The Network at work.
It is hard to believe it has been four months since I last sent out an update. In some ways it seems like only yesterday, and in other ways, God has brought me so far in my walk with Him is seems like it was a life time ago. There are things that seemed so difficult in the beginning, now seem so sensible I wonder at times what took so long to get to this point.
I must admit, I have spent more then a few hours questioning my sanity, leaving the security of a traditional church for something seemingly unknown, only a burden that has been burning for so many years and now the opportunity to attempt to carry that out. The difficulty is however that there is no traditional model for what I am doing and I find it very difficult to communicate exactly what I see because it is different then anything I have yet been exposed to. All that to say, I have spent a great deal of time feeling like I am building and Ark in the middle of the desert and hoping it starts to rain soon. It is funny how we start out with what we think is God’s plan for us but if we are open, God can shape it into something even more beautiful. My last prayer letter had a list of people I have been building relationships with, some of whom requested the Bible Studies which is how all this got started in the first place. As much as I prayed for those on my list, even those originally interested, would not come to Bible Study. Every day I would pray, Lord, let this ministry be shaped by you. I was so discouraged. One Sunday morning I awoke and I had decided the night before that I would get up and attend the church in New Orleans. But as I was getting ready it was as if the Holy Spirit said, “No, I have work for you to do.” I prayed and asked the Lord to guide me where to go and asked that He would grant me success that day. I got in my car and drove around and came upon a couple standing outside their apartment drinking beer at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. I approached these people and talked with them briefly about God and asked if they would like to have Bible study. The women said yes and introduced me to her neighbor. They wanted me to come back the next day. I arrived at the scheduled time and they put me off until the next day. I showed up the next day and they put it off the next day and I came back and they put it off until the following Tuesday. Tuesday they wanted to put it off again until the next day and I said okay, but asked if I could share a bit about myself. Two of them sat to listen to me as I read Acts 3;1-11 where Peter and John meet the cripple as they were going into the temple. I explained to them that I had nothing material that I could give them, but what I had to offer them was the transformative work of Christ and I began to share some of my testimony. The two listened intently and out of the corner of my eye I could see the man who was supposedly asleep on the couch peeking over at me every so often as I shared what Christ has done in my life. Their young adult daughter made several trips back and forth between her bedroom and the kitchen as well. The more I shared, the longer she would linger at the kitchen door. I gave them each a Bible and a passage to read with some study questions and told them I would be back the next day. I left with plans to return, feeling a bit discouraged that things had been postponed yet again, but reminding myself I have only known these people a week and a half. And that perhaps with them hearing some of my testimony that would make a difference. I arrived the next morning to find my hostess standing out in front of her apartment, beer in hand. My heart sank. I thought to myself, here we go again she will probably put things off again. But I found the contrary. We went inside. The apartment was filled with smoke and the aroma of meth. Part of me wanted to hesitate, everything in me screamed \"no, I lefte this life behind, but I proceeded in to find six people Bibles in hand, ready as they could be, to hear a word. We sang some songs, We prayed, I preached a short message and then went over the study questions I had left them the previous day. We prayed some more, and they asked if I would be back next Wednesday. I responded, OH YES I WILL! God has continued to bless. We currently have five groups going with an average combined attendance of 19, as well as a small Children’s Choir. In the last 14 months 16 have committed their lives to Christ and 3 are contemplating a call to ministry.