This week is quickly drawing to a close. It has been a week filled with joy and laughter, some heartache and tears, too.

My friend, Jan, and I didn’t do much sight seeing (on purpose anyhow…we certainly got lost a lot) while we have been here. We did go to Cafe Dumonde, however, so she could enjoy the treats there. (I am not a big coffee and pastry person…but I enjoyed people watching and looking at the mules and the carriages they were pulling–and because I have a thing for equine feet, I noticed their hoofs, too! LOL!)

This is the Breaking Free set that we have enjoyed as the backdrop all week at the church. The lady up front is Michelle Hicks. What a joy she has been! She is SO wonderful at “MC”ing these taping sessions–making all of us feel so right at home, like we are connected to one another. Below, Jan and I pose in front of the set:

Today has been intense. Emotionally charged. First delightful, as we have heard about Baptist Friendship House ministering to many here in New Orleans and story upon story of God’s blessing and confirmation and directing of the ministry there.

Then heart-wrenching as we prayer-drove through the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans–just next to where the levee broke after Katrina. I wanted to share a couple of images from this prayer-drive that we went on, praying as we went and getting out to pray as well.

The image immediately above is a close up of the house above…devastation inside and all around it. The house is a shell…still stands and scrawled in spray paint on the outside, a testimonial… “This was home…” Oh, how my heart aches!

So much of the land has been flattened…the homes bull-dozed. Deposits of hope, anticipating return, some parcels are well manicured and lovingly cared for despite the lack of a house present on the site.

Others, were gutted, ruined…and no indication of anyone with any hope to return.

At times all I *could* do was pray. My heart was heavy imagining those who had lost so very much…not just physically, but so many other things. Such devastation. Such ruin. Yet without a doubt, we know that our God can do amazing things! He trades ashes for a crown of beauty! I believe He will bring something wonderful up out of this devastation.

We got out of our van and prayed for the people that have been hit by the devastation. This particular spot in the photo above is the home site of a lady we met who asked us if we would please stop by her home and pray that she might be able to return there.

I can’t help but think that the passage found in Isaiah 58 has a real-live, modern-day application now.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins,
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
Isaiah 58:12

I believe God IS doing a new thing. It is springing up and we must beg him to help us see it and to pray for it and participate in it! I don’t know what shape it will take…and He is about the business of the eternal first and foremost. I anticipate that it will be a light that will be evident across our land…I think he can use this to bring revival to our country.

I know this…the people I have encountered in New Orleans have been amazing. Just tenacious, polite (except when driving…LOL!) and so kind–ready to tell their story to any listening ear. I simply must come back and participate in some of the relief work…it is on my heart and I hope to investigate that.

I think so much of this has to do with experiencing freedom in our lives from strongholds. At least if the Word of God is true (and it is!) it does. From Isaiah 58:9-11:

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.