New York City Interim – Student Reviews and Testimonials

When I signed up for the New York City Urban Missions interim, I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to get to know a new group of Calvin students in a city that I was curious to learn more about.  However, I got so much more than I signed up for.  I have never been very involved in church.  I attend every Sunday, but that is the extent of my involvement.  The people we met with and the churches we attended in NYC showed me what it looks like when people of a community get together to bridge racial, social, economic, and gender barriers for the sake of the Kingdom.  What a blessing it was to see that in a city where there is so much busyness, there is also a strong undercurrent of Christianity.  God is at work in what seem the most unlikely places—in the heart of Times Square, the flatlands of Brooklyn, and the projects in the Bronx.  Spending time in NYC made me realize that Christianity is not a spectator sport.   I have spent my whole life sitting in the congregation, watching what everyone else is doing to advance the kingdom.  My time in NYC encouraged me to take action. I don’t have to be a pastor to make a difference; I can graduate from Calvin as a nurse and use my own gifts to see Christ’s Kingdom come.  What an incredible idea: we have a Creator who has blessed us all with different gifts that can all be used for Kingdom-work.  That is what my time in NYC taught me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Jen TenBrink,  NYC Interim 2010

I went into the New York trip without specific expectations, just knowing that the class was focused on inner city churches. This experience, however, impacted my Christianity in aspects I never knew needed improvement. I always heard that we were to tolerate other styles of worship or church structure. But after seeing so many different services and talking to the ministers who lead these diverse congregations, I learned that rather than tolerating, we as Christians need to be embracing other styles. The New York experience opened my eyes to seeing church diversity as a gift from God. It affords us the opportunity to see how amazing Christianity is when differently colored people with different cultures who sing different songs in different styled services come together from different nations to celebrate one God and one Savior under the same roof. To the outside person, seeing this would shock their worldview, one filled with stereotypes of these groups. Seeing this would tell the outside person that there must be something spectacular about a religion which brings together those who would not otherwise have anything in common. Through interacting with the trip’s leaders and churches, this New York interim will show you, on the individual and community level, how to begin to bring together God’s people from all cultures and backgrounds. This interim will give you a taste of how to go about sending this Christianity shockwave through a world desperately in need of shaking up.

Dan Tao,  NYC Interim 2010

I had the privilege of spending 10 days in NYC in January. Best. Trip. Ever.  I learned some really amazing things about doing ministry in an urban context. It was especially meaningful to me too having just had my internship at Madison Square in the fall. It was also a fantastic way for me to end my Calvin Career. It was one of those trips that really opens your eyes to how big God’s world is and some of the amazing things he is doing in it through fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I am also grateful for the amazing group of people we had on the trip and Jack our instructor and his wife Eileen who took the time off from work to come with us. I know it was a life-changing trip for me and I believe it was for everyone else in our group too. The meetings with all of the leaders challenged me to think outside the box so to speak and the sight-seeing and fun things we did on the side were of course fantastic!

Katie Proctor,  NYC Interim 2010

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