I'm Back, Baby!
This has been the most difficult time in my life. As I've told a few others, I have felt more alone and depressed since September than I've ever felt. Losing relationships, misplacing friends, viewing the annihilation of my neighborhood, and being displaced from my church and school have been anything but easy to deal with. I wish I could say that I handled this period in my life well, but I didn't. However, my faith never wavered and I can praise God for His faithfulness to me even when I wasn't so pleased with my own surroundings.
I do want to publicly thank two entities. First, SWBTS provided me with an apartment to rent when I moved to Ft. Worth in late October. I never once indicated that I wanted to transfer my studies to SWBTS, but they graciously housed me for five months. Second, I found a temporary church home at Meadowridge Community Baptist Church. One of my favorite parts of New Orleans, and most dearly missed, was my local church congregation. While I have been displaced from them, Meadowridge welcomed me into their fellowship and I was able to renew some old friendships and make many new ones. Thank you, Meadowridge, for your love to a fellow brother in Christ.
Well, you may be asking yourself, "Self, I wonder what Jason will be doing when he moves back to New Orleans." The answers to this question are as follows:
1. Waiting in long lines for everything.
2. Waiting in bad traffic everywhere he goes.
3. Paying outrageous amounts of $ for gas.
4. Did I mention the long lines and the traffic?
5. Serving as the Minister of Community Ministry at Edgewater (more on this in a moment).
6. Finishing up my coursework and cranking out the ol' dissertation for my PhD.
7. Oh yeah, one more thing, lots of long lines and bad traffic :)
Edgewater Baptist Church has a deep desire to impact our community, Gentilly. With so many churches willing to send down volunteers on mission trips to 'mud out' houses, there needs to be some sort of coordinator. In light of this, they have created a new staff position to facilitate relationships between the church and the homeowners in our neighborhood. That will be me. We are hoping to have between 500-750 people working with Edgewater Baptist Church in the month of March alone. Our goal is to gut out approximately 1000 houses in the month of March. This may be overly optimistic, but we think it can be done.
March will be such a huge month for us because it is Spring Break for high school and college students. However, we plan on carrying out this ministry for many, many more months. If your church, or a church you know of, is interested in sending a team, or teams :), to New Orleans to help with this ministry, please do not hesitate to email me. Our goal is to meet the needs of our community: their overwhelming physical needs (the gutting of their home and the provision of food) while asking for permission to share a cure for their spiritual needs. Now, more than ever, Baptists have an opportunity to minister effectively in New Orleans. Many of the Catholic churches are closing their doors permanently and Baptists have the opportunity to step in and share the good news of salvation by grace alone.
Please be in prayer for us as we face the privilege of rebuilding an historic city. I spoke with a very high up denominational leader last night and mentioned that I was returning to New Orleans. He said he heard the rumors that people should not return to the seminary and to the city, but he debunked them immediately. He said, "What better time to be in New Orleans and share the gospel than now?" I couldn't agree more. Won't you join us?
[Side note: Internet access in my part of town is non-existent. The only time I will have access to the internet is when I'm over in Metairie. This means posts will be less frequent. Maybe I'll install the rule of 'less in number, greater in quality' (some would say "That 's not saying much, the quality couldn't get anything BUT better!!). Unlike D.R., I'll have an excuse for the scarcity of my posts!]
posted by Jason Sampler at 6:55 PM