Torrential downpours were in the forecast during the Assemblies of God New York City outreach. So far, the skies have yet to drop rain and the Pentecostal group now enters the second and final stage of its milestone campaign.
With 480 spots of "God Gives Hope" running on the News Astrovision Screen in Times Square in a two-week period, the Pentecostal outreach moves into Thanksgiving week - a holiday that typically draws more than 2 million people to Times Square every year.
Assemblies of God is joined by local churches from the metropolitan city and New Jersey along with students from Phoenix Masters Commission, which provides intense discipleship training. Tens of thousands of "Stories of Hope" flyers have already been passed out throughout the city, tripling their original number of booklets for wider distribution.
"I feel like it's a new day for the Assemblies of God," said U.S. missionary Phil Goble, according to the Assemblies of God News Service. "To see pastors weeping in the prayer room, people taking the tracts to those on the street . . . this is one of the highlights of my ministry . . . this is the real thing."
About 100 people are also scattered throughout New York's five boroughs in addition to the Times Square outreach which has seen responsive recipients of the Christian literature and of prayers.
The former NBC jumbotron features marital conflict, addiction, sickness and situations people can relate to, showing the needs of people and displaying God as the answer, as Scott Temple, director of AG Intercultural Ministries, said.
A prayer hotline also directs viewers to 150 satellite prayer centers that are running coast to coast 24 hours a day.
"We believe it's just beginning," Temple said in an interview on New York's WMCA radio station. "We're not going to quit. We're going to believe in a ripple effect going out from Times Square to the rest of the country."
The Pentecostal message will continue to flash on the jumbotron throughout Macy's Thanksgiving Parade one of the nation's largest parades on Thursday. This year is Macy's 80th Thanksgiving Parade and it is expected to be the biggest yet.