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New York City choral trip yields new believer

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Laura Baskin knew she would enjoy New York City's sights and sounds when she and the rest of a seminary vocal ensemble made a special trip to the Big Apple.

Baskin and two other singers -- Hilary Hogan and Kennedy Matthias -- also ended up welcoming a new brother into the Kingdom when, in the middle of Times Square, he accepted Christ.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's Master Chorale was in New York City to debut new works by their professors at the Lincoln Center.

Baskin, Hogan and Matthias first met Zach as a face in a crowd of people promoting a comedy club in Times Square. The men filled the sidewalk, talking to passersby and handing out fliers. They were largely dismissive of Baskin and her friends.

Zach, however, was willing to listen to what Baskin had to say. She introduced herself, took him through the "Roman Road" Gospel presentation, and showed him from Scripture his spiritual condition and how he, like everyone, needed a Savior.

Hogan and Matthias joined Baskin in talking with Zach about the Christ, and everyone seemed surprised when he wanted to pray -- including Zach himself.

"He stopped short once and said, 'Wow. This is so weird.' I said, 'Well, you're already talking about Jesus in the middle of Times Square, so how much weirder can this get?' It was really funny," Baskin said.

Zach's genuine response left an impression on Baskin.

"It was the most beautiful prayer ever," Baskin said. "He said, 'Hey God, I'm Zach. I want to make You the Lord of my life. I want You to guide me. Thank You for Your death, thank You for Your resurrection.' It was everything we had told him about Jesus; he said in his prayer that he was thankful for and that he wanted it all to happen to him."


The girls gave Zach a hug, snapped a picture and put him in contact with a local Christian whom one of the girls knew.

Baskin said the encounter in May punctuated a change God began in her several months earlier.

"God laid it on my heart this last semester to evangelize," Baskin said. "Back in February, when we had our concert with Steve Green, the Lord laid it on my heart to pray for the New York trip, and so I have been praying for it for months, just that He would open up opportunities."

God responded and Baskin shared the Gospel with a Hindu man on the plane from Texas, another man who believed the world was ending on May 21, and a girl the group found crying in a pew at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, a Staten Island landmark.

Baskin's experience reminded her of God's activity, both in New York and in her heart.

"Prayer is so powerful. If you pray over things, then God responds," Baskin said. "I even felt a change in the choir and Thye, too. I was just praying that we would see the trip as an evangelistic opportunity, and it was awesome."

Rebecca Carter is a writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ( A short video of the Master Chorale's Lincoln Center trip is available at -

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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