I want to tell you a story of a trip we made to New York City 6 years ago. We left Lexington on my 50Th birthday with 30 students, including 5 college age, our youth pastor and his wife, and one parent.
Dick and I were Senior High Sunday School teachers at Centenary United Methodist in Lexington. We had been with these kids for 4 years....a big group that had been together for years and were really like brothers and sisters...we love them all like they are our kids.
It was the beginning of December, things were gearing up for Christmas...life was busy for all of us, very busy. After Sunday School one of our kids, Will, came over to talk to us..."We all need to go see Sean, ...all of us, we need to go to New York, he needs us." Will earnestly pleaded. Sean was one of our Sunday School fold....a major player....we all loved him a lot. Sean and his Mother were staying at the Ronald McDonald House in New York and he was being treated for cancer at Sloane Kettering Cancer Hospital a few blocks a way.
"Oh Will, it's Christmas time....parents are not going to let kids leave...the cost, where would we stay...how could we ever manage? I told him. Dick's business had been slow, we were really pinching pennies, financially it was not a good time for us, plus Christmas was nearing..plans were already in the making for family and friends..my 50Th birthday was nearing.. ...How could we pull this off. Will was dead serious....Will up until that point, had really never been serious about anything around us, ...we took his plea to heart and told him we would think about it and let him know as soon as possible.
Dick and I went home with heavy hearts....we loved Sean, this was his second big battle with cancer...he didn't deserve this..his family had been through so much..all he wanted to do was throw a football, be a kid. The tumor was in his shoulder moving toward his heart. He and his Mom were alone in New York. It was Christmas time....a visit from his Sunday School class could do him a world of good.
"Lord", we prayed, "We have a problem, we need your help and guidance....can we do this?" Then it happened...God heard and answered quickly....Yes, yes you can...hurry, not much time! Thank you Lord, for answering Will's prayer.
Within several days the majority of our class signed up to go 25, or so. We had determined we would leave for New York City Dec. 20, and return home by Dec. 23 in time for all the kids to spend Christmas with their family.
I quickly started calling Churches near the Ronald McDonald House where Sean and his Mom were staying to see if they had any accommodations for a youth group. Our church in Lexington had hosted many a group...Churches do that sort of thing....but not at Christmas, I soon found out. No room in the Inn.
After checking hotel rates in the city I knew we would have to find rooms outside the city....reasonable, safe, and it had to serve free breakfast plus be on a bus route.
Forgive me for saying this, but there is no other way then to tell you...God led us to Secaucus, New Jersey....to the Amerisuites.
We could put 6 in a room because they all had 2 double beds, plus sleeper sofa's. The rooms also had kitchens, plus free breakfast...the good kind with homemade waffles. There was a bus stop outside the Hotel, with a bus that would take us on a several minute drive into the city and dump us out at 48Th street..you know where the Today Show is..Rockefeller Plaza....there's a huge Christmas tree there....BEAUTIFUL!!!! Thank you Lord, for a nice place to stay and food to eat.
With three nights in a hotel, free breakfast, it came to around $60 a person...maybe it was a bit more, but that's what it cost them, plus 5 or 6 meals. We provided pizza one night...kids eat cheap! Dick and I stuck everything on our American Express and prayed everything would work out okay. Transportation was another thing....originally we thought just Will and a few others would be going, so we would just take our car. We drive an Expedition that has a third seat. Thirty Five would not fit, plus luggage...Lord, we need transportation. Dick went to bat to plead for the church buses....long story short....we got 2 of them!! Our church only had 2 15-18 passenger vans.....it was Christmas. The impossible, became possible. Thank you Lord, for transportation.
Our one parent that made the trip with us had signed on after a meeting we had with the kids going and their parents. Dan came forward after the meeting and told us he had felt led to go...he was a Police Lieutenant and drove a big ole Suburban....he was our lead dog...He led two over flowing with people church vans into New York City!! If you have ever driven into the city, you know, it's not that easy for your average Joe!
THANK YOU GOD, FROM WHOM ALL BLESSING FLOW!!!!!!
Thank you Lord, for a traffic leader and extra hand.
Loaded to the gills, we left Lexington bound for New York City...two church vans, one suburban with one mission in mind....we were going to go cheer Sean on!!!
This is the group in the lobby of the Ronald McDonald House...we were not tired...just reflective and prayerful. Sean is far left playing the guitar with our youth pastor Ryan.
Sean's mom told us his energy level had been low...after seeing all his friend's Sean got a second wind and wanted to go get pizza around the corner...The pizza was so good! The kids filled up the place with fun and laughter...lots and lots of talking!
We were just blocks away from Central Park, so we all decided to walk over....past Park Avenue and all the big houses and beautiful churches all lit up for Christmas....you would think it just couldn't get any better, but it did!!
As we rounded the corner to Central Park it was just getting dark, we heard the music and then saw the skaters!!
Sean is in the bright yellow jogging pants with Michael. Our girl Kristen sitting on the big rock by the skating Rink. Everyone having so much fun! Sean road the city bus back to the Hotel with us and spent the night with his buddies.
Will is far right....Sean, Michael and Kristen. The whole group behind them...they all stayed pretty much together most of the time.
The next day everyone had a blast walking around New York. Since it was Christmas, New York was beautiful, people were in good moods. We could not have asked for a better day of friendship and fellowship in the Big Apple.
Will and Adam
Waiting for the bus to take us to 45th street. Back of my head...our beloved Dad, we lovingly called Lieutenant Dan, Kristen, Sarah and Michael.
Our group on the bus headed for a fun day in the city. The two girls in the front were with us. They didn't know Sean or understand why we were there...they wanted to see New York so we brought them with us. Their parents were visiting missionary's from Africa.
Click and make them a little bigger.
we were getting ready to go check out the Subways.
Dick and I decided the Bus would be the best way to travel......the Subways were a little stinky.
Street's were full of shoppers and tourist.
No one got lost,
nothing bad happened,
nothing at all!!
Thank you Lord, for our safe trip!!
Saint Patrick's Cathedral...Beautiful!
God heard our prayers and healed our boy Sean.
Lord, we are forever grateful to you for helping us with our trip to New York to see one of your kids...help us to never forget you are with us and care about our every need. We know with you, nothing, nothing is impossible! Thank you for carrying us through.
We are forever changed.