‘God opened my eyes:’ Alabama native spurred to reach nations

‘God opened my eyes:’ Alabama native spurred to reach nations

By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist

Brittany Hall didn’t feel too much of a pull to international missions. Then one day she agreed to go on a missions trip to Honduras with her church, First Baptist, Dadeville.

“God opened my eyes and rocked my world,” she said. “I met people who had never heard the name of Jesus before. Technically I had known those people existed, but growing up in Alabama, it’s not something you see as much.”

To come face to face with it was different, she said — and it made her different.

Not if but where

“There were people who told me that some of the things I was feeling was a missions trip high and they would go away,” Hall said. “But they never did.”

She knew she had to do something about the people who had never heard the name of Jesus. “I knew I had to be a part of changing it,” she said. “It wasn’t a question of ‘if’ but ‘where.’”

Hall started using all of her vacation time to go on trips and see where God might be leading her. Eventually she began to sense that God might want her to join a team in Asia. She would be teaching English at a university there and it seemed like a good fit, Hall said. She began to work through the application process.

“During that time, one of my good friends had a friend who was moving up to New York City to do missions,” Hall said. “She said, ‘I really think you should talk to my friend. What she’s doing seems like it would fit you well.’”

That friend was Erin Bishop, who along with her husband, Adam, and three kids left Heritage Baptist Church, Montgomery, a few years back to partner with Urban Nations Outreach to reach South Asians in the Jackson Heights area of New York City.

“I was kind of like, ‘Thanks but no thanks, I already know what I’m going to be doing,’” Hall said.

She sent a message to Erin Bishop just to be courteous to their mutual friend. But soon Erin Bishop had convinced her just to come check it out.

“Two weeks later I flew up there and served with them for a weekend,” Hall said. That was in May 2015. And it was not at all what she thought it was going to be.

‘Like entering another country’

“When you step off the plane and come into Jackson Heights, it’s like entering another country,” Hall said.

On one block it may feel like you are in Colombia; on the next, you may be in Little Bangladesh, she said.

“It just started clicking for me that I was working with all of these unreached people groups,” Hall said. “I began to realize that this was exactly where God wanted me.”

That October she resigned from her job and in December, after raising support, she moved to Jackson Heights.

Adam Bishop, who was the missions pastor at Heritage Baptist before moving his family to New York, said they were thankful to have her.

“Brittany has been a huge, huge asset to us,” he said. “God definitely put this team together. We work really well together and God has allowed others to catch our vision.”

The vision is to reach South Asians — Pakistanis, Nepalis, Tibetans and Bangladeshis — through a community center right in the heart of Jackson Heights. Hall teaches English there and builds relationships with the purpose of sharing the gospel. Other teammates serve there as well.

‘Favor in the community’

When the center was started, relationships eventually turned into a Tuesday night Bible study in April 2016, which turned into a Sunday morning church service a year later.

The church meets on the second floor of a restaurant owned by a Pakistani Muslim.

“God has given us favor in the community,” Adam Bishop said. “He has been doing some cool things.”

They have seen people hear the gospel for the first time, grow more and more open to accepting Christ and then be baptized, Hall said. “We are seeing barriers broken down. People are responding to the gospel.”

For more information about Hall’s ministry at Jackson Heights, email her at lightuptheworld@att.net.