Monday, February 19, 2007

"Krewe of Fighting Okra", come back again!

Josh Martin brought this "krewe of okra" (in keeping with the mardi gras spirit) down for the weekend. Curt had them working in Jordy's absence and we had a great time with them. Ya'll come back when you can stay longer! Like I always say "we'll be here" come back as much as you like! Guy's it was great to see you all, and we do want you to come back again and again!
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Leaving the Bay...

I am sitting in the Charlotte airport with a 4 hour layover on my way to Asheville to speak/ build sheds at a conference for youth interested in missions. After the weekend I will be on vacation and in Nebraska seeing my girlfriend. With time off before me the only thing that I want during the weeks leading up to being out of the Bay is to be gone. As the day approaches all I can see is all that I will miss and it is hard to leave. As always with me everything is last minute. This morning I spent running around finishing up all that I needed to do. I have actually spent the past hour at the airport emailing Curt and Sarah, our very capable and blessing from Jesus of a return intern from the summer to keep us afloat, the details of what has to happen to deal with the 90 volunteers for this Saturday and the 75 for next weekend. Good luck ya’ll. Much of this is brought on by the fact that you can stay busy at Lagniappe with distractions and everything but what you need to get done and still be productive and not wasting time just not getting done what you have to. O distractions, not always fun. In Philippians 1:21 Paul claims “ to live is Christ, to die is gain.” I don’t believe I am able to claim that same statement but I can relate now after being at Lagniappe. I think at times the only thing from keeping me from buying into that statement is the fact that I have a future someday outside of Lagniappe. At this point I can feel the tension. All I want is to be out of the Bay but when it comes close to that happening it is very hard to leave and I run out just barely making my plane never knowing quite sure what I packed. Jean and I talked about this tension and joked about our deal that neither of us can eject from the Bay without bringing the other with. This brought about talking about a sermon that Joe Novenson had preached while Jean was in Memphis that morning. He talked about that tension that as a Christian we are called to live in. I am 24, have no background in management, not much experience in building, hardly any “real life” experience and I am deeply involved with an organization that runs thousands of volunteers in construction, has over a million dollar budget, and on top of all that I am integrally involved in all of that. Continually I cry, “God I CAN’T do this!” God continually responds, “I know”. At my best I am simply a crooked stick that God is using to strike a straight blow with. I have to realize when I leave the Bay that the kingdom will advance without me and deal with my pride but at the same time that anxiety about leaving comes from that tension. I am definitely working and accomplishing beyond my ability, not because of anything I can do but because God continually answers my cry of incapability with I know you cannot, but I CAN even through you. Please pray for Lagniappe, the staff, the volunteers, and the ministry and thank God that over and over in-spite of those involved down here His Kingdom advances. Please also pray for endurance, perseverance, faith, and rest in that living in this tension is not easy and takes it toll but don’t feel sorry, after tasting what it means to live in such a manner I would have it no other way. Once tasting God’s grace you cannot live outside of that.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The 10,000 foot view

Andy Chapman emailed this photo to me earlier tonight. It was from Google earth or something similar and he pointed out that you can actually see our bunkhouse on the lower right hand corner. He noted is still 'not connected' together and that the hole in the roof of the main building is still visible.

It got me thinking (here is where you should get some coffee....) Lagniappe Church has been in existence long enough to have had a Google satellite photo taken of us AND there has also been enough activity since the time that photo was taken to make it VERY outdated. NOTE: the hole is fixed and presently there are 3 more completed bunkhouses on the Lagniappe 'compound'.

Interesting isn't it? The 10,000 foot view- it has a way of making the 'messy', 'unfinished' things look kind of cleaned up and making the progress seem somewhat irrelevant. Six months from now the satellite will pass again and all that will have changed in the photo will be some black and grey pixellated rectangles added for bunkhouses and a silver square noting a closed up roof. There might be some more cars in the Sicily's parking lot across the street but other than that no big deal, image updated.

I am usually not very focused on the 10,000 foot view. I am more prone to find myself in angst about the one foot view- the details in the office, or the kitchen, the nursery (yes, we have a nursery), the copier or whatever. At any given point in my frantic self-reliance the satellite will pass again and 'CLICK' the 10,000 foot photo is snapped with anxious, fretful me not even visible to the lens. My fears and obsessing become somewhat irrelevant don't they? The 10,000 foot 'big picture' puts things in the right perspective.

I like the 10,000 foot view, it's like a providential rear view mirror. It's like a chance to look back by looking down from a higher vantage point. Thing are clearer in the rear view mirror, aren't they? Jesus promised that HE was building His kingdom and that the gates of hell would not stand against it. Roofs DO get closed up. Bunkhouses DO come together. A bit of cold spaghetti at dinner DOES get heated up, right? From the throne of heaven the picture isn't one of a Lagniappe 'facility update' it is one of a Divine KINGDOM moving forward.

Dream for a moment. You are in the war room, the 'oval office of heaven' if you will. (P.S. If you think we shouldn't allegorize images of heaven take two C.S. Lewis' and call me in the morning!) As the angels and archangels strain to see the troop map there are pins and markers and placeholders in and around the Bay. "The troops are holding!" cheers erupt! 'The troops are holding!" Just then, wet from the darkroom and pungent with the aroma of developer, an updated photo arrives- another 10,000 foot view- "roof closed! more room for teams! materials moving out! teams coming in! residents worshipping!" Like rain on a tin roof, shouts and cheers fill the room! "To our God and to the Lamb! From every nation tongue and tribe!" TO OUR GOD AND TO THE LAMB...

And at the one foot view were out of toner. What words are shouted? "Who was supposed to order that?" Ahhh, typical. Right then I have a one man pity party for the martyr-like existence I live. It is difficult being the ONLY ONE WHO EVER refills the toner, right? Where are my notes for orientation? I can't find anything around here! There's dust on everything, on EVERYTHING! As I throw my head back on my chair I need to hear what I CAN'T seem to hear only looking at the one foot view of Lagniappe. I DO need a one foot view, but NOT of Lagniappe- of the war room! I need to look from here to there and see something bigger than me, than houses, than Lagniappe or the Bay. I need to hear sounds louder than my sighs, to hear the peals of heaven, to hear the coronation trumpets of the King!

We had a home dedication today. Another family was restored. The Gospel was proclaimed there. We rejoiced in being able to participate and God was given the glory. The oval office cheered again and for a moment you could hear it, even from the Bay.

It is good to hear it, isn't it? It is. Please keep us in your prayers. Pray that we can, 'see Thee in the heights' though we dwell in the depths*. Thank you Father for the 10,000 foot view. Amen and Amen.

-Jean F. Larroux, III Lagniappe Church

P.S. Don't forget we still need you. Come if you can, give if you are able and skip both of those if you will REALLY pray.

*Reference: The Valley of Vision

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lane gets a new home!

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