|Mardi Gras: Fertile Ground
By Dave Clark
Family News in Focus
Some think Christians are to Mardi Gras
what oil is to water — they don't mix. But you won't convince an
intrepid band of evangelists who recently worked the crowds in New
Every year in New Orleans, during Mardi
Gras it's "Laissez le bon temps roulez" ("Let the good
times roll!"). And every year, Mardi Gras Day ("Fat
Tuesday") comes almost to the front door of Vieuxcarre Baptist
"Our church is located a block away
from Bourbon Street," said Randy Brown, who pastors Vieuxcarre
For the past week, Brown's church has
hosted dozens of lay evangelists who are doing what Jesus would do.
"We're just trying to be a light in
the midst of all the darkness and evil that surrounds us," Brown
One of the evangelists, Harry Brooks, a
Chicago schoolteacher, described what he does:
"I find people who, because of their
drunkenness, are very vulnerable and in immediate danger and bring them
back here to the church to get them out of harm's way," Brooks said.
"It's almost like it's automatic. I see someone in trouble, I
automatically try to help them."
Brooks' calling to minister at Mardi Gras
is akin to that of Salvatore Mattson: "Our simple love for lost
people motivates us."
Mattson made the 20-hour drive from his
home in Gaithersburg, Md., via New York to pick up another witnessing
friend. Together, they've made Mardi Gras a mission field for 27 years.
"The people down here have been
incredibly open to the Lord," Mattson said.
He said the occasional jeers and mocking
don't detract from his focus on people who are seeking.
"People would walk up to us and say,
we want to know what you have," Mattson said. "They just want
Mattson and others shared that truth until
police closed down the street celebrations at midnight last night.