Upon coming to New York, I didn’t tell many but I was scared. My heart was filled with anxiousness. I worried about not having enough, high rents and taxes. I kept comparing our living situation now to back home in Singapore. Somewhere in my heart, didn’t understand the move. Why move from 3 bedrooms to 1 bedroom? Why take a pay cut due to taxes? All my customers are in Singapore, why ship from NY? Why am I here?
As the weeks went by, there were times of victory over my negative feelings when I sought the Lord in his word and prayed for his peace, but most of the time it was still…. Taxes are SO HIGH! I became a “Complain Queen” in my heart. I forgot all the good things God had done for us, like giving us the L Visa (which pretty much allows me to do anything I want here).
Then, God sent 2 friends whom brought light into my darkness. They didn’t try to encourage me regarding the situation I was in, because I didn’t really complain out loud to them. They just shared with me their amazing encounters with God’s goodness over their recent trips to Bethel Church and other places before landing in NY. They reminded me of God’s supernatural and the power of his love encounters. I recalled the time I was hit by the power of God and my whole body starting shaking violently like I had been hit with high voltage electricity, but in a good way. I started screaming in ecstatic joy and freedom… that was maybe 2 years ago.
They were going to the “Catch The Fire” Conference in Toronto, and I suddenly felt like going. I wanted to experience God again. After some nudging from Grace, I booked a very last minute flight the night before and went there with them.
On the plane, I wrote in my spiritual journal/ ipad mini what I was looking forward to on this trip and conference. I wanted to have another love encounter with God, to be so filled with his Joy like I had previously experienced. I wanted to be free from the fear of men, which I had discovered in myself – the reason why I always felt guilty and stressed up. I wanted to know my purpose and destiny in New York; I wanted to know why I was here.
On the first night of the conference, someone prophesied that the younger generation would be the ones bringing light to the darkness of our times now. They asked all those under 30 to be prayed for. We gathered on the upper rooms in anticipation. Before they even came up, I was already shaking in tears as my heart was so open and I was crying out for God to do something in my life.
When they came in and just laid their hands on me, I fell to the floor in rapid tears. In those few seconds or moments, I saw a vision of the earth as if I was looking down on it from space. I saw the whole earth, and I asked in my heart what that was all about. Immediately, a song started playing in my head – “ Before the earth begun, you were on his mind. And every tear you cried, is precious in his eyes.” Just this part of the song kept replaying in my head. I was down on the floor paralyzed in his glory and love at this point in time. I was crying uncontrollably at the revelation that I was so loved and so precious to him. That even before the earth was formed – I was already on HIS mind. I cry a lot… I cry in his presence, when I’m happy, when I’m feeling compassionate, when I’m sad, when I’m excited, when others are crying – and to think that “EVERY TEAR I CRIED was PRECIOUS IN HIS EYES? “ that wrecked me.
The next thing I heard was a voice screaming out to me in my heart and mind and soul, “ I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!!!”
As I lay on the floor crying I felt like I couldn’t move my body. It was as if my body was in so much peace it just wanted to stay there motionless.
One by one, memories came into the vision of my mind. I was brought back to a time in my childhood where my parents made us play a word-phonetics game. It was only when we got the correct answers, then were we rewarded with a fun activity of our choice, like going swimming. Then HIS voice said, “ You don’t have to do the right thing and perform right for me to love you”.
In the next memory, I was in the kitchen with broken plates in between my dad and I. My dad was a hot-tempered man with tendencies to be verbally abusive and sometimes physically abusive. He had hit me on the arm with his hands before in a moment of anger. At that time we were fighting, I just threw a bunch of plates on the floor in between us so that he couldn’t come near me. Then, HIS voice said, “ You don’t have to protect yourself from me, I won’t hurt you and I won’t disappoint you”.
I was wrecked by his love and what he was saying. I didn’t even know that these moments in my childhood had built up a kind of lie in me in the way I viewed God who was my heavenly father. I didn’t know I was trying to do the right things to please him, or that I was trying to protect myself from him by maybe praying very safe prayers so that I wouldn’t get disappointed if they weren’t answered and I wouldn’t be hurt.
I still couldn’t move when this was all over and I felt Him saying, “ No more stress, only peace. No more stress, only peace…”
When I finally got up, I was in a daze of his love. It was etched in my heart. That love brought forth joy, and when I walked out of the building, just hugging people goodbye along the way hit me with the bliss of his love that I broke out into laughter, falling on the floor again, laughing.
I have stayed in New York before – 4 years ago, when I didn’t really know Jesus well. The first apartment we stayed at was right smack next to Herald Square, very near to Times Square. There were probably countless homeless people I had walked past, but I don’t even remember myself feeling anything much for them or wanting to help them out.
This time coming back, we stayed at a service apartment near Times Square once more before moving to our rented apartment. In those 2 months, walking past the homeless people wasn’t easy for me. I felt compassion for them and wanted to help, but didn’t know how.
On the second week one morning, it burdened my heart so much that I decided to make sandwiches for them. As I finished making them, Mark woke up and I told him my plan to feed the homeless – only to hear him tell me that it’s illegal to distribute food in public. I didn’t want to break any laws! We just moved here! So…that was the end of Plan A.
I started googling about homeless shelters about how I could volunteer. I found out about places like Bowery Missions and got disappointed when I read “sign up with your church group/ school” because I wasn’t part of any church or organization here in NYC yet; end of Plan B
I would walk past the homeless and feel so sorry for them, but yet because I felt so helpless thinking, how many could I actually give money to and how much and for how long, and would this even help in the long run etc. So I ended up NOT doing anything and trying not to look them in the eye so I won’t feel even more terrible than I already did…till one week before I went to Toronto.
There was a young man sitting at the entrance to the subway, with a cardboard on the floor that wrote, “ I need a Miracle”. Some kind of peace and courage came over me and I went up to him and asked what happened. He said he lost his job and got evicted. I asked him about his parents, where they were and he told me they were in New Jersey and one in another place not too far but that he wasn’t speaking with them, things were not good between them. His eyes were filled with despair and my heart sank for his situation. I told him that God can do miracles and asked to pray for him, speaking jobs and opportunities and praying for reconciliation in his family. I gave him the $40 I had in my wallet which I knew would not solve anything but I just couldn’t leave without helping him somehow.
With my mind clouded with that young man’s problems and how sad his situation was, I walked briskly into the subway with a heavy heart…. Only to find out 1 stop later that I had taken the wrong train, from the wrong side! My eyes were so drawn to this man that I didn’t even notice this wasn’t the subway entrance that I would usually walk into.
That whole day, I kept thinking of this man. At night I cried out to God and prayed for a good government in America and for the homeless. I just cried and cried for 2 hours praying for them, feeling so sad for the homeless in New York.
On the second night of the conference, a brother from Singapore whom I barely knew prayed for me. We were from the same fellowship in Singapore, but I didn’t know him well.
He was shaking profusely as he said to me in a nutshell::
“ Hadassah, God has given you a heart for the homeless. I see you loving the homeless in New York, I see you connecting with Non-government Organisations. I see you making women feel like princesses because you know what it is to be a princess, a daughter of God, and you’re going to help women feel like princesses. Hadassah you think that you can’t do it, you think that it’s too big for you, but God is saying that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you, you can’t do it, but GOD CAN! “
At this point I was crying SO uncontrollably, shaking in my body, and my mucus was coming out of my nose and touching the ground. WOW…. THIS WAS CRAZY! The word hit sharp and hard, into the deepest part of my heart. A part of me was so amazed and touched to my core because I had realized that THIS WAS MY PURPOSE here… this was why I was in New York. The fact that everything in my life and Mark’s had led us to this day; the fact that God was telling me this just showed that he had me in the palm of his hands, he was directing our paths all this while and despite everything, this was all part of his beautiful plan.
When I stopped crying and cleaned up, I went over to this brother to thank him for praying for me. He gave me a father’s embrace and started praying that I would be so filled with JOY that I would be laughing till I went to bed. Immediately, I fell back into hysterical laughter. I started rolling on the floor, laughing till I had to hold my stomach. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I laughed and rolled around on the floor so much this probably went on for almost 2 hours!
As I was laughing, in my head I was thinking that Satan was such a BIG IDIOT and that he was really NOTHING! I found it SO FUNNY that he tried to make me so unhappy about coming to New York and now God revealed his big plan for me to love the homeless and SATAN IS A LOSER! HA- HA-HA it was the funniest thing on earth!!!
This brother egged me on and told me not to worry about making the rest wait for me, that they would carry me back to the hotel if they needed to. I tried to tell him why I was laughing, why it was SO FUNNY! When I opened my mouth to talk, what came out of my mouth was totally uncontrollable! I was speaking gibberish!! I WAS TOTALLY DRUNK in the Holy Spirit! I WAS WASTED! (If you’ve ever been drunk, this feels like being TOTALLY WASTED. You’re Happy High, laughing your ass off, you can’t walk and talk properly and everything is the funniest thing on earth – except, without the headache and nausea!)
In between the laughing, my legs started cycling in the air as I was lying on the floor. It felt like something was LIFTING off me! This same brother started saying,” God is taking away something from you right now, something that you came here to get rid of. You did come here to get rid of something right?”
YES! It was the fear of men – The fear of having people think badly of me, the fear of not pleasing, not looking good in all aspects, self-consciousness…YES! I felt something lifting off me and I started crying again. Exactly what I told God I wanted to get rid of in my journal on the flight to Toronto!
After that episode, I started laughing again because I felt so FREE! WOW, I DIDN”T CARE! I FELT FREE! EVERYTHING WAS HILARIOUS AGAIN! I started laughing so bad again continuously, my body started to shake too. However, it was time to go! Everyone was leaving, but I couldn’t stand up! I couldn’t walk!
Thanks to I don’t know how many, probably 4 brothers and sisters, I made it back to the hotel room. One carried my from my arms, some carried my legs. I remember them saying something I found so funny again, that I laughed and shook while they were carrying me to the car out in the frigid Canadian weather, and slipped out of their arms into the snow. They sort of dragged me to the car shortly after.
Upon arrival at the hotel, they got the hotel staff to bring them a wheelchair to bring me back to the room, because I still could not walk or move! I was like “dead weight”. I could hear everything they said, but when I tried to reply it came out as gibberish. When they asked me to stand up or hold them or walk, trust me, I really tried, but I just could not feel my body!
They plonked me onto the bed after the sisters took off my boots and jacket and giving me water to suck from a straw, then they left.
Right about probably 10-15 minutes after I hit the bed, I started to sober up. I could feel and move my body. I stopped laughing. I could talk. Everything went back to normal, and I even took a shower.
Then I remembered what my brother prayed – that I would be LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TILL I HIT THE BED.
In the next few days, God healed and set free different aspects of my heart and removed fears and offence that I didn’t even know was there. One of my fears was ‘not wanting to look foolish’.
During worship, I’ve always felt like moving. I felt like dancing, but I didn’t dare do so. I looked at other people who danced “prophetically”, and they looked so graceful. I tried it out at home before in the mirror and mine looked nothing like theirs, so I decided mine was substandard and I would only make a fool out of myself if I had danced publicly during worship and worshipped God with my dancing. This was different from dancing in a club to Techno or R&B in the past. I would dance anytime in a club because that was what I was familiar with and confident in, but I didn’t’ think I could dance “prophetically” or “spiritually” as I had seen some other sisters dance.
On the 3rd day, there was this girl in front of me, dancing to the Lord. She had moves I had never seen. She was so joyful and free. She danced to anything and everything! Slow, fast, even parts when the music seemed to stop. She looked like a dancer! I felt so ministered to just watching her, and couldn’t stop looking at her dance!
During the next session, I decided to TELL her just that. I told her that she danced beautifully and asked if she was a dancer. Guess what she told me? The answer was no! She said she had always been really shy and didn’t dare to dance in public, but now she was free. She said she could see that I wanted to dance too, and I told her I was still quite shy.
Well, lets pray for that, she said. She prayed for me that I would have the freedom and liberty to dance for God, and that when people watched me dancing, they would be set free too, and get ministered to when I danced.
The next day, because we couldn’t get seats together and I didn’t know where the rest of my friends were, I just went ahead right to the back of the conference where there was much space and seats. It was worship time and I just went straight into dancing. I felt SO FREE it was a crazy feeling, I just danced and danced – SLOW, FAST, everything, my feet were just moving and not just my hands this time!
In the next session, I went back to the same spot. It was early and the music had not started yet. I felt a tap on my back and turned around to the lady. She looked me in the eyes and said that she just wanted to tell me that in the earlier session, she was so greatly ministered to when she watched me dance. She said she was imagining herself in heaven, dancing the way that I was and she felt so free looking at me. I was so surprised and in awe and told her that this was my FIRST TIME dancing like that, and told her of the prayer the girl had prayed for me the night before! She said she was telling her friend to look at me when I danced, and her friend said “ Oh, she’s probably a dancer” – HOW CRAZY IS THAT? WOW. I was blown away by the power of a simple prayer!
So many other amazing things happened, and I left Toronto so JOY-FILLED.
On the first day I was back, on my way to art class, I was beaming and probably 6 random people on the streets said Hi and Good Morning to me. One shouted across the street, “ BEAUTIFUL SMILE!”
Then a week went by of me going to art class and getting back into my usual routines. Around where I stay, there aren’t any homeless at all. I had gone past a whole week of not even having anything to do with the homeless.
It was a Tuesday and it had already been probably 10 days since I had been back from Toronto. I started to wonder and as I was talking to God, I told him “ God, it’s really amazing all the words spoken over me and the encounters I had with you, but I haven’t even had anything to do with the homeless this whole week! Am I supposed to do something? Am I missing out on the destiny you have told me about? You said that you would connect me to NGOs right? How is that even happening? I don’t know ANYONE AT ALL. But I trust your word God, I’m wondering, but I trust you.”
That very night, it was the FIRST TIME I was going to attend a connect group from Hillsong NYC that I have been attending. Before coming to Toronto, I got the email from the church in an effort to find community. I emailed the connect group leader about wanting to join, but I thought she didn’t reply. It was only till that weekend when I was back that I realized mark had read all the emails in our joint email account, which was why I didn’t see any NEW mail and therefore thought there weren’t any.
They were on the topic of “PIONEERING AGAIN”, because it had just been Hillsong’s VISION Sunday. They asked the group, what do you want to Pioneer In. Me, being very unaware of the many homeless organizations that already exist in NYC, said that I wanted to Pioneer in helping the homeless and that it was on my heart. WHO KNEW, that the lady beside me was an advocate for the homeless! She was like, “ hey do you know about < DON’T WALK BY > ?” which I knew nothing about. We later connected and she told me that she herself used to be homeless (in 2006 when she was saved by the program at Bowery Missions) – the organization that I had googled and read about! I told her abit about the word I got in Toronto and my heart for the homeless and she said that she too had been praying for God to bring someone in her life that had the same passion for the homeless as she had! We were both so excited and touched and awed as we were jumping up and down and tearing at the same time. We exchanged numbers and she was going to let me know more about the outreach and she could connect me with all the organizations cause she knew pretty much everyone! She was my divine connection! How crazy was it that I was just talking to God about it in the afternoon and then THIS happened?
And because she was trying to call people she knew in the organizations to get me a spot to volunteer in the first session (because registration was already full), she spoke to this brother about me, and my heart for the homeless. Without even having spoken to or meeting me, this man called me just to get in touch with me, just to say hi and to pray for me! And he is, on staff in one of the NGOs! And because of that, we have actually been in touch and he is another divine connection! WOW GOD!
In the past month, I volunteered with Ana at Don’t Walk Byevery Saturday. I met so many amazing homeless people whom some I have come to really respect and admire. I feel SO alive loving them – it is like nothing I have ever really felt. There was a week that I actually felt dizzy and weak, almost feeling like I had the body aches and flu but I held it down and in and tried to ignore it. However, as soon as the homeless people started coming in and I got to talk and pray with them, I was so filled with energy and my body just felt 110% again, and I went home feeling more alive than ever. I am also now aware of all the Christian NGOS that help the homeless here in NYC, and know who runs them and have so much respect for their love for God and the Poor.
Today was the last day of this Homeless Outreach, and I don’t know what God has in store for me next… but I know that it is going to be good…. 🙂
NOTHING THAT I DO, could make him love me more,
And nothing that I’ve done, would make him close the door –
But when YOU KNOW this, and YOU KNOW HE LOVES YOU, THINGS CHANGE.
YOU DO THINGS NOT CAUSE YOU HAVE TO but because YOU WANT TO.
In fact, it is true – It is more blessed TO GIVE than to receive, because that gratitude/appreciation/happiness you feel when you receive, cannot compare to that overwhelming JOY you will feel, making someone smile, loving on someone, making someone’s day and being able to help someone out.
AND WE LOVE BECAUSE,
and ONLY BECAUSE –
HE FIRST LOVED US.
Update on the 19th of April