Do you ever get so far behind you feel like you'll never catch up? That's what has happened to me lately in the blogging world...there have been so many stories to tell I haven't had time to write them. In an effort to let you know what I've been doing I'm going to recap. This might be a long read so feel free to get a drink and use the facilities before starting. You ready?
Parking Lot Miracles Nov 9/07
Baptisms are always a cool event; the whole idea of letting go of the old and rising up into a brand new life in Christ. We baptized seven people today in the parking lot of our Baton Rouge Dream Center on Roselawn. These are women who have been attending our weekly support group, Ladies Thrive. Over the past year we have had the opportunity to watch God move in their situations, to change their hearts and to bring new hope into their devastated lives.
We baptized Monica today, who less than a year ago was on probation and dangerously close to going back to prison. For the first three months she came to Ladies Thrive she cried the entire time. Today, as she came up out of the water, a smile covered her face as she raised her hands in victory.
Connie suffered a stroke several months ago as a result of smoking crack. She doesn’t do that anymore and she says it’s because she started coming to our Friday meeting. She got baptized today too.
Nicole came up out of the water and started to cry. She stood in the parking lot, soaking wet, and allowed our volunteers to hold her while she wept. She is scheduled to get on a bus on Sunday to go away for six months to learn Braille. Nicole is legally blind.
These are just of few of the precious women that we get to meet every week. They are broken and bruised and beautiful. They are the reason that God sent His Son for us. What a privilege to be able to share their lives. All glory to God.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Street Outreach Nov 10th/07
The next day we were doing our usual door-to-door street outreach in North Baton Rouge. We were rolling down in the 46th-48th Street area when one of our volunteers met Paul. We gave him a Yoo-Hoo (cold drink) for him and his girlfriend, along with an invitation to join us for our Thanksgiving meal. He was kind of high, a little messed up; pretty typical of the 47th Street crowd. Here's the cool part: the next day he and his girlfriend show up at HPC Highland for service. They're pulled together, well-dressed and excited to be there. He told Miss Alliece that he took the yoo-hoos home and told his girlfriend that if these people are willing to come into the hood to find him, he wants to check out where we're from. So, I saw him at Sunday service, at Fall Fest that night, and Thursday morning he was volunteering at the homeless breakfast. He gave up his Saturday to help buff the floors at Winbourne and is looking for more chances to serve. How cool is that?
That same day we met a young woman walking the street by herself. We gave her a flyer about Thanksgiving and invited her to Ladies Thrive. I touched the fresh razor cuts on her wrist and told her that if she ever wants to talk she can come find me. She looked at me briefly, then nodded and walked away. As with most cutters, the pain oozes from her very core. I hope she comes to talk to me soon. God wants her, and He sent us to find her.
The following week we went to the streets again; seeking that which was lost. We found the homeless, the poor, the broken and the angry. We invited them all to come and eat with us. I don't know how many people we met, but the need seems endless.
Show Time! Nov 21st/07
Thanksgiving Eve was a great night at our 2nd Baton Rouge Dream Center (Winbourne Avenue). With the help of over 200 volunteers we transformed the old Fellowship Hall into a fine dining experience for several hundred of our favorite people. From personal hostesses to waiters in black tie, the ‘free turkey dinner’ was intended to exceed the expectations of our guests.
Many of our visitors experience rejection, disdain and public humiliation on a daily basis. Living a life of poverty, addiction and homelessness is a tough road, with very few survivors. Last Wednesday they were the guests of honor. From the first glass of tea to the apple crunch dessert they were treated with the dignity and love that everyone deserves.
The blind woman smiled and said everything was wonderful. The single mom said the food was great; her kids were really full. The homeless man with the eye patch didn’t say anything, but he hung around until the last possible moment. That spoke volumes. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it for me!’
I think that's a rap. In the midst of the excitement and craziness there was lots of other drama, but God was faithful through it all. Thank God we serve the One who is more than enough; no matter how great the need. All glory to Him!