Bronx, NYC: 1992 – 2017
Celebrating 25 Years!
In 1992, the web browser was introduced. Email came to the forefront a year later. In 1996, the DVD began its journey to kill of the VHS tape. Then, as broadband cable lines began to appear in homes, Google and WiFi established their dominance.
In 1992, the world was readjusting from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain while protests in Tiananmen Square ended violently. LA erupted in riots. Two years later, in 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa.
Twenty-five years ago, on Thursday, May 21, 1992, I set foot in the South Bronx for the first time. I ministered at a drug and alcohol rehab and walked the violent streets controlled by drugs. Two days later, I led an outreach in the center of drug-gang activity in the courtyard of massive projects. That afternoon, I walked out of a storefront that was actually a drug-front. Standing on the sidewalk looking at an abandoned coffin factory across the street, I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Prepare yourself, Tom, I have future ministry for you here.”
Our ministry in New York City has been centered in that community and based on that block ever since.
What has God done in 25 years? He has established a vibrant church and outreach that has made and continues to make a huge difference in this community. He led us to Detroit in 2005 where we are leading Hope for the City which is transforming churches and communities and bringing hope to thousands of hopeless in Detroit. And He has changed me.
While lecturing at Furman University some years ago, a student asked me to tell her about the person who has changed the most in our ministry. “That’s easy,” I told her. “That would be me,” for God joined us to the suffering of the poor and rejected in the inner city, and in so doing, made us part of their community and part of their lives. It is through those relationships that He enabled us to invite them into life-change. To His glory, many lives have changed.