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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Heaven Came Down

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

It isn’t unusual for best friends to go to Mardi Gras together. In fact, everywhere my best friend Nancy Edwards and I looked, friends were partying hearty together at the 2011 Mardi Gras. Nancy and I have been best friend for over 40 years so naturally, we want to be together any time we can. What is unusual is the reason we went. Nancy and I were at Mardi Gras to lead people to Christ.

Day 1 started out slowly. It was raining as heaven literally came down. Cold, wet, grumpy people huddled together under the awnings that decorate the French Quarter. They were not in the mood for friendly conversation.

To stay warm and dry, Nancy and I ducked in to two museums and the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral. We felt like God gifted us with a few moments to just be girlfriends enjoying the history and beauty of the city of New Orleans. Realizing the rain was there to say, we bought $3.99 ponchos and begin our work.

We walked and walked and walked. We handed out a few tracts but mostly we started conversations. We heard one young man say, “I look 21. I can get away with it.”

I touched his arm and said, “No you don’t. You look 19.”

“Did you hear me say how old I was?” he asked, looking surprised.

“No,” I said. “You look 19.” That was our door opener to tell the group about Jesus. No one from that group prayed to receive Jesus but we encouraged them to stay safe because we knew they had mothers that cared about them.

Then, in park overlooking Jackson Square with St. Louis Cathedral as a back drop, heaven came down and glory filled our souls. Nancy noticed a man taking a picture of 5 beautiful young women. She offered to take the picture for him so he could be in the picture and he told her that he wasn’t with them. After he took the picture, he moved on but Nancy and I stayed and struck up the conversation that resulted in 3 of them praying to receive Jesus. Look in the photo gallery and notice the smiles on their face right after they bowed their heads and invited Jesus into their lives.

Nancy and I continued on. We talked to many people. We passed a jewelry store, and being female, we had to go in. We hadn’t gotten 5 feet into the store before heaven came down again. Nancy says my eavesdropping is a spiritual gift. I overheard a young woman saying to her friend, “I love my mother but…”

I turned to her and said, “You can stop right there. You love your mother. You don’t have to add the but.” She and her friend both went to laughing.

She answered, “My mother is wonderful. She prayed with me before I came.”

“Are you a Christian?” I asked.

“I am,” she said.

“If something happened to you tonight, do you know where you’d go in the next life?”

“Heaven,” she said. “My name is written in the book of life.”

“What about you?” I asked her friend. Three minutes later, her friend’s name was written in the book of life, as she prayed to receive Jesus.”

Nancy stepped back to take a picture and the sales girl said, “I’m not really supposed to let you take pictures in here but I overheard what was going on and wanted to let you capture the moment.” The sales clerk told us she was a Christian.

We arrived back to Providence House at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary bedraggled, tired, and wet but excited to “Give'em Heaven in 2011.”

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