N.C. couple manages N.Y. mission house
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
July 09, 2010

N.C. couple manages N.Y. mission house

N.C. couple manages N.Y. mission house
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
July 09, 2010

When Lynette Lawrence got a

text message from her husband during a vision trip in New York City she thought

his excitement would translate into leading mission teams to the city. She

wasn’t expecting her family to be that team.

In March Barry Lawrence

joined a group of North Carolina pastors and Baptist State Convention (BSC)

staff on a two-day visit to New York City to further develop the BSC

partnership with Metropolitan New York Baptist Association (MNYBA).

Barry had not been to New

York before, although after a trip to Philadelphia last year he felt the

lostness of cities and wanted to lead a mission team from Antioch Baptist

Church in Goldston back to the northeast.

“Missions has always been a

thread in our life,” Barry said.

After 15 years in textiles

Barry quit his job in Sanford and moved the family to Wake Forest to attend

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, then became pastor of Antioch.

But during those two days in

New York “God stirred that fire within me even more to reach out to the

nations,” Barry said.

The Lawrence family, above, recently made the move to New York to manage The David Dean House where mission teams can stay while serving there.

When he learned the couple

managing the David Dean House in Brooklyn would soon be leaving, “Something in

my heart just lept,” Barry said. “The Holy Spirit was just pounding on me.”

The David Dean House houses

up to 50 short-term volunteers who come to serve in New York City.

Throughout the vision trip

God was at work in Barry’s heart. A “defining moment” came when Barry and the

group met a pastor from Ghana serving in the Bronx. The pastor recently

purchased a three-story building, a former casket factory built in 1926, to use

as a means to reach out to immigrants from Africa.

Can’t you see it?

“Can’t you see it?” the pastor kept asking the group.

Standing there on the first floor, with water seeping in from all the rain that

day, all Barry saw was a building in desperate need of repair.

The pastor described where

the congregation would sit and how a choir would look standing up there and

praising God.

“Through his faithfulness

and passion, I could then see it,” Barry said.

In the pouring rain, the

team joined the pastor on the roof and prayed for the congregation and the

city. As Barry looked out over the city and saw all the apartments “just a

shout” from where he stood, he thought about all the nonbelievers represented

in those homes.

God was working in the

hearts of his family and in just two weeks he returned with Lynette and their

two daughters, ages 9 and 14. Lynette saw there would be challenges in New

York, such as learning the subway system and how to make routine errands. She

worried about failure and not being able to guide her children through the

transition. Unlike Barry, who grew up in a military family and moved often, Lynette

was not used to the city life.

Yet, even in New York, “the

Lord spoke to me about not settling,” Lynette said. Staying in North Carolina

would be the easy thing. But she knew the Lord was calling them to New York and

she was ready.

Barry began working in New

York May 27, just two months after the vision trip.

His family joined him June

17, all except Micah, who is living this summer with family in North Carolina

before starting at Barton College in August.

Their house is still on the

market, but they have sold most of their furniture and car and are now working

to make their new 900-square-foot apartment feel like home.

Barry and Lynette are

M.O.S.T. (missions on short-term) missionaries with the North American Mission

Board (NAMB). They receive some funding from NAMB but will also be responsible

for raising missions support.

The Lawrences have already

hosted five mission teams at the David Dean House.

They build relationships

with the teams and work alongside them.

They are also working to

build relationships with New York business owners and to take advantage of

opportunities God gives to share the gospel.

Their passion is to grow the

kingdom of God, and their excitement for seeing the Lord’s work accomplished is

the driving force behind their new journey in New York City.

For more information

about missions in New York City and the David Dean House, e-mail

[email protected] or visit www.mnyba.org.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Lilley is a

researcher and writer for the Baptist State Convention.)