the destructive cycle of addiction, and I will never give another man the means to destroy himself. But I will buy a man a meal.
I told Hussein to walk me to his favorite place to get a meal and I would follow. As we walked I had the privilege of being present at God’s divine appointment. It was only a two-minute walk to the restaurant. That gave me about a minute for a personal testimony of Christ’s transformative power in my life and another minute to present the gospel.
I wish I could tell you that Hussein stopped in his tracks on the way to that restaurant and accepted Christ. I would love to tell you of a life transformed right there on that New York City street. But this is not that kind of story. Hussein did not give me a lot of feedback during our conversation. He agreed a lot but said little. I bought him some food and then stood on the street and prayed for him. God nudged and I obeyed. Everything else is up to the Holy Spirit.
Long-term missions in New York City
God does not ask us to do the heavy lifting. He only asks us to be obedient. Has God nudged you toward New York City? Is he leading you to long-term missions among the 52 unreached people groups living here?