The following day (Monday), we went to a different area of the city; whereas previously we had gone to a park in which people were mostly sitting around and relaxing, that second day was a hustle-and-bustle kind of day along the sidewalks elsewhere. People were constantly moving, so I felt even less able to engage anyone in conversation, but I did finally manage to talk to a few people that day. Sadly, not all of the conversations went well; in fact, one of them was a bit intense.
This particular conversation I had was with a guy whom I simply thought might have overheard what members of my team had been talking about with someone else. Unfortunately, after talking with him shortly, I found his view on the Bible so distorted and awkward that I didn’t know what to make of what he was saying; he knew certain verses but somehow was way off their context or even what they said directly. I wouldn’t say he was crazy, but he was severely misguided in his interpretation and somewhat abrasive in his speech; in fact, I afterwards found out he belonged to a cult I’d never heard of before. Jeff was able to get me out of the conversation, and we walked a little bit down the street, but then this guy walked up and started to talking to me again, until Sam engaged him in conversation, and we were able to move on. I think I was still reeling from that experience for a while; it kind of stuck with me throughout the week. In hindsight, some of what he had said was a bit laughable (not necessarily in a good way though) because of how he used the verses compared with the correct interpretation. But I digress; however, I became a little more cautious about approaching people on the street after that experience.
Another conversation I had that day just kind of went in circles, with the guy I talked to saying he had moved beyond the Bible and saw all religions as having pieces of truth. The conversation might not have gone anywhere, but at least he was a nice person to talk to.
As we were nearing the end of our time in the area, as I was waiting with one of my teammates, a lady walked over to us and asked for prayer for a specific issue. I had noticed her previously during our time there, but she had been working at one of the stores, so I never approached her. She wasn’t a believer, but it was still encouraging that she had come over and asked for prayer. Since she was still supposed to be working, I had a brief time to talk but was able to share the Gospel with her and pray for her request.
We headed to dinner that evening around Union Square, but before we arrived there, we had gone to the underground part that shows names of those lost on September 11, 2001. I can’t say what I ate tasted great (I think I’ll avoid goat cheese), but I did get to have a brief religious discussion with the guy I bought my dinner from. He was friendly, but he disagreed with some of what I had to share.
After dinner, it was back to work; this time we got to see the paint presentation and tried talking to people that way. The paint presentation is a way that someone explains the Gospel while painting what s/he is talking about; it’s very interesting to watch someone drawing a picture while sharing a message. We then try to engage with whomever may have been listening/watching this, or conversely, try to talk with those who are walking by/away midway through the presentation.
Later on, it was time to head back to the church, and that’s when we got lost in New York City (we did have a guy named Kevin with us). Let me just explain what Sam had told us from the get-go; if he wasn’t with us, we were lost, because he knew the city. Whether we were on the subway train and he wasn’t or vice versa, we were lost. Not all of us made it to the train we were supposed to get on, but those of us who did were “lost.” Those few minutes without Sam were pretty exciting and somewhat hilarious. Not every day would be this eventful or chaotic, but some things did just seem to get more difficult with each day that passed.