CHC member, flight stewardess Celest Foo joined Bill Wilson, founder of Metro Ministries for a day of outreach to inner-city kids in New York. Here is her account of the memorable visit.
After flying more than 18 hours non-stop from Singapore to New York, I finally landed on a Friday night. Attacked with jetlag, I slept barely three hours that night. But my heart was filled with excitement as I knew it was going to be an extraordinary Saturday I was waking up to.
Two ladies from the team in Metro Ministries came to pick me at my hotel at 7:30am. I had invited two fellow stewardesses from my flight to join me, one a Christian and the other a non-Christian.
When we reached the church in Harlem, we were greeted by Pastor Bill, in his signature black top that read “Pastor Bill”. The staff, volunteers and interns were all ready to pray before embarking on their ministry work in the fleet of yellow buses awaiting in the compound. I met Amanda Soh, a Singaporean from City Harvest Church, who was doing her internship at Metro Ministries. It was great to see someone from my hometown in a faraway city.
After the prayer meeting, Pastor Bill shared with us some of his recent projects. He is currently helping some village children in Romania, who have never had a chance to study. His ministry engages a teacher to teach the children in the village. As Pastor Bill shared how the children walk around barefoot, tears welled up in his eyes. He said, “These poor kids need shoes and socks!”
Before getting onto the bus, the three of us were handed Metro Ministries T-shirts, on which was printed a picture of their bear mascot. By 9 a.m. we three were all set to ride in the bus that Pastor Bill drives every Saturday.
It was an once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I had read Pastor Bill’s books and watched his DVDs; he is my hero of faith. To be able to sit beside him in the bus was a dream come true for me! He made 18 stops during the 45-minute journey which spanned a three-mile radius of the church. At every stop, when the children saw the bus approaching, they would wave excitedly and the moment they got onto the bus, they would hug him and shout, “Pastor Bill, I love you!” or “Pastor Bill, where did you go? I miss you!” Again, I witnessed the tears in Pastor Bill’s eyes.
In between the stops, I would listen intently as Pastor Bill shared his heart. He told us that most of these children do not have a father, and so they treat him as a father, and he would do his best to love each one of them, just as how God loves each of us. The joy of seeing the children coming to God is what keeps him going. Indeed, he lives out his life message “The Need is the Call”.
At the 10 a.m. service, Pastor Bill shared a message on God’s peace. He started by asking the children how many of them hear gunshots in the middle of the night. I was so shocked to see more than 80 per cent of them put up their hands!
Pastor Bill encouraged the children, saying “God wants to fill your heart with peace, even when there’s chaos all around you.” He shared the verse from John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
His message was so touching that my friend, Rachel Wong, 26, a non-Christian said to me after the service, “Celest, there is so much more to life!” She even asked me if she could join me for church when we got back to Singapore and she attended service with me the next Sunday!
I am very thankful for the amazing inner-city adventure I had with Pastor Bill. Experiencing the genuine love the Metro Ministries staff and volunteers had for the children, has greatly encouraged me to love people who are very different from me.