Jesus Walks in Jackson Heights
With a bagful of bibles and a Midwestern smile, an earnest young believer delivers the gospel to Big Apple immigrants.
Illustrations by Steven Weissman
Step onto Roosevelt Avenue where it intersects Seventy-third Street in Jackson Heights, Queens, and the clanking screech of the 7 train overhead will periodically drown out the melodic stream of conversations in Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and other South Asian languages that fill the streets. The closer you get to the courtyard between Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth at Broadway, the stronger the smells become from Kabab King and Kashmir Grill — aromas of pungent curries, cumin and chai. And if you walk these streets at night, the fluorescent store signs and white string lights draped from one building to another make it feel like the area never darkens.
One Friday last year around 7:30 p.m., Caleb Cobb strolled through Little India, as he called it, to see where God would lead him. At twenty-four years old, Cobb was working as a staff member at Urban Impact, an evangelistic ministry that reaches out to immigrant groups in the city. Its South Asian Center is …