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There is a lot to report on and much to pray toward. Thanks for continuing to track with us!
Susan and I got to spend a few days in Charleston, SC participating in and celebrating the wedding of a great friend, Tom Duttweiler. We decided to make an early 5-year anniversary trip out of it (September 4th is the official day). A long time friend offered us great help on a hotel through a “friends and family” discount they have. My parents continued to demonstrate their heroic powers by coming to NYC and staying with our three kids for four nights. I think it wore them out. Susan and I were greatly refreshed. We needed the time together more than we realized. We enjoyed some of the first non-exhausted, undistracted conversation in a long time. We had good rest and were able to get refueled for a great fall.
Gallery Church Retreat.
The week after Charleston we held our first Gallery Church Wide retreat. God was gracious to us as over 50 adults and 9 kids retreated in the Poconos. That is over half of our average Sunday attendance! The pace of our retreat was exactly what New Yorkers needed as we took time to be still before God. Our teaching focused on God’s sovereignty in salvation, suffering, and our strengths. Challenging conversations were had by all. Fresh antisipation and faith was stirred as we considered how God has uniquely gifted all of us for service and all that He will do in our midst this fall.
Praying toward the Fall.
Please continue to pray with and for us. I believe God is positioning us for a fantastic fall for spiritual and numerical growth in the Gallery Church.
- Please pray that our people will discover their gifts as they serve in various roles within the church.
- Please pray for strong continued unity and love.
- Prease pray that we will be faithful and successful in discipling young Christians and developing leaders.
- Please pray that God in his providence will connect many looking for a church home with the Gallery.
- Please pray that God would give all in the Gallery boldness to share the love and message of Christ.
There are more specifics that I will continue to share with you in the days to come!
A new apartment?
Having never lived in Manhattan before (formerly we were in New Brunswick), Susan and I with the counsel of those living in NYC, charted a budget the best we could before we arrived last October. We wound that budget as tightly as possible. As we took our vision and budget before churches we met a lady in MO that I’ll never forget. She exclaimed “You’ll never make it with that grocery budget!” And though the grocery budget has worked out rather well, several other unforeseen expenses have required us to put a significant dent in our very modest savings. So, though things are very tight, we are not worried as God has met all of our needs during this amazing faith journey. We are however, excited about begin able to reduce our cost of living through a new apartment. Our current apartment has been a perfect grace from God and I could list a dozen reasons why. However, because the market dropped right after we moved in, and because we’ve had the opportunity to scout out the kinds of places that are available, we are confident that we can find cheaper rent that still meets our needs. Our greatest heartache will be moving off our floor away from several relationships we have been investing in. Though we can continue these relationships, it will not be quite as easy. Jack has two really good buddies on our floor. One of our neighbors died this week, while another had a baby this week. Please pray with us.
- Please pray that we find just the right place at just the right price.
- Please pray that we will be able to continue to develop these friendships.
- Please pray that we will continue to be wise and shrewd stewards.
All reports are saying that this the best time to rent/buy/move in NYC in a decade. As crazy as it sounds, we will probably be able to find an apartment with an extra bedroom that is still significantly cheaper than our current rent. This is especially exciting because God has been burdening a good friend of ours to live the mission with us in NYC as our nanny/family helper. Thus, an extra bedroom would fulfill a critical piece. While in Charleston, Susan and I had the privilege of visiting with a couple who had served as missionaries to Africa for 19 years. We gained great insight and encouragement as we asked them lots of questions about their experiences of having people live with them in Africa. This is just one of the many ways God has been confirming this opportunity. Please pray for this process to be smooth and magnifying to Jesus in every way!
Thanks again for continuing to track with us! God is at work. We are humbled. We need your continued support!
Tuesday of this week I had the privilege of taking the train to Baltimore for a partners meeting with The Gallery Church Baltimore. It is hard to believe that a church that is still in church plant mode itself could be instrumental in planting another church, but that is exactly what The Gallery Church of Manhattan has done. Church Planter Ellis Prince and his wife Ginger along with their kids moved to NYC for about six months for training and have now been in Baltimore about 9 months planting The Gallery Church Baltimore. Ellis is a man’s man yet with visible compassion for the people of Baltimore. God has already begun to establish the work of their hands in a variety of wonderful ways. It was thrilling to sit in TGCB’s partner meeting Tuesday hearing testimonies and updates at what God was already doing. It is amazing what God does, when a group of people commits to living for the glory of God, the advancement of the gospel, and the good of a city while persevering through whatever comes their way. It takes missionary resolve. God has granted Ellis and his team just that as he shared at their partner meeting,
“We have had vehicles broken into, bikes and scooters stolen, home windows smashed, children rushed to the hospital because a junkie left a needle in a play area, people shot outside our homes, drugs sold from our steps, work environments from the gates of hell, and marriages challenged…our team has weathered and is weathering these types of storms.”
Maybe you are considering planting your life in a strategic urban center like Baltimore or New York. Pray that God will give you missionary resolve like Ellis and his team in Baltimore have. Should we expect better treatment than our master?
We have a genuine need for an upcoming outreach event that we think you may have fun helping us out with! We are hosting special Community Christmas Celebrations that we are inviting our communities to come to. We are seeking to make 7000 personal invites to our Christmas services over two days in conjunction with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thanksgiving Eve are planning on passing out balloons and invite cards during the Balloon Viewing for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and then on Thanksgiving Day we are planning on passing out hot chocolate with invite cards @ 6am to the folks showing up early to save their family a spot to watch the parade. We’re also planning to pass out balloons once the children begin to arrive along with the invite cards.
How can you help? — We need materials!
Can you organize your mom’s group, sunday school class, bunco group, bible study group, or work team to help provide some or all of these materials?
- 3000 balloons (any color regular balloons that can hold helium)
- enough hot chocolate mix to fill eight 5-gallon jugs
- 7000 small candy canes
- 6000 feet of ribbon
- a gift card to K-Mart to make these purchases (we don’t have wall-mart in the city)
We’ll need to know if you are going to take on this fun project no later than 8pm Thursday (tomorrow) evening. You’ll need to act fast, rally the materials together and get them mailed to us to arrive by next Tuesday the 25th. Let us know if you are interested in helping out with a portion of or the whole project. You can leave a comment on the blog or email me @ freddytwyatt(at)gmail(dot)com and we can work out the details.
Partner with us to help engage New Yorkers with the Love of Christ!
!! Update !! (we now have 1000 balloons committed and $100) Thanks guys! Can I get a hot chocolate?!
I know processing what God is doing and all the emotions that come with it, can be overwhelming. I am very thankful for all those individuals who may have questions that contact me directly. Please know, I would be glad to speak with anyone who has any questions about what God is doing in our lives. A church member and dear friend emailed me with some questions and in answering her questions I shared a brief testimony of our call to NYC. That testimony now edited for the blog is below:
I want to try to answer your specific questions as well as I can and give you as clear of a picture of my calling as possible. First let me begin with our calling. When Susan and I got married in September of 2004, I joined her in New Bruswick, NJ right outside of NYC to work with a church plant that she had helped start. I also got to work in Manhattan a couple of days a week. During this time we heard about the strategic nature of NYC in God’s global purposes and were blown away. Of course we were amazed with the glitz of NYC like most people, but were gripped that there are 20+ million people in the NY Metro area. We heard that there were 8.5 million people in NYC and 66,000 people every square mile in Manhattan. We heard about the more than 170 languages spoken in NYC…and we got to experience and live among the millions of people loved by God that live in NY Metro area. My heart was sold from day one on why it is incredibly strategic in reaching the world for Christ, to engage NYC. When we returned we shared with Bill Graham that we wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up there. He was excited, but I still had seminary and was in no hurry and had no specific calling. By God’s good providence He opened a door for us to begin travelling back and forth to preach @ FBC in the contemporary service. God has put a deep loyalty in our hearts to our home church. We were excited to be an agent of rebuilding during a difficult time. Our work was filled with great joy immediately! We then came on full time. I consider it a rare and high privilege to get to preach to the people who taught me how to walk with Jesus. Wow! Last October (as I was in the crunch of trying to finish Hebrew) my mind became consumed with NYC. I thought it was an escape mechanism to try to get away from Hebrew, but I couldn’t focus, so I started journaling. During this time, I had the privilege of hearing my Mom give her testimony at MOPS, two days after her reconstructive surgery. (She should not have been giving a talk.) I did not realize how I would share in her victory that day. She ended her talk by saying “I am a breast cancer survivor!” When we moved to Clarksville, Mom had just had her double mastectomy and was beginning Chemo. It was great medicine to her bringing our new born baby boy to Clarksville. But when she gave that testimony, God whispered to my heart that Mom is going to be okay now, whether I am here or not. A few days later my grandmother entered the nursing care facility. This was a huge personal chapter in our life coming to a close, as every Thursday night we had been staying with Grandma at her house. She has Alzheimer’s. These two things were small personal chapters in our life coming to a close. Fast forward about 6 months, and I get an email from a missionary friend in NYC asking if I could preach for him this summer some time. He later shared his intention that he was hoping to “kick the tires” from some talks we had had in the past about doing ministry in NYC with them, so we began to talk. I had lots of questions about the nature of the work he was interested in us being involved in. Shortly after this, I was at a conference listening to wonderful men of God preach. (I’ve always heard about people saying, “God gave them a verse” and half the time I thought that was bogus, and half the time I’ve thought, “i wish He’d give me a verse.”) Well at this conference God applied Phil 1:6 to my heart in a powerful way. He told me that it was His promise for FBC and that His work in FBC was not contingent upon me and that it was arrogant to think that it might be. I didn’t know to what or when God was releasing me, but I knew as He applied that to my heart that if/whenever he calls me, I can say yes. I don’t think without that clear of a word from the Lord I would ever have left FBC, because I love the people there so deeply. We continued to explore the NYC possibility; we spent time praying, fasting and seeking counsel. I flew up to Philly and met with my missionary friend from NYC to explore what God may be doing. I still had lots of questions. Conversations continued as I continued to seek the Lord. I took another trip, this time to NYC June 17-19th. It was shortly after this trip that God confirmed for Susan and Me that He was calling us to be church planting missionaries in NYC with the Gallery Church of Manhattan. Once our call was confirmed and clear, I shared it with Brother Roger on June 24th. Later that day we contacted Susan’s doctor to see if she was clear to transition at the first of October. This was an enormous step of faith for us, because it entails raising our initial salary for 3-5 years. It has been quite providential that we’ve been preaching through Hebrews and landing in chapter 11. I have desperately needed these meditations on faith. So though the timing made no sense to me, I was meditating on and preaching about when God asked Noah to do something that made no sense, and when God asked Abraham to do something that made no sense at all…and though I did not and do not understand, he has helped us say yes to Him. This is not the timing that I would have chosen for FBC or for my family, but this is the timing I believe that God has appointed for us. I am grateful for the promise that He gave me for the people of FBC from Phil 1:6, otherwise, I don’t think I could have ever said yes to his call, for my love for the people of FBC.
I hope this is helpful for some who may have questions on “where did this come from?” There have probalby been hundreds of other nudges from God to bring us to the place that we are able to leave the comforts of family, friends, and FBC. The nurturing love of FBC has helped us trust the love and sovereignty of God so deeply, to be able to say yes to Him today. Please do not hesitate to give me a call. I’d love to share with you more about what we believe God is going to use us to do in NYC!
One last beautiful (and critical) piece about this whole thing is that my precious wife Susan who is pregnant with twins, due December 15th has been on board with this 100%. We had this confirmed in our hearts together. I’m sure very soon she’ll be posting her personal thoughts over on our family blog.