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Grandmother, on first mission trip, braves the challenge of Bourbon St.


EDITORS’ NOTE: Baptist Press dispatched a team of journalists to cover Baptist ministry during Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. The team included BP Assistant Editor Todd Starnes, LifeWay Christian Resources photographer Morris Abernathy, BP office assistant Michael Winn and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary writer Doy Cave. Additional stories appear on BPSports at www.bpsports.net [2].

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Georgia Klier is an unlikely first-time missionary. But two days prior to the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XXXVI, this retired LPN and grandmother of three was standing on the corner of Bourbon and Conti streets prepared to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Klier, a member of Grove Port Baptist Church in Canal Winchester, Ohio, has been in the Big Easy for eight days, working alongside a handful of hearty Southern Baptists who troll the streets of the French Quarter in search of revelers who need to hear about Jesus Christ.

“This is my very first mission trip,” Klier told Baptist Press. “My children are grown, I had to retire from my job because of a back injury and I was willing to serve.”

So why not try a less-threatening first-time mission experience?

“Because this is where the Lord told me to go,” Klier said matter-of-factly. “And I’ve learned over the years to do what the Lord says to do.”


With her suitcase in tow, Klier boarded a Greyhound bus near her home outside Columbus and arrived in New Orleans Jan. 25.

“I’ve majored in stickering and rolling posters,” Klier said. “And we’ve been giving kids football tattoos for days.”

The Baptist volunteers worked through the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans, distributing a faith-friendly sports magazine and other materials.

“It has been so fun and exciting,” she said. “And the NFL people have been so nice. Volunteering has definitely been a lot of hard work, but it’s worthwhile. We’re supposed to step out of our comfort zone. That’s what you have to do.”

On Feb. 2, Klier was about to radically step out of her comfort zone — taking an evangelistic walk down Bourbon Street on a rowdy Friday night. Baptist Press followed Klier as she made the journey. Following is her story:

6:45 p.m. — Vieux Carre Baptist Church is the only Southern Baptist outpost in the French Quarter. The storefront building looks like any other weatherworn structure on Dauphine Street — apart from a wooden sign hanging outside identifying it as a place of worship. On Feb. 2 it was the starting point for about 12 believers for an evangelism trip on Bourbon Street.

Klier, dressed in gray sweatpants and a jacket, said she was nervous about going into the Quarter.

“It’s somewhere between terrifying and awesome,” she said, while collecting materials that she hoped will end up in the hands of unbelievers. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be here, but it’s a little intimidating.”

7:00 p.m. — The believers are gathered together in the center of the worship hall for a time of prayer and singing. Moments later, they bundle up in jackets and prepare to walk into the darkness of Dauphine Street toward the debauchery of the French Quarter.

“I really feel like the Lord has given me a great life,” Klier said as she walked along the street. “And now I want to give something back. I’ve considered possibly getting involved in street ministry back home.”

Nearing Jackson Square, Klier joins others in the group as they sing a rousing rendition of “Victory in Jesus,” drawing stares from passersby.

7:10 p.m. — It was at Jackson Square that Klier totally stepped out of her comfort zone. Noticing a Tarot card reader sitting outside Jackson Square, Klier made her move.

“Jesus loves you and so do I,” Klier said as she boldly approached the reader. “Would you like something free to read?”

To her surprise, the Tarot card reader smiled and accepted the material. But others would not be so kind. A fortuneteller dressed in black cursed at Klier and ordered her to leave the square. But Klier smiled and told the man that Jesus loved him. He turned and walked away.

7:30 p.m. — The group leaves the square and turns onto Conti Street, heading to Bourbon. Klier said her heart was still racing from the encounter with the fortuneteller.

“My maximum heart rate has been reached,” she said, laughing. “This is so exciting, but it was scary.”

Klier said she didn’t have any regrets about talking to the fortuneteller or his reaction.

“This is what I asked for,” she said. “The Lord is leading me to do this. It’s not by my strength, but it’s by God’s strength.”

7:45 p.m. — Klier’s group has split up. Only three remain as they get to the edge of Bourbon Street. Their team leader, David Cobb of Gatlinburg, Tenn., stops the team.

He cautions everyone to stay close. Cobb instructs Klier not to stray too far from the group.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for,” Klier said as she merged into a sea of drunken revelers, many hurling obscenities.

The trio sets up shop in the middle of Bourbon Street, with Cobb holding a large banner proclaiming the message of Christ. Klier stands beside him offering materials to those passing by.

8:20 p.m. — Klier is still passing out materials as the crowd grows larger and rowdier.

“I’m really encouraged by what’s happened,” she said. “That’s good. Some have even told us that they love Jesus.”

Despite a bitterly cold wind, Klier remained in the French Quarter until late in the night, smiling gently at many lost souls along Bourbon Street.

For Klier, her first mission trip was only the beginning of what she said will become a routine event in her life.

“I think missions is a good thing,” she said. “It’s good that I came here. It’s good that we are all here.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: GRANDMOTHER ON MISSION, PRAYING FOR STRENGTH, SHARING HOPE, PROCLAIMING THE WORD.