Saturday, December 6, 2014

We have moved!

Bronx Apartments blurredWe wanted to let you know that Modern Nineveh has moved locations to a new website, including our own domain!  Please visit to continue viewing updates and information on our family and ministry!

Friday, December 5, 2014

You’re a City Kid When…

City kids are definitely different!  We got a good laugh in family devotions today from Elaine.  We were discussing Creation, and reviewing some of the days we had already talked about.

Grand Concourse

Ben: “What did God call the dry land?”

Elaine: “Sidewalk!”

Hope you enjoyed your laugh for the day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Things You See in NYC

One of the hallmarks of New York City is its cultural diversity.  It has been estimated that there are 800 languages spoken here.  Every culture in the world is represented.  Some neighborhoods bear an ethnic mark of their residents; others are a melting pot.  But one thing is sure – if you want it, you can probably find it in New York City!

I snapped this photo as we were driving through Jackson Heights, Queens.  Who would think to buy Indian headdresses at a street vendor?!?!

Things You See in NYC

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Coming Home

This is what it looks like when missionaries come home for a couple of months…

Coming Home+

Coming HomeComing Home

We are very excited to be home for most of December and January!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!  We are enjoying spending the day with Ben's family in western Massachusetts, with 14 inches of fresh snow!  We went sledding and enjoyed a fabulous meal.  It has been a nice day to count the many blessings which God has bestowed upon us.

"Praise ye the LORD.  O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.  Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?  who can shew forth all His praise?"
Psalm 106:1-2
Truly we serve a great and good God!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A New York City Church

It was a blessing to be at Bible Baptist Church in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC this week.  This was a special meeting for us because the congregation has been supporting us for several months “sight unseen.”  We had a great time getting to know the church members and participating in their first annual mission’s conference!

This was also a great meeting for us because it gave us the chance to interact with a new, self-supporting, New York City church plant.  We got some ideas for our church plant in the Bronx, and we were encouraged to see what God can do in a great city and a short amount of time!

One of our goals for the Bronx church plant is to be self supporting in five years.  Many have told us that this will be hard to do, and that it is a “lofty” but unrealistic goal.  Bible Baptist Church is only four years old, and they are already into their own building and completely self supporting.  They are also invested in world-wide missions through monthly supporting 27 missionaries around the world. 

I want to take you for an “inside view” of this newer church so you can get a glimpse of church planting in New York City!

Pastor Taala came to New York City from the Philippines for better educational help for a special needs child.  He did not do deputation or raise monthly support for church planting, but he stepped out on faith and trusted God to provide.

The church began meeting in a Jewish center, and while the rent was low, they could only use the space for a few hours each week.  In June they were able to move into a better space.  They are still renting, but they have the basement and first floor of this “house” in Jackson Heights, Queens.  They can use the building 24/7 and pastor has an office downstairs. 

Bible Baptist Church Jackson Heights

Like most things in New York City, everything and every space serves a multipurpose in order to be useful.  The nursery quickly converts to a classroom and the children sit on top of the low toy shelves instead of having small chairs.  The basement is a classroom and kitchen.  The auditorium was transformed into a dining hall for the missions banquet.  The building doesn’t have heat, so they use multiple space heaters to keep the auditorium warm.  It was a little chilly, but I didn’t hear any complaining!

Bible Baptist Church Jackson Heights

There were several other things we loved about this church.  In Children’s Church the kids were taught hymns instead of just children’s songs.  The song leading and piano playing for the Children’s Church was done by teens.  For a small church, they pulled together their talent and formed a choir.  I also enjoyed that the Sunday School hour closed with all of the children’s classes coming to the platform to quote their memory verses to the adults.  Even Nolan got enthusiastic and grabbed the microphone to quote his verse!  Bible Baptist has sidewalk signs at each main intersection to direct people to the church location.  And I loved their large, blank map of the world with pictures of their missionary families on it!

Bible Baptist Church Jackson Heights
Elaine declined to go to the front, but the other three kids were enthusiastic!

Bible Baptist Church Jackson Heights

Bible Baptist Church Jackson Heights
Russel, Nolan, and Casy

Last week for outreach the people of Bible Baptist got together and swept the sidewalks of their block to be a good testimony to their neighbors all around.  What a fabulous idea!  Sometimes you just need to get creative, and practical, in order to build relationships for evangelism.

Bible Baptist Church Jackson Heights

Thank you Bible Baptist Church for making us part of your missionary family, and for you prayers and support as we head to “Da Bronx!”

Bible Baptist Church Jackson Heights
I love this simple missionary board!

Bible Baptist Church Jackson Heights
First time we’ve visited a church and already had our picture up on the map!  We’re in good company with our friends the Klaus family!

Valleyview Baptist Church, PA

We were blessed to be at Valleyview Baptist Church in Northampton, PA for a mission’s conference last week.  Pastor Volker Stoeckmann is on the Board of Directors for Baptist World Mission.  Two of the other missionary families at the conference are our friends and coworkers with BWM also, and the keynote speaker was the Executive Director of BWM – Bud Steadman.

We enjoyed staying with the Trauch family.  My kids especially enjoyed their pets – Sassy the Shih Tzu, Gretchen the red Doberman, and Shack the cat.  The Trauch’s became like grandparents and my kids loved the time we spent in their home.

Nolan and Gretchen   Nolan and Gretchen

The missionary activity sponsored by the church was an outing to the Crayola Experience factory in Easton, PA.  This was right up my kids’ alley.  We had a good time!    Lunch at Chick-fil-A on the way home was just the icing on the cake!

Crayola Experience
The kids got to design and color images on these touch screen “tablets”…

Crayola Experience

Crayola Experience
…then watch it float across the wall mural!

Crayola Experience    Crayola Experience
I enjoyed all of the unique crayon names at the giant coloring center, and the twins loved the giant Lite Brite

Crayola Experience 
We watched a video and demo of how Crayola makes crayons..

Crayola Experience   Crayola Experience
Then we explored the system of Locks and dams on the Delaware River and how it fit into PA history.

We enjoyed the setup of the mission’s conference.  The church approached it like a plane departing for the field.  Each missionary had a designated room and we were given 30 minutes to show our DVD presentation, answer questions, and get to the know the people each night.  Every night the “captain” would come over the intercom and tell people to get to their gate for departure.  People got to choose which field to “visit” each night.  It gave us a smaller group to get to know and talk to each evening, and I think people felt more comfortable interacting and asking questions in the small group setting.

We thoroughly enjoyed our week in Pennsylvania!

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 2014 Prayer Letter

To view/print a PDF version of this prayer letter, please click here.


November 2014

Dear Praying Friends,

New [noo, nyoo]: adjective, having recently come into existence; being other than the former or old; having been in a relationship or condition but a short time.

If one word could describe the last three months of deputation travel for our family, that word would be “new.”

New Routines
We began home schooling this year! Elaine (age four) started Kindergarten shortly after Labor Day. This has been a transitional time as we discover a new routine and new responsibilities. Now we are learning how to take home schooling on the road!

New Van
We began to prayerfully consider purchasing a full-size van to make our deputation traveling more comfortable. The Lord answered specific prayer, and we were able to purchase one from a government surplus auction for a fabulous price! The van has only 26,000 miles on it and has already made travel much easier! We are praising God for providing this vehicle for our family!


New Life
One of the greatest joys in serving the Lord is getting to see people trust Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. We had the blessing of seeing three people make this decision within two weeks! While in Vermont, we were able to see two ladies get saved after the evening service. The Lord had prepared their hearts in the morning service, and the pastor was able to lead them both to the Lord. We also praise the Lord for allowing us to see a dear friend call on the Lord for salvation on a Sunday when we were at our home church. We have prayed for her salvation for several years. We are thrilled that she is now a member of the family of God!

New Friends
The Lord has blessed exceedingly as we have been in twelve different churches from August to October. We have made new friends and gained new prayer partners. We now have 176 subscribed to receive our prayer letters. We have also met many people who have been praying for us before we even met. We are so thankful for those of you who hold us up before the Lord in prayer!

Taking Christ to “Da Bronx,”
The Hamilton Family
Ben & Andrea,
Elaine, Nolan, Liberty, and Nehemiah

Brother Denny  Van Cortlandt Park
Left:  Nehemiah is making friends everywhere we go!  In Barton, VT he attached himself to Brother Denny, and brought Liberty along too!
Right: View of the Bronx & Manhattan from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx


  • New van for deputation travel

  • Up 3% support – now at 9.49%!

  • Souls saved

Prayer Requests

  • 20% of our support to come in by the end of the year, so that we can begin full-time deputation in January 2015
  • Safety and health as we travel
  • Wisdom as we schedule a western trip for the spring

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inbox by
visiting this link.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It’s a City Thing – Pedestrian Life

Though we have always had a vehicle since we moved to NYC, there are certain aspects of city life that are easier as a pedestrian. Our life right now is not quite as pedestrian as it was when we first moved to the city. Most of that has to do with the ages (and number!) of our children. Little legs can’t travel as far or as fast as Mommy & Daddy!

First Twin Family Park Outing
This is how we got around when our twins were first born – it took two strollers for an outing!

With so many small, mom-and-pop type shops, and so little parking, it’s easier to just walk to many destinations. I usually save up our errands in a particular section of the neighborhood, and then drive there and park. We then walk from the parking spot to complete all of our errands, and then drive home.  If it’s a hard-to-park-in type of neighborhood, we just walk.  And take a long nap when we get home!

When we first moved to NYC we were near a main avenue. All of the shopping, laundry, library, banking, park, and post office that I needed were within walking distance. Though we could easily walk to these stores, there is only so much that you can carry home. I would go to the meat market and fruit market on one day, the library on the next day, and to buy milk or mail a letter the following day. All of my shopping and errands were done in small pieces, rather than a large, stock-up type shopping trip.  I could only purchase what I could carry home or shove in the stroller! I really liked doing my shopping like this, and I even lost 20 pounds from all the exercise!

Brooklyn New York  Elaine 11 months asleep in stroller
L: It didn’t take us long to discover that the family pram wasn’t practical in the City!
R: Sometimes pedestrian life just makes you sleepy!  We carried her up three flights of steps like this to let her continue her nap in the stroller!

Elaine pushing the dolly stroller outside
Life as a pedestrian can get exciting, especially when the “littles” want to be just like Mommy!

Now that we have four small children, it’s harder to walk those long distances to get everything done. We have a large shopping basket under the stroller to facilitate small shopping trips, and I make those trips on nice days. We usually stop at the park on the way home to let the kids run off the rest of their energy.

Many stores do not have parking lots, and some neighborhoods are particularly bad when it comes to parking. Sometimes I spend the extra time and gas money to drive to a store that has a parking spot, just for the convenience. Many times I pay for a parking meter on the street and rush to do all errands within walking distance of that spot. Laundry cannot be done on foot anymore – there are too many bags of clothes to be washed!

Some of you may not be able to imagine life without the mobility that a vehicle offers. I struggled to go from being a two car family to a one car family when we moved to NYC. But when you live here, you learn that sometimes the vehicle just gets in the way. Its hard to park, it costs money, and traffic is slow. Often it is faster, cheaper, or easier to just take the train or get some exercise on a nice long walk. My kids have frequently walked 20 blocks to go a bigger park in the summer. How many suburban kids can do that at 2 and 3 years of age?!?

Living in the city has a big pedestrian side to it. We do find times when having a car is beneficial – bringing people to church, doing laundry only once a week (8 loads on average), and making a big shopping trip. But I love the pedestrian lifestyle and the good exercise it provides!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Missionary Moments

We have just returned from one of our “bigger” or “extended” deputation trips thus far.  We were in three different conferences back to back, taking us from October 8th to October 19th.  I think the Lord is giving me “little” trips like this to practice packing, presenting, and parenting on the road so I know better how to do it when we leave in January for 4-5 months. 

There were some funny moments, hard-to-deal-with moments, and exhausting moments (like putting 4,000 miles on our van since October 1st, including round trip from MA to WI in three days).  But all of these make up some very Missionary Moments.  I thought you might want to laugh and experience them along with me.

Missionary moments jpg

In Palmer, MA I gave my testimony for the first time without crying!  That’s a definite improvement! 

I learned that our new van is easier to move around in, but it also takes the bumps a bit harder.  I hit a Brooklyn pothole on the way out of town, and everything in the back in jumped up about 4 inches…including the clothes bar.  No – it did not land back in the same place.  It fell, along with all of the neatly hung dress clothes!

We stayed with a family in MA that had seven grown children.  We had told the kids that they had seven children.  We were sitting at breakfast with Mr. & Mrs. Begley, and one of their sons walked into the room.  Nolan immediately asked “Why does she have two husbands?”  Thankfully, the Begley's were not offended!

At the same conference, I opened Elaine’s Bible as Ben began to preach, and handed it to her.  She pushed it away, whispering, “That’s okay Mommy.  I don’t need it.  Daddy’s done this one before.”  Yes, he certainly has!

IMG_2459Learning to nap in the car

In WI we were supposed to stay with a family that came down with shingles and chicken pox.  Gratefully, we were moved to the home of a faculty member of Maranatha Baptist University (the host for the annual meeting of BWM, our mission board).  Since there were a lot of breakable things in this new host home, we opted to spend a lot of time on campus of the college.  Because four kids under four and breakable treasures is NOT a good idea!

This meant naps…in the student center.  Imagine being a college student and coming up to play carpet ball with a friend, only to discover two toddlers napping in the carpet ball thingey, and two pack n plays close at hand with sleeping babies.  Yup, I’d turn around and head back to the dorm too!

First Happy Meals

Last weekend we were in CT.  We were staying in the basement.  Ben was showering on Sunday morning when the tub drain or something went wrong.  The end of the story is that the bathroom was flooded, it seeped under the wall, and I went to church on Sunday without a shower.  Aren’t you glad you weren’t sitting next to me? 

This morning, I woke up in my own bed, completely confused.  I had to ask Ben where I was! I know that Nehemiah deals with this a lot – nearly every trip he wakes up crying in the night, probably utterly confused!

We are also learning to depend on the Lord in new ways.  For strength to drive and to stay awake.  For gas in the van.  For provision of our needs when we’re not at home.  Like being given postage stamps, and quarters for the laundry mat.  The Lord has been good to us, and I’m sure there are many harder deputation days ahead.

My mommy-heart was thrilled last night with a declaration from Nolan.  As we came into the City last night, he woke up and immediately was excited.  “Look Mommy!  That’s OUR city!  New York!”  It is so exciting to see my kids call this place home, and I can’t wait to make things a little more permanent in the Bronx.

OUR City

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Baptist World Mission Friends

We have just left Wisconsin where we attended the Annual Meeting of Baptist World Mission.  This marks one year that our family has been with BWM!  Last year the meeting was in Alabama, and there we were approved by the board as missionaries serving with BWM.
This year we knew several of the missionaries we would see, and so we were looking forward to being with our mission board family again.  Elaine was particularly excited.  Here is why:

Last week in school we had to write a letter to a missionary.  That's a little challenging when you are the missionaries!  So we chose to write our letter to Gabrielle McKinley.  This began the excitement that in a couple of weeks we would get to meet Gabrielle in person.  The McKinley's are on deputation to go to Ireland.
All day on Monday Elaine asked constantly, "Where is Gabrielle?"  Finally, at dinner, we met up with the McKinley's.  Though Gabrielle is three years older, the girls formed a fast friendship, and a little "club."  We will likely not be together again until next October, but now Elaine has a face to put with a name for whom she has been praying.
Nolan also enjoying meeting Joel, and discovering that they both have cowboy boots.
It was nice for me (Andrea) to get to chat with Brandie again, too.  We laughed as we let our daughters (ages 4 and 7), take these pictures while the boys clamored to be included!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quabbin Reservoir and Faith Baptist Church

We have enjoyed being at the missions conference at Faith Baptist Church in Palmer, MA.  On Thursday we had a gorgeous day for a missionary outing - a picnic at Quabbin Reservoir.  The reservoir was formed back in the 1930s when four towns were moved out of the valley, two dams built, and the valley flooded. Quabbin Reservoir supplies drinking water for 2.4 million people - mostly the Boston area.

There were a few New England colors yet to be seen!

We hiked up to the tower to get a view of all sides, including Connecticut and New Hampshire.  We also got to walk across one of the dams, which is no longer open to vehicles.  The kids LOVED this!

Though it took some convincing, they finally decided to enjoy each other and hold hands!

We laughed at one sign that explained the Gull Interruption procedures.  The DCR stirs up the gulls each evening to prevent them from landing and brooding on the water all night, thus contaminating the drinking water.  I would love to see that in person!
At the end we visited a fishery and the kids got to feed rainbow trout.  No pictures of that activity - I was too busy trying to keep the twins from taking a swim!
There was another special treat from this conference - getting to meet some "virtual" friends in real life!  I (Andrea) have been friends with Rosa Balzamo on blogs and Pinterest for several years.  The Balzamo's are now on deputation to plant a church in Norwich, CT.  Last October they came to present at our home church, and they stayed in our apartment - while we were out of town!  We were in Alabama getting approved by BWM to begin our own deputation.  We have followed the Balzamo's around several New England churches, and it was so nice to finally meet up in person!

I was in college with two of Rosa's siblings, and I have been blessed by the testimony of her whole family.

Ben and Tom Balzamo

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Van Cortlandt Park

This weekend we had the opportunity to stay in the City because of a meeting cancelation.  We took Saturday afternoon to do some more Bronx exploring.  This time we tackled Van Cortlandt Park.

Van Cortlandt Park

Van Cortlandt Park is the third largest park in New York City.  It is bigger than Central Park by 303 acres!  There are a lot of sports fields and a couple of playgrounds, but most of the park is wooded areas with foot paths. 

Van Cortlandt Park

Ben read online that there was a lot of poison ivy.  We discovered that to be an understatement! We couldn’t get off the path much at all because the poison ivy was so rampant.  The kids enjoyed collecting acorns, and Ben did some stroller 4-wheeling. 

Van Cortlandt Park close in

We hiked out on one rocky point behind the Van Cortlandt family burial plot to get a lovely view of the cricket fields and the City beyond.

Van Cortlandt Park
It was a perfect day to spend outdoors!

Van Cortlandt Park

I am looking forward to calling this part of New York City home!