“Beauty lies within even though we may not see it at first.”
Everyone was beginning the journey for the weekend. Some were driving; others flying. Many had never had the adventure of New Orleans. The excitement was escalating as the time approached for us to wheel into the city. We arrived at our destination, a cute little yellow house in the middle of the French Quarter just two blocks off of Bourbon Street. We were camped on the edge of the wilderness.
All 16 girls unpacked, then made their way to the street of… I really don’t know a good word to call it. After just a few steps, most were saying the words, “Ewe, gross, what is that smell?” We had walked into the wilderness.
In this wilderness you could find everything: homelessness, poverty, nudity, uncleanness, and the unkempt, just to give a few of the visual. How could people live like this? How did their bodies withstand the abuse?
But all it took were a few steps out of the wilderness to see the beauty.
As we got off the main street and walked down the less occupied side streets, you could see the beauty in the architecture. The buildings were fabulous. The intricate details that were within the designs were awesome. The history of New Orleans is not short of informational characteristics, also. Founded by the French, ruled by the Spanish, and then bought by the U.S., it is known for its distinct culture, food, history, and major religion: Catholicism. You can find article after article about all the details of New Orleans, actually too many to read.
We continued our journey through the streets of the French quarter. After seeing many details we headed back towards Bourbon Street for lunch.
As we sat waiting for our reservations, we noticed a toothless man sitting with his dog. His dog was on a bed, lying on his back with two glasses tucked underneath his paws. The homeless man was trying to make it look as if the dog had drunk too many drinks. There was a gallon jug that had been cut in two being used as a tip jar. A sign was leaned up against it that read, “Tips for pictures.” The girls were very upset about the dog. “It is inhumane to use a dog for these purposes,” was one of the statements coming from their mouths. I decided to go talk to the man.
I asked him a few questions and learned that he was from New Jersey. He had ventured down South in need of work and decided to stay after Katrina to help. He ended up being friends with an older gentleman who actually was the dog’s owner. Later that year the owner died, and he left the dog with this gentleman. He loved the dog, and you could tell. Since it was 90 degrees, he wet the dog down with a rag so that he wouldn’t over heat. As I was visiting with him, another woman stopped to chat. You could see the man’s eyes light up as the woman told him what a great job he had done training his dog. She went on to say she was a dog trainer and had never seen a dog act in such a great manner. You could see how proud he was. Tears came to his eyes as she was praising him for a job well done. He had a good caring heart; he had just gotten lost. I finished visiting, and yes, I spoke some Jesus to him, and then went back to report to the girls. After I told them his story, they had a different outlook and opinion about the man.
Acts 20:35 New Life Version (NLV)
35 In every way I showed you that by working hard like this we can help those who are weak. We must remember what the Lord Jesus said, ‘We are more happy when we give than when we receive.’
In the wilderness there are real struggles, but if we look deep enough, we can find the beauty. Within the city of New Orleans there are beautiful historical buildings with lots of history located deep within. There are also good people that have gotten lost on their journey. At times we only look at the surface; however, when we step back and find out the story and what lies within the walls, we see a different picture.
So what is our job? All we must do is plant the seed by sharing Christ with others. We are to let others hear Him through us. We have to help others grow and mature in Christ. We need to help carry out His plan. We are to look beneath the surface, go around the corner deep into the history, and find the beauty. It is up to us to help others be all that they can be and all that He knows they can be.
Psalm 82:4 (NLV)
4 Save the weak and those in need. Set them free from the hand of the sinful.
As we camped on the edge of the wilderness, I realize how many people need to be rescued. We need to help others step over the boundary and into the Promised Land.
So I say to you: be that Christian. Be that Christian that is the hands and feet of Jesus. Be that Christian that tells others you are praying for them. Be that Christian that stands in the middle of the jungle reminding those who are intoxicated that they are choosing the wrong addiction and the wrong drug. Be that Christian whose mission is search and rescue. And don’t ever forget God even loves the lost.
What a place to minister— definitely the right place. Talking about stepping out into the mission field, “Is He calling you to the field?” Step into the wilderness and share Christ. Start your search and rescue mission today.
Hebrews 13:16 (NLV)
16 Remember to do good and help each other. Gifts like this please God.