FEL participants interning with the Public Engagement department were the graceful opportunity to attend three days of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations HQ in New York.
Night lights and magnificent and gigantic screens with the sound of a million and one voices and cars give the New York City its distinct signature. Its diverse cross cultural make-up makes me construct one specific identity for this skyscraper-filled environment, “a fruit of many tastes” which is probably a clear misconception of what many people, including me, thought its nickname “The Big Apple” meant. I’m pretty sure the name had nothing to do with taste but I am unquestionable the World Evangelical Alliance FEL participants sure did have an experience of a lifetime on their visit to the city that never sleeps; New York.
Their tour of the Big Apple began with a long ride from far away land Dover. The environ en route to New York which they were pretty excited about was nothing compared to mind blowing and captivating site of a city whose palms touch the sky. They were on a clear mission; to get to know New York inside-out. Their tour begun with a bus tour from Uptown to Downtown New York.
Before this amazing post even goes on, I would like to give advice from the bottom of my heart; Never! Never allow your beautiful Christian, Spirit-filled mind to convince you that you can walk from one end of New York to the other. Unless you plan to do a 24 hour walk, that is absolutely fine but until the Lord tells you to do that, please don’t.
Back to this amazing tour of New York. The bus tour took them from the 47th Ave to Battery Park. From Madison Square Gardens to the Empire State Building, the bus tour put New York into perspective, allowing the participants to have a view of what the Big Apple looks like.
We got off the bus at Battery park with the intention of taking a stroll through Broadway to Wall Street but the rains other plans. We had a somewhat entertaining run through the pouring rain to a pizza joint to have lunch. All the participants were introduced to a “New York Pizza” which they enjoyed to the fullest extent.
Our “run through New York City” continued after lunch as we made our way to the Century 21 Department Store where the FEL participants got the opportunity to shop in one of the biggest department Stores in New York. Providentially, the rain had stopped by the time the FEL participants were done shopping so they had the opportunity to see Ground Zero; the location where the World Trade Center came down on September 11, 2001. From the World Trade Center, we got back on the City sights bus and headed to Central Park, where we enjoyed a dinner at Chipotle.
This amazing day ended with a walk through Times Square where the participants had the best cheesecake in their lives and a visit to the M&M store.
The orientation week has concluded with tons of laughter and inspiration. The participants learned about the history of the WEA, got to know a little about each other's country, brainstormed on their choice projects, developed their own learning contracts, encountered numerous self-discovery moments during cross-cultural adaptation and enjoyed every bit of a rather unique cross-cultural simulation game. On Sunday, they even enjoyed a special golf lesson for free! A golf club flew off, but thankfully no one was injured.
Time well spent!
While waiting for more to arrive, FEL staff and participants lifted the coming 11 weeks in prayer, with great expectation for God to accomplish His good, pleasing and perfect will for this summer and beyond.