The Urban Fresh Podcast

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Podcast by Urban Fresh Gardens, Inc.

The Urban Fresh Podcast

We interview (mostly) missionaries to inspire believers everywhere.

Latest episodes

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17 January 2024

#7: Marshalee Loerch - Former Missionary to Ethiopia, etc.

My guest today is Marshalee Loerch, a former missionary. Initially, she wanted to be a school guidance counselor, but a 'chance' opportunity in college changed her mind. We'll talk about that experience, how determined she is to be unbothered by the world, and how she's navigating this stage of her adult life. This is Part 1 of a 2-part episode.

 

Check out Marshalee's Garden Diary on Youtube

Keep in Touch

Please get to know us more by checking out our website, Instagram, and newsletter (see links).  

Find our website, Instagram, newsletter, and podcast on the Internet:

Website: https://urbanfreshgardens.com/

Instagram: urbanfreshgardens_ufg

Newsletter: https://ufg.beehiiv.com/

Podcast: https://theurbanlp.alitu.com/

 

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45:24

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01 January 2024

#6: Tricia Shakespeare - Jamaican Missionary to Costa Rica

To Support Tricia

 
Mission Enablers International - Tricia Shakespeare Grant Designation Code: TG3696 
Instagram: tricia.vivienne
 

Keep in Touch

Please get to know us more by checking out our website, Instagram, and newsletter (see links).  

Find our website, Instagram, newsletter, and podcast on the Internet:

Website: https://urbanfreshgardens.com/

Instagram: urbanfreshgardens_ufg

Newsletter: https://ufg.beehiiv.com/

Podcast: https://theurbanlp.alitu.com/

 

TRANSCRIPT

Speaker A: Hello and welcome to the Urban Fresh podcast, where we interview believers from around the globe. I'm your host, Tanisha Knight. And I am so glad that you're joining us. Today we're interviewing our friend and missionary to Costa Rica, Tricia Shakespeare. Okay, Trish, welcome to the Urban Fresh podcast. We are so happy to have you.

Speaker B: Thank you.

Speaker A: Okay.

Speaker B: So happy to be.

Speaker A: Good, good. Well, for those of you who are listening to hearing and used to hearing my voice all the time, tonight we are. Today we're joined by Gregory Knight, the husband.

Speaker C: Hi, Trish. Good seeing you again in my longtime friend and just didn't know how much we had in common and that our circles were familiar. I'm happy to really be here sitting with you and sitting with Tanisha, and then it's like this one big family that we didn't know that was happening.

Speaker B: Yeah, that's totally a God thing.

Speaker A: And just for context, Gregory and I both know Trish, but we did not know we knew her until we started dating, until we came to America. So Greg knew Trish because they went to the same church in Jamaica. I got to know Trish because we went to the same college, same seminary in. Yeah. So, Trish, let's start by asking you this. Who are you? And. Yeah, let's start with that. Who are you?

Speaker B: I have many things.

Speaker A: All right.

Speaker B: Well, right now I am a full time missionary with youth, with a mission, and I'm based in hereedia, Costa Rica. Yeah. I am jamaican born and bred, and I'm a single mom. I have one son. He's eleven, going on 21. Yeah. Okay, what else? Yeah.

Speaker A: Okay, so that's who you are. Well, I guess a question people would ask, why Costa Rica?

Speaker B: Well, it's funny. I came here between 2018 to 2019. I was volunteering with Wycliffe Bible translators Caribbean, and I was responsible for the youth arm. And so they had asked me to help at a church with a VBS here in Costa Rica, in Le Mon, and that's known as the caribbean side. So Le Mon is a province that is closer to in Costa Rica. It's closer to Panama. So I was asked to come and help a church to do a vbs. And when I came here, that was when I fell in love with Costa Rica. And so when it became time for me, after I finished training with youth as a mission in 2019, going into 2020, we had Covid, and then I remained in the States for two years, and then I came here after that. Yeah.

Speaker A: Okay, so you said you were doing training with Wycliffe and then you transitioned to YwAm. Is it that you were getting that feeling that you were supposed to be in Costa Rica? Is that why you trained with and after leaving?

Speaker B: Know, funny enough, I knew about Ywam before leaving Wycliffe. So for more, Ywam was more of a missions oriented. When I was in Wycliffe, I was more doing office work, and then Wycliffe, they deal with Bible translation, and that was not for me.

Speaker C: Okay, got it. Trish. I was pretty young and back in the days, but far as I could remember, you were always called to mission. Like, mission was always on your mind?

Speaker B: Always.

Speaker C: Even as a young person, I think I could remember at some point, it seems like there was like this struggle to figure out where exactly the mission is going to take you. And I remember in church, at times, this would be part of your testimony. And so how is it different now? Looking back, did you feel like you did the right move? If you had it to do again, would you have done something different?

Speaker B: If I had to do it differently, I would have started earlier in terms of full time ministry, because I went to JTS and then Jamaica theological Seminary. It's a Bible school in Jamaica. If I had my way or if I could do it over, I have no regrets. But if I could do it earlier in life, I would have, because I think what happened is that after leaving the seminary, I didn't go into missions. Well, yes, I started with CEF. I would have continued with CEF instead of leaving child evangelism fellowship and going into the school system as a guidance counselor, I don't think I would have done that part. But at the same time, I just saw God's hand in everything because I needed to pay back student loan, and so I couldn't do know using the whole missions thing, because you only get a stipend when we were with child evangelism fellowship. And so for me, every situation or everything or every step that I've made in life took me to where I am at now. So I don't necessarily say I would do anything differently. Maybe I would have started earlier. Yeah.

Speaker A: Let's go back a little bit, because you mentioned quite a few things. You mentioned JTS Jamaica theological Seminary, which is where we met, and then you mentioned CEF is child evangelism fellowship. So let's go back to what Gregory said about you always feeling this call. How did you get the call into the official call into missions?

Speaker B: Well, when I was 14, a missionary in Jamaica, I was invited to. There's a christian club in high schools that we call interschools Christians Fellowship, ISCF. And so when I was 14, I remember meeting a missionary, Jean Denham. She's deceased, but I remember meeting her because she had spoken at the ISCS group meeting. And I always knew in my heart that that was something I could do, but wasn't too sure, because for us in Jamaica, we are a receiving nation, meaning that missionaries come to us. So it was a little bit far fetched. One, to be somebody from the third world. Two, what should I say? Female from my church, because it was mostly male dominated. Yeah. And Gregory can attest to. So I wasn't too sure, but when I saw her, I was like, oh, my goodness, I really can do this. And so that was when I started to really believe that this is something I could do when I met her.

Speaker A: Got it. And how did you decide to go to JTS?

Speaker B: All right, JTs. No, the only seminary I knew of, or Bible school, as we call it at that time, that I knew of where I could get trained was UTC. I think it's the college, the theological college that is attached to the University of the West Indies. But I didn't want to go there because I knew people who went there and, yeah, let's just leave it there. I wasn't very inspired by them to go. Yeah. And so I remember I was going to excelsior community college at the time because I needed to finish up my a levels, and by that time, I had aged out of high school, and so I needed to finish my a levels. And so I went there my final year to do a levels, and they were having a courier day, and there were some students there from the seminary, and I was like, wow. Because before then, I was praying and I was saying to God, okay, because most of my family, my cousins and my friends at the time, they were all looking to go to the university. So I said, okay, maybe that is where I need to go. But I had prayed, and I put a fleece out and praying about it. And then I met these students from the seminary, and they were having carrier day, and I was the only one there for the entire day. I was just so fascinated. Nobody else was interested in going to the seminary. Everybody else was going to the University of the West Indies booth, or what's the other one? University of Technology. Everybody was there, Michael, and those places, and I was the only one. And I sat there for the entire day, and I had a project to do at the end of my a levels, and I did the project on the seminary, and I had to go to the library there a few times, and that was what sealed the deal. And I applied to both the university of the West Indies and to the seminary, and I said, okay, God, whichever application comes through first. And I got accepted. Even before I completed a levels, I got accepted with just my CXE subject. So that was it? That was it, yeah.

Speaker A: Okay.

Speaker C: As a missionary, every time I would think about missionaries, I would think about missionaries when God would send people out and they would probably go in difficult areas. What's your experience as a missionary? I know this probably be a tough question, but what would be your biggest challenge as a missionary out in the field?

Speaker B: All right, for me, I'll answer the first question first about the place. For me, when I was with child evangelism fellowship, I lived in Brazil for nine months, and that was, I would say, my first real getting my feet wet in terms of missions. And it was the first time ever I was going away for so long from family and church and all of that. I went to Cuba before, but that was like ten days, and Cuba is Jamaica's neighbor. Plus I did local missions in and around Jamaica. But for me, Brazil was kind of a difficult transition. The language was different and so on. That was my first kind of reality in terms of missions. And the second place, that was really difficult for me because it was years after that was recently, 2019 was in the Philippines. Yeah, because it was difficult. But the most struggle I have had, I would say, is being on the field, it's relationship with other missionaries. Yeah. I remember when I was at the seminary, we had a class and the lecturer said that the number one reason that missionaries return home, it's not finances, it's not transition into the culture, it's not any of those. It's getting along with other missionaries on the field. And at the time, I was like, okay, that's strange. I mean, we're all in this Kumbaya kind of situation, and that was my. And then coming from a small church, as you know, Greg, we were a little bit more close knit, so I was know. But now I'm understanding more why that is, because it has been, my experience, very difficult.

Speaker A: Yeah, we're going to come back to more of the challenges first, but I wanted to ask what your family's response to your decision to do to pursue missions and evangelism. What was that response like?

Speaker B: Oh, they didn't care. They didn't care? Okay. They didn't care. Because the thing about it is that I've always been the child in my family, that goes against the grain. I was the one that, when everybody else was putting in their applications for traditional colleges and so on, the seminary. Okay. And they have always known me to be somebody like that who, when I set my mind to something, I'm going to push through and I'm going to do it. So it wasn't that I got. I think they were kind of. Indifferent is the word I'm searching for. Yeah.

Speaker A: Okay.

Speaker B: I think that was more it. Yeah.

Speaker A: Okay. I wanted to ask. Okay, so you went to JTS, where we met, you spent four years, or did you do.

Speaker B: You did four years? Yeah, I did theology.

Speaker A: Okay, so you did that. And just so everybody knows, we tried to record this a week ago, and there was just terrible feedback on my part. And obviously I need to learn more about these audio visual, whatever, but. So we had a pre interview, in a way. And so I learned about your transition from JTS to Costa Rica. So you spent some time in child evangelism fellowship. What were some of the things that you did there, your responsibilities? And I wanted us to touch briefly on the challenges that you experienced there.

Speaker B: My. Okay. When I graduated from JTS, I think it was six months after I started volunteering, let's call it that, with child evangelism fellowship. Let me say before I get into anything, in terms of answering your question, that was the best experience I've had so far. In terms of missions. Yeah.

Speaker A: Why? Because you were blessed with a lot of money?

Speaker B: No, I'm trying to be comical.

Speaker A: Go ahead.

Speaker B: No, I think because it was my first experience, too, and I was working with children, and that has always been my desire to work with children, and especially disadvantaged kids or kids who believe that they don't have value. And so that part of me was the inner child in me was really satisfied doing so. I left jTs, went into child evangelism fellowship. I was what we would call the parish supervisor or director for the chapter of child Evangelism in St. Thomas. There were three parishes, I think, that needed a supervisor, Westmoreland, Manchester and St. Thomas. And because I was already familiar with St. Thomas from youth camps, and also it was far from home, but the nearest. In case I needed to go back. Yeah, in case I needed to go back. Now, the second part of the question, in child evangelism Fellowship, we mostly did evangelism in the school. So we would have good news clubs. We would have VBS vacation, Bible school. We would have like, party clubs, what they call like a five day club in the summer. That was mostly what we did. We did fundraising. We would go and make presentation to churches and encourage them to come on board with us. What else did we do? There was a lot of administrative work as well. We also did a lot of correspondence courses with the children in prep schools and primary schools because that was the main age range, the elementary school age kids from basic or what we would call preschool into kindergarten to primary or elementary school. That was mainly what I did.

Speaker A: What I did. Well, I was telling you before too, that child evangelism fellowship used to be in our elementary school. I don't know if you had that, Greg. People coming in to witness the kids and do evangelism. Do you remember having that in know?

Speaker C: Well, I went to a, you know, probably a little bit different. All my teachers were nuns and principal was a nun and stuff.

Speaker A: Okay, well, I went to public school and we used to have that and that was amazing for me. I always loved the Bible stories and I loved when the missionaries came in, we didn't call them that, but that's what they were. But you mentioned earlier that I don't.

Speaker B: Think I answered that part.

Speaker A: Okay. Yes, because I was going to ask you about the stipend. You said you got a stipend right when you were working there. How did you survive on that?

Speaker B: It was pretty difficult. But when people ask me, all I can say is, and it sounds like a rudimentary answer, but it's only God. And the last time I can remember was sharing with you this particular instance stood out in my mind. I needed, at the time, monthly. I don't remember what the stipend was, but I know it was just enough to pay back the student loan because I was paying like maybe $1,500, 1500 jamaican dollars at the time. And it became due, and then the due date passed and I was like, okay, God, what is happening? And the stipend, we would usually get the stipend like at the end of the month. Like the last day of the month, right. Because what usually happened is when people get their paylight the 25th and they are supporting CeF, we would normally get our stipend after people get paid 25th.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker B: So it was late, and then the due date came and went and I was like, okay, God, what is happening? And I think it was the day before, because you get like a grace period to pay before they start charging you like a late fee. And I think it was the last day. So I was walking on the road and it's like a voice, they look down and I looked down and I saw like, $500 rolled up on the ground, and I took it off, and it was exactly $1,500 to pay the student loan. And right across the road, like, the money was on the pedestrian crossing, and right across the road was the bank. So I just went in and paid that money, and I was like, okay, God, thank you.

Speaker A: Nice.

Speaker B: And God has done different things, like, know.

Speaker A: Yeah, awesome. You also told the story about the pot on the.

Speaker B: Soup.

Speaker A: The soup.

Speaker B: Now, in Jamaica, usually Saturday is soup day, right? Whether it's gungapi soup, chicken food, soup, whatever. Now, I wanted soup. I just fell for some soup. And I said, God, I'm going to put the pot on the fire. Because I remember, Greg, I don't know if you can remember Sister Smith and those older ladies in church. I used to say how they used to give testimony about them putting on their pot on fire, and the Lord provided. So I said, okay, God, I'm going to try it. So I didn't have anything to make the soup. I think the only thing I had was some. The chicken noodle thing in the pack mix. Yes. I think that was the only thing I had. So I put the pot on. I said, I'm not going to put the noodle thing in there yet, because that is the last part to season the pot. Right. So I said, okay, God, I want some soup. So I prayed, put the pot on the water, boil up, almost boil out, no soup. I said, all right, God. So I turn off the stove, and I started to kind of lose faith. And then night coming in, I said, God, I really want this soup. And I heard a knock on my door. It was my neighbor said that she went to look for her father, who owns a farm, and she said, ms. Trish, Auntie Trish, look here, I have this bag. It's a holy pack. Me and the children can't eat so much. And she was a single mom of three kids. And I'm looking at her strange because I'm thinking, okay, you can keep this till another time. When I look in the bag, I see punking. Half a punking, and it's a nice yellow punkin, those orange nice punk. I see punkin, dashin, cocoa, everything. The only thing that was not in the soup was in meat. So I said, God, man, maybe I should have been specific and asked for what kind of meat I wanted in the soup. But let me tell you, I drink that soup. You see, I was so happy. Yes, those are some of the things that God does.

Speaker A: Wonderful.

Speaker C: And it seems like missionaries, especially, have to trust God even more, because when you think about missionaries, it's not like you have a job or most of the time, missionaries don't have work, and they have to depend on God to provide. Or sometimes this provision have to come through contributions and stuff like that, and most of the time, you have to exercise even more faith to survive.

Speaker B: Yeah.

Speaker C: I've heard these stories and stuff, but the other thing that I really want to ask you, I know that you had these skills as a drama teacher, and you were always good and you always had the youth around you. Trish lost all of this.

Speaker B: No. When I was in CEF, I know I had a lot of sign language groups, and I did sign language at JTS, at the seminary, because it was something that I figured I needed to learn to be on the mission field. So I wanted that skill. So I had learned that for the whole time. And when I went to Brazil, I would do the drama as well. I think the least I'm doing it is right now.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker B: Yeah. Because I haven't lost it. It's just that I'm not practicing it as much as I used to.

Speaker C: Yeah, got it. Because I could tell you that because I was a beneficiary of your drama.

Speaker B: Group.

Speaker C: I would tell Tanisha the story all the time, that as an inner city youth coming to church and not Jamaica, we always say the bossy people, I always see those who were well learned, because our church was really big on education, and people were always big on their CXE and going to universities and stuff. And as a child from the ghetto coming into church, loving on God, I just always felt out of place. But you were always the person to never make me felt out of place and pull me in and give me a chance to be a part, to fit into church life. And I don't know if part of your mission work is, when you're out there, is helping those to still fit into church life, those who maybe see themselves as misfits.

Speaker B: Yeah, I guess because I saw myself like that, because I struggled a lot in school. I struggled a lot in school a lot. And so my cousins, you know them, Greg, it's a university and whatnot and all of that.

Speaker C: Right?

Speaker B: I struggled a lot in school, and so I think it's something that is also God given to rescue those kids and to let them feel valued, because even though it is still very important to me, and it's something that, especially in recent time, I've really been praying into and asking God, God. Like those days, I want to go back to those days because kids out there, they're hurting. They feel like even more than when I was growing up. And that has always been my heart. I loved my young people, and I was like, maybe a few years, not much older than know. So I love doing it. And I always think of those earlier days at church with funness. And it's something I really want to get back. I really, really want to get back into it. Yeah.

Speaker A: Trish, why did you feel like a misfit when you were growing up?

Speaker B: Yeah, so I didn't really feel accepted. I grew up with my aunt and my uncle, and for me, education was a big deal. And Greg alluded to it. It was a big deal in my family. And so because I didn't catch on quickly in terms of the academics and then my aunt being a teacher, we were really pushed. For me, I don't think I was necessarily understood or received much patience in terms of that, I think. And so for me, that was maybe why I gravitated so much towards maybe children who saw themselves in a similar way like I did. And I think, too, a big part of it is like, God, I think, put that in my heart as well.

Speaker A: Absolutely.

Speaker B: Yeah. Because my aunt and my uncle did the best that they could. And I wouldn't necessarily say that they contributed to me, deliberately contributed to the way I was feeling, but it just happened. That was how I was just feeling. Yeah.

Speaker A: How do you think that your experience is informing your. And let me touch on the work you're doing now in Costa Rica, because you can talk more about that when you answer the question, too, because you are running a school.

Speaker B: Yeah. Okay. For me. Yeah. That informs my parenting in that one of the things that I want to make sure with Aziki, that's the name of my son with Aziki, is that he's loved and not just because I grew up in the era of children, should be seen and not heard. And so for me, I want him to know that he has a voice, and I want him to know verbally and also showing him emotionally that he's loved and that he's accepted and that he's valued. Yes. Because I did not receive that verbally, I think for me, I want him to know that. And most importantly, I want him to know that he has a voice. As young as he is, he has a voice and he can speak, of course, respectfully, and let his voice be heard. Yeah. And moving now into the second part of the question, the thing is, when you're in a culture that speaks another language the education system is taught, it's in Spanish. And so I needed for Aziki to be in school because I think, too, because of how I grew up and education being so important. I said, he needs to be in school. So looking for a bilingual school because I also want him to learn Spanish, I said, okay. Being in a bilingual school really helped him. But the school that I was led to was $400 a month.

Speaker A: Us.

Speaker B: And I could not. Yeah, us.

Speaker A: Oh, wow.

Speaker B: I could not afford that. I'm a missionary. I cannot afford that. And so I had met with the principal and he said, okay, being that you are a missionary, we will reduce it to 300. Now, I still could not find $300 a month was a bit much for me still. And so anyway, I said, okay, God, I'm going to ask. I'm going to put out there to raise the support for people to come on and join me specifically in Aziki's education. One person responded. One. And I said, okay, God. And I remember I was lying in the bed and I was like, oh, my gosh, God, you say that our children will be taught of the Lord, I'm working for you. And so Ezekiel is your child. And the Lord said, why don't you use what you have? And I was like, what? Use what I have. And because I was in the education system in Jamaica as a guidance counselor for 15 years. And I also was trained at the seminary after I graduated, years after I had gone to do a diploma in teaching. So I was like, okay. And so that was how the school that I have now was founded. And Aziki was my first student. And now, previously I had five. But now this new school year past September, I have three.

Speaker A: Yeah, got it. So now you're the only teacher and you have three students?

Speaker B: Yes, right now I'm the only teacher. I'm teaching everything.

Speaker A: Everything. Okay. So math, English, how is your Spanish? And how is.

Speaker B: Fluent? We can help ourselves.

Speaker A: Okay.

Speaker B: We are not totally fluent, but we're getting there. Okay, got it. Azik is much better than me. His accent is on point mixed with the Patwan English and everything in between.

Speaker A: These kids, they catch on really quickly, much quicker than we. Yeah. It's more natural for them. At this stage of your life. Trish, what lessons are you learning from your challenges?

Speaker B: Yeah, the first thing, and as I said, it sounds very simple. But for me, God is faithful. God is faithful. And worrying gets us nowhere. Yeah, I think that's the main thing for me, it's learning to relax in the stillness. And for me, I'm thinking, okay, the promises of God, especially when it comes to provision because that is always my main concern. Provision, provision, provision. And if God made you a promise, he says he is Jehovah Jireh, your provider. And if God made you a promise, go to sleep. And that is what I'm practicing.

Speaker A: That's good.

Speaker B: That is what practicing?

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker B: Not easy.

Speaker A: Yes. If you could think about some things or thing that was important to you ten years ago and is no longer important, what would some of those things be in terms of important in terms of ministry or being a christian, what are some things you think back in the day? Oh my goodness, definitely important. But now you're like, no.

Speaker B: Okay, keeping up with friends and the successes of friends and what the world says is success the definition of success? It's not that important for me. It's now more important in terms of what legacy can I leave for my child in terms of his relationship with God. Listen, I'm not saying that people should follow me in doing this, but I was like, okay, God education is not all that as how people say it is for me. He can read.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker B: He can write. Okay. It's not very important like the passing of the exams and the pressuring to get going and to be on top like the other kids and the rat race. It's not that important.

Speaker A: Yeah, got it. Trish, as we wind down, what would you like your contribution to the kingdom to be? What would you like your contribution to the kingdom to be? I'm not sure if I'm wording that right, but what's the legacy you want to leave? You may have hinted at that before. Not sure. Your kingdom legacy.

Speaker B: For me, I want to be remembered as somebody who obeyed God in spite of obeyed God. And for me, it's very important for Ezekiel to have a relationship with God. Some people talk about the legacy of their kids in terms of a house, a car or whatever. Generational wealth. For me, it must be spiritual wealth. And that is why I'm so pushing for God to really open the doors that I can be more of a help to children who really don't feel valued in this world. And that is something I want to leave behind. Like Gregory, when he remembers how I really pushed him and encouraged him and was just there. I want to be remembered in that way even now. And not just you, Greg. There are others in the drama group who have said that. Okay. Yeah, that for me is so good.

Speaker A: Yeah, good. I have one more question. I don't know if Gregory has one, but what Bible verse are you meditating on right now that you'd like to share with us? Which one or ones that you go back to or anything that's keeping you now, keeping you sane? Encouraged.

Speaker B: Exodus 14, verse 14. I think it says, stand still and see the salvation of your God. And for me, it's not just about relationships with people or for me, it's everything. The song that says be still and know that I am God. Yes, that's what I'm reflecting on. So with everything that is happening around, just stand still and see the salvation of your God. That's good, I think, for.

Speaker C: Trish, as we wrap up, how can people reach out to you and hear more about your ministry and contact you or even to support you? They could reach out to you and support what you're doing over there.

Speaker B: Okay, well, I am on Facebook. I am on Instagram. I'm on all the social media stuff. Also, I send out a newsletter every three months. You want me to give my handles?

Speaker A: Please. We'll also list them in the show notes if you don't remember them. Trish, no worries. You could text them to me if you haven't already. I feel like you have. You may have, but if you haven't, then text them if you can't remember, and I'll put them in the show notes.

Speaker B: Yeah, but if people.

Speaker A: Hold on 1 second, Trish, the same question that Gregory did. Yeah, the support question.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: Okay.

Speaker B: So that it can be like question, answer.

Speaker A: And the answer. Okay, you edit. Okay, time is going to. All right, so go ahead and ask it again.

Speaker B: The Google Meet Trish.

Speaker C: So tell me, how can people reach you to support your ministry? And. Yeah, basically, how can we reach you to support your ministry?

Speaker B: Okay, the main support is through what we call in YwAM Mission Enablers International, or MEI. And I have a designation code. It's Tricia Shakespeare. And my designation code is TG 3696. That's the main way that people can support. And it's also tax deductible in the United States. Yes.

Speaker A: Okay, very good.

Speaker B: Also, I'm on Facebook. Trish shakes. T-R-I-S-H-S-H-A-K-E-S. That's Facebook. I'm on Instagram. As Trisha Ziveen, I am on. What else is there? I don't think there's anything else.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: Yeah, whatever else is there, we'll put it in the show notes. And, Trish, we probably can do an entire episode on your last name. That's a very distinguished last name, Shakespeare. So it should be easy to find you, too.

Speaker A: There you go. There you go. Well, Trish, thank you so much for redoing this episode or this podcast. Whatever. Thank you so much, and God bless you.

Speaker B: And thank you for Greg this time.

Speaker A: Absolutely.

Speaker C: It was a pleasure.

Speaker A: Yeah. Making it more personal. Thank you, Trisha. And we'll be in touch. Bye bye. Thank you so much for joining us today. We hope that this episode encourages you to do whatever the Lord is calling you to. This is Tanisha. See you in the next episode. Hey, if you're enjoying this podcast and you want to learn more about our ministry, please visit us@urbanfreshgardens.com. We can't wait to connect with you.

 
 

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09 December 2023

#5 - Pastor Andre McGuire (ALM Ministries) Hartford and Waterbury, CT

If you'd like to know more about ALM or Pastor Andre, visit their website: https://almsministries.org/

If you'd like to give to the ministry: https://almsministries.org/donate/

CashApp:  $ALMsMinistries
PayPal @ALMsMinistries
Mail a check or money order to ALM's Ministries International, 57 Howard St. Waterbury 06705 or to PO Box 260397 Hartford, CT 06705

Pastor McGuire's bio from the ALM Website: https://almsministries.org/

"Pastor André L. McGuire, JD present Vice President of the Black Ministerial Alliance of New Britain and vicinity; Health and Wellness Program Manager at HRA, New Britain; chair of the Central Area Health Education Center, Inc. Board of Directors; past member of the Board of Directors of Charter Oak Health Center and their Clinical Affairs Quality and Compliance Committee Chair. A speaker for and planning body member of the Summit for Boys and Men of Color June 8-11, 2021 with The University of Connecticut Health Disparities Institute, Hartford Health Department and others as we sought to break the iniquity that keep Boys and Men of Color ranked atop issues like HIV, diabetes, STI’s, Education and on and on. Pastor McGuire served as past Co-Chair of the Greater Hartford Ryan White Planning Council (Planning Council) and of the Connecticut HIV Planning Consortium (CHPC). Because of his diligence and effectiveness both terms as co-chair were extended another full term. Through the Planning Council he has been instrumental in reinvigorating People Living with HIV (PLWH) and motivating them to become active participants bringing about needed change in the groups directives and allocation of funds as they established a place for peer support programming.

As the Co-Chair for the CHPC Pastor McGuire has mentored new PLWH members, encouraging and empowering them to advocate for themselves and others. He was instrumental in establishing a peer support white sheet for DPH and uses his substantial skill and ability developed while practicing law and as a Pastor to effectively communicate with all parties involved in the planning process. He uses his intellect and experience to encourage critical thinking and meaningful analysis that often lead to improvements in the delivery of services and the retrieval of data, ultimately improving health outcomes and health equity. He applies wisdom with persistence to encourage change and realize a larger vision over an extended period of time and across complex systems involving the interactions of religious institutions, individuals, families, communities, healthcare institutions, and funders among others.

Two words in scripture stand out to Pastor McGuire. They stand out because life’s situations can cause some to be without hope and to give up. Those two words are “But God” when God gets into the mix people and things change. Let us all be clear of this one thing, God is in the mix. Change is taking place…."

 

Find out more about Urban Fresh Gardens below:  

Website: https://urbanfreshgardens.com/

Instagram: urbanfreshgardens_ufg

Newsletter: https://ufg.beehiiv.com/

Podcast: https://theurbanlp.alitu.com/

 

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26 November 2023

#4- Barbara Pittman - Jacksonville, FL - Part 2

Part 2 of the interview with Evangelist Barbara Pittman. Check the show notes for ways to support her ministry.

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11 November 2023

Barbara Pittman - Jacksonville, FL - Part 1

Sister Barbara Pittman shares her testimony and Book-of-Acts encounters while doing ministry in Alaska and Florida, etc. This is Part 1 of a 2-part episode. 

 

In Part 1 she shares how she met Jesus, how two old ladies exploited her gift as a seer, and the supernatural things she 'saw' before and after her call to ministry. 

Please visit, share, and support Sis. Barbara's ministries:

1. Radio/Podcast: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/freedom-doors-ministries

2. Freedom Doors Ministries website: https://www.freedomdoorsministries.com/

3. Jesus in the Morning website: https://www.jesusinthemorningradio.com/

Find our website, Instagram, newsletter, and podcast on the Internet:

Website: https://urbanfreshgardens.com/

Instagram: urbanfreshgardens_ufg

Newsletter: https://ufg.beehiiv.com/

Podcast: https://theurbanlp.alitu.com/

 

Speaker A: Hello, and welcome to the Urban Fresh Podcast, where we interview missionaries from around the globe. I'm your host, Tanisha Knight, and I'm so glad you could join us today.

Speaker B: We are interviewing Barbara Pittman. What I loved about this interview is that it was unusual and refreshing. Unusual because it's not every day that I get to speak with prophetess, which I believe Sister Barbara is. And it was refreshing because.

Speaker C: I guess.

Speaker B: For the same reason I just mentioned. It's great. It's great to know that the Holy Spirit, God, is working right now to do miraculous things in people's lives. And he speaks to people, and there are miracles, there are visions, there are dreams still happening, and I wish that more of us were experiencing these things in our lives. And Sister Barbara, as she probably will tell you, that she's no different from any other Christian. But what is unique about her is that she has grown in obedience and is very sensitive to the Spirit. And I believe God has really given her some special gifts. So I hope you will enjoy this episode as much as I did. Thank you.

Speaker A: Okay, Sister Barbara, thank you so very much for joining us on the Urban Fresh podcast. As I said before to you, I am very pleased and honored that you decided to come, that the Spirit led you to come to us. Been listening to you for a while and love your ministry, and I'm pleased to be able to talk with you. So I wanted you to tell us about yourself and about your ministries. I know you have at least two Freedom ministries and Jesus in the morning.

Speaker C: Yes. I'm going to try to make it as short as possible, but to tell you about myself, really, I just love the Lord and I love what he has done for me and in me. And when nobody else could help me, he was the only one. So I often refer back to the song for myself that I once was sinking deep in sin and I was far from the peace for shore I was very deeply stained within sinking to rise no more but the master of the sea he heard my despair and cry My lips wasn't moving yet I was screaming and he heard it and from the waters he lifted me Today I can say safe am I love lifted me Almighty God. So today my life is hid in Christ. I'm no longer on my own. I still have to eat and sleep like everybody else. But when the Scripture says, delight yourself also in him, when the Scripture says, if we keep our mind on him, then I'm focused on these things. And just recently, almost a week ago, I was talking to him about more of him for me, for myself. And he brought me to this video on YouTube that says, put God first. Isn't that amazing? Put God first. Okay? You want more of me? You want to draw close to me? Put me first in everything. So he gets the first fruit of everything, the first fruit of our day, because I am his and he is mine. So that's what I can tell you about me. Now, as far as Freedom Doors ministry goes, it's an outreach ministry, and I evangelize all over the world. It's a ministry where people can come and talk to me about anything and not be judged. I don't care what it is. And whatever you share with me is between us, no one else. And God hears. And so many times, God will give me what to tell you, and then sometimes he give me nothing. I just need to be a listening ear. Yeah. Jesus in the morning is a podcast radio that I broadcast every morning, 07:00 a.m. Eastern time until 10:00 a.m. And people from all over the world come to take a listen every day. That's how I met Irene. Irene is from Australia, and so she come and she started listening. I think it's been a year or two, and she continues to come every morning. And what Jesus in the morning? It's an early morning church service. We physically have church, and then many days, whatever God does is what he does. I never know what he's going to do. I ask him, he tell me the title, the subject, the topic, and it goes from there. Nothing written down, none of that. Yeah, he just allowed me to flow in him.

Speaker A: Two things that you said there that I wanted to follow up on. The first thing is that you say that you hear the voice of God. And my husband and I were talking this week about that. Maybe it was last week, but this idea that we wanted to figure out how the prophets of old, of the Old Testament heard God, was it an audible voice? I think sometimes he did that. But was it more like a pressing on your conscience? For example? I know from what I've heard from you that you operate in the prophetic and in the discernment. How do you know when God is saying something to you to say to somebody?

Speaker C: Well, as you said, it's pressing sometimes. I mean, you can't get around it. Everywhere you look is there. Then some days you will hear. You will hear the audio voice. But now this is the thing. He speaks so soft. It's like quiet. Until if you're not really listening with your spiritual ear, you miss it. And once you begin to grow in him and the more you seek him, the more you're going to know that voice. The more you're going to know when he's pressing you. Some things happen by trial and error. Because in this life, we are busy. Some people have families, jobs, all kind of stuff. But he will make sure that you know it's him. And even in trial and error, you just continue in God, I have a prayer. I pray when I'm not certain. I say, Lord, if this is not you, don't let me do it. But, God, if this is you, let me go full force. I only want to go full force if it's you. And he not only here, but he answers. Yeah, I've been uncertain about some things. And when I opened my mouth, what he said to speak, I was going to say something else. He just speak it right out my mouth. And I'm like. And some days I keep myself together because I want to scream. Did you know that God just spoke to you? But I can't do it because people, they're not going to receive like that. So I just have to do what he asked me to do and keep it moving. Yeah.

Speaker A: Did you find that you had to grow in obedience to listening to God?

Speaker C: Yeah, I had to grow to hear. Listen. When I started off, I didn't start like this. I want to go to this first. This is how everything started. When I was a child, I knew I was differeNt, but I thought I was a weirdo. I could see you and see what was going to happen to you. But I didn't understand. I was a child. That was these two ladies, Miss Tom and Miss Annie. And I thought they just loved me to death. And they used to call me Prince Ella. Because I looked so much like my dad. And his name was Prince. So every time you turn around, they was inviting me over to their house to spend the night. And when I would come home, I would have fancy hairdos, all these fancy clothes and shoes. And my parents didn't allow me to eat ice cream too often because it would make me sick. But when I went to Miss Tom and Ms. Anna, oh, I just ate the ice cream. So one day, I had been doing this maybe three months. And one day my mom said, baby, what happens when you go over to Miss Tom and Miss Annie? I said, they asked me questions. She said, and what kind of questions? I said, they asked me what the number going to be. She said. I said, they asked me. They say, like on Tuesday, mama. They say, Prince Ella. What the cubic going to be this gambling. And what I would see, I would, oh, 73. And they would call this man, he would come. I know that now. I didn't know it back then. And they would gamble, bet on that number on Thursday. They would say, Prince Elva, what the toll going to be? They say, I see 28. I said, it's going to be 28. They said, oh, okay. And they would hug me, hug me. I was the greatest thing in the world to them two ladies. Boy, if you said anything to hurt my feeling, them two old women would get with you because I was their money. I was their bank. My mama said, baby, when your dad get home, we got to talk to you. We can't let you go over there anymore. She said, we're going to explain to you what gambling is. And that's not pleasing in the sight of God. Well, I walked away thinking she going to cut my ice cream off. I'm not going to get no more fancy hairdos, no more pro. I'm not going to be all that special no more because they're not going to let me go over there. When my dad got home after dinner, we cleared the table and they sat me down and they explained to me. Now, I really didn't understand, but I understood, but I didn't want to understand because I didn't want that ice cream to go away. So that's how it started. And I would see people and I would see things. And sometime I couldn't tell them because I didn't know how to. Wow. And I thought I was a weirdo. My best friend. This is before I fully come to the Lord. My best friend. I was married, but my best friend was a man. And he was from my old neighborhood. We grew up together. And one morning I woke up about 05:00 and I decided to get on up and get my day started, get my husband lunch and get him off to work. And I was sitting in the living room in the chair, and he come know, say goodbye to me. And he said, what's wrong? You got a weird look on your face. I just saw Dale kill himself. That was the best friend.

Speaker A: Oh, my God.

Speaker C: He said, what? I say, he was talking to this woman and he shot at her. And then he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. And I shook myself. He said, oh, it'll be all right. That's just a bad dream. And he went on to work. 04:00 that afternoon, one of my neighbor daughters, she was like a goddaughter to me. But she come down and she said, hey. I said, hey. She said, can you have a seat with me for a minute? But she was looking strange. And I sat down in the chair. She said, I just saw Dale'sister. Her name was Bobby, too, Barbara, but we called her Bobby. She said, I just saw Bobby. And she told me that she couldn't come and talk to you, but she wanted you to know Dale killed herself this morning. And exactly what I saw is exactly what he did. But I heard him say this in the vision. He was telling this woman, this is my son. I don't want another man over my son. And if I can't have you, nobody will. And that's when he pulled a gun and shot at her. I never did see her fall down or anything, but I saw him put the gun to his head and pull the trigger. And so when my husband got in, I told him he was like, what? I said, yeah. So it started from there in my childhood. I was born with that. I didn't have to go. Nobody taught me. I was born with it. So in 1993, I fully come to the Lord. And then I learned the gift came from him.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker C: And it is what it is. It's a gift. You can use it any way you want, but I asked God to use it for his glory and not mine. And so that's what he's done.

Speaker A: Yes. Wow, what a story. My great grandmother had that gift too. And she used to go around the community warning people, death, death, death. And sure enough, there was going to be death after a while. Yeah. Various members of our family have claimed to have that same gift. But I'm not convinced anyway.

Speaker C: And I know the feeling. Right.

Speaker A: So they're going to listen to this and chastise me. But the other thing I wanted to follow up on was what I love about you, and I said this to you in the email too, is that I know you are hearing from God. Because whenever I've listened, it's almost as though even, okay, say for example, you've recorded a podcast maybe five months ago. I somehow go and I listen to the one that exactly addresses what I'm talking to God about. Okay. For example, today I listened to your, I believe this was the most recent podcast that you did. And I read this morning from Romans, chapter six. The gist of that was talking about killing the old self. We're crucified. It's no longer us. Of course. That was part of the theme of your message today, right?

Speaker C: Yes.

Speaker A: And so I really admire that and admire as. And obviously this is God's. Gifting to you, and he's speaking through you to us to bless us and to encourage us. Obviously, that's one of the ministries you have, the Ministry of Encouragement. One other brother, Jim Simbala, I also find that when I go and I log on to his website, and so I find very timely messages from God. So I'm really grateful for you and your gift to the kingdom. Paul mentioned his co laborers, and I know that two of the names, I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but I think two of the names that I hear very often were three. I hear about Brother Louie and Sherry, and I hear about Ms. Jerry. Right?

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: Tell me about how they have blessed you and blessed your ministry.

Speaker C: Louie and Sherry, for almost 14 years, they have come every morning to listen to Jesus in the morning radio. And in the mornings, I'm talking about something, but I don't have the scripture out. I'm just letting God use my mouth. Louis comes up with the scripture that addresses what I'm talking about, so I can take you to the word in it. Sherry, she's a kind of keen woman. These are white people. Sharon Lou. She's kind of keen and sweet and humble, and she loved me. And so whenever I'm in their presence, she always want to make sure I'm happy, I'm good, I'm taken care of. So she's been going through some eye surgery, so we've been praying for her. Sometimes Louis just send me money. If I say I need something and they have it, they'll just send it. And he manages the chat room for 14 years. Wow. So I know God placed these people. It's never no disagreement. It's never no problem. God put that Sister Jerry. I've known Jerry for 60 years. We went to elementary school together, and Jerry was just bad. So the teacher would say, barbara, take your friend Jerry to the office. I would have to take her. She would say, no, Barbara, look, the playground. We could go out on the playground. I said, jerry, prince, don't play like that. That's my dad. I said, prince, don't play like that, Jerry, come on. You go into the office. And that's where I would take her. So off and on, up and down through the years, Jerry and I stayed in touch. So she's got some medical issues now, and I've had to go over, know, take her places and help her and that kind of thing. So that's how she and I knew each other. Yeah.

Speaker A: And then the last person, this would be more of a mentor to you. You've talked about him, I think, in the very first episode that I listened to Bishop or Pastor Charles C. Wood II.

Speaker C: Yes. Glory. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. He was a pastor in Birmingham, Alabama, and We called him Bishop. And he was a great young man. He was about ten years younger than me, but I looked up to him. Yes, because he was very gifted, very gifted and prophetic. And if he prayed for you, it was happening. So I sat under his ministry, and I grew not in the ministry and in him, but I grew in God for his ministry. And he made me his assistant. And he would come to me and he would say, barbara, I got to go out of town. I need you to do this. And that. His wife would come. Her name was Juan. She would come and say, barbara, I got to go to Japan. Because she's saying with the mass choir, the Georgia Mass Choir. So she would say, I got to go to Japan. Do not let these women be all over my husband while I am gone.

Speaker A: You were the warden. You were the warden.

Speaker C: I was the warden. So she had never really experienced getting out. She come out of her parents house into marriage. So the corner store that sold pickles and chips and cookies and candy, she didn't really experience that. So one night before church, I took her to the store, and when we get back, Bishop looking, he said, OK, I see what y'all two up. So we're not up to nothing. He said, OK. And we went on into church. Well, a few months after that, I said, quan, have you ever been in the mall and taste coffee and chocolate? She was like, no, you know, Barbara, I don't really go to the mall like that. I said, well, let's go to the mall. So we both go to Bishop and we say, bishop, we going to the mall. We'll be back in a little bit. He's getting ready to have choir rehearsing because he was a musician, but a choir. He was like, okay. So we started to go out the door. He said, hey, both of you. He said, now, we never told him what we was going to do. Just our secret. He said to both of you, don't go to the mall eating all that chocolate and drinking all that coffee. Now, don't y'all do that? We looked at each other, we said, okay, bishop, we went on to the mall. I took us straight over there to Starbucks, and then we left there, and we went to the chocolate shop. I said, quan, taste it. This is a chocolate covered coffee bean. Oh, we just tasted milk chocolate. Just a little sample, but we tasted too much, and I didn't know about blood sugar, and she had diabetes. As soon as we walked back into church, he was sitting on the front pew, and we was coming up to where he was. He said, I asked y'all not to go to the mall and eat all that chocolate and drink all that coffee. He said, quan, you sick right now?

Speaker A: Oh, my goodness.

Speaker C: Didn't know that. And he sat right on there, and he didn't say another word to us. Wow. And we just sat feeling so bad because he did tell him. This man could call your Social Security number, your address. He could tell you who your parents. You never saw him a day in your life, and he never saw you.

Speaker A: Oh, my.

Speaker C: Go ahead.

Speaker A: Was this, like, people coming into a service and he's saying, wow, you're talking.

Speaker C: About some power packed, Holy Ghost anointed services. It was there. I was sick. Something was wrong with my stomach, and I was sick. And I went to church that Sunday, and he called me out, and when I came out, he said, you're sick and it's in your stomach. And he laid hands on my stomach. When he touched me, I went out under the power. I don't do that.

Speaker A: Oh, my.

Speaker C: I went out under the power. While I was out, God began to form an operation. Well, when I got up, I'm looking around, I say, who hit me out of the floor? Because I'm ready to fight. He didn't say a thing. But then in a few minutes, I noticed. I was like, oh, something happened to me. Now, this is what I'm thinking. Because, see, I wasn't fully in the knowledge yet.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker C: I was like, what did Bishop do to me while I was out on that flow? Because I'm not feeling the same way. But I learned. Tell God. Thank you. Don't look to Bishop. Yes, he put for it. It could have been cancer. It could have been anything. But whatever it was, God healed me. When he touched me, God healed me. He just used Bishop hand as a contact. Yeah.

Speaker A: You got a Holy Ghost knockout, huh?

Speaker C: Yes. I mean, just out for the.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker C: Didn't know where I was, what was going on.

Speaker A: Yes. Well, I think when I listened to that podcast, when you talked about Bishop Wood, you said that was around the time when you had just come to know Jesus. Correct. So that was the early stage of your ministry. I wanted to go back just a little bit and tell me about the day you met Jesus.

Speaker C: That day or night. Okay. This is what was happening. I sold dope. I sold drugs.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker C: And I was the dope lady. And basically, I was just in the world, just crazy and just doing anything I wanted to do. Drinking Crown Roar, smoking marijuana. But the more I got, the more I dwindled down in my mind. I wasn't happy. I couldn't. So I had gone to Florida to bring drugs back, and I was there, but nobody knew I was there but two nephews. My niece called me. How did she find me? She said, you need to go home. The state of Alabama got your children. They looking for you. They said, you're selling dope, and you're doing dope. Well, I never did drugs in my life, not like that. So I left the car, left my nephews in Florida, and I caught the bus and came on back, went to court. They was talking crazy to me and everything, but I just believe it would be worked out. But that morning, the first morning I got back, I stayed at the nephew house because I couldn't go home. I couldn't have peace. My children wasn't there.

Speaker A: Yes.

Speaker C: So I summoned the couch, and I could hear this. Repent. You're wrong. Repent. Wow. So I got up. There was this huge Ottoman in the living room, because my nephew, he was a big guy, so he had to have big furnace. So I kneel down to that Otoman, and I'm just crying, and I'm not really understanding what's going on. But then I begin to hear the voice of the Lord. And he wasn't really shouting, but he was stern in what he said. He said, you're wrong, and you know you're wrong. You wasn't brought up that way, and you're poisoning my people. He said, I'm going to bring you out and make you like you've never been before. He said, but don't you go back. If you go back, that body should surely Lay down and never get up again. Remember that until this day. So I get up, dry my face, because I'm a mess. And I get back on the couch. But I say, I can go home now. I go home, go to court and everything, get my children back, people helping me. But all of the drug money and anything to do with it, keep it. I don't want nothing to do with it. Gave the devil back all his tools. But my mind, you see, my mind wasn't right. And so I was in my bedroom, and I'm thinking, what going to happen to me now? I don't have nothing. I'm doing. What will happen to me? I went to the window, and I looked out the window up at the sky, I had these real sheer curtains, and I could see through these shears. And I started talking like this. I said, god, if there is a God, I don't know. I said, I've heard you real, and I want to believe you're real, but I don't really know. I said, but if you are real, I want to be as real in you as you are real. That's all I say. I went on. The next thing I know, I was kneeling down on the side of my bed, praying. Wow. The time, I didn't really know if I was talking to him or just talking in the app. And I told him, I said, I want to ask you to let me die so you can live in me. Wow. Nothing about, give me the house on the hill with the dog named Fluffy. Give me that big Mercedes, I need millions of dollars in the bank. Nothing like that crossed my mind. Yes, it was a spiritual thing. So what I'm telling him about me spiritually, he began to manifest it. I began to pray prayers and understand. I began to read the word and understand what I was reading. Well, all before, I didn't understand that Peter begot this one and that. I didn't understand that. But now I'm understanding. Well, I had a good friend named Faith. They love married me. So she come to the house to visit me, and she's walking back and forth in front of the window, back and forth. I'm like, what's wrong with her? She said, hey, Bob, Pete, this? I said, yeah. She said, I've been going to church. I was to myself, I'm like, what? You've been going where the building didn't burn in your mind how you think of people? She said, yeah. And I think the little man teaching me right, but I don't know. I said, well, hey, faith, quiet as it kept. I've been praying, reading my Bible, and I'm understanding what I'm reading. She was like, Bob, God trying to tell us something. I said, yeah. She said, why don't you come and go to the church with me, and maybe you can understand what he's saying and see if he's teaching us the truth. I said, okay. I started going. Had a beautiful wife. He was a beautiful man, bodily man, Pastor Rogers. And he was the one who taught me first and Second Samuel. And it connected to the Psalm, because I used to think the Psalms was, for if your enemies did something to you, you read those scriptures on your enemy. That's what I taught. But once he got through teaching me first and Second Samuel, and it connected to David over in the Psalms. When you learn better, you do better. But see, that was God. Was God preparing me and teaching me for such a time as this so that I could teach others who feel like they got to do witchcraft or voodoo. He don't need your help. He don't need your help. All you need is faith in God. And faith is to believe. And if you truly believe and begin to seek him with your whole heart, God is going to move.

Speaker A: Amen. Amen to that. And so you and your friend basically are coming to Jesus at the same time. And so you went to Pastor Rogers's church at that time. Okay, very good. Was that before or after Alaska?

Speaker C: Was before Alaska.

Speaker A: Before. Okay.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: So you were saved before you went to Alaska. Very good. I know you've been to many places, Alaska being one of them, and now you're in Jacksonville, Florida. So I wanted you to, if you could briefly tell us about your experience in Alaska, what drew you there? What brought you to Alaska in the first place?

Speaker C: Right before I left, I was in Orlando, Florida. I worked for the same boss off and on for 34 years. So wherever he went and opened a business, he would always drag me with him. Yes, that was the favor of the Lord. But anyway, I got there. My daughter, my oldest daughter, she passed away about two years ago. She was in Alaska, her and her husband, he was in the military. And Thanksgiving Day, she called me and said, Mama, tell me how to make that sweet potato pie. So I gave her the recipe, and I was walking her through it, and she said, you know what? You should come. Oh, it's beautiful here. You should come and visit. As soon as she spoke that the Lord said, go.

Speaker A: Wow.

Speaker C: Did anybody else hear that? I know they did.

Speaker A: Hey, if you're enjoying this podcast and you want to learn more about our ministry, please visit us@urbanfreshgardens.com. We can't wait to connect with you. Thank you so much for joining us today. We hope that this episode encourages you to do whatever the Lord is calling you to. This is Tanisha. See you in the next episode.

 

 

 

 

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11 November 2023

Fanny Marone - Seasoned City Missionary in Waterbury, CT

Fanny's been working in Waterbury for decades. She loves this city, even if some people disregard it.  

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Speaker A: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the Urban Fresh Podcast. I'm Tanisha. Today we are interviewing Fanny Marone in Waterbury, Connecticut. Fanny is funny, feisty, and fired up about the work she believes God has called her to do in this urban landscape. I just want to make this disclaimer. Fanny and I do not always share the same opinions, but I count her as a sister in Christ because I believe as Christians we will disagree and still end up in heaven because we believe in the basics and that there is one way to heaven and that way is through Jesus Christ. All right, I hope you will enjoy, as I did, this interview with Fanny Marone.

Speaker A: But I was in the insurance industry for like 25 years, and then I got my insurance, my real estate license. So I did that for about 45 years. But through all those years, I've always been an activist for my community, my city. So I think some of that is how people got to know me. And a lot of it was through real estate.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: I always ran a straight ship. I never messed around with people. I think I was pretty straightforward. I think anybody that I worked with could tell you that. I think integrity is probably the best character you can have. I spent all those years in the public between working and doing community work.

Speaker C: Got it.

Speaker D: And we'll get more into what type of work you do in the community. But what about growing up? Did you grow up in Waterbury?

Speaker A: I grew up right in this house.

Speaker D: Wow.

Speaker A: I'm third generation in this.

Speaker D: What? Do you remember the year that your family came here from Italy?

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: My grandmother, grandfather, and my dad came from Italy. My mother was born here.

Speaker C: Okay, got it.

Speaker A: Do I remember when. No. He was a teenager, though. Yeah.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker D: What was life like growing up here in water?

Speaker A: It was wonderful.

Speaker C: Good.

Speaker A: But you know what? That's why I had such a great start. That's why I was always like, pro Waterberry.

Speaker C: Yes.

Speaker A: It's changed a lot. Just ******* people all the time that are in my age group.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: That remember what it was like. The best place ever to grow up. Just the best place to grow Up. There was a lot of activity. Kids were not in trouble. We could walk anywhere. If you've talked to anybody, you've probably heard that before.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: It was a safe place with families.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: Meaning Mom, dad, children, and we all looked out for each other.

Speaker C: Got it.

Speaker D: Well, you said Waterbury was a wonderful place. And I wanted to quote something from an article by Ken Burns in PBS.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker D: It was called the Four Towns. And they featured Waterbury as one of four towns, I guess, that were affected by the war. And there's a guy named Tom Ciaarlo. I hope I'm saying his name right. C-I-A.

Speaker A: Charlo.

Speaker D: C-I-A-R-L-O. Is that how you say Charlote? Okay, so he says, this is a quote from him. Waterbury at that time, during the war, was. Sorry, Waterbury at that time, during the war. You could almost compare it to a miniature Times Square. Can you relate to that?

Speaker A: Yeah, it was that busy? Yeah, it was a lot of. Especially here in the North End. It was like the place to go, the best restaurant. We had roller skating. We had all kinds of dancing. Dancing was the big thing, especially in the 50s. You could dance your heart out every. Every weekend. There was something going on. There was never a lack of something to do. We had amazing stores downtown, beautiful clothing. The women all wore hats. So we had Oakler's hat shop. And we still laugh sometimes when my friends and I get on the elevator. Get on an elevator, like in City hall or something, and we always know, what floor would you like? It was a fun floor. All just for lingerie and one for just hats. It was called Holland Hughes. It was right downtown in the middle of the city. Big, huge building, like four stories, I think it was.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker D: And all that went away, right?

Speaker A: Yep, it did.

Speaker D: So, as you know, Waterbury is known as the Brass City because of the amount of that material, I guess, that was made here. Do you remember any of your family members working in that industry?

Speaker A: Yeah, I think my grandfather probably did, because he came here. We didn't live on the street. We lived in the East End. He must have made enough money to buy us a one family house in the east on Wilkest Street.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: And Wilkes street was just woods, and there were five little Cape Cod houses, and we had one of them.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: That was about all that was up there. There was no, you know, what Walker street looks like now? With all the stores and restaurants, there was nothing. And then he had friends that lived in this neighborhood and all multifamily houses. And we decided that this is where we wanted to be. So everyone spoke Italian here and English. So we moved here to be with all of our cousins and aunts and uncles and whatever. Distant cousins. Yeah, that's why we came here. I've been here ever since.

Speaker D: Wow. So Waterbury obviously changed after the Second World War. And how did that affect your family? So you said you think somebody was working in the brass industry in your family. Did it impact you in any way, your family?

Speaker A: No, my mom went to work in. We called it the rubber shop in Nagatuk. So she was fine. She used to work on the conveyor line. I remember one year, she asked me, when I was a teen working age, right. She says, you want to come to work with me? And I knew the money was good. I said, yes. Oh, well, bad thing that was because they put me on the conveyor belt, and I was Pokey, and everybody was yelling at me, come on, speed it up, speed it up. But, yeah, she was working there. And my dad, he was a projectionist in the theaters, so he would go from one theater to another, wherever he was.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: So he was always busy working.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: And then at some point, he opened his own little, like a newsstand. News shop. So he was doing that. And he was doing pretty industrious, I guess.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker D: Sounds like your dad was an entrepreneur.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker D: So I suppose that because they weren't in that industry, the brass industry didn't affect them as much as other people.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker D: The end of the World War, and the industry is moving out of Waterbury. Why do you think you're okay? So at some point, Waterbury decided it started changinG. Right. So in the read somewhere, things started to decline. Why do you think, were your parents around that time?

Speaker A: Seventy s, eighty s. Yeah.

Speaker D: Why do you think they decided to stay in Waterbury even when things were changing?

Speaker A: Family.

Speaker D: Family.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: We've always been about family.

Speaker C: Got it.

Speaker D: That was more important than anything else, what was going on.

Speaker A: Right.

Speaker D: We got it. What would you say you learned from your parents that you're teaching or you have taught your children or grandchildren? What lessons do you think you learned from your parents that you're passing down or have passed down to your kids and grandkids?

Speaker A: I think probably the importance of family. We're still really close.

Speaker C: Yes.

Speaker A: My daughters and my grandchildren. My brothers are still alive, and they're reaching my age pretty quickly. And, yeah, we're still here. We still have family. We're not going anywhere.

Speaker C: Right. Got it.

Speaker A: They have to take the whole bunch of us and go.

Speaker D: That would be an exodus. All right. So I wanted to switch a little bit now to talk about your conversion story, and the ministry know things that are happening now. When would you say you came to know Jesus?

Speaker A: I think I always knew Jesus because even little, that was another always. It wasn't like my family was big church goers.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: We did go to church.

Speaker C: And I.

Speaker A: Always knew about Jesus because we always said our little bedtime prayers and things like, was like that was about it. So I always knew Jesus and I really believe he always took care of me because I've never in my whole life, no matter what the situation been without. I've had plenty of ups and downs. So, I don't know. I think when I really learned a lot more about Jesus and was when I went to first assembly of God, which is now House of prayer.

Speaker C: What age was that?

Speaker A: Only about 25 years ago.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: So I was pretty on years. I had always gone to Catholic church.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: I went to St. Thomas, which is right up the street.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: And I went to St. Thomas School, which is also right up the street. So that was the kind of community this was all went there. And we had a secular school over here, which is bishop school. So we were surrounded by schools. And so, yeah, when I met Pastor James Lilly, I just felt listening to him speak one day that this is kind of man that I want to learn from because he didn't speak as a preacher, he spoke as a teacher. So I went to that church, and I immediately knew that I wanted to be baptized again because I was baptized in the Catholic Church. You're born, you have no choice. You're just. So a first assembly is really where I began to really study the Bible and get into the know, which strengthened me. And Jesus proved me so many times that he is exactly who he says he is.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: So I know I could always count on him. I am firm believer in the power of Jesus Christ to overcome any situation. Every situation. There's no doubt in my mind. Yeah, that's who I am.

Speaker D: What was your family's reaction to your going from Catholic to an evangelical church? Okay, so she was also a member of the church, of the new church.

Speaker A: Okay, that's very interesting.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker D: I've heard some conversion stories that didn't go so well.

Speaker A: Ours was great. A whole bunch of us just.

Speaker D: Yeah, you left. You left the Catholic Church.

Speaker A: As long as my mother was okay with. We all kind of like. We had a whole row of us up there.

Speaker C: Yeah, got it.

Speaker D: What would you say would be an experience that differed from your Catholic faith to now, the evangelical side of things? How did that transition work for you? Did you notice anything that was very different in your experience of Jesus?

Speaker A: Yeah, everything.

Speaker D: Okay.

Speaker A: But you know what? The only reason I stayed in the Catholic Church as long as I did was because my mom, okay, just respect her and honor her. She wanted to be there. But at some point she just said, when the church closed, that's what happened. St. Thomas Church closed, one of the first early ones to close. Now you see how many are closing? And my daughters and I were searching.

Speaker C: For a church to go to.

Speaker A: And like I said, I heard Pastor James, and I said to the girls, let's try this church. And we went, and we're still members. Never let my mom passed away. We had her celebration there.

Speaker D: Okay, very nice.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker D: And how would you say your life changed after your conversion at this church, the new church?

Speaker A: Well, I've always been an activist, but now I realized that my activism did become a ministry, and it just put a different spin on things, but not a whole lot. I mean, it's always ready to be outside doing something. But doer got it. I'm not a sitter. I'm a doer. After being in the church in first assembly for a couple of years, I said to pastor, you know what? I want to be outdoors. I want to be in the inner city. We need to be converting, not converting people, but talking to people about Jesus outdoors, not just inside. He said, what do you want to do? And I said, I don't know. Some kind of an outdoor ministry. He said, we'll do it. That's how my pastor is. Okay. It's not like they'll let me help you. No, it's like, you go do it. I said, well, where do I start? He says, you always start in your own Jerusalem. Start in your home city. I don't want to do it there. It's miserable there. It's strong infested. It's this and that. He's like, no, I think that's where you should go. So I said, okay. So that's how I started. Even before that, when it wasn't a ministry, I was out there marching against drugs, marching against guns. So much fighting for justice in this neighborhood. And I don't mean racial stuff. We were always together. Black, white, anybody who lived here. We worked together today. I don't like all this stuff that's going on. I think it's bringing us back to racism where there isn't any. We were together here. We had an association that was about 100 members.

Speaker C: Wow.

Speaker A: Yeah. It was one of the biggest associations, one of the earliest associations. That's what Crownbrook is all about, and that's where the name came from. Yeah. So it came from there. So I was kind of used to all that stuff. So to do it as a ministry was not a big step for me. Okay. So, again, I find myself in my own neighborhood having spiritual warfare, only on a different level, on a more powerful level, actually, and finding how many people really needed to know Jesus, that needed to be saved from this horrible drug infested city. Not even the city but nation that we live in has gotten worse over the years instead of. So, yeah, I guess that's all I could tell you about that. So the ministry started just with pretty much. I can't even begin to tell you what it was like here.

Speaker D: I would love to hear you say it. I was just going to quote something for you. This is from a Forbes magazine article. This is back in, let's see, 2013, August 1, written by a guy named Jim Powell.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker D: So it says in 1992, Money magazine surveyed 300 US metropolitan areas and considered Waterbury to be the worst. This was written 2013, but this is a 1992 Money magazine article. This number two, he says Waterbury made the places rated almanac list of the ten worst places to live in America. Third, 1 April 2008. Forbes considered Waterbury one of the worst places for businesses and careers in America. And the last one, in 2013, Atlantic magazine analyzed 10 million tweets by place of origin and concluded that Waterbury was one of the saddest American cities.

Speaker A: Wow. I didn't know that.

Speaker D: It's changed a lot since the World War II or end of World War II. And the nice Waterbury that you know, is no longer here. So you said you wanted to tell us how bad it was. How bad was it?

Speaker A: Okay, well, just to tell you, just right around know in this all.

Speaker C: Probably.

Speaker A: Were five abandoned houses on the street, really falling down houses. And right next door to me, Vinny's house is one of them, across the street, the two houses across the street that are all remodeled and young looking nice. Another two and a couple down the, um. And as an activist, that's why I was always fighting and had the kids. We had a lot of kids. I don't see many kids around here anymore. There were a lot of young kids. I'd say that five, seven, eight bracket. And we all made signs. I have so many pictures to show you, Tanisha, when you have a minute. And we would march the streets, no drugs, no guns. We had T shirts that said it. And this went on for years and years and years. And then we started cleaning.

Speaker C: Cleaning.

Speaker A: That was the first thing we did with adopted block. We started just cleaning the street, walking around with garbage bags.

Speaker C: Nice.

Speaker A: And then we had a little Crownbrook center that was given to us. At the beginning of my real estate career, I sold five Hill street, which is a big apartment building down at the end of Phil street, the at Corner.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker D: Not coming to mind right now, but okay. I'm sure it's there.

Speaker A: Yeah. Big white building.

Speaker C: Okay. Yeah.

Speaker A: So anyway, I sold that, and the people that bought it renovated the whole thing, and they asked me if I wanted to have a little office in the building.

Speaker C: Wow.

Speaker A: And because they wanted to keep away the drugs, and they wanted me to get good tenants in the building, and they said, as long as you're in the building, we'll feel more secure about buying this building. I said, yeah, absolutely. So I got to be, like, the caretaker kind of manager.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: A little bit. And so I rented all the apartments, and he gave me the downstairs. There's only one room and a kitchenette, but we had so many birthday parties, all kinds of things. The kids were always included. We started doing some gardening, which has always been my thing, too. My hobby, you might say. And we had farmers in the hood. The kids named it themselves, farmers in the hood. We made them little sweatshirts and T shirts, and they farmed, they planted. They learned so many things during that. So adopted block kind of just carried all that on to bigger gardens and bigger pieces of land. We took pieces of land all over the place. And so people from Crownbrook and people from adopted block kind of combined forces a few times, and then another group came up called Front Porch. We went out and we cleaned people's yards, and we did repairs, minor repairs. I would like to start that up again, but at my age, I don't know If I have the energy to do all that again. I know I have people who I think will want to do that. And it was all volunteer, and we paid for all the paint and the wood and whatever we needed. So many things that we've done in this neighborhood. But it started out as a pretty bad neighborhood. And now, as you see, even though around us may still be tough, it's a darn safe, good neighborhood, and you could walk around again.

Speaker D: Yeah. Was that something that you were very concerned about earlier? And what year would you say things got really bad? The worst. You saw it maybe, like, 1980 in the 98.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker D: Late 90s. Yeah, it was pretty bad.

Speaker C: Got it.

Speaker D: So you mentioned some of the improvements. What are some of you think your biggest, maybe not necessarily yours, but yours and the city's greatest accomplishments in terms of turning things around in Waterbury?

Speaker C: Well.

Speaker A: I think the cities, I can't speak for the city so much.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: Because they've been so busy working for years, working on brow fields and stuff like that, left from those factories that became abandoned at eyesores. And you find them in a lot of the towns in New England. You see the big haystacks? Not haystacks. Do you call them?

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker D: Maybe you do the silos.

Speaker A: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. The chimneys, actually. Okay. Chimneys from the smoke from the factory.

Speaker C: I see. Okay.

Speaker D: So not silos. Those are unbarns. Unfarms.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: Okay. Yeah. You see those all over the place. So when that all died, there was all that left. And the current mayor has really tackled a lot of battles. Previous ones have kind of just kind of ignored them. But it makes the city ugly. Absolutely. Where was I going with that?

Speaker D: We were talking about the greatest accomplishments, but I wanted to.

Speaker A: What was ours as a neighborhood?

Speaker C: Yes.

Speaker A: Okay. I think the cleaning.

Speaker D: Cleaning up.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: Because I remember one time when I cleaned, probably the beginning of. It's so hard to explain all of it, because it was so different, even 1520 years ago.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: All right. There was a big, huge brick block at the end of our street where we now have all the adoptive block events in that little park. That was a big. I think it was a six story brick building.

Speaker C: Wow. Yeah.

Speaker A: Big apartment building. And across the street from there was another one, but it was only maybe three stories high. So it was just depressed.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: The bricks would fall off once in a while. Nobody was living in them, and that was really bad. So we had a fight to get that down. And once we got that down, then we had this bare piece, huge piece of land that still had the foundation on it. Couldn't grow anything. We got the city. So this is. I guess the point where I was going, is the city was very helpful to every administration from Bergen and everybody. When I called, they pitched in. So they were interested in helping six neighborhoods. But Crownbrook also was a neighborhood that helped itself. So we got a lot of favor, and we still get a lot of favor because the mayor knows if I go see him, I go with the solution, not a complaint and a problem that I want him to. So I think because of that attitude, we've had a lot of favor with the city.

Speaker C: Good.

Speaker A: Yeah. So they came in and they put down soil one year. I mean, it took quite a few years to get it to where it is now. And another year they seeded it and we grew grass.

Speaker C: Nice.

Speaker A: We know the foundation is still under there because every time we go to put a sign up, we're hitting rock. It's not easy. That made a lot of difference. The pleading, working with the city, getting them to do the things that we needed to do. They turned the drug way, took down another building on another big. This is a place of big apartment buildings. Because the people work in the factories. They had to have a place to live. So all these multifamily were available.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker D: I've also seen that we're having developers come in from New York to renovate these big buildings.

Speaker A: Some they bought and just raised the rent. So I don't like that much. So we'll have to see how we can handle that.

Speaker C: Right?

Speaker A: No.

Speaker C: Got it. Okay.

Speaker D: So we talked about the things that made you, your family, stAy. It's family. And why do you think you're staying now? So your family, I would imagine some of your family members are not exactly here in this Waterbury area anymore. Am I right? No, I'm wrong. Most of your family is still here.

Speaker C: Okay. All right.

Speaker D: Didn't know that. You know what, *****? I just assumed that they were away. Yes. Very good.

Speaker C: Awesome.

Speaker D: So family is making you stay. And do you sometimes second guess yourself about staying? Thinking maybe 1015 years ago I should have left.

Speaker C: Do you think about that sometimes?

Speaker D: No.

Speaker A: You're steadfast.

Speaker D: Unmovable.

Speaker C: Good.

Speaker A: How would you, if somebody's bored, would you? Yes. Okay. I have a daughter, lives in Watertown.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: She lives in a beautiful home with a lot know, like five acres of land around it and everything. And I know that if I wanted to live with her, I could live with her in a minute. I would be bored. I'm a city person. I need action. I don't know what I would do. I don't know what I would do. I can't do that.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: So I'm here.

Speaker D: This is the place for you. Would you encourage somebody to move to Waterbury?

Speaker A: Absolutely.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: We have a lot of work to do. I am particularly concerned with downtown. Once they did the malls. Everybody went to the malls, all the little stores that were great clothes. And we have a different culture. We have a different culture that's here that require different things. So a lot has changed that way. But again, the city is trying to incorporate everybody into, like, Saturday. There's the gathering, which is amazing. There's people from all over, even our church. We represent 40 different nations. Yeah. So there's people from all over that come to our church. And I love it. Some come with the beautiful costumes on Sunday, and you can come with your jeans or you can come beautifully dressed, whatever you want to do. Kind of open that way, but yeah. So the gathering is something that the city thought would be a great idea, and it is. And every year it's successful. So I pray that this year it's going to be great. And people are going to get Together and get along and taste each other's food, and there'll be no violence.

Speaker D: In past years, it's been very peaceful.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker D: Have we had any issues of violence in the past?

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: So far it's been very good so far, yeah.

Speaker D: I'd like to go this time around. I wanted to share a personal story in that vein. After we moved here, we went back to New York to visit, and somebody said to me, I would not live in Waterborough if it was the last place on Earth. What would you say to that person?

Speaker A: I'd say, okay.

Speaker D: Enough said. Yeah, that was actually what somebody told me. I was flabbergasted. But in any case.

Speaker A: Okay, I'm going anyway.

Speaker D: We had already moved, so there was no turning back. It was too late. What gives you hope for Waterberry, *****?

Speaker A: Well, it's important to have people in the administration that are willing to work with the citizens. It's important for them to work in the neighborhoods to continue taking. I would like to see the city take, like, one neighborhood at a time and just get in there, clean it up real good, help to trim the trees and all the shrubs that make everything look messy and dirty and just kind of concentrate. I once had this idea, but nobody liked it.

Speaker D: Let's hear it.

Speaker A: I thought it'd be great to divide the city into quarters.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: North, southeast, west.

Speaker C: Right. Okay.

Speaker A: And just assign cleaning groups or landscape, not landscapers, but people that would mow and keep it clean. And have those machines out cleaning all the streets and have a group assigned to each quarter.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: And they were responsible to keep it clean. And if we had a problem, then we would contact them instead of having to contact City hall all the time for everything. It would take some pressure off of them. Anyway, I thought that was a good idea.

Speaker D: I think so, too.

Speaker A: Okay, well, maybe we have to push that one.

Speaker D: I think so.

Speaker A: I think a new mayor coming up, so we'll have to tack.

Speaker D: He might like that idea. Or she.

Speaker A: Let's see.

Speaker D: As I mentioned in the introduction that you are on the board of Urban Fresh Gardens, the nonprofit that Gregory founded. What made you decide to be a part of that?

Speaker A: Well, I told you, I'm a gardener at heart.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: So just to see more land taken as green space and providing produce for the people in the neighborhood. What's wrong with that? There's nothing to be found wrong with that. Nobody could even speak anything against that. So it's giving to the neighborhood, and I just happen to like Greg and Tanisha and I find them faithful, truthful people that I could trust. So that made a big difference. It wouldn't be just anybody coming in. I would be kind of worried about who would come in and take over. So it's just another place in the neighborhood that I know is solid. We have the gardens down on Burton street, which we happen to have started adopt the block, and now neighborhood housing services usually is more interested in it than has the time and the people to keep the upkeep than we do.

Speaker D: Okay, well, you mentioned, I think I was asking before, what makes you hopeful? What nuggets of hope do you see in the city that makes you think we're turning for the better? Waterbury is going to get better. What are some of those things that you're seeing that makes you say things are changing for the better?

Speaker A: Well, I don't know. It's not a hard question, but it's like sometimes I see things and for the better, like maybe a business moves in and then I'm disappointed sometimes when they can't make it and they move out. Yeah, but we do have in this administration people working on that all the time. They work hard to bring business into the city and I have faith in them that they're going to get it done.

Speaker C: Okay. Right.

Speaker D: What do you think has been. We're almost done, but what do you think has been your greatest challenge as an urban missionary, somebody working in this city? What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome those? If you have.

Speaker A: It's overcoming. Those things are eternal. It's never going to be overcome as long as there's people out there. It's a give and take all the time. And I just pray that people would be more willing to come out and volunteer their time, whether as a Christian talking about Jesus or just volunteering their time just to keep the neighborhood clean. I would love to see each homeowner or tenant come out and clean in front of their house and communicate with their landlords. Look at the grass is 2ft high. You need to come because you can get a ticket for that. People don't even know that there are rules and regulations and some don't care, of course.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: So we're always going to have people like. So that's a hard to overcome thing.

Speaker D: Yeah, it's a big challenge. Something you think we're going to be having to overcome for a while or maybe never. What would be your encouragement to other urban missionaries serving in cities, trying to tell others about Jesus and trying to be good neighbors as people of example, how would you encourage them to keep going.

Speaker A: Well, before COVID I hate that word. But before COVID my mission was to go out and knock on doors. So it wasn't just around here. It was further up and further down and all around. So we would just go out every Saturday and just not every Saturday, but, you know, every few Saturdays, and we just go knocking on doors. Hi, I'm so and so, you know, I just want to tell you that we're doing this Saturday, or do you know Jesus? Would you like some literature or. It wasn't anything pushy. So I got to tell you a story. One morning, we're knocking on this guy's door. Obviously, I didn't know it was a guy because we had never been to this house before. It was an apartment building knocking his door. And this guy opens the door, and he looks at us like a total shock. Now there's four or five of us standing outside. I'm on his stoop in the way he looked at me, which is so funny. I said, what? Didn't you expect to see five beautiful women outside your door? And he just broke up. Well, he became. We got to know him a little bit over the weeks, but he thought that was the funniest thing. But you never know. But after COVID, it wasn't comfortable anymore. First of all, we didn't want to go out with a mask and have people without a mask answer their door. That wasn't good. That wasn't right. So we stopped doing that. And then we never really got back to doing it because then the violence was so crazy, we didn't know who would answer the door. Whether they have a knife or a gun in their hand, ready for an enemy to attack them or something, it was just us cute little women standing there. When you get older, you get cute anyway. Yeah. So that changed everything again. So then we just went back to being down at the park, setting up our table, and having literature there. And we always say, prayer is here if you need prayer for anything. And the last time we were out, I think Greg came along and I don't know if he must have seen the guy that is having trouble walking after prayer. He was dancing.

Speaker C: Oh, wow.

Speaker A: And dancing and praising God and singing. It was the funniest thing. It was beautiful. But so many people don't know where to go or don't even think about it or maybe think about it, but still put it aside. But when you're walking down the street and you see people having fun and praising God with a sign saying, yeah, we're here for you. If you need prayer, they come. And I know there's a lot of organizations that do stuff and always do it. It always includes food.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: And I was thinking about that. We started up this year, but then I felt God say, no, I don't want you to do that. I don't want you to have a big to do and serve food to people every time you go out and everything. He said, you need to just be there. People will find you. I'll send who I need to send. So I said, well, hey, it was like kind of hesitating. So the only food that we provide ever, and that's only when we have it, is food that's fresh from the inner city, from our own gardens in the neighborhood. Other than that, we don't take food from anywhere else. And I have a friend who likes to bake, so she bakes homemade cookies.

Speaker D: Very nice.

Speaker A: And we'll probably give those out on a Saturday when we're out. And that's about it.

Speaker D: I guess you would encourage the urban missionaries to not always bring food to attract people, right? Is that one of the things?

Speaker A: Okay, they just come for the food. I mean, I know once they come for the food that you're going to be able to talk to them and get their attention.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: But I don't know. I don't think that's the big point. They have to have a heart for Jesus and retain that which we give them Bibles once they receive Jesus, which is a privilege, it really know. And the promises that are given to you when you receive Jesus is amazing. So why be foolish and know, how's your life going now without him? I think most people could say, oh.

Speaker D: It'S not that great if they're honest.

Speaker A: We see people walking by that look so sad. And sometimes when we just say, hi, how are you? How are you doing today? Not so good. Well, come on over. Come on over. Have a glass of lemonade on us. Have some cookies. You'll enjoy them and sit and talk to us. So we bring here extra chairs. You'd be surprised. Sometimes we start out with just few people, and sometimes we end up with a whole bunch.

Speaker C: Very nice.

Speaker A: And so we need chairs for them to sit on and just have a conversation. One person says to me, I don't have any friends. That's what you do now.

Speaker D: Just made one.

Speaker A: Yeah.

Speaker D: So hospitality is important, having conversation with them.

Speaker A: Yes, is important. I think the most important thing is that we ended up doing is two things, Dr. Block. Building a community, having the events so that people could come in the community, come together. This is not for people all over the place.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: Okay, they can come, but it's for the neighbors because people don't talk to each other anymore. They don't even know who their neighbor is. I have so many friends that live in affluent places. Not that they're affluent, but they just happen to have, maybe their house has been there. They've been there for years and people have moved in, but they don't know anybody. They say, I know my neighbor. I've been there 20 years. Well, come to my neighborhood. We all know each other. Yeah. And we hand out. That's a day where you hang out together.

Speaker C: Funny.

Speaker D: What do you want your, in the next 50 years, what would you like to be remembered for? Next 50 years, what would you like to be remembered for?

Speaker A: Be a happy person.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker D: Being a happy person.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker D: Anything else? What about your impact in the community?

Speaker A: I'd like people to think of me as just being somebody that I could always talk to. Yes. Somebody was always upbeat that you are and always willing to make me the challenge for sure.

Speaker D: Okay, I'm going to read a verse and I want you to tell me what it means to you. This is Galatian. Oh, no, just tell me what it means to you.

Speaker A: Yeah.

Speaker D: Galatians 220 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh. I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. What does that mean to you? It's not a Bible quiz, just a personal reflection.

Speaker A: Well, I think as I get older, I realize how important that is. Yeah. I don't live for myself. I think about I am a happy person, always been a happy person, even as a kid.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker A: And I watched somebody who knows me as a kid said, oh, I remember her. I don't think so. Yeah, I'm content is the word I'm looking for. I'm content with my life.

Speaker C: Okay.

Speaker A: I don't live in a beautiful place and I don't live in a gorgeous neighborhood and I don't have everything that I want, but I have everything I need. And yes, Christ lives in me. That's more important to me than anything else. Than anything else. And I realize that more and more as I get older, probably most of us will find that as we get older, nothing's important anymore.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: It's not. It's all secondary, if even that. But my goal is reach my father who's waiting for me. And I'm quite excited about it, actually.

Speaker C: Very good.

Speaker A: I am looking forward to it.

Speaker D: So am I.

Speaker A: So I'm just here because he wants me here. And there must be a reason he wants me here. Although some days I'm like, why? What am I going to do now? But whatever he wants me to do, I have to be ready to do it. Meantime, you just live your ordinary days.

Speaker C: Right? Very good.

Speaker D: I've had this question in my mind a lot, especially because of where we live now, here in Waterbury. And where I'm moving from. The part in the Bronx where we were was definitely not affluent. But where do you think if Jesus were to come back now, say he was coming back for the first time? For the first time?

Speaker A: Okay, that's a fun question.

Speaker D: Pretend he didn't come already. He's coming back now for the first time. Which neighborhood do you think he would live in?

Speaker A: Probably mine.

Speaker D: Why?

Speaker A: Because of all the action.

Speaker D: Yeah, all the action.

Speaker A: A lot of action. He wasn't about to live out in the woods. Pretty place, right? He lived in Capernaum. I mean, he chose Capernaum to do his ministry. That was his base. And from there, he shot off everywhere. Waterbury is center in this neighborhood is the center of Waterbury. And you could shoot out from anywhere from here and be anywhere in 1015 minutes.

Speaker C: Right.

Speaker A: We're southeast, west, so yeah, I think he would probably be here.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Speaker D: I was reading something online about the neighborhood Jesus grew up in. And the fact that Nathaniel, when he heard where Jesus was from, he's like, can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Speaker A: And you heard that about.

Speaker C: That's right.

Speaker D: It made me very hopeful. I don't know why I'm getting chills now thinking about it, but I feel as though Waterbury and other places like our neighborhood have a very special place in Jesus's heart. And I think as Christians, we have to be careful about how we talk about the places that are not so great, because then we are people of promise. We're people of hope. And wherever we go, we should always be hopeful.

Speaker A: That's right.

Speaker D: About our neighborhoods or every other neighborhood that's not so nice. Thank you so much, *****. I really enjoyed our talk and we're looking forward to many more years of good, hard ministry in Waterbury.

Speaker B: Hi, did you enjoy this episode?

Speaker A: I hope you did.

Speaker B: If you would like to learn more about us, please contact Contact us@urbanfreshgardens.com that's urbanfreshgardens.com.

Speaker D: We can't wait to connect with.

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