Thursday, July 14, 2011

Laura McNamara New Orleans Reflection

It was Tuesday, and after a long Monday with Mamajan, Team Armstrong needed some encouragement. As we traveled along the streets of Treme we worked on listening to God’s words. Following His plan led us to several great encounters with people who were bold and courageous in their faith. One of these people was Patrick, a teenager about our age, who was carrying a bible and notebook. All of us assumed that he was going to or from church or bible study so we were eager to approach him. After we all introduced ourselves and chatted for a while, we asked Patrick if there was anything he would like us to pray for. He told us that his brother was on a self-destructive path, but was at the moment trying to decide between the devil and God. We prayed that his brother would turn away from his old behavior, that he would turn to God, and that he would find friends to keep him accountable. I found it extremely inspiring that Patrick took part in our prayer and actually prayed for us!

Two days later on “Ask the Lord Day”, we were driving around downtown looking for a man named Rush. Rachel King had met him on the trolley the day before and she felt led to give him the bible that we all highlighted our favorite verses in. As she and several other of the group members were wandering the streets praying to God that they would find him, I sat with the rest of Team Armstrong in the parked van. We were all becoming slightly annoyed that they were taking so long to look for a man whose last name we didn’t know and who we didn’t know where he worked. While sitting there watching the group outside pray, however, I spotted a teenager with curly brown hair and a black shirt walking down the street with his bible in his hand. Without a moment of hesitation I and several other of my teammates jumped out of the van and sprinted towards Patrick until we finally got his attention and caught up with him. He was certainly surprised to see a group of 5 or 6 teenagers running up to him, but he was so grateful that we had spotted him. Right off the bat we asked how his brother was doing. We were all awestruck when Patrick told us that the very night we prayed with him his brother called him. During their conversation his brother confessed his sins and declared that he wanted to follow Jesus by no longer associating with his negative friends and negative lifestyle. Everyone there could see the joy and relief in Patrick’s face as he spoke about his brother with love and compassion. It was amazing to hear that our prayers were answered and that they helped to comfort this particular family!

I next asked Patrick if it was just coincidence that he was carrying his bible both times we saw him or if he always carried it with him. He then explained to us that he is never found without his bible because it helps keep him focused on God and His word in every situation. Everyone in our group was amazed by his strength in God and his willingness to step beyond his comfort zone.

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