Day #5 New Orleans: Impressions that Last

Junk pile
Originally uploaded by iBjorn.

Christians always say that on a short-term missions trip you come back more changed than the people you helped. That only seems to be natural to me since as Christians we are supposed to constantly be changed and formed into the image of Christ. (Although this trip wasn't a missions trip, leaders at the church said the same thing to us.)

I wasn't shocked in the emotional sense when I saw the destroyed homes. Rather it was when I heard the stories of loss of family, friends and of the life people knew, that I hurt for these people. But the overall picture was difficult to grasp. The long-term affects on the city of New Orleans is great indeed. A whole city destroyed. Ghost towns everywhere. Scraps of houses. Economically, the material can all be re-built, but the real problem is that the people are gone. Some may come back, those who have no else to go are still there, but many cannot and will not come back.
In the midst of all this disaster, I was amazed to see what relief is being offered. One evening at the church, a lady shared a small story. The owner of the house she had worked at that day was a local artist. He had gone to a meeting of an artist committee in the New Orleans area recently in which they discussed Katrina. They agreed that for 9-11, the heroes were the fireman and policemen who risked their lives to save the victims. "Who, though" they asked, "were the heroes of Katrina? Who was stepping up and sacrificing?" The artist and other men discussed these questions and concluded that it was the Christians who were the heroes.

What an amazing thing to be said. God's people are following his call and showing His love to these in need. His body is acting as He would like it. I don't think that artist could have said anything greater. What a chance to impact. An impression with a lasting impact.

What was even more interesting was that from this story the pastor of the church began to explain his experience after Katrina. Right after the disaster had hit, a missionary was visiting him who had helped in the tsunami relief earlier this year. This was a huge blessing for the pastor. As they talked, the missionary shared that from the relief Christians have provided for Muslims that had been hit by the tsunami, Christianity has spread. The Muslim people saw that the Christians met their practical needs, where as Islam had done nothing to help them at all. These people, who hated Christianity, were suddenly open to hearing what Christians had to say.

Another lasting impression.

4 notes:

Polythene Pam said...

Jenny, that's so incredibly encouraging! Go God! I can't wait to hear all about your trip. Give me a call when you get the chance - I'm sure you're pretty busy about now catching up with school and all... Love you!

Polythene Pam said...

I find it weird that I'm the only comment on here and now I'm commenting again but... whatever... was I blind last time I checked this or did you slide in those 2 other posts underneath this one? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! Oh, I'm so happy for you though Jenny. Another one of those amazing character (and perservenrance and hope as well... hope that does not dissapoint...) building experiences which will change and shape you in ways you can't even yet realize. Incredible. I'm so glad you didn't wimp out and really took hold of this opportunity. I miss you, I can't wait to see you.
I feel silly mentioning this in light of these posts but... I saw the new Pride and Prejudice and I wished so much you could have been with me! We will have to talk about it soon though. Love love love you.

My Fair Lady said...

Hey Pam, I know weird you're the only one, but I appreciate it. Yeah, I was adding the other two blogs at the same time. I had written them earlier, but didn't have the computer to post them, so they all came around the same time.

BTW, I am coming home in two days for Thanksgiving so we should hang out Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Sweet, i gotta do work.

Jerry Gene said...

Your blog is so excellent that I like it very much, you must be good at writing.

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