I want to describe for you the sensation that I felt today as we completed the serve aspect of our trip here in New Orleans...
We went down to the 9th Ward, the place most hit by "The Storm." The place there is ravaged by poverty, destroyed homes, joblessness, and lost hope. The church that we are there working with, Celebration, has established at campus, and we went down there to witness to the "shut-ins" and cook for them. It was perhaps one of the greatest things that we were able to do on this trip.
As a result of the hurricane, a lot of people don't ever leave their house or attend church. Our task today was to introduce them to this campus which opened on Easter Sunday and give them a free meal. Jeanna, Holli, and I stayed behind to set up the bbq and eating areas. The remaining people went out into the town and went to their homes and knocked on doors, and told people about Celebration and that we were cooking free meals at the campus.
At around noon, we got our first customers. They were grateful and appreciative for the efforts that we were making for the community and thanked us for the food. There was a van of Mom and two daughters that I remember most. They asked me how much I was charging for the food. When I told them it was free, the look of joy on her face, spoke volumes to me. She was blessed by the church and said that she would come and give the church a chance. What a great God we serve!
The team came back and we each did different tasks. There was the advertising team that went out and stood in the streets telling people that we were having a free bbq and where to go. They were awesome and entertaining. Ask Christina some time about her impression of advertising the free bbq. Jeanna, Liz, Beth, Charlene, and Christina (She did multiple things that were awesome!) each helped me at the grill, putting the cooked food into packages for the people. The rest of the team talked with the people, prayed with them, gave out Bibles, and promoted Christ and the church to the people!
We were supposed to be there till 2:00-2:30. We didn't stop feeding people, till almost 4:00. I couldn't help but be blessed by the people who were desperately needing to be comforted or fed. I know where my strengths are, and I know where I am weak. I am not the greatest witness in the world, something I am working on, but I can grill, I can cook. I wanted everyone who came to us to be fed in both body and spirit. I could handle the body part.
When all was said and done, after four hours of cooking, I had cooked 200 hamburgers and 134 hotdogs. My back hurt, my eyes were burning, but I didn't want to stop because this is what I could do on this day. I enjoyed serving this way.
So what is the point? My point is this... I was moved by the power of God today. I was moved by people... the people who came, the people who served, the people who advertised, the people who witnessed, all of it. I broke down and cried three times during the event... not because of the pain, but because of comments people made to me about how they enjoyed the food, or how they appreciated my work. I didn't do it for the recognition, I did it because it was something I could do for these people, the church, this team, for my Jesus. I put my last burger down onto the bun, and I felt a sense of relief, that I was done, and sad, sad that I wasn't able to cook anymore food.
My friends, my team, applauded me, and I thank them for it, but it has to go to God who inspired me to do this, to be this guy today, and to serve Him, the church, and my team. I didn't do it alone, I couldn't. I am blessed by this day. I am thankful for this day, and I wish you all, those who read this, to feel for one day, what it's like to be truly empowered by God, to build His church, and feed His people.
I guess all those Patio days, and Son of Man Soul Jam was preparation for me to be here and serve in this way.
This day meant the world to me, and I can't wait to experience another one like it. Thank you, Lord Jesus, thank you for creating a day like this. I am proud to be your servant.