Welcome to the church in the wild.
I live with dudes who haven’t been to church in a while.
I’ve chosen this lifestyle, have you ever met my friends?
Porn stars, dope dealers, they like, “why you chill with them?”
I thought you was a Christian? Yeah I’m on that team.
But I’m with them cause my life’s the only Bible they’ve ever seen.
Those lines are the opening lyrics of the first verse in a song called Wild Things by Andy Mineo. Our mentor during this internship, Gabe Brazel, who is an amazing young man of God, has referenced this song multiple times since we have gotten here to the Bronx this summer on June 1st. And now that we are much closer to the end of this internship than we are the beginning, this song, by one of my favorite rappers, speaks more to my life than it ever has before.
The Bronx itself is not a borough that will be featured on many NYC postcards and if you see movies or references to the Bronx, other than Yankee Stadium, it is generally negative. That saddens me for if I tell someone, “oh yeah I am working in the Bronx this summer” they will give me raised eyebrows asking “the Bronx? Are you sure you’re safe there?” Well I can tell you that I feel almost as safe here as I do in my suburban home of Grapevine, Texas.
This borough is a place that would be a place where many American Christians “would not dare” visit. Violence, drugs, weed, and shootings can all be common occurrences while you are here (I have actually seen all four of those things since being here). But even though most will not, I can tell you what this borough needs the most are Christians coming here to bring the Gospel, which means good news, to this city and borough.
Other than God’s presence here, which is extremely strong, there is one major thing I sense as I walk through these streets and talk to people and that is brokenness. If you do not know it already, this world is an extremely broken place to live. We live in a world that groans and cries out for a creator. We live in a world of brokenness and that can only be fixed by God himself. A lot of people here live with lots of pain and suffering and hardships. A lot of people are searching for answers that they just cannot seem to find. That is where us as Christians should come in, but too often we do not step up. As a Christian I admit I am just as broken as anyone else in this city, but living in Christ I am able to live with lots of joy and lots of peace knowing God is in control of my life. I can tell people that, yeah I am broken, but I have a peace that is beyond understanding that only comes through God.
That is the message I pray I have been delivering to people this summer here in the Bronx and the message I pray I can continue to deliver long after I leave. The number one thing I probably learned here this summer is how to walk out in boldness and courage and proclaim the awesome things my Savior has done for me! He has done so many great things for me why would I not want to share with others? The Bronx really is a great place to be! I’ve loved being able to share the love of God here!