FOR NEW YORK
WON by ONE
- by Phil Presley Norco Ca.
Our team departed from Ontario Intl, May 15th
at 12:30 PM; Laurie Rogers, Gary Lewis, Aaron Ball, Michael Glassey and myself, all expectantly, dauntingly excited to see
what God was going to do through us on this mission trip to NYC.
As before God had us hit the floor running
ministering to firefighters at FDNY Command Post at Ground Zero. You could see the pain and frustration in their eyes
as they raced against time to recover their brothers before the recovery phase was declared finished.
Chief was ever so gracious to us, although his thoughts were still with the six lost men from his station. He gave us
carte blanche as we ministered to his firefighters.
One of the Chiefs firefighters, Vinnie, who
was securing the command post door, looked at our youngest team member Aaron, age 20, took the Virgin Mary pin off his uniform.
Handing it to Aaron, he said, You are the future of this country; take this and wear it. It was obvious that this was a huge
gesture as it was obvious he had worn it for years.
Later that evening, as I counseled the 3rd
Watch Shift at Site 3 Ground Zero, two firefighters came in, Lt. Pete and Fireman Phil. Both were especially friendly
and asked a lot of general questions about life, child rearing, etc. They exemplified the officers we met, regular people
attempting to do their best. I told them if they ever visited CA they had a place to stay
As I continued to work, the Lt. came in and
handed me a piece of glass. I did not know what it was, but the Chaplain I was working with told me it was a tremendous
gift. It was a piece of glass from the WTC windows, a significant memento indeed.
The next evening I received a call to come
to the command post at Ground Zero to counsel a police officer. It was raining, but that did not matter; I was there to do
the work God sent me to do. Personal comfort was not a priority. As, she escorted me through Ground Zero, she
recounted how tough the year had been; she had recently lost her mother. The first step she took onto Ground Zero she started
to cry. Although she had not cried when she told me about her mother, walking onto the site brought to the surface much
of the pain she had felt these past months. I gently took her arm and the Holy Spirit spoke through me. I prayed
that the Lord help her see new life in the now nearly completed debris removal. We prayed that she would see new born
again Christians standing in the place of those who lost their lives. New Christians like Sgt. S., who received Christ
on May 12th, and S, a detective from another precinct, standing in the place of those lost. Her tears stopped and now
she is able to return to the site.
On Friday I was waiting to be deployed by the Supervisor
of the Salvation Army, a retired firefighter from Oklahoma City. He approached me and out of the blue he said.
You know I am a poor Christian, but a Christian nonetheless. I still sin in language, unforgiveness, and anger.
Once again, God spoke through me as I ministered to him, circling verses in one of the Bibles we handed out for evangelism.
He thanked me profusely; we prayed together.
Later that evening, back at the Command Post, I noticed
a grizzled old guy sitting alone in the corner. One of the supervisors came to me and told me to be careful. Henry T.
had not talked to any of the volunteers in months. His son, Hector, a firefighter, died at WTC in his first fire. Henry,
an ironworker, had been working
12-hr days looking for his sons remains. He grabs an hour of sleep and goes to Staten
Island, now called Fresh Kills Island. He works another 8-hrs sifting through the transported debris, continuing to
search for some element of his sons body. His son left 5 children behind. Hector and his wife are caring for them all.
I think the most gut wrenching aspect of his story is each night, when he comes home; his wife is at the door asking if he
has found their son. I was startled as he began yelling at me, Its not supposed to happen that way, a son is not to
die before his father. We talked for almost two hours. I believe, in the end, he received some relief.
On Saturday night, I had dinner with Sgt. S., Operations for
NYPD, overseeing 35000 police officers. He had come to Christ a week ago. I was personally delivering a case of
Bibles to him for distribution. I preceded to disciple him, giving him my testimony, and pointing out books of the Bible
he should read and meditate on each day. We connected; it was as though we had known each other for years. He
told me he would help me in any way to minister to others, any door I needed open in Manhattan to let him know. After
I had spent a number of hours and days ministering to various patrol officers, on the beat, I discovered a common theme.
I told Val they had no hope and were on the verge of a meltdown. I offered to bring in a number of volunteer chaplains, from
all over the country, to go out to the field and minister directly to his officers. I dont believe the police officers
would willingly come in for formal counseling for fear of reprisal. As of this writing, he is presenting the idea to
After an exhaustive week, I thought my work
for God was done and tried to get on a flight the next day; they were booked solid. God had a purpose in my delay.
I had been putting off all week getting together
with Officer R., who I had met 7 months ago at Ground Zero. Rob is a Roman Catholic. We had co-labored in providing
Christmas gifts for two of the victims children, and he recently visited me in California. Sunday morning I called his
house and his girlfriend answered. She did not like to talk on the phone, but today she seemed chatty. I spoke to her
about the tough times the rank and file patrol officers were having with the effects of 911. In the middle of our talk,
she blurted out, R is in trouble . . . what he has not told you is that he spent the first three weeks of duty at Ground Zero
digging to rescue victims, all he found were body parts. He has been having nightmares, waking up and screaming, I cant
find anyone alive.
Rob depression and moodiness, prompted her to suggest that he talk with someone. He was willing to
speak with one particular Catholic priest; when they arrived at the church; they were told the priest had died.
I knew this was God timing, and I was
without a doubt there for Rob to offer to him the Peace of God through Christ and for the forgiveness of sins. I told
her I would call him. I immediately hailed a cab and told the cabby that I was clueless about just where my friend lived,
but somehow I had to get to Huntington Station. The cabby told me not to worry Just follow the signs. I
told him that is what God tells me to dohe said he was a born again Christian and he would get me there. His name was Joseph.
Sure as the world, following the signs, I traveled an hour on the train and arrived at Huntington train station. I called
R and he was shocked, but said he would come for me, then came the longest hour of my life. Doubt raced in my mind,
I knew it was the enemy; so, I called a couple of policeman, who knew Christ and prayer began. I knew this was
Gods timing and I had to present the gospel to him. It seemed that God had preordained this moment.
He finally arrived in his classic 69 Shelby
GT Mustang. As we sat in his car, he started to make small talk and I stopped it. I said, Rob, I have to talk to you
seriously; . . .we sat in the front seat of his car, and it was there that he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and asked
him into his life as Lord and Savior! We hugged; we cried; he is now a child of God.
I thank the Lord that he has given the passion
to help these people by continuing MISSION NYC. Rick was there in Oct when I was and had the same commitment and passion to
serving the Lord by coming alongside the people of NY, I praise him for granting Rick the spiritual discernment to deploy
God people where they had divine appointments awaiting for them alone. Multiple this testimony times 6 in our team and you
can see the amount of seeds that were planted for the Kingdom from Long Island to the Hudson River.
I urge you if you have the call just to GO
...God will equip you - Rick will deploy you just leave your agenda behind and focus on his; you will experience blessings
and gifts exceedingly and abundantly above what you ask. I am just a regular guy who loves the Lord and he showed me that
the Kingdom is advanced not only by stadium evangelism but also in my case it was Won by One. as the Holy Spirit redeemed
one life from the Pit.