faces

This may or may not be my last blog about Spring Break…

OOPS.

Here are some pictures of families we met in the community, kids we were able to love on, and new friends we helped with learning English.

Pastor Boto is the man talking to this sweet family. He was an unbelievable picture of what it looks like to really love extravagantly, the way Jesus loves us. He goes to people. He keeps showing up and keeps showing up. He really brings the aroma of Christ to a dark place. (Check out that precious chubster chillaxin on the swing. So cute.)

I love this picture.

Meet Sadiya and Jameilyn…

…and Ahona and Grace. These four little girls stole my heart. Praying that they would continue to be exposed to the Gospel of Jesus.

This is Oumou. I met her at the West African Center and was able to work with her on her English for a little bit.

They had one too many men show up for class, so I got to work with Abadou! It was neat to be able to communicate with him somehow, even when he was beginning with the basics in learning the letters of the English alphabet and the sounds that they make.

And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:26-27

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the truth

One of the places where we spent alot of our time was at the South Asian Center located in Jackson Heights, Queens; we mainly encountered people who were originally from Bangledesh, India, or Tibet. It seriously felt like I apperated into a different country; the streets and stores were filled with culture that was so so foreign to me.
We went into a fascinating Hindu store that blew my mind. Apart from studying Hinduism in Religious Studies 101, I’ve never had much exposure to their beliefs. Well, I was definitely surrounded by it this week. Michelle and I started talking to one of the workers at the store named Jauganat and started asking him about the pujas that they sold, which are personal temples that Hindus have in their homes. They vary in size, but they are pretty much  little closets. They have two doors that open up where the gods reside and they have a tray where they place their offerings of food. Seeing hand-carved idols lined up on a shelf with price tags and seeing these pujas that Hindu men and women bow down to in hopes of awakening their gods was a huge awakening and reminder that I serve the living God whose Spirit lives in me. We are the temple of God. He doesn’t live in a box and I don’t I have to awaken him in order to approach his throne.
 

We also were able to visit a Hindu temple. When men and women come to worship during the day, they come in and ring a bell in order to awaken the gods. Then they pour milk over this marble stone in order to present themselves as clean. All different kinds of fruit and flowers lined in front of the different gods. We even we were able to see different people come in to do this. They were bowing to these colorful five foot tall idols. It was such a strange thing to see. My heart was breaking for these people who are blind to truth, but it was also breaking in the awareness of my own sin and the fact that I so often bow down to things other than the Lord. That’s one thing I’ve taken away from all the exposure to Hinduism, how set apart Jesus is from other gods. He came near. He pursued. He still pursues us. He rescued us from a life of bowing to things other than Him. He wants us to know his heart. He wants to be in intimate relationship with him. He is the only one who is worthy of our worship.

Camille and Larry who work with Urban Impact have begun to build a relationship with the priest who moved from India five years ago, so we were able to speak with him and ask him questions. (He even wanted to have a picture taken with all of us haha).

This is the outside of the temple. It was just a door on the side of bigger building that housed other apartments and businesses as well.

On our way out of the temple, I started talking to this woman named Samita  who was leaving from worshiping there (side-note: she was from The Bronx so Jules thought that was pretty cool). Of course, she was wondering what we were doing there. She asked if we were seeking and wanting to learn about Hinduism. I told her that I’m Christian, so I worship and follow Jesus. She told me she thought that was great, and that everybody has their own thing and does their own thing and we’re all on our way to the same place. I’m still just kind of heavy about that whole conversation because there is know way to make someone (whether it’s high schoolers or a Hindu woman) understand that Jesus is the only Way, Truth, and Life. Camille, who works at the South Asian Center, was telling us how difficult it is to break those barriers because it is so ingrained in their culture and their families as truth. I love that the believers we met are so intentional in building relationships with people and loving them the way Jesus loves us so that the Holy Spirit can work. In these hard conversations, it was so evident how dependent we are on the Spirit. He is the one who draws people to himself.

Also, I told Samita that I liked her scarf. Which is a pretty normal compliment I think. Most people say “thank you” and move on. Well, she wrapped it around my neck and told me she wanted me to have it! I felt kind of awkward at first and wanted her to take it back, but she said she had way too many at home. So I caved. She also gave me her card and told me to call her so she could make me and my friends a nice vegetarian meal. I’m glad I have her card so I can remember her name. Praying that another believer would cross her path soon.

Here’s the beautiful scarf!

I hope I’m not over-doing the whole blogging about this trip thing. I just have so much I want to remember!

Peace, punch, Captain Crunch.

 

sunday funday

After blogging about my first morning in New York, I thought I’d also share a few highlights of the sight-seeing extravaganza in Manhattan that took place that afternoon…

 

We broke out the massive map. Duh. Once again, tourists with no-shame.

This is the World Trade Center site and the memorial that is in progress. There are three towers in the process of being built and a couple more that will eventually be there as well. We walked past the fire department that was located right next to the WTC. That was probably the most surreal part for me. It was crazy to be right there.

Side note: I ran into my friend Robin and her parents right around here! Hilarious. What are the odds? Slim to none, I tell ya

Presenting: Bronx Beat with your host, Julianne Campbell.

This little lunch place was the bomb. I got a make-your-own-salad-pay-by-the-pound thingy…which always makes me nervous; it never fails that I end up paying an arm and a leg because I get over ambitious in my heapings. But it actually was only $6.50! Ain’t too shabby for a lunch in NYC.

Also, a man spit on a girl sitting next to us. So odd. Then the owner kicked him out after lots of coercing. Come on people. Save the drama fo yo mama.

Times Square with my sissy. I like this pictcha alot.

Jules being awky as usual. Matt being normal and cool.

Ran across a baby bakery called “Baked by Melissa” that sold baby cupcakes. So naturally I had to partake in this cuteness and deliciousness. Tie-Dye, Cookies and Creme, and Chocolate Chip Pancake. Yum to the max.

Spotted: Mario and Luigi with huge heads.

You can’t just walk through Hershey’s World and not buy some goods. I’m fully aware that Kroger probably sells Dark Chocolate Reeses, but it’s just different. They taste better. You’ll have to just trust me on this because they’ll probably be gone by the time I get back to K-town.

This was before Peyton was a Bronco. Too bad. And too bad I’m going to have to cheer for the Jets now. Go Tebow.

Tim and Heather chillin’ on the curb!

Look closely at the name of the restaurant on the corner. Yep, that’s my name. Jennifer. We drove past this little gem in the bus on the way to Tom Richter’s church in Jamaica Queens. Too bad I didn’t get a tee. That would have been awesomely cheesy for me to have a shirt with my own first name on it.

And that is all the touristy shtuff I got, folks. Adios amigos.

road trip

Before I get ahead of myself, let me back up and give you a little run-down on what went down before we made it to our final destination, the Big Ole Apple.

Remember that one time I rode the Mega Bus to New York?

Yeah, it was awesome.

Jammin' to the Beats with Dr. Dre.

The first leg of the journey brought us to DC. The Mega-Bus is a lovely thing, let me tell you. I partook of some Tylenol PM after boarding our Double Decker beauty of vehicle late Friday night, completely zonked out, and ta-da woke up to the sun rising over Capitol City. Okay so maybe it wasn’t the most comfortable sleep of my life (and Jules probably would say it wasn’t the coolest she’s ever been), but for the most part it was all good in the hood…and we made it!

 We b-bopped around the city all day with “I am a tourist and I have no shame” written across our foreheads. (Not really). But really. I love being touristy and checkin’ out all the must see places. And in DC, there are a ridiculous amount of these spots. Conveniently for the exercise enthusiasts, these “must-sees” –aka things that are marble and white– are deceivingly far away from each other which causes a high frequency of speed walking to occur in a short amount of time. Let’s just saw my hammies and quads are still burning. Eesh.

 I took appoximately a bagillion pictures of what I thought were cool/weird/random/beautiful people, places, and things (also known as a little thing I like to call “nouns”). But here are just a few snap shots to give a little picture of our whirl wind adventure in DC before we hopped on another double-decker bus that dropped us off in the streets of Manhattan…

Oh St. Patty's Day. Lots of stuff going on. And lots of green going on.

I love coffee. Holla back Cheetahs. We love Coconut Creamer.

USA! USA!

Look at that green fountain supporting our Irish friends. How diplomatic.

Honest Abe + Jules with Abe's Penny

Rando cutie with FDR's pup.

The Cherry Blossoms were breath-taking!

Therefore, cool men were painting them.

I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence. Get in the Cage.

And now…

Presenting my favorite picture taken in the District of Colombia…

For those of you that don’t know, it’s a recreation of one of the greatest picture of all-time…

There ya go, peeps. Loved every minute of trompin’ around DC for the day.

Then.

We finally arrived in New York. I mentioned this earlier , but literally the bus dropped us off on the side of the street a couple of blocks from Times Square with our luggage and all. Meanwhile, we were a midst all the happy Irish and non-Irish folks celebrating St. Patty’s day, plus all the Ranger fans flooding out of MSG. It was quite a sight to see. (Not cool enough to sight-see, but it was pretty funny).

Here are some pictures that resulted from meandering around Manhattan looking for food.

NY hearts St. Patrick's Day

This one's for you, Mom. #ModFamFan

Jules loves tweeting at Brian Williams. Don't worry, he tweeted back at her later that night.

And to think, all of this super great stuff happened before we even “officially” started up for the week. Love it. Can’t wait to share more stories about new places I’ve seen and people I’ve met, but I wanted to recount how we got here and what we experienced along the way! Love me some road trips.

 

expecting the unexpected

I am in New York. And I am a block from the beach.

What the??

(practically) jersey shore

Welcome to Rockaway Beach, Queens.

Coming on this trip, I knew nothing about what I’d be doing or where I would be exactly for that matter. I was beyond antsy to know what the week would look like. I’m coming to understand more and more and more that the Lord is teaching me to let go of my over-eager controlling tendencies, my go-getter-planner mind-set, and my sheer impatience. The Lord’s ways and timing are not my own. I’m thankful for that. Even though it’s hard to remain (from the get-go) that they really are better than I could work out on my own…duh, imagine that. He goes before me. He holds everything together. This week included.

If I had had my way, I would have been in Manhattan by 8 am on our free day. Ready to explore, busting the down the doors of a Broadway matinee, and shoppin’ til I be droppin’. Over eager beaver, reporting in.

Um. Wrong-o. 

Instead, I spent the morning on the beach looking for New Yorkean sea glass and shells thinking the whole time: God, you are so surprising. I’m in New York City and chilling on a boardwalk. 

Then I end up in a random bagel shop meeting a Middle School Special Ed teacher named Robert from Long Island. After inquiring about our funny accents and letting me know that his favorite person on planet earth (Taylor Swift) is from Tennessee as well, I found out alot about this guy and he found out alot about me. He grew up Catholic and wasn’t digging the whole “middle man in order to get to God aka confession to priests” thing. Getting to tell a random guy with slicked back hair and a Yankees jacket that we don’t have to go through anyone in order to have a relationship with Jesus was…well, I just don’t really have words. It was unexpected. I think that word just keeps ringing in my ear.

here's a picture of a funky little shop next to where we ate breakfast near the house we're staying in

Then Jules and I, along with a couple other people, ended up talking with this woman named Sarah for a good long subway trip. She’s a freelance writer from Brooklyn. Well, technically from South Florida, but as she told us:

“If you live in New York and you strive in New York, You’re a New Yorker. I was a New Yorker before I moved to New York. I was a New Yorker in South Florida; I just had more freckles.”

And there ya go people, of course she’s a writer with cool lines like that. She gave me her card since I told her that I’m an English major and love writing. Once again, surprisingly unexpected.

When I woke up Sunday morning, never would I have ever thought that any of that stuff would have characterized my morning. But the Lord did. Sheesh, he is such a creative and faithful Father who plans things so much more intricately and better than I ever could. Why can’t I remember that?

I’m wanting Jesus to teach me to expect the unexpected. I like that alot.

Looking forward to writing more about SB 2012…