2003 – Broussard, LA
Barry and I walked along the dusty road, following closely behind our newly acquired friend. He was told to show us where we would be living. His slow pace revealed the hesitancy he felt as led us to the house with the flat roof. Standing hand in hand Barry and I stared at the tiny house in the middle of the church grounds. Until that moment, I never really paid any attention to the run down building with torn blinds and a dirty exterior. It was just another facility on the almost 30 acre campus the church owned. As we walked inside I let out a small gasp, I couldn’t believe the view. It was dirty and musty smelling. All of the furniture was carefully placed on cinder blocks and the walls showed signs of water damage. As I looked around, I could feel myself starting to sink. It was overwhelming to think that this was a place where someone actually slept, prepared food and called home.
While I examined the kitchen Barry took the initiative to look around thoroughly. With years of experience in construction he quickly realized the amount of work it would take to make the place decent and livable. As newlyweds, he wanted to give me the best, but he knew that the building we were standing in was beyond repair. I could feel his apprehension as he returned to my side. Without saying a word, Barry gently grabbed my hand and laced his fingers through mine. He graciously thanked the young man who had taken time to show us around and then swiftly led me outside.
As we walked away, the tears I held back only moments before spilled out onto the dry ground. I couldn’t believe that we were being asked to move into a building that was barely livable. I wondered if that’s how they treated all of the new staff members, or if they just thought we needed an extra dose of humility. Regardless of their reasoning , there was no doubt in my mind that we could ever live in such conditions…even if it was free.
As the evening drew to a close, Barry made an important phone call. He declined their “generous” offer and asked our leaders to appeal to the Pastor for a better living space. Little did we know, we were about to lose the beauty of newly wedded bliss.