Archive for the ‘Brooklyn 2017 – Fall’ Category

We have finished what we came to do!  The team was amazing!  Our Metro hosts and Leanna were amazing as usual.  We are all tired but our hearts are full!

We arrive at 4:18pm AC#664 from Montreal if you are picking up a team member!

Day 6 – Always Obey

Posted: October 2, 2017 in Brooklyn 2017 - Fall

We went to the early service at Metro. It is a church made up from people from the area. They also run the buses to pick up people from all around Brooklyn. The LeBlanc family was able to connect with their sponsor child, Adriana again today, which was another great experience.

During the service there was a young girl (late high school age) sitting in front of us. I knew I was suppose to talk to her with about what God was saying to me. I just wasn’t sure about doing it, as I am not a Metro worker and didn’t want to go against protocols they have in place. The feeling just kept getting stronger and stronger so I knew I had to go to her. I sat beside her and introduced myself. I told her what God was saying and encouraged her with a few things in her life. I felt I was so suppose to give her some money as the final act of obedience to what God told me to do. Her name was Kiana and I finished by praying for her. She didn’t verbally confirm I was right with what I told her, but at the end she leaned her head in resting it on my cheek and said thank you in the softest most gentle way, which was so endearing. I felt peace. The service ended and we went outside. We were chatting with Leanna and some of the interns when one of the bus captains came over and said, “was it one of you who prayed for a young girl in church at the end?” I said, yes I prayed for Kiana”. He said when he got on the bus to get ready to drive her route home, she waved him back and told him what happened and everything I had said to her. He wanted to come out quickly to let me know that everything I said to her was bang on, very timely and she just couldn’t believe what I was saying to her. She was so excited. It was hard for me to step out and do what I did. Especially following through giving her the money, because all kinds of things were running through my head, as I didn’t know anything about her, what if she uses it for something bad, like drugs or alcohol. But I had to just trust God.  If we ignore what God wants us to do, we will miss very important moments we that we could help change or impact someone’s path or life forever. That seems heavy, well it is, especially when you hear stories of what kids deal with day in and out down here.  Always take that extra step, it could be life changing for someone.

We had a quick lunch of leftover everything and then headed into the city to see some sights.  Cassie found us in the city and joined us for supper.  We are looking forward to hearing what is happening with her over the next few months!

We have an early morning tomoorw to catch our flight back home.  See you all soon!

Today is the day we all look forward too.  We get to ride the buses to pick up the kids and see Metro at its peak.  But it is also one of the hardest days emotionally.  I’ll start with the easy stuff first.

First we cleaned up all of our jobs from the week.  Below is a picture of Keith who I mentioned in an earlier post.  One of his dreams is to own a house, dog and motorcycle.  Keith is an absolute sweetheart.

We were able to go and wrap a few more hundred presents today. In total we wrapped 1080 puppy presents for the kids.

We then went to wait for our buses.  We were split onto 4 different buses for pick up.

Cole and Roman

Victor, Bonnie, Cassie & Carolyn

Marni & Leanna


And just like that all the buses were rolling up in every direction.

A few pics of Cole and I on our bus with the kids.

Bonnie told me on her bus a little boy had gotten on who didn’t want to be there and was really mad.  She asked if she could sit with him and he nodded yes.  She sat best him and began to rub his leg (conveying to him everything will be okay). Sometimes you don’t need any words, actions speak volumes!

Here is a little video from the girls I was sitting with.  They had high energy and were very excited Yogi Bear (Sunday school) was starting again.  Today was the first day back since June.

But it was this face across the aisle from me that was eating me up.  Her name was Chantee and she is in grade 7. She told me she had 3 sisters and 3 brothers in her family.  The sadness in her face couldn’t be broken. We talked but she maintained control of herself and wouldn’t let go.  I complimented her, told her how beautiful she was.  Told her how good of a big sister she was, but the sadness exuded her.  I could only imagine what she was coming from or dealing with to make her so sad. Her face stuck out to me on that crowded bus.  So many kids yelling and screaming with joy of what was to come, yet she sat with her siblings as if there was nothing to celebrate or be happy about.

Metro had two sessions today.  The first session we went to had just over 1300 (300 preschool age 7 & under) kids.  The second session had around 1100 kids.  Over 2500 kids were reached today, told that they were loved and got to escape whatever their reality was for a brief window of time.  All of us could tell you stories of what we saw and experienced.  Sometimes it is hard to put into words, you just have to see it for yourself.

Preschool Room

Above is the picture of the under 7 group.  Below is a clip of the kids from the older session. There were 1000 kids in this room. They were covering every inch of free floor space.

All I can say after today is, there are people and kids like this at home, not just in Brooklyn, New York.  Circumstances may be different or vary, but there are people and kids all around us that have no hope and are looking for that “someone” to extend an invitation or show that they see them and care about them.   Be that SOMEONE for them!

We joined Metro at 830am for their staff meeting.  It is really great hearing from all the departments that make this machine run so smoothly.  Side note: all the different departments and our GoTeam played a trivia game throughout the staff meeting.  The winner of the game would win a pizza lunch.  You will be happy to know our GoTeam won the trivia game!  We of course gave our pizza lunch winning to Leanna’s department.

The video below is one a clip of a song they sang before the staff meeting started, “Break Every Chain”. It is a very relevant song for the things they have to deal with on a daily basis.  Whether it is breaking poverty, abuse, neglect, or addictions with the families and kids they visit….there is power in the name of Jesus!

After the 3 hour service/staff meeting we went right to work!  Check out how good the stairwell looks!!! They did a great job.  Pastor Chad told me Gary has been working on these projects for the past 6 month, and our team got it done for him in less then a week.  It is such a load off Gary, he was so grateful today!  He of course is asking when we will be returning.  Another Pastor said they could never add up the thousands and thousands of dollars our teams have saved Metro over the years!

Roman & Graham sanding it down

Vic sanding to perfection!


We started another project today.  We are helping them wrap presents for the kids for Christmas.  Today we wrapped 576 stuffed puppies in a few hours.  Metro’s goal is to give 35,000 kids in New York a present for Christmas.  So no child in their program will go without getting a gift for Christmas.

Marni, Carolyn, Anne Marie, Rhonda and Alexa – wrapping party


The LeBlanc family got to go out to one of the sidewalk sites today and meet their sponsored child, Adriana who is 9.  Adriana was very quiet (which is normal for her) and the Metro staff say she is a very sweet girl.  Rhonda just sat beside her on the mat, no words needed to be exchanged.  Adriana just kept looking up at Rhonda, a smile says a thousand words.  Lots of hugs were given and the love for Adriana was very apparent from the LeBlanc family.   The boys got to help out with the sidewalk site.  And of course other kids were attaching themselves to Rhonda saying they were her new adopted daughters.  Rhonda’s long red hair was a hit with all the kids and the parents/grandparents.

Cole, Roman, James, Rhonda, Adriana and her God mother

Cole & Roman helping with sidewalk

Two girls who adopted Rhonda

Pastor Tony spoke at the staff meeting and said:  “Most people don’t take initiative because they are afraid of the consequences”.  He also said “you have to take the risk to catch your moment”.

It made me think, it was a big step for Cassie to come to Metro as an intern.  But if she didn’t take the risk and leave everything that she knew, she might have missed her moment.  And she is exactly where she should be and doing so good!

You need to do whatever it takes to MOVE forward! Don’t miss YOUR moment!


Another early start to the day.  Cassidy joined us for breakfast again, which was great!

We headed out to finish up some projects. Cole and I finished the outside church wall.  Andreas from down the street who has lived there for 38 years came out to inspect and let us know all the spots we may have missed.  Since the graffiti was gone he wanted his street to look good and it to be done right!  So that is what we did for him.

Andreas pointing out the missed spots

The finished product…Andreas approved

Carolyn and Anne Marie were working hard again in the office with Princess and her team.  They were later joined by Cole and Marni who helped them finish up all the projects on the Admin teams list.  Princess was very thankful for all the help to get these mail outs taken care of.

In the Metro Won by One office

Victor and James were tasked to a new hallway Gary wanted to get finished while we are at his disposal.  They use very thin drywall here, which has to first be glued and then nailed.  I know what you are thinking, you are suppose to use screws when hanging drywall, which is correct, except in a really old hospital building.   Screws break apart the old stucco so nails are the best option.

Victor hanging drywall in a new hallway today!

James at the other end of the hallway

Bonnie and Sharon have been doing a fabulous job feeding the team and blessing many other staff members in the building with meals.  Today we delivered 4 lunch meals up to the Admin team staff.  Ben was so excited that he didn’t have to buy lunch and was blessed with a full chicken dinner!  Meals on wheels from Canada!

Bonnie and Sharon – Best cooks we could ask for

Graham and Roman (around the corner) finished the second coat of mud on the stairwell. Sanding and a possible third coat tomorrow.

Graham loving his newly found gift of mudding

Our special dinner guests tonight!  Mandy, LeShaun and Leanna!  Mandy has been here for 11 years and is from Saskatoon.   And of course Leanna is Canadian if you didn’t know and is from Chilliwack, BC.

Mandy, LeShaun and Leanna

Tonight after supper we had the privilege of taking a bus to Cassidy’s last sidewalk site for the day.  We jumped on the transit bus and found their location.   They go and visit all the kids the day before passing out flyers to let them know to come to sidewalk Sunday school the next day.  Then the next day the truck goes out and they go to 3 different sites, I believe 3:30, 5:00 & 6:30pm. The team cleans up and heads back and they usually don’t eat supper those days until after 8pm.   The schedule is definitely intense.  Metro usually has 100 interns and they have 48 right now this semester, all the work still needs to get get done.  That’s why you can see how much they value a team coming in like ours.

Waiting for the bus

Sidewalk was a great experience.  The truck goes out into communities of the kids that can’t get to their program on Saturday’s.  The truck literally pulls up on the side of the road and has church there.

Sidewalk set up

This is a short video of what it looks like on the side of a very busy street in Brooklyn.​​

​There was a lady there named Sherry.  She thanked us all for coming at the end and said she use to bring her daughter years ago, who is now 34 and now she brings her 2 grandchildren faithfully every week.
Rhonda was talking to Keith, one of the facility cleaners here at Metro.  He told her he came from a really rough area and had a hard life.  He said he had never heard of Yogi Bear/Sidewalk Sunday school when he was young.  He said he use to cry himself to sleep every night, because all he wanted was someone to love him.  Rhonda said, in that moment you didn’t see a 40 something year old man you saw a little boy.  Metro makes a big difference in so many kids lives, it is a wonderful program, you just wish you could reach them all.

Cassidy sharing the lesson, she did GREAT!

Carolyn was tired from walking on the way home so I gave her a lift.  She had a great laugh and can’t remember the last time she got a piggy back ride.  You never really know what experiences you will have when you go on a missions trip.  The team will stretch you, impact you spiritually, emotionally and you will create new friendships and bonds with people in the church you never had before.  The only thing I can say is what was ironically the last graffiti we painted over today.

You just need to……

We had a special guest join us for breakfast this morning, Cassie!  She has been stretched in her first month here but she is doing so well, fits right in, you all should be very proud of her!

Breakfast with Cassie

After breakfast we had a really busy day jumping right back into our projects.  It was VERY hot today!  With the humidiy it felt like 39 degrees, inside and outside the building.   I’m not sure if you have ever tried painting in that kind of heat, but it gets hot and sweaty really fast!  And paint doesn’t tend to dry too quickly.

Alexa and Rhonda started to paint the many backs and fronts of the doors in the main corridor and hallway, only to find out 4 doors later they where given primer instead of paint.  No worries, they just carried on with the new paint given to them and repainted the already primed doors.

Carolyn and Anne Marie were tasked to doing loads and loads of laundry left over from summer camp. They had to fold, count and separate everything by colour.  Then they went on to do admin work, getting together a large mail out.

Graham, Vic, James and Roman have cut, taped and almost finished mudding the stairwell.  Again, very challenging in the heat today!

Cole and I were on Graffiti duty today!  Over night the two outside doors were vandalized.  We were given graffiti remover (who knew such a thing existed) which worked on one door not not so good on the other door.  So we ended up painting both doors with a two fresh coats of paint and they look brand new!

Well I guess we did a good job because Gary (Maintenance supervisor) decided to give us an even bigger graffiti job!  The whole side of one of their buildings.  I grabbed 3 bottles of water and we were off to our job site.  Only to find out that was our divine appointment for the day!

As we literally were melting on the streets of Brooklyn painting over the graffiti, when along came Lloyd.

Lloyd wanted to help me out and show me the proper technique for painting over graffiti.  I tried to refuse his help but he insisted.  So I stepped back and let him teach.

He was loving every second of it.  So I asked if he went to Yogi Bear (nickname for Metro sidewalk Sunday school program) when he was a kid.  He said oh yeah that was a long time ago now, like wow, back in the 80’s.  He then told me he got into some bad trouble and has spent most of his life in prison.  He told me he has been out for a bit and is trying to get good work and stay home (meaning not going back to the big house). He just really struggles with finding work, being and ex-con.  I asked if he knew Jesus, he said he did.  During our time I was able encouraged Lloyd and at the end I asked if I could pray for him.  He was very thankful and then asked if we had any money to help him or even a drink….I had no money but I did bring the 3rd bottle of water.  He was very grateful and we shook hands and he was on his way.  Lloyd just wanted to have someone to talk to and feel like he had value to add.  He has had a rough life.  So many people have a story either here or home if we just take the time to listen or ask questions, you would be surprise where people are coming from or going through!  We ran out of paint and will finish tomorrow.  It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do to a marked up door or wall!

We went for a quick trip into the city for some ice cream and a walk around.

We may have worn out Vic and Bonnie today!

Back home and off to bed to rest up for another full day!

We landed at noon and headed right to Metro. We dropped our stuff off in our rooms and Sharon, Bonnie, Rhonda, Roman & Cole were whisked away to the grocery store to buy team food for the week.

The rest of us met with Simon and Pedro to go over our task list for the week. Not too daunting and it seems definitely achievable.

Getting to know those we are here to serve!

Simon – is the youth pastor and maintenance coordinator. He came to Metro two weeks before 9/11 and has been here for 13 years and counting. He met his wife Liz here and they have two children 7 & 9. They have been blessed with a large apartment, a parking spot and back garden for their children to have safe place to play. They could never afford ALL of what God has provided for them on their income. But he firmly said “God is always one step before them”! Which is the confirmation you need when raising a family here, it’s not always easy.

Our reputation precedes us!  

This isn’t to toot our own horn, but for you at home who have supported missions and have never physically stepped foot in a building here….stand tall, feel proud, you are known, loved and appreciated by the staff here for the teams you sent over the last 10+ years!

Bill from the IT department (10+ year employee) ran into us while we were working in the hallway. He said, how many of you guys are here? I said 12? He said where are you from, I said Nova Scotia, Canada. He said Ahhh, what’s the name of that church up there? I said we are from Rock Church. His face lit up and said YES, you guys are amazing!! He said whenever your teams come you don’t just leave a mark you leave a HUGE footprint with everything you do! Thanks for coming again!

As we worked today hanging drywall, taping doors for painting, and literally just walking down the hall, people were constantly saying “thank you”, “thank you for coming” and “thanks for helping us. The sense of gratitude was so overwhelming it was almost embarrassing. I was thinking, we are just taping the door off, it isn’t that big of a deal. But to them and a comment Pedro made earlier “hey, what you guys get done is one less thing for us to do after hours”. The staff here have to juggle many hats. But what really stood out to me was they function so easily with a heart of gratitude. Having a thankful heart and mind for those around you is one thing. But saying it out loud and making sure those around you know how much they are appreciated takes it to a whole other level.

So I encourage you to look around you over the next few days and put into practice, thanking those who volunteer to do things that may be little or big. It will mean so much them!

We have had a long day and are all tucked into bed for the night! We have lots to accomplish tomorrow!


Pedro & Simon

Hanging drywall

Counting & sorting with Liz (Simon’s wife)

Taping the doors

We are fed well!

​Perspective of how big this building is and why it was such a big project!  And this is only the basement level!