Thursday, September 20, 2012
I just spent 3 days in Lafayette, LA. It was fabulous experience.
The purpose of the trip was to speak at a couple of women's groups there for Stonecroft Ministries about the horrific subject of Human Trafficking. (I'm just one of many that are trying to convince the US that this modern day slavery exists so people will rise up and put a stop to it.) I expected the meetings to go well and they did!
What I didn't expect was the gracious hospitality of my host/hostesses and the conversations we had around their lovely kitchen table! I was extremely blessed.
Most of the time when I fly off like that I usually stay in a hotel so as not to inconvenience the locals.
Not this time!!!
It was about 5 minutes after I landed in Lafayette Monday that I realized I was among some very special people. Gwen and Mitch picked me up at baggage claim and made me feel like family instantly. My hostess Rachel and her husband "Boo" were simply delightful. Staying with them felt like a vacation at a faraway resort. I was amazed that I could look out the window and see huge lemons hanging on one tree, oranges on another! (Nothing like that in OK!)
Rachel let me know immediately (in her thick Cajun accent) that I was welcome in their home, but that she wasn't going to wait on me, that I was to "help myself." And then she began waiting on me!
We laughed at ourselves, took a car trip to Alexandria, attended meetings, prayed together, ate delicious homemade food, told stories, cried together, exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses and promised to remain friends.
Rachel's niece Tammy led a Bible Study at the house the first night I was there. 32 ladies filed into that beautiful home hauling in all types of food and drink. There were gals of all ages, races and creeds, sitting beside each other laughing, hugging and sharing life. The study was fabulous and Tammy was a very gifted teacher. It soon became obvious that the women were hurting from a myriad of troubles. You see, Tammy and Rachel spend their life locating, befriending and loving on people that have made some bad choices or have been victimized in some way or another. Both offer hope and help and a "stand alongside" type of friendship that is rare. Their stories of involvement in some very difficult situations set my hair ablaze. After the fire went out, I had nothing but admiration for these two steel magnolias.
Rachel and her family are deeply committed Christians, followers and lovers of Jesus. They have no time for ridiculous man-made-walls of prejudice or self-righteousness. They offer help and there are many women responding to such acceptance. Lafayette is very fortunate to have these gals and others just like them.
The Bible calls it the "remnant." It's those few true believers scattered across the globe that are very aware of their own weaknesses, yet fiercely depending upon HIS strength. They take it to heart when they read, "God so loved the world." And because HE loves, they do too. Love is a verb to them, not a mushy feeling!
They're out there IN it....not being shaped by the culture, but holding out a lifeline to those that have been duped into believing that the "here and now" is all there is and that the"here and now" consists only of painful days that must be endured. They are showing the women of Lafayette a better way!
I didn't see much of the town itself, but I got a deep look into the heart of some very fine folks.
I'm so glad I went!