new orleans update #2

I received the following email from Chris at 11:30 last night.

Sunday July 15, 2007 – Celebration Church Relief Center

Yesterday I wrote about the God sightings we had in relation to the first leg of our trip to New Orleans and how God protected and guided us through a vehicle breakdown.

Today’s God sightings seemed to be less eventful, but turned out to be dramatic after all.

The day started out with a breakfast provided by Julie and Glenn in the hotel lobby. We then packed and left the hotel and headed to fill up the vans with gas and then hit the road. It was about 10:30 and we only had about 5 ½ hours to go, so we felt no rush.

At the gas station, filling up 9 vans at one time can be a challenge. Even more challenging can be paying for the gas. No matter what the attendant tried it would not accept our card. Glenn got on the phone with the credit card company and talked with them for about 40 minutes. They indicated that everything should be OK, but it still wouldn’t go through. Someone else tried their card, and it wouldn’t go through. Another customer tried and it wouldn’t go through. The credit card company Glenn was talking to said it must be a problem with gas station credit card processing. So, the attendant started calling their company.

All of this time we were standing around in the store and outside by the vans. You might think it would be chaotic with 45+ teenagers milling around with nothing to do. It wasn’t. They goofed around, they danced, they talked, they sat. But they didn’t cause trouble, didn’t grumble, didn’t show any signs of concern. This is what I’m calling God sighing #1. It could have been a real mess.

Also, during this time one of the leaders remembered a piece of equipment and thought it was left at the hotel. A quick call to the hotel proved that theory correct, so off went the leader to retrieve a piece of equipment, that had we left on time would have been left at the hotel. As it was, we were still there and could retrieve it easily. God sighting #2.

The rest of the trip proved uneventful. We stopped for lunch, stopped for gas, and arrived at Celebration Church about 7 PM.

The volunteers had saved some left overs for us, so we didn’t have to go out for food (our ever present “mom on the road” Julie and company went out and got some basics to round out the meal). God sighting #3.

After dinner, God sighting #4 occurred, spurred on by the Holy Spirit in our kids. A couple of them who play guitar asked around to see if anyone was interested in doing an impromptu worship service. The response was overwhelmingly YES. The leaders had nothing to do with organizing it. The kids got themselves setup (after moving from one location so they wouldn’t disturb another church group doing a bible study nearby) and started praising and worshiping our Lord. Totally on their own. The leaders were having a meeting and praying while this was going on. The songs of praise were so loud, so intense, so heartfelt, praying seemed almost an afterthought. It was hard for me not to leave and go join the kids. Once we were done praying, we joined the kids in worship. So did some other leaders from other groups.

I have not spent a lot of time with the high-schoolers at our church. In fact, this is my first extended period of time with our kids. It’s not an understatement to say that today, I was ministered to by these young, future leaders. It’s easy as an adult to not realize the full impact the youth ministry is having at church. Not to mention the teaching that goes on at home. We see our kids and know how they act at home. We know their faults and how much they have to learn as young adults in a very complicated world. However, we adults don’t often see how our kids are when they worship. Especially, when they are the initiators. I was, and still am, amazed. We adults need to take some lessons from our kids. No music, no written down words, no list of songs, no planning out the verses and choruses. Just a guitar and a unified mind to worship the Lord. Talents used to their fullest. God praised. When the words were missed we laughed and moved on. The worship time lasted for well over ½ an hour. It was led by the kids. It was ended by the kids in prayer. THEY requested everyone to stand and make a big circle and hold hands. Then one of the guys offered praise to the Lord, thanked him for our safety and for the coming day.

I’m still shaken by their zeal and love for our Lord. God sighting #4 was a big one.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

In Christ’s name,

Chris Whitson – For the New Orleans ministry team.

Earlier posts in this series:

2 thoughts on “new orleans update #2

  1. Chris,
    Thank you so, so much for taking this time to share with us (especially the parents!) your thoughts. I know that you are probably exhausted from the trip and this writing takes time, but I look forward each evening to checking the “blog”.

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