Making New Friends!
Today we went to the lower 9th Ward. This is the area that had the most destruction after the levee’s broke the day after Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005! Each year there are a few more houses that have been erected but it’s been slow going for the last 10 years! Our YWAM team leader, John Martindale, asked me if I would like to meet someone who lived there and loves to have company and tell their families’ story! YES! What a wonderful experience for us!
The experience was beyond what I could have imagined! Shelethe, whom we were told we should call her Lethe (sounds like leetha) has the gift of hospitality. She welcomed us into her tiny home and we crowded in the living room and she shared her story. She wasn’t going to leave New Orleans but her son’s nanny (baby sitter) called her and begged her to take that baby out of town. She did and it saved her family’s life! When they were able to return, there was nothing left of her house. It was totally destroyed and if they had stayed they would have perished! They made their way all the way up to Tennessee! She had 2 videos for us to watch and it was heart wrenching. AND to think these 9th graders were only 5 when the tragedy happened, but here 10 years later, people are still rebuilding and they are still affected by what they went through! She spoke of her faith and God’s protection and His mercy that saved them. Alethe was disappointed that we couldn’t stay for a couple of hours and let her fix us jambalaya! MAN! ‘We gotta go back’. She gave us her address and phone number and we’ve got a date…. Next year! We’re gonna have a party and prayer time with Alethe! It was a morning of making new friends!
We were honored to be able to pray for her and her family before we left! It was a precious time!
We returned back to the base, said goodbye to John as he was returning back to Tyler base. Then we rode the ferry across the Mississippi and had GREAT Cajun food (we have some new fans of alligator – David and JT claim it tastes better than chicken!) After lunch we spent a little time shopping!
Returning to the base again, we cleaned everything, preparing for our departure tomorrow!
After another great meal – for a few it was one last stab at Cajun fixins! We ate at New Orleans Burger and Seafood! Delish!
We closed the evening with our final debrief. We all loved our time with Lethe and her son Deuce and her husband Ronald! Their amazing hospitality will not be quickly forgotten! Their story impacting. Then we each took turns sharing whose name we drew and the blessed them with words of encouragement! I always love this time! It is very personal as the kids share with each other the wonderful things about them! We encouraged the students to continue to do this with one another. To spend more time speaking words of life to each other rather than looking at ways to tease, cut down, etc.
Don’t get me wrong. These are great kids as I full well know, but they are also human. We live in a society that is always trying to one up the other person. or pushing teasing too far only to call it a joke when we realize we’ve gone too far with our words, jokes, etc. We each have great value because we are fashioned in God’s image and we are created to glorify him. Pray for our students, that they would be known as the class that honors God as they honor one another!
Thank you so much for allowing your student to participate on this trip! You and your student are a blessing to me!
Pray we get a good rest tonight and have a safe drive home.
Aren’t we all… blessed to be a blessing? Find someone to speak life to! Watch their face and body language… and you’ll look for ways to bless again!
I’ll be combining pictures and posting them somewhere for you all to see and get copies from!
We are getting up at 6am and loading up and leaving! Pray for safe clear roads and that we are drivers will be alert and bring your precious cargo home! We’ll be keeping in touch and hope to be home between 5 -7. It’s hard to really know. Traffic sometimes comes to a complete stop on I10 in LA. They don’t have as many exits to get off and on so if there are delays because of road work… there’s no where to go but just sit and wait!