Hey Everybody! This is Jessie and Rachel speaking! Today, July 7, 2011, was our “last day” of ministry with AIM. Today was ATL day, aka “ask the Lord” day. This meant that each team sought God’s plan for them today – no team had a set schedule, and everything was up to God’s leading. At first, the day was very challenging, but as the day unraveled, God’s plans were revealed to us in surprising ways. We all began our morning by seeking God through prayer. Though our teams seemed to leave the base site with little sense of direction, God guided our paths for the day, and the results were amazing.
Jessie: ATL day was so awesome today! My team (Josh, Andrea, Audrey, Josh, Nick, Kelley, Hunter, Stefanie, Matt, Sandra, Aaron, and Katie) all began the day in prayer together, asking God to be very clear and direct us throughout our day. Each of us suggested what we believed God wanted us to do; from visiting a hospital to playing basketball with kids. Honestly, we all had no idea what God had in mind for us today, but we went out to our van with a spirit of openness and a yearning to fulfill His will. As our team drove all around the city of New Orleans, we prayed and we sought what God would have us do. We visited several areas that we felt called to go to, but all together, we just all did not feel that our mission was being completed. At this point, our team was feeling somewhat discouraged, since we had been praying constantly and did not feel that we were really doing what God wanted us to do. Collectively, we decided that we wanted to visit two of our prayer walk leaders, Mark and Nikki, because we really felt that their prayers could be very encouraging to our team. When we got to their home, they were not there, but our team decided to get out of the van anyway and pray. After awhile, our team went from a place of confusion and discouragement to one of joy, and of purpose. Earlier, Josh Klatt brought up the idea that our van could be the “Prayer-a-van” and this idea really stood out to us at this time. Hardly any time had really passed before Jeff Roeters and his team, The Armstrongs, pulled up right next to us! It was so cool that they found us, and we all jumped out of the van to pray for them. After an awesome “Korean prayer” (when everyone prays out loud at the same time for what they feel led to pray for) we jumped back in the van, and just decided to drive straight, towards the bridge. On our way there, we saw Paul Miller (team Roots) drive up right next to us! Both of our teams pulled over under the bridge and we were able to pray for their team as well! Besides for meeting with the other team, we were also to meet up with certain individuals under the bridge whom we had met previously (Josh Klatt saw Lisa!). Once again, we hopped back in the van and were off. Our team felt led to go to the river, so that is where Josh took us, and once again we ran into another team! It was so cool how God was working through the “Prayer-a-van” and we spent the rest of the day meeting up with teams to pray for them, too. Our team grew so much, spiritually, and I think that we all learned that God really does reveal His plans for us in mysterious ways!
Rachel: Trust me. Those words are so easy to hear but so difficult to just do. This morning as my team sat in a circle outside praying for God to provide us with a leading and direction God told me those words, trust me. To tell you the truth I was confused, I felt like a lost sheep. No one on my team heard any direct guidance from God either. So we decided that we would just get in our van, pray as we drove, and go to the only place we could think of Miss Val’s House. Miss Val was a wonderful woman that we met on a prayer walk in Treme who was selfless and humble. When we got there we found her but as the independent woman she was she didn’t need our help but sought for us to help others. A woman on the street where we were standing began talking to us and connected us with a local elementary down the street where we could help out. God led us to help clean tables and chairs with janitors. As I cleaned I thought about how grateful I was for all the janitors that had ever cleaned the tables I sat in over my thirteen years of school and prayed for the children that would be sitting in the rooms we cleaned next fall. I know for me it was definitely not what I had expected to be doing for part of the ATL day but God said trust me and I did. I must admit it was a lot of fun just to be working as a team. We left the school around noon searching for God’s next calling for my team. We decided together that we wanted to see the 9th ward, which was one of the hardest hit areas in New Orleans by hurricane Katrina. As we drove through those neighborhoods I could feel an overwhelming sadness in the car. There were plots of land with only concrete bases and driveways left, collapsing houses covered in vines, and not much feeling of life left in the neighborhoods. From there we decided that it was time to go get lunch, and we headed to Church’s Chicken. Quite delicious! After lunch Jeff Roeters just began driving our team toward the French Quarter. As we drove I shared with my team God’s leading for me to give a Bible to a man I had met on the Trolley yesterday named Rush who is a vagabond. All I knew was that he worked somewhere near the Trolley in the French Quarter and wore a black polo with a nametag for a uniform. So Michala, Ryan, Jeremy, Haley, and I jumped out of the van and began walking down the street looking in store windows to find a store that had black uniforms. After walking for a while we prayed and just stood there. All of sudden a man walked by and Michala thought she recognized him. Then the rest of our team came pouring out of the van, which was parked near us, and chased him down. His name was Patrick and we had met him on a prayer walk yesterday. He told us that his brother who we had prayed for had already turned from his evil ways and sought Christ. It was so awesome to be able to hear how God was already working! I believe that even though we did not find Rush God had us search for him so that we could find Patrick and hear about how great God is. So after that amazing encounter we left the French Quarter and headed to a nearby mattress store to buy Lynn, a woman Jeff had met a few days ago, a new mattress. Jeff had felt called to help Lynn after talking to her at the playground in front of the church we are staying at. It was awesome to be able to help someone in need. I know I have already shared so much with you all but to tell you the truth that is not even all of what happened today. God moved in amazing ways through every single team here today! Trusting in God really is the best thing we can do, it takes so much faith but God will never fail you he will always work in amazing and beautiful ways.
Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoyed the update! We Love you all!
-Jessie and Rachel