Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Stories from the Road
We've driven approximately 4,000 miles in the last month, and met some great folks! Along the way, we've heard some remarkable stories. We thought we'd pass along two of them to you.
A few weeks ago, we were guests of Ray and Betty Janway, and Ray told us about his father, Henry. Growing up in Southern Arkansas, Ray's mother Cary was a believer and a churchgoer, along with most of the kids, but Henry didn't participate. A skilled hunter and fisher, he spent his weekend outdoors, and when asked about it, he said he didn't want to know too much about religion, because then he'd be responsible for what he knew. One Saturday, the whole family was fishing, and no one caught a thing. This was unusual, because Henry was an excellent fisherman; but they fished for an hour and a half, catching nothing. Seeing an opportunity, Cary asked, "Henry, if we start catching fish, will you go to church with us tomorrow?" Willing to try anything, Henry agreed that he would. Not 20 seconds after he promised, a foot-long catfish struck Cary's line! For the rest of the afternoon, the whole family was pulling in fish almost as fast as they could throw their lines in the water. True to his word, Henry went to church the next day, and he never missed again to go hunting or fishing. Three months later, he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins, and was given a new life! All of Henry's children are Christ-followers, and two of them went on to be ministers.
Last week, we met Pastor Robert Burnside, who is leading The Journey-9th Ward Church in New Orleans. Last March, 2 or 3 murders occurred in their neighborhood, the upper 5th District of the 9th Ward. In response, Pastor Robert and his church members started walking and praying through the streets of their neighborhood every morning at 7 a.m. Since they began doing this, there has not been a single murder in their neighborhood. How do they know? They recently had a meeting with a major on the New Orleans police force in which the officer reported that not only were there no murders, but also that violent crime, and crime in general, had all decreased since March! The officer asked them to please continue prayerwalking at least until the end of the year!
Again Jesus said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."