Welcome to New York

So I have been struggling to think of an idea for a blog post. So I was thinking of the blog posts that I did last year and my favorite one was my picture blog. So I am going to do the same thing here. Below are some pictures that from my year in New York, from August to January.

Welcome to New York. Crossing the GW bridge into NYC on my first day.
View of downtown from the GW bridge
My Housemates, Maura and Simon
My Site Coordinator Timothy Wotring
The view from my bedroom window
My first dinner in NYC, got some delicious ramen two blocks from my house.
Went on a tour of the UN


Went to see the Yankees play!!
Great seats and a fun time
Boat tour of Manhattan
Group selfie


NYC is breathtaking at night
Found this beautiful art work as I was walking around the city
We went to the Whitney museum, they have some amazing art and a giant elevator


Walking across the Brooklyn bridge


Out grabbing some food
Time square, to many people for me


Going to see “1984” on Broadway


It was amazing and so powerful


Got to see on of my favorite artist, Bmike in action
Leading by example: Faith and Hiv testing conference. 
Got to see my favorite people again at transition retreat
The retreat was at the Highlands Camp in Colorado
This is from when we went apple picking
Simon trying to find the best apples
Apple selfie
Just walking around and came across the filming of the amazing race!!! One of my favorite shows
I wonder which of the teams will win!!!
We were part of a protest against white nationalism


We went on a ghost tour, this was one of the haunted houses
This sign is outside of the building where Edger Allen Poe lived
This year I am working at a soup kitchen and we get amazing volunteers that help us
Time to do some dishes
This is part of Ai Weiwei’s ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ art exhibit in Washington Square Park
This is a tree in Washington Square Park where you write a kind note and leave it for others.


We found a Budhisdt temple right in the middle of a neighborhood called Flushing in Queens


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Broadway Presbyterian Church set up a maze in there sanctuary for Halloween
There was a dragon!!!
It was very cool and very fun to help set up and run
Over 1000 children came and went though the maze and got candy
We went to see a drag show one Friday night. It was a lot of fun and Lagoon Blue had a great performance
I went to Barnard college one day to get volunteers to sign up
We went to Rockefeller and saw the big tree


Christian cleaning the balcony so we can put Christmas decorations up
Broadway also hosts a Christmas sing along
Tons of families come and sing along to their favorite Christmas songs
It was so much fun
The sanctuary was so beautiful
I found a building that had these little art pieces all along the outside of it. It went on for two blocks. These are my favorite ones


Snow in NYC



The YAVs went to see some Christmas lights


A group of amazing volunteers and staff at the soup kitchen
One of the volunteers made 150 of these cookies for the guests
More snow!!! WHY!!!!


Thank you all for reading my blog. I will be better about doing more blogs in the future.



From the Big Easy to the Big Apple

From the Big Easy to the Big Apple

Hello everyone as this is a new YAV year and all that I am going to try to put out at least one new blog posts a month. So watch for more posts in the coming weeks and months. Also the picture above is one I took, it is the view from the window of my bedroom.

So as many of you know I am now living in New York city doing my second year as a Young Adult Volunteer or YAV for short.  I have been in this amazing city for a little more then a month and it was been wonderful so far. New York city is like no other city in the world and I am blessed with the opportunity to leave here and do work which I love. I want to thank everyone who donated both this year and last year. You are the reason I can do this amazing journey of self discover and volunteer work. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

It has been a bit of a cultural shift in moving from the Big Easy of New Orleans all the way up north to Big Apple. Everything is different here. People are in such a hurry and here everyone walks where in New Orleans everyone walked and you got to where you are going when you got there, normally late. New Orleans is the biggest small town and New York is arguable the biggest city in the world. I miss New Orleans a lot, I miss the people I lived with and the ones I made friendships with though out the city, I miss the snowballs and the crawfish, I miss the kids that I worked with, I miss City Park and going to get beignets, I miss the Jazz music and Frenchman street, I miss the city that I feel in love with. I hope that this year in New York that I can learn to love the Big Apple just as much.

I am living in Manhattan in a neighborhood called Morningside Heights. It is right next to Harlem and Colombia University. I am about a ten minute walk to were I am working this year, so that is nice and is much easier for me to get to work then my housemates. This year I am living with two people instead of six. Maura is from North Carolina and is getting her own room. I am rooming with Simon, who is from Maryland and a second year YAV like me. He served last year in South Korea.  This is the first time in my life that I will have to share a room with another human and though it has only been a month it has been going well. I get along very well with both of my housemates and I hope to get to know them better as the year progresses.

This year I will be working at Broadway Community, which runs many programs to work with the people experiencing homelessness. Broadway Community runs a soup kitchen every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, has a produce food pantry every Monday where any can come and get fresh produce and emergency food pantry for those in dire need, Monday and Wednesday while the soup kitchen is open, medical doctors and nurses come and serve those who come through our doors, and every night seven days a week hosts thirteen men who are experiencing homelessness and need a place to sleep.  This is an amazing program and I am privileged to work there.

As for what I actually do there, I work at the soup kitchen, called the Four Star Soup Kitchen, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 – 3:00 where I work with the chef to cook to food, with the volunteers as they prep the food and make the salad and desert everyday, I serve the food some days and plate the food others, and I wash dishes tons and tons of dishes. As the name says we are a Four Star Soup Kitchen and we work hard to make that true. The Chef who is also called Chef, I have heard he has another name but have yet to meet someone brave enough to call him by it, makes absolutely amazing food for about 120 to 140 people. To give you an idea of the meals he normally  prepares here is the menu from October 9th, 2017.  The soup for the day was a cauliflower carrot creme made with coconut milk and fresh carrots, I should know I peeled 100 pounds of them, the entree was salmon fillets on a bed of fresh spinach and leeks with melted mozzarella, with a vegetarian alternative of tofu instead of fish, with a side of bi-color pasta with mixed vegetables and broccoli normandy. Also with the meal was a tatsoi and tomato salad and chips and Salsa with fresh cut tomato. For desert we served chocolate coverd banana parfait. After all the guest are served I normally sit down and eat with them and I am not kidding when I say I have an amazing lunch three days a week.

I am also working with Broadway Presbyterian Church which hosts and does a lot of work with Broadway Community and on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I mostly do some work in the office or help with anything around the church that needs to get done.

One of my favorite events that I have helped do is called Community Table. Community Table is once a month and its goal is to bring all the different communities of the local area together at one table. The pews are taken out of the sanctuary and tables are put in there place. The are set up are made to look like a fine dining restaurant and volunteers come to be the waiters. Chef makes a four course meal with three appetizer and three entree options for about 100 – 120 people. The meal is free for everyone and everyone is welcome to come in sit and eat an amazing meal. I was busy in the kitchen and running around making sure everything was working, but I got to to look in several times at the people eating and I saw a three men that I see everyday in the soup kitchen sitting with two older people from the church congregation and a student from Colombia sitting at a table and eating a meal together while they talked and laughed and got to know each other. If that is not the Kingdom of God then what is.

All in all I have loved my first month in New York City and I hope that this year I can grow as much as I did in my last year in New Orleans. I hope that I find a home in the Big Apple just like I did in the Big Easy.

Picture time!!!April to May

All the YAVs from Little Rock, Asheville, Miami, Atlanta, and New Orleans together for the Southeast YAV retreat.
Savannah found a cat
Andy Thomas, A YAV in Asheville, rocking the hair and beard net.
Courtney leading game night at the Southeast YAV retreat.
Patrick and Hillary selfie
Hillary enjoying the sunset
Patrick, Hillary, and Courtney
Hillary taking a picture of the sunset.
Courtney taking a picture of the sunset.
All the YAVs at the Southeast YAV retreat getting to know each other.
YAVs on a tour of Koinonia Farm.
Another group picture
Sunday service at the Southeast YAV retreat
Chris, YAV in Little Rock, and Patrick with a cow.
Sunset is a great time to pose for pictures
Photo bomb by Courtney
Patrick, Hillary, and Cherokee with shaving cream on their faces, playing a game at the Southeast YAV retreat
Haley, Courtney, Patrick, Hillary, and Riley selfie
Cherokee, Riley, Hillary, and Patrick on Magazine Street doing some shopping


Cherokee looking at some funny mugs
Hillary doing some shopping. Little does she know that we are buying her birthday gift behind her
Riley and Cherokee looking at bags
There are these little boxes all over the city and you can leave a book in them and take another. This one was stuffed full of books.


Some guy painting a beautiful mural
After shopping we grabbed lunch at Slice, the best pizza in New Orleans.
I said something funny
Classic Riley and Patrick
The whole krewe getting Snoballs!!! Snoballs are the best!!!
JAZZ FEST 2017!!!!!


Riley, Haley, Savannah, Patrick and Courtney are the only ones who went today. Free tickets are the best.
Courtney photo bomb
Some great jazz by Midnite Disturbers
That guy could really play the saxophone. It was amazing to listen to.
Courtney rocking out to Gente de Zona at the Congo square stage
The Mavericks at the Fais Do Do Stage
Savannah at Jazz Fest


Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians playing after Midnite Disturbers
The crowd at Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers from the nose bleeds
Close up of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. I was glad I was in the back, too many people for me.
The crowd at Lorde


Most of my tutoring kids, K-4th. During the graduation we had for them(Funny Picture)
All of my tutoring kids, K-4th. During the graduation we had for them(Nice Picture)
Me and my favorite little kid. He gave me a gift that he made me.
The four little kids that are in my tutoring class.
Four square is the official sport of Midcity Tutoring.
Kimberlyn and Lustein playing rock, paper and scissors after I taught them how to play.
Playing a game of UNO with some of my favorite kids. They won.
Maryka helping the kids with their reading.
The kids had a lot of fun on the water slide!!!


The Older kids (5-7) got a field trip instead of a graduation so we took them to Sector Six.
Cindy trying to cross the pit. I tried it and it’s a lot harder then you would think.
The kids trying to go up and then back down with only their toes.
Maryka showing them how to do this obstacle



Wade hanging on as another kid cheers him on.



She made it all the way across.
Trying to cross the balance beam. It didn’t work.
Haley’s Dinner
We have community meetings every Tuesday and Thursday.
Layne comes Tuesday and we talk about community stuff.
The view from the gate at Okra Abbey. The purple semi-circle is called the “Gumbo Pot”
The river flows though the garden
The “Gumbo Pot” and the start of the river.
The shade structure in the middle of the garden a great place to relax and get out of the sun. Okra Abbey has a meal every Wednesday called “Grace and Greens” and people from the neighborhood come and eat lunch and have some great conversation here.
The end of the river feeds into a Labyrinth.
The Labyrinth of Okra Abbey
The last bed in the garden and the Okra Abbey bench.
The bench reads: Take a rest, a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.
The Layout of Okra Abbey. The Abbey is the work Placement of Haley of the YAVs in New Orleans this year and she has transformed the garden into what its today.
Each of the main garden beds has a mural, painted by a local artist named Lipkis, that depicts a part of the bible. This one is the Garden of Eden.
Going from left to right, Abraham and Issac, Hagar, Noah, Moses, and the Songs of David and Ruth there on the end.
Old testament prophets
Birth of the Messiah
Ministry of Jesus
Community Coloring
Time to color!!!
Group selfie
The day my tire decided to blow out
Craig, Hillary’s Scottish boyfriend was in town so we went out on the town.
Cherokee, Haley and Savannah out on Frenchman with Hillary, Craig, and I


The Art Market on Frenchman Street, one of my favorite places to be.
A traveling swing set. Only in New Orleans.
Looks like a lot of fun.
Great music on the corner of Frenchman street
Hillary’s Clue Party who’s who.
Left to right Dr Green(Cherokee), Ms Peacock(Hillary), Miss Scarlet(Courtney), Professor Plum(Riley), Col. Mustard(Savannah) and Haley as Mrs. White
Went to a great little Mediterranean restaurant all dressed up for CLUE.
Dr. Green and Mrs White getting to know each other as Col. Mustard looks on.
Group photo of my YAV family

Picture Time!!! August though April

Some of the picture of my Year in New Orleans. I hope you enjoy them. 

Yav Group pic
The 2016 – 2017 YAV Family. All the first Year YAVS at orientation at Stony Point New York.
Going to Chick-fil-a after a hard day taking down dry wall and ripping up some floors after the flooding in Baton Rouge
Haley, Hillary and I at St, Johns Cathedral
Haley, Hillary and I at Cafe Du Monde for our first Beignets
Haley, Hillary and I in the French Market
Haley, Hillary and I enjoy the first of many snoballs, a local favorite.
The whole group after our first Sunday worship together
At Feliciana Conference Center. Our First Presbytery Meeting.
Group picture after an hour of roller skating. I fell down a lot.
Riley and I dressed up for Halloween. Sheldon from Big Bang Theory and a Hippie.


Game Night!!!

The cutest couple. Hillary and Craig #togetherforever
Look at all that love
Riley is such a tree lover
Vinnie at the J.W Johnson Community garden showing some kids how to garden.
Getting ready for one of many Mardi Gras parades. Endymion I think?
Some street art I found. It is titled “May the police force be with you”
Courtney telling me to get up and get ready for the parade
The Nines having a great time
Haley and Patrick Selfie
Mardi Gras Day two Selfie, I am so glad I got that Blue Boa
Got to set up a few hours early if you want a good spot for the parade
Nyx!!! Hillary, Sarah, and Cherokee enjoying the Nyx Parade
Nyx!!! Hillary, Courtney, and Haley enjoying the Nyx Parade. Look at that pink hair!!!
Nyx!!! Hillary, Courtney, and Haley and Haley’s cousin enjoying the Nyx Parade.
Our setup. Been here two hours, three more till the parade begins
Mardi Gras Selfie. Riley and Patrick
Mardi Gras Selfie. Riley and Patrick and Courtney. Our first parade
Courtney and Patrick at their first parade.
The one week it was cold. We went to see the “Celebration in the Oaks” at City Park. It was beautiful
Our first group picture together. From left to right: Savannah, Haley, Cherokee, our fearless leader Layne, Riley, Patrick, Courtney, and Hillary
A night at Five Guys, Hillary’s first time
Patrick handing out candy at the Midcity Ministries Halloween party.
Patrick reading a book to his kids at tutoring
Courtney’s humor. It’s true though.
Patrick helping at tutoring,
Soccer camp at Midcity Tutoring
Eating the last of the cake.
Patrick helping the kids make bags of food for the homeless
Patrick and his Favorite person, Mrs Jenny, meeting the Famous Leah Chase
Patrick and Riley being cool
Mardi Gras Indians. Everything they wear is hand made and looks so cool
Patrick, Courtney, Savannah, and Hillary going to see the Mardi Gras Indians


Patrick getting ready for the MS Walk the YAVs were doing
Patrick at the MS Walk. Riley said I looked like an escaped convict
The Group after our first crawfish boil. It was so good
The group at The Endymoin Parade during Mardi Gras
Patrick taking a rest during the Muses Parade
Fun with Veggies at our second Presbytery meeting
Hillary, Riley, Patrick, and Courtney waiting for the next parade to start.
Everyone and their Mardi Gras bling after our first parade
Patrick being Patrick
Cherokee, Courtney, Hillary, Savannah, and Patrick at a parade on Frenchman
Hillary and Patrick getting Hillary her first Sonic Shake
The Krewe waiting for Endymion to start
Vinnie and some beets
Mardi Gras Indians. Everything they wear is hand made and looks so cool



Patrick enjoying some lunch with Courtney and Savannah at his favorite little place to eat.
Haley’s Birthday Cupcake
Riley, Hillary, Patrick and Savannah enjoying the sunset
Patrick and Savannah
Frist time at Cafe du Monde
The Krewe after a great time playing laser tag on Haley’s Birthday

A Year of Change

A Year of Change

My first year as a Young Adult Volunteer has changed me. It has changed the way I view people of color and how I see my own whiteness and privilege. Before this year I was blind and deaf to the struggle that has been going on around me and I feel like I woke up and now I can see the injustice all around the country and I want to fight it. It was lead to relationships with all of my housemates that I hope will last a lifetime. My YAV year has also caused me to grow. I have grown in my knowledge of the problems facing us. Like social justice, world hunger, and human rights. I have learned about myself in ways I couldn’t fathom before this year. When we started talking about the enneagram, a personality test that I highly recommend, I thought it was crazy and that I couldn’t be put into a box like that. A week later I am reading some papers about type Nine personalities and it could have been my life story. I now understand more about myself then I thought I could, like how I shape myself into each group, how I run full speed away from conflict, and many other things. This YAV year has pushed me in so many ways. It has pushed me to sit in the uncomfortable. It has pushed me to the edge of my comfort zone and then just kept going dragging me along behind it. It has pushed me to confront things about myself and my relationships that I would have rather not. But mostly this YAV year has pushed me to grow up. Living with six strangers in a completely new state and having no connections to anyone there is harder then it sounds. I love my community now, but living here in New Orleans has caused me grow up. I now cook, work two jobs, clean, do my own laundry, and I am not responsible to anyone but myself and my housemates. That has pushed me in ways I haven’t been pushed before and it is a good feeling.

The YAV program was everything that I was hoping for when I started looking at mission programs last year, and after actually doing the program I can say that it is was what I was hoping for. I wanted to go to a completely new place and learn about the culture and the people who lived there and I got that. New Orleans in an amazing city with a rich cultural full of life and happiness that is also full of darkness and pain. New Orleans is a city of duality. New Orleans is Mardi Gras, good food, better music, and life. New Orleans is gun violence, mass incarceration, highest homeless ratio in the country, and death. The city and people here have taught me a lot about myself and my faith. I wanted to grow in my faith and my understanding of God and his path for me. I wanted to live in intentional Christian community and see what that was like and though some days are harder than others it has been an incredible time. I want to change more. I want to grow more. I want to be pushed more. I want to go to a new city and explore. Not just explore the city, but explore the people and the culture that makes each place unique. That is why I applied for a second year as a YAV.

That is why I am so thrilled to announce that I am definitely going to be doing a second YAV, Young Adult Volunteer, year!!! I am going to be living and serving in the Big Apple, New York!!! I am so excited for this coming year. I don’t know exactly what I am going to be doing next year, but I am hoping to working with the homeless. I will be living in the Manhattan in the Upper West Side on the border of Harlem and Morning Side Heights. Right now I will be living with two other volunteers, one other guy and one girl, but that is subject to grow as we get closer to September. I will be starting my fundraising soon and I want to thank everyone who donated and Bayside Presbyterian Church for the money that they donated so I could go on this amazing adventure. I will be sending more information out soon about how to donate this year as it will be a little different than last year. I also want to apologize for not keeping up with my blog. It is one of the things I hope to better at as this year continues and to keep it going into next year. I have learned so much this year and I am hoping to learn and grow more in my second YAV year.

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Yav Group picThis is my first time doing anything like a blog so we will see how it goes together. The last few days have been intense—I just got back from our week of YAV orientation and it was a hard week. Not that it didn’t have its upsides because it did. I got to meet all the other first year YAVs. It was great to get to know them and just be with people who are all on this journey with me. It was hard, there were many hard conversations, a lot of hard realizations about myself and the world that we live in. It was hard to be away from my family and friends… it was hard. The first thing that we talked about when we got to the conference center, after about 13 hours of travel by car, plane, and train, was how we were not needed. Not needed. The places that we all are going to this year do not need us. If we all stopped and didn’t go, they would keep chugging along and keep doing the good work that they do so well. We are not needed. Hearing that was shocking—here I am about to go on a year of mission work and I am told we are not needed. If we are not needed, why am I going? The answer: even if I am not needed there, that does not mean that I still shouldn’t go. It was hard to hear that and that was only in the first hour of being there. Over the week we had long, hard talks about racism and sexism and privilege and institutional white privilege and many other hard topics that make you question the why’s and how’s of our country and world. And that was just Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, we went into New York City in small groups and looked around and noticed. We noticed the visible and invisible boundaries throughout the city and that was hard and uncomfortable and that was the point. The point was to make us notice these things and to be uncomfortable in them as we should be. This week was hard and it was good. We laughed and we cried. We learned and we changed. We made bonds that will last a lifetime and we did all of this together as an intentional Christian community that pushes each of us to be better and to look inside and outside of ourselves for growth and change. It was a wonderful week, and I don’t think I will be able to look at things the same and that is important. I am now in New Orleans and all settled in and ready to start. Tomorrow I am meeting my new bosses and will learn exactly what I am doing this year and I can’t wait to get started.

Peace be with you
Patrick Long