Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mardi Gras Mission Trip 2015 ~ The Mission

Why we go...

To share the love and hope of Jesus!  This year our worship pastor, Mark, came with us and he and I did some live music during the day in the French Quarter, this was one of my favorite things of the entire trip.  It was a blast.  He used a kick drum pedal to beat his guitar case while he sang and played his guitar...he is really talented.  I had the privilege to beat a tambourine against my leg while singing...I am only mildly talented, ha.  I did make a nice bruise on my leg but it was worth it.  Several people tried to give us money, some succeeded, we turned some away because that's not why we came but their persistence wore on us and the money we collected was donated to the Vieux Carre Baptist Church, our home base while in New Orleans.  I saw some people mouthing the words to some of the songs we were singing as they walked by, a sweet lady by the name of Brennie, who swore she knew me, stopped and sang with us for probably 45 minutes to an hour.  She was a blessing and an encouragement to meet.  A couple told Mark that they appreciated the way we presented the Gospel through our music.  I was so blessed.

Other members of our team did face painting.  Face Painting is a very effective way to have good conversations with people, we've never had anyone walk away with their face half painted, they stay and listen.  One young lady rededicated her life to Christ, another heard the story of Jesus for the very first time...we take for granted that people here in America have heard about Jesus, or that people that come to America will hear about Jesus.  It's just simply not true and many that do hear about Christ have a warped and skewed view of Christ and Christians because of the lack of love and grace shown by so many professing Christians.  This should call us to action, to tell the world about the God of love and redemption.

A couple of people in our group directed people to the face painting and talked with people on the street.  I think they thought they weren't useful enough but they were a valuable asset to the team.

And we all went to Bourbon Street in the evening...this was a battle for some.  It's immorality in your face with an 'I don't care about anything' attitude, especially Christians and what they have to say.  There are always the "condemners" with their signs and bull horns shouting at people and telling them they're going to burn in hell.  This year we saw a new approach, a group of 20 somethings came to the same corner we were on and she simply held a sign that read "Christians love gays".  People came up to talk to her and she was able to tell them about Jesus.  This is what I would like to do next year...flood bourbon street with Jesus' love.  I wanna do more music of course...just not on bourbon.

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Mardi Gras Mission Trip 2015 ~ The Fun

This was an entirely different trip this time around.  First of all, I was put in charge of this motley crew (they really were quite lovely though, a little crazy, but fun loving servants of Jesus).  And the craziest thing...I volunteered to do it!  We stayed at a different place, we did a service project for a was just different and that's ok.

I'm really writing this post for purely selfish reasons.  I don't want to forget some of the adventures we shared during our time there.  Here's just a few:
  • Mark threw a baby alligator at me, a dead one...
  • Vanessa was beside herself when I told her we were going to Duck Commander on our way back to Missouri
  • Kaitlyn broke the shower knob off at the missions trailer we were staying at and my favorite part of this story is that it came off right away but she took her shower anyway, lol, and then proceeded to get help, but hey, I don't blame her
  • Mark thinking that Dava may have put said dead baby alligator in his bed one night
  • Someone letting one rip in the bathroom while the majority were having their quiet time one morning
  • Driving around for 45 minutes to an hour for a parking place and ending up paying $40 to park right across the street (several chipped in so it was ok)
  • I ate a donut bacon cheeseburger just like Guy Fieri on the Food Network at Memphis BBQ
  • We all ate grilled alligator at Mulate's, a Cajun restaurant in New Orleans (we also ate calamari, crawfish, frog legs...)
  • I saw no naked people...Praise Jesus
But the best things....
  • A rededication to Jesus
  • Someone hearing the story of Jesus for the very first time
  • Jesus Christ being exalted and praised
  • Love through service
  • Love through sacrifice
  • Love through surrender

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mardi Gras Mission Trip 2015 ~ The Heart

Love people in the every day...this is probably one of the biggest things I learned during our mission trip.  Missionaries from all over the country come to New Orleans during Mardi Gras to share Jesus.  We met a young man that was part of a group called "mardi gras invasion", it's a good description of what happens during this time each year.  It seems to me that "Christians" are becoming part of the show or routine here during Mardi Gras.  Lost people, those that come year after year, expect to see us.  And I these partyers ever see or hear anything about Jesus in their every day lives?  Is this the only "Jesus" they have any contact with, which can be sad because there are many here with only words of condemnation and no salt in their speech, no telling of Jesus' miraculous love and grace, no hope.

And once again I am reminded about why this trip is so good for me and important for me.  It makes me see people's souls a little more, makes me love them a little deeper, makes me want to share Christ with them anywhere.  I bet I looked into the faces (really looked into the faces) of 5-10 people in Wal-Mart today.  I stared at the cashier's name tag "Kim" and wondered "does she know my Jesus", I began to pray for her.  I'm going to seek her out every time I walk into Wal-Mart, at least I hope I will, I will pray for a divine appointment and maybe I will get the opportunity to tell her that she is dearly loved and that the One who loves her died to give her life.

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