Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brooklyn or Bust!

New York City after Graduation I blogged here about our desire to go and work as an Assistant Pastor to Pastor Jim Bickel of Bethel Baptist Fellowship in Brooklyn, New York.  We told Pastor Bickel that we would give him an answer by the end of February.  Yesterday – Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Ben came home and announced that we are going!  Here’s the story…

New York City has been in Ben’s heart for a long time.  We talked about starting a church in the City when we were still dating.  It has always been the long-term goal, unless God directed us differently.   In the fall of 2008 we stopped at Bethel for the morning service on our way home from Donny & Erika’s wedding.  We mentioned to Pastor Bickel that we were praying about New York City.

In the fall of 2009, Ben contacted Pastor Bickel by email to say that we were seriously considering New York City, and that Ben’s Hebrew class would conclude in the spring of 2010.  Ben asked if Pastor Bickel knew of a church in New York City thNew York City after Graduationat needed an assistant pastor.  Pastor Bickel replied that he had placed our family on his prayer list the year before (unbeknownst to us), and he had been praying for us regarding church planting in New York City.  He told us that he would be willing to pray with us about the possibility of coming to work at Bethel before starting a church.  Ben feels very comfortable with Pastor Bickel, he knows the ministry at Bethel, and this was a huge answer to prayer.

We began praying.  We visited Bethel in January, 2010.  At that time Pastor Bickel told us that the door was open – he wanted us to come to Bethel if God wanted us to come.  Another answer to prayer.

Ben wanted to spend some time, even a whole day, just praying about God’s Will for our family.  On February 1st we had a snow day…in Virginia Beach.  Ben spent the day in prayer.  Last week he was off on Tuesday because there was no eligible work for that day.  He spent the day in prayer and study.  We were both praying that God would close the door if it was not His Will. 

We sought counsel from several men in our church and that know the process of church planting, and New York City.  No one counseled us not to go, but several raised the idea of doing deputation and raising support before going. We prayed some more (and felt a New York City after Graduationlittle distracted…confused).  We know finances will be tough.  But we also know God will provide.  On Tuesday I asked Ben what he was thinking, knowing that our “deadline” was still over a week away.  He said, “I’ll tell you tomorrow.” 

Ben came home early yesterday from work.  Elaine was asleep.  I was scrapbooking and just finishing the movie Facing the Giants.  The theme of the movie could be summarized in the statement “What is impossible when God is on your side?”  When Ben walking in, he asked what I was thinking.  I replied, “You first.”  He said, “I think I’m going to email Pastor Bickel and tell him we’re coming.”

Ben had come to the conclusion that whether or not to do deputation was the how of going to NYC.  It did not answer should we go?  He felt like the Lord was calling us to go.  Now that we have that answer, we can consider the how

After church Ben called Pastor Bickel and told him we were coming.  Pastor Bickel wanted to know how we arrived at that decision.  So Ben told him the story.  Ben concluded by saying, “I can’t get this verse out of my head: ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me’ (Jonah 1:2).”  Pastor Bickel responded, “That is the same verse that God used to call me to New York City.” 

God is so good!  He just gave us that sweet confirmation and token for good, as if to say, “Yes, Ben.  You’re making the right decision.”

Pastor Bickel advised us to wait on deputation until we were ready to start a new church work.  We are now praying specifically for a job and a place to live.  Our lease here is up on May 30th, and it would be ideal to leave at that time.  We know that God will lead us!  Please pray with us about this need.

New York City after Graduation


  1. Andrea, I am thrilled for you guys as you move toward ministry in NYC! God will continue to light each step! We'll be praying!

  2. That is so amazing! I know Ben has had this desire for a long time and it is good to see how God is bringing it to reality! We'll be praying for you all!


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