Times Square Becomes
Jesus Shows Up at the JESUS WEEK Finale
and Rebukes the Wind and Rain
On Saturday, June 29th, the Times Square area in New York City was turned into a Holy Temple. King Jesus was presiding. He made it His square.
As the sweet fragrance of worship, intermingled with the gospel, infused the streets, thousands of people were drawn to experience the movement of God. People stopped, listened, engaged, received free books, and asked questions. Some lingered for five minutes, some for hours.
People from all walks of life and belief systems were mesmerized by the presence of God that permeated the area. Pastor Darnell Harper exclaimed:
It was like Pentecost with the many nations present. I had a number of people from other countries tell me that they were taking the materials back to their country with them. A Buddhist who was led to Christ wanted a Bible after he received salvation.
Sonya Cherici, one of the prayer counselors, reported:
We prayed with people from all over the world. I met and prayed with people from England, Ireland, Palestine, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Canada. Locally, I prayed with people from Michigan, the Carolinas, Virginia, and New Jersey.
THE BIG CONCERN THAT WENT AWAY
It was only after more than eight months of planning, that I, as the founder of Saturate NY Metro, discovered that the Jesus Week Finale was going to coincide with the World Gay Pride events in NYC.
We were concerned that it might be perceived that we had planned this in order to be disruptive. That’s the last thing we wanted! In addition, the night before the event, the Mayor’s office called to warn the team of dangerous, impending storms that could potentially shut down the event. Many prayers were lifted up concerning all the possible storms.
Despite the risks, the Jesus Week team prayerfully moved forward knowing the Lord was in control. One member of the team reported real breakthroughs:
It was awesome that the Jesus Week Finale was unexpectedly held at the same time as the Pride events. I was able to share the love of Christ with people who were participating in that celebration.
One man decorated in the rainbow colors was standing to the right of the stage mesmerized by the performance. I walked up to him and explained that we were there to spread the love of Christ. I told him that he was deeply loved by the Lord and that nothing he could say or do could change that. He needed to hear that Jesus died for him. He needed to know that all he has to do is call upon the name of Jesus. His eyes said that he received everything that was spoken.
Music drew the crowds. As we began our sound checks, there was a completely different spirit in the air than we expected. God was moving with power over the Square. We were brimming with excitement as our sound checks alone were drawing in crowds by the hundreds.
When the event began, thousands gathered around to listen, take photos—some even danced. Eagles’ Wings, Alma Rivera, Freddy Washington, and Willana Mack and the Nyack College Choir brought heaven down!! Tens of thousands experienced the loving-kindness and joy of our Lord. The power of God kept washing over the crowds.
THEN DISASTER THREATENED US
But the threat of disaster came swiftly and unexpectedly.
By five o’clock, just an hour into our event, we saw black storm clouds approaching. Again, we prayed. The Eagles’ Wings band began to worship, which filled the atmosphere with sweet joy and hope. Archbishop Steve Smith beautifully shared the gospel, and the crowds received the message warmly.
But in the middle of our second musical act, as children from the Gifted and Talented School in the Bronx began to perform, it started to sprinkle a bit. Within five minutes, the representative from the Mayor’s Office told us to pull the plug! We were told the event needed to end immediately. It was so abrupt that we were not even allowed to give an explanation from the stage.
Suddenly, after eight months of planning, hundreds of man-hours, and $35,000 in non-refundable expenses had been poured into this event, it was over?! Shutting down was unthinkable!
Everyone began to boldly pray for the Lord to rebuke the wind and the rain. We declared peace in Jesus’ name and waited for God’s answer.
In the meantime, the Mayor’s Office representative explained that less than a mile north of us, severe monsoon-like rain and winds had become so dangerous that the City had to stop a huge event and evacuate everyone from Central Park.
After living in NYC for nearly 50 years, it was the first time I have ever heard of Central Park being evacuated!
Shortly after, the Jesus Week team learned that another large event less than a mile directly west of Times Square was shut down because of the same severe weather.
We leaders were warned that the storm was heading our way and that it could get very dangerous. Moments later blinding downpours hit downtown Manhattan just a little south of Times Square and forced cancellation of events there as well. Friends who arrived late to our event spoke of the buckets of driving rain they commuted through.
Times Square was surrounded not just by deluges but also violent winds. The Mayor’s Office said it was inevitable that the monsoon would descend upon the Jesus Week Finale event.
Spectrum News Staff reported, “Severe Weather Threats Forces Evacuations of NYC Pride Events.” (Spectrum News, Published 6:07 PM, ET, Jun. 29, 2019)
WHEN IT RAINED ALL AROUND US, JESUS REIGNED OVER US!
However, blue skies, a sweet breeze, and perfect temperatures surrounded Times Square. How could this be?
It was then we realized the awesome truth that in those threatening moments Times Square had become transformed into “Jesus’ Square”! His throne was over us and among us. His Temple—all of us gathered there—still stood.
The few sprinkles we experienced caused no damage to the outreach materials that were exposed on tables as giveaways.
While awaiting the green light from the Mayor’s Office, the Jesus Week team went into the streets to pray with people and hand out thousands of books and Every Home for Christ tracts. Pastor Harper shared:
I gave one of our outreach books to a man. About 15 minutes later, he came back after reading several chapters in the book. God so moved in his heart that he prayed with weeping as he gave his life to Christ.
Finally, an hour later, the Mayor’s representative convinced her office that the Times Square area was clear and called us to give the go ahead.
The team and all involved rejoiced in the Lord! As I put it in a press release:
One day in glory, I look forward to talking with the angels who held back the storm and smiled with our heavenly Father on the worshipers and prayer warriors who gathered to build a holy altar in the center of NYC and in the center of all kinds of storms—his children who believed that with God, nothing is impossible! He seems to love it when we dare Him greatly! He loves it when we bring the great news of His matchless love to those who feel like outcasts.
THE REAL DOWNPOUR: MANY MORE PEOPLE CAME!
As it turned out, God worked everything that happened that day for the good of his kingdom and the exalting of his Son in unexpected ways.
All of the outdoor events in NYC were deluged, EXCEPT JESUS WEEK XL!!! All of NYC was swamped, EXCEPT TIMES SQUARE!!!
That meant that there was only ONE place to go if you were looking for something to do. There was ONE place where the skies were clear in NYC—TIMES SQUARE!!!
Already there were record numbers of New Yorkers, out-of-towners, and internationals in NYC because of Pride Month. Many were rerouted to Times Square as a result of the storms. Like a good shepherd, the Lord Jesus corralled his precious ones into Times Square so they could hear and feel His passionate love for them.
Here’s what one team member experienced:
I met a young man who asked if he could dance. He said, “I didn’t know if it was OK since it’s a Christian thing.” I began to explain that it is the finale of Jesus Week, and that we were there to spread the love of Christ. He said, “I know about that because my father is a pastor.” We began to talk about the return of Christ and preparing for it. I explained that God knew him before he was born. He had a plan and a purpose for his life before God gave him to his parents. After speaking for a while, we prayed. He repented and asked the Lord for forgiveness. As he walked away, he said, “You may have just changed my life.”
In the final two hours, Tom Mahairas, Dimas Salaberrios, and I shared the good news. As we preached the gospel, three different times to three different crowds, there was a hush in Times Square—a quiet listening in what is usually the noisiest square mile in the nation.
Each time the gospel was preached, an opportunity was given to all to open their hearts to Jesus. We are confident that in heaven, we will meet thousands who lifted up their hearts to JESUS on that beautiful day—the day when God made Times Square into Jesus’ Square to serve as a holy temple for the glory of His name!
HALLELUJAH! GLORY TO JESUS!
Please consider supporting this ministry at:
The Jesus Week USA Team:
David Beidel and Dimas Salaberrios, co-founders
Mick Richards, Executive Director
Lauren Hatch, Director of Communications and Events
We are so grateful for our amazing partners and sponsors!
Every Home for Christ
American Bible Society
Church of God