1..2..3..HIKE! The quiet morning calm is broken by the sound of cleats clashing, bodies crashing and the hungry bloodthirsty screams of our Ladies Flag Football Team. 21 of our finest ladies led by their fearless coach, Pastor John, had an unlikely season. A brand new team, with brand new players and a brand new coach had beaten some of the best teams in the league to earn a shot at the coveted trophy. The excitement that Saturday morning was palpable. Unable to sit or stand still, our ladies huddled around their coach hoping to get any last bit of wisdom and advice from him. They hungrily listened as he repeated everything he had told them all season long. The ladies had practiced for this day for months and all that was left to do now was play. And play they did. Although the trophy was not meant to be theirs this year, the ladies came out on top. Going from a team that was discounted as a no-threat to a team that could win everything, makes them winners in our book.
Christmas seems to be busier and busier every year doesn’t it? We spend so much of our time and energy planning our perfect parties and looking for the perfect gifts that we are relieved when the holiday is over. This year however, it felt different. This year, as we sat surrounded by the soft light of our glow sticks and worshipped with our loved ones, the world stood still. The world stood still as we sang our songs of praise and as our Pastors preached. The world stood still as we took Communion and prayed for our families and friends. As one family, we celebrated together as we welcomed our newest and littlest members. Christmas 2010, our first Christmas as New Mercy Community Church, was a reminder that this day is a day of celebration and worship. Everything else is just filler.
“Would you like some candy?” This sentence usually raises an eyebrow or two when said to a child. But when it is Pastor Patricia who is offering that candy, the creepiness goes away. Our booth at the yearly Choosuk Festival was small and unassuming but those who stopped at our table realized that we weren’t just offering sugar to their young children. In fact, we were passionately spreading the word about our new church plant. The excitement from our volunteers was contagious and that energy seemed to pull people to our table long after the candy and balloons were gone. We may never know how many people heard about New Mercy that day, but if even one person decided to check us out, we can consider this day a success.
What do a Minnie Mouse, a tiny Bumblebee, and a Star Trek family have in common? They all attended our first ever Fun Day Sunday. This day was painstakingly planned down to the littlest details and nothing was left out. Face painting, balloon animals, pumpkin carving and lots and lots of candy entertained the costumed children for hours. Being surrounded by the joyous laughter of the children reminds us that Halloween isn’t about trick or treating or about ghouls and witches; it’s about indulging a child’s imagination and love for candy. For one day all our tired from the stresses of the world congregants were able to act like children again. It was indeed a Fun Day Sunday.
In September 1998, Hana Mission was created in order to serve the community of Paterson, New Jersey. For the next 12 years, the many volunteers dedicated themselves to working tirelessly to “install hope in the lives of homeless individuals, substance abusers, ex-felons and children” in this urban neighborhood. Children from less privileged families are often the hardest hit during the Christmas season. They are bombarded from all sides by images of new toys and gadgets, all while having to face the real possibility that they may not receive any gifts. 14 volunteers, armed with presents donated by our congregation, went to Paterson with the purpose of throwing the best Christmas party for the families of Hana Mission.
The stage was set, the signs were up and the doors were wide open. 10/10/10 was the day. It was the day where we announced to the world that HPCEM was now officially New Mercy Community Church. Months of anticipation and planning all led up to this one day. Although we had been having services in this location for a few months and we already called ourselves New Mercy, this service made it feel official. We were joined by our family, friends and well-wishers who all wanted to witness this moment in our history with us. Our journey as a church is just beginning and with a launch this tremendous, the future seems very exciting.
2010 was a tremendous year for NMCC. It was a year full of engagements, weddings, babies and it was the year of our launch. Sure, there were plenty of downs along with the ups, but this year it felt as if there were many more blessings. New Year’s Eve Services are usually designed for people meditate on the end of the year rather than celebrate the beginning of a new one. But Pastor John wanted to make ours different and have us start the New Year in laughter. We watched as normally eloquent people stumbled through “Happy New Year” in various foreign languages. We saw our very own Pastor Won Jae try to eat chocolate candies off a chopstick that was hanging off his ears. We are pretty sure that these things don’t happen at other people’s New Year’s Eve services.
White Elephant may be the cruelest game ever invented but it is also a staple at all of our Christmas parties. And even though the game is played every year, the competition seemed even more intense this time around. Perhaps people were stepping up their gift buying or people really needed that automatic hand soap dispenser. The evening wasn’t all fun and game however; there was also the serious business of judging the “Ugliest Outfit Contest.” Three secret judges were chosen at random and were given the task of secretly scoring and picking the top three ugliest outfits. Needless to say, there were some really ugly outfits.
This year is gonna be bigger and better than ever! With professional referees in each game, past years' experience and a large volunteer staff, New Mercy is serious about Missions Madness. We hope you would come to play and to watch, but most importantly, to support God's mission around the world. Check out theses pictures from past Missions Madness tournaments.