New York is a Mecca for internships, especially in the field of public relations. Moving there in the summer of 2006 in order to fulfill my college internship requirements was an education not only in the everyday life of a PR practitioner or how to maneuver public transportation when the subway stops working at rush hour, but in the provision, divine appointment, protection and plan of God.
People ask me all the time how a girl originally from Boise, Idaho going to school in Washington state found a gig in New York City. The answer is: God. That is the only way I can explain it. Honestly, I’ve tried to tell the story in many other ways. Through a series of events and through articles in several major publications about her clients, God put me in contact with the CEO of a New York public relations company. Our first conversation was supposed to be about the business, but turned into me telling a complete stranger 3,000 miles away what God was doing in my life and a vision for my future. Almost two years later I found myself in her Bronx apartment on my first day of work.
As an intern for a Christian public relations company in New York, owned by lovers of Jesus serving other Christians in entertainment, I witnessed that the Lord has placed powerful and faithful men and women of God in every top media company in the city and the world, who He divinely appointed me to meet on several occasions. The mission field of American media is inhabited by Christians who can communicate the Gospel to their coworkers daily. Throughout the internship, the Lord also drew me into a deeper need for Him as I realized more every day how powerless I was to do the job He had called me to. A Christian can be in their calling—whether pastor, worship leader or janitor—and be lonely and helpless without a living, growing and real relationship with Christ.
As for finding a spot to live for three months without signing a lease, paying three times as much in rent than the rest of America, and in safety, that was only God. My church throughout my college career has had a strong relationship with a congregation in Queens. Through contact with their pastor, whose heart to serve and generosity is unlike any one person I have ever met and the favor of God, I was told I could move into a vacant room in a South Jamaica Queens apartment. For free. The Lord provides, and sometimes He will use His people directly for this purpose, like in my case where I was provided for above and beyond ways I could even think to ask for.
I had a boss to disciple me as a professional and as a woman of God, and I also immediately had a church family who took me in as their own. Both my professional family and my church fed me spiritually and naturally (I gained a love for Indian and Guyanese food). They laughed with me (and sometimes at me), let me cry and let me make mistakes and learn and grow. Neither the congregation who took me in nor my boss had to let me into their lives, but they took on responsibility for me and a spiritual covering in every sense. Without the community of believers at work and at home, I would have failed.
God assured me shortly after moving to New York that He was in control of my present and my future. Making the two-hour commute home from work one night turned into seven when the subway system in Queens temporarily shut down. Three hours after I had left my office in the Bronx I decided to find alternative transportation. With everyone I knew at Friday night prayer, I took a deep breath and said, “OK, Jesus, show me where to go,” and shuffling through a sea of umbrellas (I forgot mine that day) onto the street, I could feel the hand of God move me down the block to safety. After crossing the street in hopes of getting a taxi in the rain in New York when half the city’s public transportation was shut down, I stepped onto the sidewalk, looked up at the bus stop and heard the voice of an angel. Well, it was just a fellow commuter, but she asked if I was going to Jamaica. I answered “Yes!” with relief and praise. When I pulled up to my stop (literally six feet from my apartment door), I was forever changed in my assurance of the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit that was made clear that night.
I had so much to lose as I embarked on this adventure. I traveled thousands of miles to live with complete strangers in a neighborhood completely unlike anything I had ever experienced, to work in an office that took me two hours to get to one way (and by two trains). God’s protection and favor was dripping from that entire summer like the sweat on my forehead after riding in another E Train with no air conditioning on a hot July day. It was nothing short of a call to step out of the boat like Peter and let Jesus do miracles in my life. If we will have faith to walk on the water when we just want to believe that Jesus had gone crazy, He will use His followers to spread His love and hope in sometimes-unique ways to those souls in need of Truth.