Monday, September 12, 2005

Michael Sprague Update #4

Time in New Orleans

Yesterday afternoon I crossed through six military checkpoints in the process of assessing the needs and opportunities with our missionaries with Urban Impact Ministries. I accompanied two of the leaders, Scott and Melanie Lundeen. There were 19 military helicopters high above, and a military run city down below. This was not the city of jazz, streetcars, and beignets I once knew.

Our mission was to investigate Urban Impact’s neighborhood, assess damage and opportunities for ministry. Their neighborhood was among the hardest hit. The church building was dry, but much of the neighborhood was under water. Imagine your home and all your things destroyed. We talked to people who decided to ride it out. It wasn’t the storm that did the damage, but the levy break and the water that poured in. The convention center has a stench so bad it was unbearable we were told and yet that’s where the only food and water resided. The military came through every 20 minutes on patrol and urged mandatory evacuation. I can tell you those people of New Orleans weren’t going anywhere unless they were dragged out. They were all worried that everything they had would be stolen if they left. They had pit bulls and guns to protect their minimal earthly belongings. A few blocks over we observed a military operation in process as the Indiana National Guard was searching for a man who had fired shots.
We then went over to Urban Impact’s newly purchased property. What a scene! The superdome was just above them representing New Orleans. Below them was water, ruin, rubbish, turned over cars and crashed vehicles and a broken-down hearse. All this pictured death. I then looked at the new property that through the eyes of faith I could see a beautiful new ministry oriented building for Urban Impact. This represented Life. In the midst of carnage, death and destruction I choose to believe in God for resurrection power and the promise to bring beauty out of ashes. There are tears now but joy will come in the morning. What a day that will be. Pray for New Orleans and our missionaries at Urban Impact.


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