God taught me so much on this trip, but the dominant theme for me was the power of God to use us if we follow his leading. When I heard about this trip, I was immediately interested in going. I don’t know why, but I felt drawn to go minister to the people of New Orleans; however, I never imagined how much God would use us to bless the people, as well as use the people of New Orleans to teach us about ourselves.
Going into the work week, I expected to mainly do construction work and hopefully get the opportunity to talk with a few people about the lord. I soon found out that God had so much more in store for our group. Along with the construction work, we had the opportunity to prayer walk much of the city, as well as handing out food to the homeless and helping the church we stayed at in their efforts to reach the people of the city.
For me, the most meaningful thing we did the entire week was going to a city of tents underneath the overpass. It was a quite depressing, as well as eye-opening experience for almost all who went. At first, all I could do was to stare at the horrible conditions these people experience and have become accustomed to. After the shock finally wore off, I was overcome with a feeling of wanting to help, but feeling totally helpless and not knowing what to do. Fortunately, other people I went with were able to talk with these people and hear some of their stories, even getting the opportunity to pray with some. Leaving Tent City, I felt very depressed and realized how much I take the blessings of God for granted.
The second time to visit Tent City, I did not want to go at first, but felt almost prompted to go back. On the bus ride back over, I was praying that God would help me to be a blessing to the people we were about to meet. God certainly heard my prayers because when we got there I felt a certain peace and like I was there for a reason. All 6 people my group was able to talk to were thrilled that we wanted to pray with them and I feel they were encouraged and blessed by the fact that we cared and to hear that God loved them. I cannot even describe the feeling of getting to pray with these individuals and hopefully will never forget how that felt.
If I had not followed God’s leading to go on this trip, I would have missed this amazing experience, as well as the special relationships that developed in the group that was full of almost total strangers just a week earlier. God truly does bless us when we follow his leading with an open mind and an open heart.
Written By Brad Burns