Sunday is our day to reflect on the week past, and I am thankful to say that I had a great week here at nycup! The past three weeks have been jam packed with internships, volunteer work, and divine interruptions!
Last friday, after a week of working midtown at the InterVarsity office, I was able to go see Andy Mineo for free! It was a great night of Jesus rap and fellowship. The next day NYCUP volunteered at the Overseas Chinese Mission church on Hester St in China Town. We were able to evangelize to people passing through with our survey proxe stations. I was able to share the gospel on three occasions! So cool, thank God the Holy Spirit was up in my speech! Afterwards we got delicious soup dumplings (greatest food invention in the world) and yummy bubble tea!
Then thinking we would take in downtown and experience SoHo, God changed our plans. Caleb, Maragret, Anahi and I stumbled upon a girl named Loreal Madonna. She was sitting on the sidewalk, throwing out compliments in exchange for some change. Little did she know the change in store for her. We quickly invited her to eat with us, even though we were stuffed from dinner. The Lord was putting it on my heart to give this girl a banquet. As we sat down at the Cozy Diner, Loreal unpacked her heavy story. From abandonment to exploitation, she landed in New York City as a 20 year old runaway from Oklahoma. She had no where to go, no family that cared for her. She was in huge risk living on the streets and posting ads on craigslist. Her past was crazy, terrifying, and nothing I could ever relate to. Yet, within an hour of sharing life together, I felt as though we were the greatest of friends. She was so open, honest and refused to be taken advantage of again. Loreal shared her poetry with us, real raw writings that cut me to the heart. The poetry revealed the true Loreal behind the easy chatter and glossy sleep deprived eyes. I loved this girl. It hurt to let her go, after much prayer over her, which she gratefully accepted. She doesn’t know freedom in Christ yet, but I know God is doing such a work in her. He has already protected her and covered her in grace from the stories she shared. I am so thankful that someone loves her more than me, much more than her family. Jesus loves her, God’s love will never fail. I am trusting in His unfailing love. So I let her go, into the women’s shelter we found for her. I still wish we could have taken her back to our convent-home, but God is Lord of all, His plans are bigger than mine.
After this emotional weekend, I had a great week of Price of Life work and 4th of July vacation day! On the 4th Anahi, Caleb, Mackenzie, Sarah Min, and I traveled 3 hours to Long Beach! It was an adventurous journey involving overwater subways and a schizo lady on the bus pretending to eat Caleb’s flesh. Upon arrival we got to see my family and enjoy a restorative day basking in God’s glory. I missed the ocean. We got back to the city in time to watch the Macy’s fireworks.
To wrap up the week Jeannie Rose, our wonderful Price of Life boss, had us over to Brooklyn and we had a picnic in Prospect park. We had a great time of dance frisbee, eating grilled veggies and soaking up nature. Later Margret and I explored the Brooklyn Bridge and ran into other NYCUPers! The next day was the bbq, in which I got to see my family once again! I miss them, but I was thankful for them to share in my experience in Washington Heights.
Everyday brings a new adventure, an opportunity God has ingeniously set up. Today I was able to connect with artists from all over the country in a program with Campus Crusades. Their art show was incredible and inspiring, and I hope to stay connected with all the talents Christ-followers I met. The Lord is slowly revealing enormous plans and dreams for my life. I’m anxious, I’ll never be ready, but I’m jumping in with both feet. I’ll praise the Lord all the more.
Goodness. It’s only been 8 days since arrival in Washington Heights. I am going crazy, I am so energized by and in love with this city and the Price of Life, it is really hard for me to even sit down and write this blogpost. This is probably why my bestest friend in the world, Sherin, is writing it for me. This past week has been cray cray.
In the past week I have experienced the most riveting things. From protesting in front Village Voice to hearing the stories of the survivors of trafficking. From sketching the chapel statues to creating art installations and events for renowned artists. I haven’t had anytime to sit down and reflect. It’s Maria writing now, I can now process after an insane dance party to christian hip hop.
So far I have survived on $5 lunches and dinners, gotten to know Washington Heights, participated heavily in my first protest, fed the hungry, and learned how to eat local, green, organic and slave free. Seems like a lot, because it is! I’ve met amazingly talented people, pictured above, and have formed a little family with them. Together we have sought justice in the many areas of this big city.
Me at the protest. I had the great responsibility to create the phrases on the tape that I stuck on protesters faces.
After the protest I was privileged to meet survivors of sex trafficking and hear their stories firsthand. It was a humbling experience to say the least. The fight against sex trafficking became so much realer than it ever had been. No more statistics, no more numbers, these women are full of life and they literally embraced me. Their strength inspires and moves me to press through this battle.
I was assigned to the Price of Life internship, which focused on encouraging students to become abolitionists. I will be helping to design interactive art installations with the purpose of educating NYC about human trafficking. I am also working on planning a night for artists to come together and discuss incorporating social justice into art.
I am beyond excited to embark on these missions and continue to see the wild plans God has for my life. Throughout all of this I am seeing how sovereign my God is, even when these issues seem so hopeless. He has already overcome, and He will be back for us when it seems like too much. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul. Whew!
I am loving my time here. The city is full of wonders, and i fear that I might be loving it too much. In a ‘I may just have to move here’ kind of way. The need is so great here, but I will land where the Lord places me. I wouldn’t mind if that happened to be Wash Heights. :)
right now because of the Gospel. This is so surreal and thrilling. Learning to live organic, fair trade, and on a budget of $5 for lunch. I’ll post more about this bizarre lifestyle transition later. Peace love Jesus.
Want all of these!!!!
A (agree) or D (disagree)
A!!!!!!! amen :)
By Jainnie Hackman, Hofstra InterVarsity Staff
Imagine walking on your campus and seeing life sized cages with your fellow classmates in them duct-taped at the mouth and hands shackled. What would you think? What would you say? At Hofstra University, many passers-by were caught unaware but struck with a very captivating image. Some were horrified and rose to support the cause while others in anger to what the signs said stomped away. What exactly did these cages represent? Why such a drastic visual?
In January 2012, the Hofstra InterVarsity leadership team met for their winter planning days. They spent time praying, discussing and brainstorming ideas on where they thought God was leading them in the spring semester. After much thought, they decided to spend a month dedicating their meetings focused on the hurting things and people all around us. They decided to call the theme of the month, “For the least of these…” taken from the Bible verse in Matthew 25:40. One of the topics they wanted to raise awareness for was human trafficking.
A group of 7 Hofstra IV students supported by the larger fellowship met weekly to plan out details on how they would bring about such a devastating issue to light on their campus. One of the students, Maria Berruti, suggested they make life sized cages. Each cage would depict an aspect of human trafficking- sex labor, human labor and pornography. The cages were carefully made with PVC pipes, welded together and then painted. After gathering facts from reliable sources such as the Department of Labor and International Justice Mission, they carefully wrote these statistics on boards that would accompany the cages. Their next step was to ask the school for campus space to place these cages.
Read the rest.
Great article by Jainnie Hackman! Read about the movement, it’s impact, and future direction!
Hey lovely Tumblr people,
I want to let y’all in on the crazy things God has been doing in my life. This semester I started the Hofstra Freedom Movement on my campus after going to Passion 2012. God broke my heart over the insane injustice of human trafficking at this conference in Atlanta.
Did you know over 27 million men women and children are trapped in sex, labor, and domestic slavery? Only 1 out of 100 will ever be rescued. But you can join me in abolishing modern slavery.
A caught this vision that has led me to partner with NYCUP, a ministry focused on combating these injustices. New York City Urban Project Director Jonathan Walton has offered me an internship where I can further this calling. This summer I will be able to use my gifts of artistic ability and compassion that God has given me to serve others. I will be organizing events with the Price of Life team while creating more cage art installations that will appear in NYC. I will also be painting murals that represent a generation standing for justice.
You can help in huge ways!
First, Pray for me! I will need to be constantly clinging to Christ as I face these hard issues. Also, you can support me financially if you have it on your heart. I will have to raise $2500 before I go. Please also keep that in your prayers for me! Gifts of $10 and $25 would be a huge help towards my goal.
If you feel led, you can give on https://donate.intervarsity.org/donate and type in Maria Berrutti (they spelt my name wrong.. but i’ll fix it later)
or send me a check made out to InterVarsity and with NYCUP plus my name in the memo. My address is 443 Devonshire RD Baldwin NY 11510. That way you can get a tax write off (woohoo!)
Dudes, I love you all so much and God is so crazy awesome! Feel free to message me or email me at email@example.com or call me at 516-672-9678 if you want to hear more about it! Be blessed!
Can’t wait to change the world! Together we are a force for good!
Stuff Christian Girls Say
YES. this is spot on.
Life is art and God paints my picture with lots of bright colors.