Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mission trip 2016 ~ New York City {Part 4}

Our final, full day in New York City.
The majority of our team had spent the last 10 days in rigorous training sessions,
 hours of unusual (and sometimes uncomfortable) ministry opportunities, 
and miles of walking and train hopping.
Today, we were going to be full-fledged tourists and see the sights 
of the "Big Apple."
What an adventure!!

When in doubt of your's your sign.

From Queens into Manhattan, it was about a 45 minute train ride.

It was a wonderfully comfortable morning, and the ferry landing was very busy.

As in most every place we went in this teeming city, there was somebody trying 
 to hand you something here.  Whether it was a gospel flyer,
or product information, or a high-five.  Most New Yorkers were very gracious and 
took what was being handed to them, and some of them even looked
at what was in their hand.  But for many of them, it was so common place,
so a part of the rushed culture there, they simply ignored the offer and hurried
on their way.

Not so with this lady.  She stood right by the seating area in the ferry station
and literally preached about sin and the need of Jesus Christ in our lives.
She was determined to be heard and moved everywhere the crowd moved
including onto the ferry.

How exciting to be on a ferry 
in New York Harbor!!

 For many of us this was our first time seeing this part of our great land, 
 yet we were immediately able to recognize Ellis Island!!

And there she in the distance!!

"In New York Harbor,
stands a lady,
with her torch raised to the sky!
And all who see her,
knows she stands for liberty for you and me."

Lunch was only 5 bucks here!!!
Another myth about New York City shattered!!!

My favorite picture of Lower Manhattan.
You can easily pick out the Freedom Tower on the left with the tallest point
in memory of the twin towers.

Once we were back on land, the race began.
So much to see here with such little time left.
I was so thankful for experienced leaders who knew exactly where
we were going and the shortest route to get there!!

Inside Rockefeller Center on our way up to the observation deck!

How to see ALL of New York City in just a few short minutes!

The Empire State Building

Looking down onto the famous St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Looking down on Central Park!

Below (where the two guys are standing in the middle of the picture) is where
the giant Christmas tree is set up every year.

The bronze statue of Atlas located across the street from
St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th avenue.

St. Patrick's Cathedral at the ground level.

In no way was I prepared for our next stop.

15 years ago, on September 11, I was pregnant with my third baby and had two toddlers
running around the house.
I watched in increasing horror the events of that tragic day and will
never forget as I wept uncontrollably with the rest of the world as those towers came
crashing down on thousands of innocent firemen, policemen, and working citizens.
When we walked into this area, it all came back to me in vivid scenes.
The people jumping for the their lives and free falling 80 stories to the ground.
The miles of people walking the Brooklyn Bridge because all mass transportation
had been shut down.
Our President standing atop the heaps of twisted metal with smoke
billowing up behind him, defying the forces of evil that caused
such senseless, unimaginable horror.
I never dreamed that one day I would be standing at the very location it all happened.
I couldn't stop the breath choking in my throat, the tears from blinding me.
I almost thought at one point I might pass out.
To be honest, I was pretty embarrassed that I struggled to maintain
my composure in this place, that I succumbed to the ugly cry,
 but it served to remind me why we even were
here in this city.
We live on a sin cursed planet.
The consequences of said sin curse played out in increasing violence every day.
So many people dying.
Without Christ.
People NEED the Lord.

I was glad I had the privilege of seeing this sobering place,
 and that those two toddlers running around me
on that fateful day were old enough to see it with me,
but I don't think I could ever go back.
It was so incredibly painful.

We wrapped up our sightseeing for day by splitting up into groups.
Some went to Times Square, some to the Lego Store and American Girl Store,
but my group went here:

My girls and I hadn't  been able to get into the new Carlo's bakery in Dallas when it opened in March,
so I was dying to come here and try their version of the cannoli!!


Our day ended with dinner and fellowship all together at this 
amazing restaurant right on 42nd street!!!

Their interpretation of Texas culture made us all chuckle because
of the stereotypical ideas of Texas in New York!
There were big buffalo and Native American Indians painted in giant
murals on the walls.
This was Ashlyn's "taco salad!"

Missionaries Joey and Leah Clapp.
Love them and their heart for this city!!

Can you see how exhausted we were from our day full of laughter and tears
on our long train ride back to our hotel?!
But what an unforgettable day!!