Healing on Bourbon Street
In August 2015, Bevelyn, Edmee and Jessica went to share Jesus in New Orleans. Here’s what happened:
The three of us arrived in Louisiana separately. Edmee’s connecting flight in Houston was canceled because of a storm. Hours had gone by, and her attempts to get on a flight were getting slim. In the midst of being stranded at the airport, she had met a mother and a son who had just flown in from Germany. This was a tremendous opportunity to get to know them and minister to them. Meanwhile, Bevelyn, who had already arrived in New Orleans, decided to check into our hotel. Jessica would not be coming in until the next day. It was past midnight when Edmee finally arrived. She and Bevelyn decided to drop off Manu and Benny, our new German friends at their hotel. We shared with them why we were in New Orleans and made plans to meet again.
On our first day in New Orleans, we went to Bourbon Street, where we met a young man. We’ll call him “husband,” as we can’t remember his name. Why? Because this man had such an intense yearning to be a husband, so much so that he got emotional when he spoke about it. We prayed for him and encouraged him on going to the Lord to figure out how to be a husband and to ask Him for a wife. Afterward, while Bevelyn was talking to a tarot-card reader, Edmee saw a young boy walking very fast and crying at the same time. She decided to follow him and asked if he was OK. He shared that his aunt had just died and that he needed to raise money to help pay for the funeral. She asked him how old he was. He said that he was eight years old and spent time tap dancing to make some money. Edmee noticed that he would attach soda can bottoms to his sneakers as makeshift tap dancing shoes. His name was Myron.
Edmee asked if he would be around as she wanted to get back to Bevelyn and see how they could help him. As Bevelyn was still attempting to minister to the tarot-card reader, Edmee went back to Myron. A young adult was talking to Myron. He was from New York and was visiting with his buddies on a bachelor-party weekend. Edmee was pleasantly surprised to hear this young man encouraging Myron to do the right thing and to trust Jesus. This young man proceeded to give Myron a $100 bill. This was so amazing that Edmee decided not to interfere, and went back to Bevelyn and explained what she had just witnessed. As we came back to Myron, we introduced ourselves to these young men. We told them we would take Myron home. Myron was so excited about the gift he had received. This was the first time that someone had given him that much money.
Myron was very street savvy. He gave us direction to his grandmother’s house. We met and ministered to her. As she was sharing details about Myron’s aunt passing, we could tell she needed prayer, and hands laid on her. We did so and visited for a bit. This is when we found out that Myron’s dad was incarcerated, and his mother was not around. We then left with the understanding that Myron would bless his grandma by contributing to the funeral’s effort which we thought was very mature for an eight-year-old to do.
Little Girl in the Mud
We were driving around waiting to go pick up Jessica at the airport. It was a rainy day and we realized that not much was going on outside. Nothing but the Lord could have prepared us for what we were about to witness. As we were nearing a traffic light, we spotted a group of children playing in front of a house directly in front of the road we were driving on. Most of them were toddlers, and one of them really caught our attention. She could not have been more than three years old. She had two pigtails, and the most beautiful face a child could have, but she was sitting in the mud with nothing covering the lower half of her body.
There was a car in front of us that had stopped while the light was green. Could they be doing what we were doing, looking at these children dumbfounded? They were two women, just like we were. When we saw them pull over to the side of the road, we knew they were thinking what we were thinking. As they got out the car, we exchanged words, agreeing on what needed to be done. We proceeded to knock on the door and see if anyone was home. A young woman came out. She said, “Yes?”
One of us said, “Hey, we saw the kids playing outside, where is their mother?”
The young woman replied, “She’s sleep.”
Edmee inquired of the children, “How old are they?”
She replied, “Between three and five years old.”
“But this little girl has no clothes on the bottom, and we saw her sitting and playing in the mud.”
At that moment, we heard a big “POW.”
“Why are you hitting her? Why are you doing that?” We protested as she had popped the little girl’s head with both her hands.
“She knows better,” the young woman replied. She proceeded to scold all the children and told them to stay inside the house. We were in shock.
As we went back to our cars, we asked the women if they were from the area. They said they were and warned that the next time they would call child services if they ever see the children playing outside by the road, especially in that manner. This incident led us to ponder about people’s lifestyle in the French Quarter. While this could have happened anywhere, we realized that in order for people to party all night, they must be sleeping during the day. How could children be properly raised in such a culture—on that type of schedule? Could this explain Myron’s predicament of having to tap dance to put money in his pocket? Could this explain why five children under the age of five were playing in front of the road with NO supervision? While things were slow during the day in the French Quarter, we knew it would not be so at night. “The Freaks come out at night” as Bevelyn usually says. We were ready for them.
Now that Jessica had arrived, we prepped ourselves to hit Bourbon Street that night. Bevelyn needed to use the bathroom, so we stopped at a bar. While waiting, a male stripper started to dance in front Edmee. He was a tall white man, blonde, muscular, with booty-tight briefs! He did his thing for about 30 seconds and stopped so she could tip him. Edmee looked at him in the eyes and asked him to come closer, which he gladly did. “Now that you did your thing, I got something to tell you,” she said. She then leaned in with intense eye contact, pointed her finger to proclaim with authority: “JESUS LOVES YOU!”
To save face, David, his name was, showed a tattoo with a cross to prove that he knew that Jesus loves him. While he hoped this would close the topic, Edmee proceeded to speak to the man God had always made him to be. “God has never made people to wander on earth. The leaf cannot tell the tree ‘I don’t need you,’ or it will dry out.” He admitted he did not want to do what he was doing for a living. As Jessica went to get Bevelyn, Edmee prayed with this man and gave him a hug.
We left the bar and started to walk down Bourbon Street. “Can I get five dollars?” a man said. We looked back to see who had asked and saw a tall, handsome black man with a drink in his hand. We would not be surprised if this man was a ball player or was part of the entertainment industry. We told him we had five dollars as if to give it to him if he needed it. He looked at us annoyed that’d we would think he really needed five dollars. “Do I look like I need five dollars?” he said.
“You’re the one asking for five dollars!” we replied.
The man explained that he was just saying that for the sake of saying it. He then asked where we were coming from. We told him we were ministers and that we were there to see what the Lord had in store. Astounded, he asked, “On Bourbon Street?!”
He then shared that he used to be very involved in the church at an early age. He had experienced many miracles and gifts of the Spirit. As we were trying to find out what caused him to walk away from the Lord, Jessica asked, “When was the last time you went to church?”
He said, “Last week.”
We then asked, “When was the last time you had gone to church prior to last week?”
He said, “Three years ago.”
“Wow!!! So what caused you to go to church last week?” we replied.
He then said, “I woke up with two women in my bed that morning, so I decided to go to church.”
As he placed his drink on a trunk, we kept exhorting him to stop running from the Lord. We noticed that he had an arrogant attitude, and everything we told him was met with sarcasm.
“You’re full of it!” Bevelyn blurted out.
“Why do you say that?” the man asked. “You don’t know me.”
“I can only go off of what I see,” she said.
“Yeah but this is not my heart!” he protested.
We were dumbfounded. He had just admitted to living a lie. As Edmee was trying to regroup from the statement that he had just made, he looked at her and said “Look at you looking at me thinking ‘can you help me help you, Negro?’” We all laughed realizing that the Lord had done something major. This man was so convicted that he started to leave. Bevelyn sarcastically reminded him that he had forgotten his drink.
“Nah,” he said. “I just need to go home…”
Healing on Bourbon Street
The next person we encountered was as memorable as the one we had just met. As we kept walking, we saw a young man sitting on the sidewalk. Something was wrong with him. He was gasping for air. As we approached him, Edmee placed her hand on his chest and said “JESUS!” While Bevelyn and Jessica joined in, Edmee commanded healing. This young man, who we later learned was from California, lifted up his hands and started to praise God. “Jesus healed me on Bourbon Street!” he screamed. As he continued to praise God, we kept laying hands on him to speak life into him. We visited with him for a while and encouraged him to get back to the Lord. He shared his struggle with smoking, so we reverted to taking authority over his life by laying hands on him again.
As we were praying, a man walked up behind Bevelyn and placed both his hands on her hips and rubbed himself on her while walking by. She immediately jumped up and went for the man in a state of shock and anger. It took the love of God to keep her from putting her hands on him. Instead, she turned to the man and, after asking what was wrong with him, demanded that he “Step off!” She then went back to the young man in prayer and told the rest of us about what happened long afterward. This was not the only “booty” incident we experienced. Later that night while walking on Bourbon Street, Edmee felt a hand touch her behind. She looked around to see who had done that and realized it was a Hispanic woman. “Oh, no honey! Come here!” Edmee said, chasing her down. The woman looked back and stopped, thinking Edmee was approving of the situation. “You’re not going to do this without me telling you that Jesus loves you,” Edmee demanded. “Give me a hug.” As the woman approached Edmee to give her a hug, she looked at her with teary eyes and said, “Pray for me.” Edmee knew these three words said a lot. This woman needed to be set free.
The next day, we went to see Myron. Jessica had had an idea that we should get school supplies for children. We had no idea how we would get the school supplies to the children, but we knew to purchase them, and we knew to get them ready to give to the kids. This was one of the reasons we wanted to connect with Myron again, as he had volunteered to take us a few places where we could give some of the supplies. When we arrived to get Myron, we realized they had just gone to his aunt’s funeral. We visited for a bit, then headed outside to give out some supplies. We asked Myron and his cousin if they wanted to ride with us. We wanted to take them out to eat. However, since they had just gotten out of a funeral they were not wearing their street gear, they did not want to be seen with their “church” attire. This was a bummer we thought, as they’d passed on an opportunity to go to a restaurant.
As we were taking them home, Jessica asked the boys how old they were. When Myron said that he was 11, Edmee looked back saying “I thought you were eight?!”
“He’s not eight.” his cousin said. “He’s 11.”
This did it for us. Prior to this, we had noticed that he had a brand new phone. We had also learned that he had only given $10 to his grandmother to help her with the funeral. So we decided to wait until we arrived at his home. As they were both getting out the car, we asked Myron if he could stay, as we needed to talk to him.
“I like your new shoes, they look nice,” Bevelyn said. “And your phone is hot, too.”
“Oh thank you!” he responded.
“I know you used the $100 you were given to buy a brand new phone. You only gave your grandmother $10. You lied!” Bevelyn said. “So you want to be a liar and a thief? You want to be known as someone who can’t be trusted. Is that what you want?”
He said, “No” in a sorry tone. We could tell that he was sorry, knowing that we had praised him for being such a responsible boy all along. He could tell that we were disappointed. Bevelyn reassured him that she was not mad at him, but she wanted him to do better. He agreed and got out the car.
Collins Elementary School
That next day we happen to see Myron and his cousin tap dancing on Bourbon Street. We invited them to sit with us and have some food. The name of the place was Saints & Sinners, owned, we later found out, by the actor Channing Tatum. The manager of the restaurant came and started to talk to Myron. She was familiar with him and gave him a particular look as if she were questioning his motives, and whether he was behaving. She then took an interest in us and started to share her journey. We learned she had been part of the educational system for 25 years. However, she was totally disillusioned by the public school system’s lack of competence.
As we told her what we were about, it dawned on us that we still had a bunch of school supplies and New Testament Bibles in the back of our car. We asked if she knew anyone who would benefit from them. “I got someone for you!” she said while picking up her phone and stepping away. She came back to us a few minutes later and gave us the name of a teacher at an elementary school who was expecting us the next day at 10:00 a.m. We were floored. It was amazing to see how the Lord had opened this door for us while eating in the middle of Bourbon Street in a restaurant called Saints and Sinners.
As we left the restaurant, we told Myron and his cousins that we wanted to meet them again the next day. “Why?” they asked. “Because we want to get you and your cousin some tap dancing shoes!” They were pumped, and so were we at the prospect of getting them the tools to really foster and nurture their God-given talent. Little did we know that we would be taken aback to see Myron and his cousin the next day with a clan of other boys. As we parked the car and approached them, we heard Myron bragging in front of his buddies that he and his cousin were about to get tap dancing shoes. This turned us off. Not only were we not prepared to buy them shoes while these children would leave empty handed, but it also looked like Myron had not learned the lesson we wanted him to learn. We confronted Myron, told them we were not getting the shoes after all and explained our decision not to do so. We still wanted to treat them all, so we took them to get snacks.
Visiting the Judge Lionel R. Collins Elementary School was one of the most memorable times we’ve had in ministry. We were welcomed by the teacher the manager at the restaurant had put us in contact with. The teacher graciously took our school supplies and Bibles. She then introduced us to the principal and staff as “missionaries from New York.” We were so excited. If only we could visit with the children we thought but did not dare to ask. When the teacher asked if we wanted to meet the children we were done! The first class we visited had about 25 children who ranged from five- to six-years-old. Their teacher welcomed us into the class and asked the children to listen to what we had to say. It didn’t take long for them to raise their hands to ask questions. “Why doesn’t God answer when I pray?” one asked. Some children were shocked to hear that Edmee could speak French, and was born in Paris. “Can you pray that we pass our big test that’s coming Friday?” Another child asked. We looked at the teacher out of respect and were blessed beyond measure when she nodded yes after a few seconds of hesitation. We blessed the lights out of these children and felt such authority and zeal as we prayed out loud for the whole class. This was the first of three classes we were privileged to love on that morning.
They are fresh!!!
We spent our last day with Manu and Benny, our German buddies. We started off by going to Mother’s restaurant, which is considered a top Cajun food restaurant in “Nawlins.” As we were eating our food, a waitress approached our table. She was different. You would think she could be everybody’s grandma with her larger-than-life personality. She noticed that Manu was not eating, and inquired why. Manu, being from Germany, simply explained that she was not hungry. The waitress replied instantly, “Oh no, you need to eat something!” A few minutes later, the waitress came back with a bowl of rice and beans. “Eat that!”
Jessica wanted to order some raw oysters. As she placed the order, she specified that she wanted fresh oysters. The same waitress came back with fried oysters. Jessica called her back expressing that she did not mean to order fried oysters but fresh oysters. “THEY ARE FRESH!!!!!” the waitress replied. “No, I meant raw” Jessica responded. “You better act like they’re raw!!!!!” We busted out laughing. This must have been straight out of a comedy show. We hugged the waitress because she had made us laugh so hard. We also gave her a good tip and took pictures with her.
We then had a stroll in the city and went bowling. We could not believe how Manu was able to beat us all. Was she a professional player? We had a great time together and were blessed to be able to minister in their company. As we gave Benny a Bible and Manu the book, Redeeming Love, little did we know that they would be the people who would host us the following year on our missions trip to Germany.
James 4:2-3 reads You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Matthew 17:19-20 reads Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
When one of the children from Judge Lionel R. Collins Elementary School asked why God did not answer his prayers, we proceeded to share our testimonies. We were so thankful that a child so young could ask such an honest question. We encouraged him not to lose sight of the fact that God IS good. The Bible does give clear answers as to what may cause us not to receive from the Lord. While James emphasizes failure to ask and covetousness as reasons for not being able to receive from our Father, Mathew highlights the fact that our unbelief hinders us from accomplishing the things of God. It is interesting that both verses highlight how those things hinder US from RECEIVING from the Lord rather than GOD being the one who does not give or answer our prayers. Should we ask ourselves why aren’t we able to receive from the Lord prior to pointing the finger at Him?