The first big city I ever visited was New York city. It was crowded, noisy and full of life.
I was preparing to go overseas with Campus Crusade for Christ. The training session diverted to New York City. Teams were assigned to study various ethnic groups; my assignment was to observe the Russian-speaking community. We traveled by train, subway, or walked. I will admit to having a headache at the end of the day from the noise.
Surprising was, as soon as I entered the Russian Burroughs, the atmosphere changed. Signs were in Russian; everyone spoke Russian, the food, the smells, people’s dress, and mannerisms took on a very different cultural feel. It was utterly foreign to me.
I experienced the same thing when I rounded the corner to Sak Fifth Avenue. The business district was ablaze with lights, crisp, warm, and inviting. Each borough had its feel and a community that brought it to life. I will admit, too, that I thought the city was full of separatists. Everybody seemed to stick to their community. But each community had its take on life.
Nine months later, I’m Manilla, capital of the Philippines: God prepares you for where he will take you. I traveled all over Manilla by Jeepney. The craziest drivers in the world were there. Jeepney drivers never stop until you tap the roof indicating you want off. Traveling across the world as a missionary allowed me to see people as they lived. I lived where they lived, and that experience taught me to value life. People love their homelands.
Now imagine heaven full of Burroughs with every people group imaginable. Each borough fulls of scents, spices, and flavors—flowers from every region on display, children at play—a calm and peaceful reign in the air knowing that our Lord Jesus is here.