Everyone Has a Purpose

Ajay Williams on his visits to Harlem House and the Bellvale Bruderhof

Video transcript:

Hi, my name is Ajay. I’m twenty-eight years old. I was born in Queens, New York. Professionally, I’m a chef. I was previously with the US Navy. I traveled around a little. Right now I’m working for 11 Madison Park in Midtown, as their private dining and catering chef. I’m looking forward to leaving my job and spending more time at the Bruderhof.

Around 2013 or 2014, just after I got done with the US Navy, I was working for the Bowery Mission and I was invited by James Macklin to come and hang out with these “cool people.” So that was my first introduction to the Bruderhof. Then, after that, I made friends with Ted Loewenthal and Gary Swinger. Harlem House community became my regular for days off or Sunday or Thursday dinners. The community became a part of my life since then. One reason I was working at the Bowery was because I was losing faith in God, and I was disillusioned by the whole idea of going to church on a daily basis, and didn’t know what I was looking for, especially coming out of the military.

So, the community was a great help for me: coming in, meeting all these people, having the same idea of faith and brotherhood and leading the life that God wants us to live on a daily basis. Basically, living the Gospel is what interested me and kept me coming back.

For my first couple of visits, I thought Harlem House was the regular lifestyle of the community. You guys are all in the big cities and that’s how it goes. Everyone has different jobs. Then, I was invited to Bellvale for a pig roast. I went and fished in the lake, came back, and had dinner. And that was my small amount of stays in the community. But after a while, I asked to go and for a weekend stay. It was an amazing experience: being part of the community, where everyone has a purpose, everyone has a job that not only affects themselves but the community and people who live not only here in Bellvale or Woodcrest, but all the communities worldwide. So that was the most surprising part for me. I thought: “Huh. That's really cool!”

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