Saturday, December 21, 2013


800px-Manatvs_gelegen_op_de_Noot_RiuierMap of Manhattan on the East River {source}

We are in the process of writing a script for our video presentation.  Ben has been delving more into the history of the Bronx so that we can learn more about the area, and also continue seeking God’s specific guidance for our ministry there.  Here is a neat “coincidence” that we recently discovered…

As we have talked and dreamed over the last few years, something that I have asked Ben a couple of times is what he would like to name our church one day.  Though nothing has been decided for sure, he always says that he likes the name Emmaus Road Baptist Church

As you recall from Luke 24, there were two men walking along the road to Emmaus when Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them.  The conversation was on the recent events in Jerusalem, making them sad.  They were so sure that Jesus was the Messiah, but then He was crucified.  Rumor had it that the tomb was empty, but what should they believe?  Then Jesus revealed Himself to the men,

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)

Someone told us that the Bronx used to be a big farm, named after the Bronck family.  It became known as “The Bronx” because when people would travel to visit the family, they would say they were going to “The Bronck’s,” much as we would say we are going to the Smith’s.

The 680 acre farm was settled by Jonas Bronck who left Europe in 1639 bound for New Amsterdam.  When he arrived, he continued sailing up the East River.  Mr. Bronck was a religious person, and it is said that when Jonas first saw the area of land that would become his homestead, he made this statement:

The invisible hand of the Almighty Father, surely guided me to this beautiful country, a land covered with virgin forest and unlimited opportunities. It is a veritable paradise and needs but the industrious hand of man to make it the finest and most beautiful region in all the world.” {source}

Jonas Bronck died about four years after coming to America, and his farm changed hands many times following his death.  The plot of land became known by many names, including “Bronck’s Land, then just Broncksland, or simply Bronck’s.” {source}  These names stuck through the 17th century.  Eventually the name was misspelled and became simply the Bronx.

The Bronx is one of the five boroughs of New York City.  Whether it is named after the Bronck family farmland or the Bronx River (which divides the borough in half), its original owner Jonas Bronck had his own name for the beautiful country.  He called it Emmaus (remember he was a religious man).

We may one day have a church named Emmaus Road Baptist Church in the area of New York City which was originally known as Emmaus.  It was a little confirmation, a little token for good, a neat little gem in our study of the area to which God has called us.

1 comment:

  1. What a neat story! Sounds like a great name to me. :) Thanks so much for sending me your prayer card all the way across the ocean. It's going into my supper stack so I'll be regularly reminded to pray for you!