We departed from Maranatha Saturday morning at 7:26 (only 26 minutes behind our goal, which is practically “early” for Pastor Tony). It was raining when we left and it rained almost the entire drive. Roads, roads, and more roads. Rain, rain and more rain. Fifteen hours together in a tightly packed van served well in helping our team bond closer together. Kayla Kuhrt won both our travel competitions. She won the MES Award (Most Embarrassing Story) and had the closest guess to how much it would cost to fill up the van with gas. However, Barton Bjugstad’s experience Saturday being accused of stealing a man’s wallet in the restroom at a wayside rest during one of our stops provided the team with many laughs. After a long day of driving, we praised God for allowing us to arrive safely at our Saturday evening destination: an EFCA church in Memphis TN called Community of Grace. We arrived at about 10:30pm and were graciously greeted by Timothy and Sharron who opened the building for us.
We slept on pews and the floor before waking Sunday morning and re-packing the van. After a team devotional and breakfast we joined the Community of Grace for their regular 40 minute prayer time prior to their worship and teaching time. Worshiping with our brothers and sisters at Community of Grace was very different from our normal experience which provided a good opportunity for discussion in the van ride that followed. There were youth very involved in leading the worship service at Community of Grace, which was encouraging to see. We were invited up front to be prayed over before we continued on our journey.
More roads. Less rain. We departed from Memphis at 11:15am and arrived at our final destination tonight (Sunday) just after 6pm. We unloaded the van, were given a tour of the ministry center where we will be staying and then joined the ReachGlobal team and some others we will be serving with for orientation and then a rich time of prayer and worship. Presently, it is mostly quiet in what they call “the dorm” aside from some periodic squeaking from the bunk beds we are sleeping on and the clickety-clack of my typing.
It is a joy and privilege to be here with this team and we deeply thank all of you who supported us financially and those who are lifting us up in your prayers. Pray for sweet rest tonight before our 6:30 breakfast and training and day of ministry. Pray that our hearts would be soft and that we all would be responsive to the work God desires to do in our hearts. Pray that we would be conduits of God’s love for the city of New Orleans and that we could play our part (though small) in the transforming work that is going on through the Evangelical Free Church’s ReachGlobal crises response ministry. Pray especially that this ministry experience would be a turning point for some of these students so that they will take ownership of their faith, if they have not done so already. Thanks!