Sharing Pearlington

A subsidiary Blog of our Main Blog, located at and presenting words and images of Pearlington. Sharing the series: "Focus On..." * "Back Home Again" * "A Volunteer's Tale" and other human interest stories.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Keeping on 'Keeping On'

Jennifer Johnson, of the BRICK Layers of Alabama, is a great woman and a great writer. She writes, often, for the same reasons I do: to share, to inspire, to teach and learn and to understand.

I have received a letter from her today - three letters, really; one about God, one about Family, one about Pearlington. Within these letters you can hear the echo of your own thoughts and feelings. It is the echo of Faith in action, in walking the talk.

I would like to share all three with you over the next three days. We could not stand what was going on, so now we stand for what’s right. Dedication from many people like Jennifer Johnson has made all the difference. She is wise as she is determined. She loves Pearlington and its people....unconditionally.

And we all love her.

If you’ve been to Pearlington once, twice, or ten times, there is a distinct feeling that you can’t deny. It feels like coming home. And God is the co-pilot.

I don’t think that I can accurately describe to you how I feel God’s presence as we plan for each trip and as we work in Pearlington. Warren Tidwell knows. He described his and his father’s first drive into Pearlington to deliver George and Margaret’s doors and windows as "magical."

There are so many tales to tell from the last ten months, but some of the most obvious signs happened this past week. In my lifetime I have been a member of two different churches – Willowbrook Baptist and Latham Methodist, both from Huntsville, Alabama. While sitting in Café du Monde last Wednesday sipping coffee and eating beignets with my Willowbrook friends, I looked at the table right next to us. The man sitting at the table looked so familiar that I had to ask him where he was from. As I approached the table, I began to recognize more faces. It turns out that the youth group from Latham was doing mission work in Slidell and had chosen that day to come to New Orleans, to eat at Café du Monde, to sit at the table next to us. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

I have been on mission trips to two places this summer, Alaska and Pearlington. While in Alaska we worked at camp Laverne Griffin. There was one other group working there, a small group from Florida. They were delightful. Our groups bonded instantly. While we were still at Laverne Griffin, a group of four ladies walked in. I was curious about one lady wearing a New Orleans t-shirt, so I asked her. This group of ladies runs the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans. They invited us to park at their facility when we visited New Orleans. So last Wednesday, we were reunited with these ladies that I had met in Alaska and parked in their parking lot.

A while later, walking down the streets of New Orleans, a group had on "FBI" shirts. I was trying to read what FBI stood for: ‘First Baptist I....’ I didn’t get to the last word before I saw the face.
"You look so familiar. Where do I know you from?" My daughter Meg jumped in. "Yeah, I’ve seen you were the group at Laverne Griffin!" It was true. They were the group from Florida on a mission trip in New Orleans.

I’ve stopped believing in coincidences. In one day on the streets of New Orleans while doing His work, God placed us with the only two groups that we had met while doing His work at Laverne Griffin camp in Alaska - a continent away.

It is one way that God says to me: "Keep living in My will. Keep doing My work."

"Keep on keeping on."


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