“People come here from far away and try to make a good living but sadly, some do end up having marital issues or other problems,” says Emily,* who led the New York City Prayer Journey through Harlem. “For some, after these crises, they lose all hope, and end up in drug addictions to cope with the pain.”
Harlem is like a Little Senegal. Emily calls it “typical New York” with its six-storey apartments with shops on the bottom, just east of Central Park and close to downtown. Many vendors and people bustling around the streets are from West Africa. People in need trying to get by, others coping with the hardship of life through drugs.
Emily says it was difficult and emotional to see as they walked with their group, including young children. One woman in their team was from the city in Guinea where fellow MoveIner, Katie,* hosted a Prayer Journey this year. The woman was called to be a missionary in New York City and now ministers to the drug addicts and West African Muslims there. She could tell the group about many of those they saw: “Through this one woman, we got to hear their stories of brokenness.”
The woman, a Muslim-background believer, came to Christ in France and is from the Fulani people group that Katie’s parents have been working to reach in Guinea. “Often you see people in the street and you just assume things about their lives, but to be able to hear their stories behind it was really good for us,” says Emily.
The verdict in the Philando Castile case came out the day before the walk so they prayed for racial tensions in the city. Many African-Americans were in the streets giving out material and asking people to support their cause.
The group was encouraged to see an African American church that started a French Bible study out of which many Muslim-background believers came to know the Lord. The church was active in mission and outreach.“It’s just encouraging knowing this is a place where Muslim, French-speaking people feel comfortable coming to Bible study, because Muslims rarely feel comfortable in a church setting,” says Emily.
They wrapped up their Prayer Journey over a Senegalese meal and enjoyed their time together as they waited for the food to be prepared. Says Emily: “In Africa, the food is ready when it’s ready. It was fun for all of us and felt like we were home.”