We just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you who prayed for our housing trip. God truly answered your prayers over and beyond what we could have asked for. We arrived in New York at 8:30am ready to hit the ground running with our apartment search. We were so anxious to finally step foot in apartments after looking at hundreds online. After seeing three apartments that clearly were not the best fit for our family, the fourth one we saw was everything we had prayed for... a great location, small building, close to parks, and laundry in unit (which only 3% of Manhattan apartments have this perk!). We stepped inside and it felt like a home. The tenants who live there now have two children Eloise and Evie's age! Although it's small (750 square feet), the proximity to parks should hopefully compensate for that. We spent the rest of our 24 hours in NYC exploring our new neighborhood. We found NEXT DOOR a Roman style trattoria that serves our favorite Italian pasta, cacio e pepe! I couldn't believe it (why am I always so surprised when God provides in such sweet ways?) I nearly burst into tears in front of the restaurant. Although our short trip was full of sweet God moments, there were other times that it began to sink in that this crazy city is about to be our home. Walking around our neighborhood I quickly realized that we are going to be the minority in Manhattan Valley (the upper part of the Upper West Side that borders Harlem and Morningside Heights.
According to the 2000 census, 48,983 people live in the community. Of the population, 44% are of Hispanic origin, 32% are African Americans, and 24% are Asians, whites, and other races. Fifty-five percent of the residents are of very low income. The public schooling options are not great (to put it lightly). God keeps reminding me that we prayed that He would make it clear where we were supposed to live and minister. He opened so many doors for us to be able to rent this apartment. I know that he'll provide wisdom and discernment when it comes time to send the girls to school. For now, I'm looking forward to getting to know our neighbors, be a good neighbor, and a learner from those who have been there for years.
Here are a couple prayer requests:
Pray for us as we travel to Ohio this weekend, for safe travels, fun connecting with friends, family, and supports. We look forward to visiting Hope Church in Mason, Ohio this Sunday morning.
Pray for us as we pack up our apartment here in Knoxville! Our lease ends June 15th but doesn't start in NYC until July 1. Pray for our girls while we are not sleeping in their own beds for 2 weeks.
Pray for Sam as he drives the truck up July 1. Praise God that He has provided people to help with our move in NYC.
Pray for the rest of our financial support to come in! We are so close (86%!).
I want to end with a quick story from our trip. Sam and I were heading to the airport. We had heard about a bus you can take from central Harlem to LaGuardia Airport. We had money left on our metro card so we decided to try it out. The bus was packed with people from all walks of life. We scanned our card and took a seat. The bus started moving and an older gentleman sitting across from us informed us that you need a separate ticket to be able to ride the bus that you are supposed to purchase before you get on board. If a patrolman were to hop onboard we were going to be in trouble! The passengers around us must have seen the shocked looks on our faces and taken pity on us! A young man and young woman, right before they hopped off the bus, handed us their tickets. We didn't ask them and they had no reason to help us out. But they did. That's the feeling I got from the community that we're moving into. People know each other and look out for each other. That's a community I'm excited to be a part of!