Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some Reflections from Gentilly Boulevard

This week sees a quick trip to New Orleans for our New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Board of Trustees Spring Meeting. Flew in Monday afternoon and will depart Louis Armstrong International Airport very early Thursday morning. I have a class on Thursday evening, and a few folks I'll need to visit in the hospital between my arrival at Tri State Airport and the class meeting at the Jesse Stuart Foundation building in Ashland. While it is a brief "business trip", it is still nice to be able to spend one brief evening with Jay and Michelle and grandsons number one and three (Quint and Canon).


Weather here is beautiful and my shiny scalp is glowing red from the Sun's bright rays and a couple of hours yesterday with the top off of Jay's Jeep. Construction is going on all over the city. I noted several areas where roads are being reconstructed. New buildings are going up here and there, numerous homes are being renovated, but even after five years much Katrina damage is still evident. I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of this city and the resiliency of its people.


On the darker side, "The Times Picayune" reports this morning that there were 7 more shooting incidents yesterday, bringing to 18 the number of shootings since Saturday evening. Four are dead as a result of the gunfire. Several were shot on Canal Street Saturday night as the French Quarter Festival was going on. All of the violence, however, has not been just in Orleans Parish on this side of the Mississippi. Today's news story said that three of the incidents were in West Bank communities in Jefferson Parish. The article said there had been 23 shootings this month. As shocking as this all seems, I am reminded that even back home in our smaller cities of Huntington and Charleston, there have been reports of gunfire, stabbings, and drug related violence nearly every day. Fact of the matter is, that we live in a depraved society full of people who desperately need a relationship with the Prince of Peace!


That is one thing that makes me so proud to be able to serve in a small way in relation to this "School of Providence and Prayer". In this very fertile mission field of "The Big Easy" about 3,000 men and women are enrolled in various study programs, helping prepare them for various careers in fulfilling the Great Commission. Many of them are already heavily involved in active ministry right here and now in the New Orleans area. While being a seminary of national academic renown, NOBTS is a great evangelistic force in the mission field where it is planted. The evangelistic fervor lives from the top down on campus. NOBTS is led by Dr. Chuck Kelley. Inside the academic persona of Dr. Kelley, beats the heart of an evangelist. In fact, prior to his election as President of NOBTS, he served this school as a Professor of Evangelism. He continues to lead today, surrounded by a top notch cadre of administrators, faculty, and staff who believe deeply in the concept of John 3:16. The natural progression from that truth, leads to the urgency of fulfilling Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8.


My regular committee meets at 3:00PM today and we will close with a Trustee/Faculty dinner this evening in the dining hall. Tomorrow will be a full day. I will be in the Executive Committee meeting at 9:00 AM. At 11:00 we'll have a tour of the new apartment buildings now well under construction. After lunch, the entire Trustee Board will meet in Plenary Session until dinner time. We should finish up around 8:00 Wednesday evening, then it will packing and a short night's sleep in order to be at the airport at 6:00 AM Thursday. I am blessed, and feel it a deep honor to be able to serve in this capacity. We as Southern Baptists can be proud of the job that is being done in all of our Seminaries, and especially here at NOBTS.


Just after arriving yesterday, Jay and I took a quick trip out to New Orleans East. That area was hard hit by flooding during Hurricane Katrina as the storm surge poured up through the now closed Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (or MR.GO as it is called here). Jay has recently been contacted by an individual who is interested in donating a house and piece of property in a subdivision there to our ministry. Beacon Ministries, Inc. is considering receiving this donation. We have spoken to our attorney and as a Kentucky Non Profit Corporation, we would be allowed to receive it and use it for non profit purposes. The house is in a neighborhood that is rebounding from the hurricane's damages. Roughly half of the houses in the subdivision have been renovated and are inhabited. Others remain empty with lots overgrown with weeds. This house has been completely gutted. It appears to be structurally sound, but would require heavy renovation. A brother who was heavily involved as a property evaluator with the Operation NOAH Rebuild will be accompanying Jay to the property to assess the rehabilitation possibilities. We feel that if renovation is feasible, there is enough volunteer power to do the work. We would have to rely on donations of materials, but our God has all the resources that are needed. Possibilities for the home include (but are not limited to) a potential home for missionaries on furlough, low cost housing for a seminary student family, or a guest house for visiting mission teams coming to work in New Orleans. We are excited about the possibilities, but praying for God's leadership in the matter. Here is a photo of the house as it appears today.


Bobby Wood said...

That's really awesome about the house

C.J. Adkins said...

Hey Bobbywood! It is awesome. I guess it could also serve as a guest house for visiting youth pastors from out west!
Hope you guys are doing well, and basking in the blessing of doing what God has prepared for you to do! Love you both...