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In his book, The Externally Focused Church, Rick Rusaw shares the story of Tom Maharius, the least likely person to make an impact on any community, let alone New York City. A casualty of the 60’s hippie movement, and heavily involved in drugs use, Maharias’s downward spiral came to an abrupt end when he met Jesus in 1968. Soon he and his wife Vicky started a Bible study in their small apartment that grew at an amazing rate.

Today the Manhattan Bible Church is located in two separate buildings in Washington Heights, one of the toughest neighborhoods in Manhattan. Maharias soon realized that if the church was to be a true light in the community, they needed to do reach out to their Hispanic community.

What began as a teen center and safe haven for kids to hang out in, quickly turned into an effective evangelism outreach to parents which then and grew into a fully accredited grade school for neighborhood kids. Seeing the devastation that drug abuse was having in the community, Maharias started a one year rehabilitation and discipleship program to bring people to Jesus and alter their out of control lifestyles. Then came the homeless shelter and the Love Kitchen that feeds hundreds every day.

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