Post image for Mardi Gras Outreach by Lauren Raffi

Mardi Gras Outreach by Lauren Raffi

February 25, 2013

To many people, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, is the party of the year.  To many Christians, it is a time and place to be avoided at all costs.  But to many of my brothers and sisters in Christ and I, it’s a place where many people come to know Jesus.

For the last four years I have attended Mardi Gras with a group of believers from across the country. We spend four or five days supporting those that live in the city of New Orleans through preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere, from Jackson Square, to Iberville housing projects, to Bourbon Street itself.  It is such a blessed time, as everywhere you look there is a believer telling somebody they don’t know about Jesus.  It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

It is often hard to grasp the idea of going to a group of people like those on Bourbon Street, who clearly came with other intentions. They weren’t hanging out in a park or at the grocery store, but generally attended with the intention to drink and party.  While there are many who walk by and mock or scoff at the cross, it is those that stay and talk who make every crude comment worth it.  Those that didn’t know any different than the life they were living;  those that were lost in their sin;  those that truly need Jesus.

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14).

This year I spoke to a young woman one night who told me she was a Christian.  I preached to her, prayed with her, and she walked away.  However, the next night she came back and found me, tapped me on the shoulder, and informed me she had lied to me.  She wasn’t a Christian, but instead had been through a lot in her life that created so many obstacles to coming to Christ.  One of which was attending a Christian college, and because she was on drugs (at the time) and wasn’t a Christian, no one spoke to her.  She then decided if that’s what a Christian looked like, than she didn’t want to be one.  Her parents had been on drugs growing up, and I told her about her Heavenly Father, her daddy, who would never leave her, and loved us enough to send his son to die in our place.  She then looked at me and asked, “Do you think Jesus loves me?”

I will never forget her expression when she asked that question.  She never knew, never had been told, about how much love Jesus has for her.  I told her, hugged her, and she gave her life to the Lord.  It made every penny spent on the trip worth it, every hour in prayer so meaningful, and all I could do was give glory to God.  He’s still changing lives.  And He can use you to do it too, if you make yourself available to Him.  (And the best part is that was only ONE of the testimonies from that weekend.  And I know some incredible brothers and sisters who are still sowing that ground three nights a week- Praise the Lord!)

Many Christians I’ve talked to frequently tell me that it’s great that I have the gift of evangelism but they don’t feel called.  But to be honest, I don’t have the gift either. While the Lord gave me other gifts, that is most definitely not one of them.  However the word of God tells us as Paul told Timothy to “always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).  So I am, the best that I can.  Brothers and sisters, let’s go spread the good news in Sonoma County!


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