Saturday, February 10, 2024

Tornados may destroy my home, but they Build My Faith in Jesus! #BirthdayPresent


This video is from the day after a Tornado destroyed my house in 2021. Please BE ENCOURAGED!  Let me tell you a true story, and see if it will help us orient our vision around God's character and care for you and me!  Love, Paul

"It's my Birthday! I have a request, call it a Birthday Present you can give me: I have a message of Hope in the Storm to share with you below, and would be honored for you and I so spend a few minutes together in my yard, seeing how we can use ALL circumstances, even a tornado destroying your house, to see the most important things more clearly.

Love from me to you and yours on this day!


#TrustOurGod #HelpOurNeighbors #LoveOurCountry"

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Helping make Real Life-Shifting Changes: Our DA putting on Expungement Day, Jan 13, VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

TO:  My Friends, Pastors and Church Leaders.

Volunteers Needed: Calcasieu Parish District Attorney Putting on Fresh Start Initiative, January 13, 2016, to help 250 Participants Apply for an Expungement to help them Get a Job. 

70 Non-Attorney Volunteers Needed (no special skills or training required).

From: Paul Pettefer, Volunteer responsible for Recruiting Volunteers,, 337-794-9891

Say you have a problem, a past failure, and you try to overcome it and can't.  So you try again, and fail. And you try again, and the door stays shut.  Well, you might just stop trying.

For many fellow neighbors in Calcasieu Parish who have a criminal record, this history stops them on the times they try to turn things around. Stops them from getting a job, or getting a better job.  To work in most Industrial Construction sites or at the Plants you need a TWIC Card, and having a criminal record can keep you from getting your card.

Try. Fail. Quit.   Hopeless is not good.  Not empowering.  That’s where we step in!

Our District Attorney, John DeRosier, has launched the Fresh Start Initiative to help lots of our neighbors see if they can get an Expungement for criminal records for Calcasieu Parish arrests and convictions.  Many crimes cannot (and should not) be expunged. But many can.  The process has several steps and can be very complicated. Fresh Start Initiative is a way to eliminate that barrier.

Here is John DeRosier, our Calcasieu Parish District Attorney, on why we should do this,
“My office is concerned that the inability to obtain an expungement can prevent some individuals from gaining employment.  We believe that gaining employment provides opportunities for individuals to break the cycle of criminal conduct, increases the public safety for all who live and work in Calcasieu Parish, and assists former criminal offenders to create stable, productive lives for themselves and their families in Calcasieu Parish.

“Louisiana law allows for the expungement of certain arrest and conviction records under limited circumstances. Obtaining an expungement removes the record from public access, although the record is not destroyed.  An expunged record is confidential but still available for use by law enforcement agencies, criminal justice agencies, and certain other agencies as defined by law.”

As a Pastor with the particular calling to equip the Church toward a Lifestyle of Restoration and Engagement, I see opportunities like this as God-Given on-ramps for building our mission! We do this by modeling the behavior we want the people we are leading to follow (i.e. you and I volunteer and serve), and be encouraging the people we are leading to do the same!

Volunteers, HOW IT WORKS:
·         Our initial Fresh Start Day will be on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, in the Buccaneer Room at the Lake Charles Civic Center.
·         We will process up to 250 Participants who have Pre-Registered to apply for an Expungement.
·         We will need 40 Attorneys to volunteer, and 70 Non-Attorneys. 
·         I am responsible for recruiting the 70 Non-Attorneys.
·         We will work 2 shifts:  Either 8-Noon, or Noon-4. (Yes, you can sign up for Both!)
·         We will feed you lunch and have T-Shirts for all Volunteers. 
·         Non-Attorney Volunteers must attend a 1 Hour Volunteer Training, 5:30-6:30,
either on Jan 5, or Jan 12.
·         NO SPECIAL SKILLS OR TRAINING NEEDED! We need willing people who can attend the 1 hour training and a half-day (or whole day) shift at Fresh Start Day, Jan 13.
·         Volunteers MUST REGISTER ONLINE at!fresh-start-initiative/c1z5j Please Register NOW to stake your place in this hope-building opportunity.  I really need to know how many volunteers we have.
·         I am absolutely available to come and share with any of you or any group you have about this Initiative. You can reach me or call/text 337-794-9891.
·         The Justice & Accountability Center out of New Orleans has designed and pulled off similar events several times before, and they are coordinating Fresh Start, so our event is Very Well Planned and EXTREMELY ORGANIZED and Professional!  You can volunteer and recommend this opportunity with Confidence that the Volunteers will have a very positive experience, with a well-run event that serves the least get a Fresh Start! 

FOR PEOPLE NEEDING EXPUNGEMENTS: Through prior outreach efforts, the DA and the SWLA Law Center already had hundreds of people requesting Expungements, and as a result, as of today, we are actually FULL, with 250 Participants. Thus WE ARE NOT making ANY Public Announcement to recruit Participants, AND ARE NOT ACCEPTING ANY NEW APPLICATIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS FOR THIS SESSION OF FRESH START.  Some may drop out and allow additional room, and I will keep you informed on any waiting list procedures we develop. Please DO NOT CALL THE DA's office! Keep contact with the person, and be in a position to let them know about future opportunities. 

FYI: The Expungement process has $550 in costs to the agencies that work to process the documentation. There may be some possibility of waivers, but the Participants that Register and show up for Fresh Start need to be prepared to fund those costs. If you want to help pay for Participant's Expungement costs, then let me know. There is a fund in the works at the Community Foundation SWLA which may be a good vehicle for such grace to flow into. 

QUESTIONS: We love questions. Call/text Paul, 337-794-9891 or email If I don’t know I’ll get it from the DA’s office or one of the other volunteers helping make this day great!

Your friend and partner in helping our city feel the impact of God’s Incredible Grace,

Paul Pettefer
Since #JesusIsAlive, then from #Goosport2Graywood, #theCityShouldBeDifferent

Here are some attachments (email me and I'll send them) for you us use:
·         Shift Schedule Flowchart. As you can see, the event will be very organized!
·         Fresh Start Initiative Postcard. While we are FULL at this time for Participants, I want you to see the card, see the Hope that is carries for people whose past failures are holding them down. As Church Leaders, we are Hope Dealers and love joining in on
·         Screenshot of the Volunteer Registration Page, available here,!fresh-start-initiative/c1z5j
·         Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement. Volunteers will sign this at the Volunteer Training they attend.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How could the city be different?

I bought Laundry World 11 years ago, while I was working as the City President for MidSouth Bank. My passion for living a significant life because of Jesus spurred this on, so I worked 2 jobs for a season (the laundry job exclusively on nights/weekends, which is work!), Now these 11 years later, I'm getting pretty good a the laundry thing.

What I didn't know would happen when I bought the laundries is how much I would learn about my city. The people I would meet and get to know via having a reason to hang out in a place a lot of lower-income also hung out.  I knew that I would make friends there and expected that part to be fun and rewarding, and it certainly has.

For example, here I am challenging a 21 year old former high school football star to do 10 clap push-up's with me. The other young men did not take me up on the challenge. #Fun

These young men just finished installing these 14 new washers at the Laundry World location in their neighborhood. You should see how proud they are of this accomplishment. One of the young men has worked for me as an Intern for a year or so, on and off. The other three are his friends. He has been talking to them about character growth, about work and how it is better than he expected.

That, my friends, is one important way a city gets different. Invest in one. Then they invest in others, learning that productivity beats idleness or victimhood , every time.

Let's see this kind of move replicated all over the place.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Live a life that leads to "Why?" Giving away 300 BBQ chicken quarters (& some Ribs!) at the Civic Center this Saturday

Last night I had a great time sharing the intro to "The Summer of Friendmaking and Neighboring" at the rockin' Mount Olive Baptist Church. I'll share more about that in a bit.

The end of the evening I rolled out this week's hangout time of Modeling such a whimsical life: We are going to the Civic Center seawall on Saturday, June 28, with the HUGE BBQ Pit trailer pictured below, lighting up the pit and putting on a few racks of SpareRibs and about 320 chicken leg quarters, and giving all that away to our neighbors there that day.


Why not!!  It's fun. It's whimsical. I'm getting pretty good at BBQ, so this is fun stuff, and very tasty!

We'll be there to start conversations and meet our neighbors. No Strings. No Catch.

Why? There's a lot to that question, but we will start at the beginning: We want to life a whimsical life that leads people to ask, Why?  

Because God have loved me, I'm here to love you.

Because serving people is where it's at! We did this same thing, bring this trailer and cook BBQ for a few hundred people (we had never attempted to cook for so many before, but that didn't stop us!) to serve at T. H. Watkins Elementary School this year. We got the 5th graders at the school engaged in helping put on the day, serving their parents for the PTO meeting and school training happening that night.

Because BBQ is tasty, we're getting good at cooking it, and sharing is fun!

Because this whole city, from #Goosport2Graywood, is our home, and all it's inhabitants are our neighbors.

Because everyone here needs a legitimate shot at seeing who Jesus really is. And we think that building relationships is how to see this happen. NOT relationships with an angle, where we are contingent-friends (so long as you come to my church, or so long believe like I believe.)

Because #theCityShouldBeDifferent

See you there.  
Paul Pettefer, 337-794-9891, @paulpettefer,

Friday, June 6, 2014

What is the purpose of
     a move to 
          Transform the city
          Building Capacity for Engagement
So That 
     John 17:20-23 can happen here, now.

OK, that sounds good, but what does that mean? So here is an Example: We have this enormous industrial expansion headed to SWLA, bringing 25,000+ new construction jobs. There are lots of, say, young men in our area who are not meaningfully participating in the workforce, but who could certainly fulfill the unskilled helper jobs that will be a small portion of this large construction workforce needed. What they need to be ready for these jobs is some hope. We, church, are charter members in the hope trade. So, via relational engagement, we let the young men borrow some hope from us, inspiring some to begin working on improving their character and soft skills, getting ready for this meaningful work opportunity. There are a bunch of kickers in this real-life scenario. 1.) The industrial construction helpers can make $15 an hour, and typically have lots of overtime. This scenario really stomps on the gas pedal in this way: a new entrant into the workforce in this situation can save enough to buy a reliable car in 1-2 months! 2.) If we are going to see a thousand young men (that's my vision) pass through this opportunity, we will need a whole-bunch of support systems, meaning mentors, encouragers, soft-skills instructors, rides to work and more. 3.) When we engage with our real-life neighbors, in real-life serving, everyone's character, everyone's faith in Jesus gets a real shot at growing! It's what you call, Discipleship. 4.) When a young man gets a job that can pay $40k a year, they have real options! They can get more education and training. They can inspire those around them to follow them. They can be inspired by those who invested in their life for free and set them up for this situation, and they can help the next group of young men who aren't working get on board. 5.) ...

Are you getting a little glimpse at the picture?

The people who follow Jesus are carrier's of the Hope of the World. We, in the Lake Charles area, have a beautiful opportunity to engage with our community, building relationships and helping lots of people see who Jesus is more clearly.

There is lots more to say, so stay tuned and, if you are intrigued, lean your voice into the mix. Contact Paul Pettefer at 337-794-9891,, @paulpettefer, or stop by the InterGalactic Offices of located inside Laundry World, 2712 Lake St, Lake Charles.

Since #JesusIsAlive, then from #Goosport2Graywood #theCityShouldBeDifferent

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thoughts...and Action about Living on Purpose for What Matters Most

Ok, for for the next few days, I'm going to put down a Topic and Short Thought, all in the same post. All of them about living on purpose in response to Jesus.


2. Since we live in 2 worlds, Our job is to be a Translator
Jesus left Heaven and entered Earth. Creator hanging in creation. While He was here, he was trying to give us a peek into a New Kingdom He was ushering in. This New Kingdom had it's formal entrance when Jesus busted out of the Grave, conquering death, and giving God the opportunity to send the Holy Spirit to remind us of Jesus and lead us into truth. What an entrance! Now we have the kingdom of this world, influenced by Jesus' enemy, "co-existing" with the Kingdom of Our God, with King Jesus reigning. We know, because Jesus told us, how this story will play out. Jesus wins! But in the meantime, the two competing kingdoms are overlapping.

Our job, with "our" meaning every person who has been transferred from death (old kingdom) into life (New Kingdom) by trusting in Jesus, is to Translate this New Kingdom to those who God loves, who He sent His Son to provide a way out of death for, to those who are in the old one.

It's easier, beloved, to just stay in the trappings of the New Kingdom and avoid all the stuff in the old one. It's easier to just go to church, spend as much time there and with Christians as possible. To, rightly, point out all the things wrong with the old kingdom and turn our backs on its stench.

Trouble with that is there is a reason God didn't put an end to the old kingdom already. The reason is He wants people to be transferred from death to life. And if He ends the old kingdom, then such an opportunity ceases to exist. So He's waiting. He's putting up with the stench of sin, holding his nose while we thumb our noses, ignorantly, at Him. He's a kind, loving, gracious Heavenly Father. And He wants all those son's and daughters of Adam to be bought back by the precious blood of Jesus into right standing with Him!

That's where we come in. Jesus told His 12 disciples to go and as they are going to make disciples. Disciples who would then, in turn, go and as they are going make disciples. And, eventually, that's what they did.

We are here to translate for those in the old kingdom the values, the Truth, the Hope, the Love, of the New Kingdom.

1. Gather and Scatter
I regularly emphasize the need for practical discipleship. That is, learning to follow Jesus is what we are actually doing. Often this includes a compare-and-contrast discussion, comparing the lecture/listening types of training environments that are common in our church life with the doing of being of living an on purpose, on mission life of following Jesus.

I was recently invited by some cool friends to be a part of an intense discipleship class. Multiple hour gatherings per week, very legit peeps speaking, homework and heavy commitment for a couple months. My reaction included a desire for the participants to take it to the hilt, and include a participation component, where we go and do based on what we learn in the gathering/teaching/learning times.

I realized that my responses to our teaching/training/preaching times can lead people to think I am anti-gathering, anti-Bible Study. Not So! We need lots of this, and most people who follow Jesus need more, not less Bible.

What I am saying is that for our discipleship to be whole, to be well rounded and bring about the kind of faith and practice that is city-changing (to keep our key metaphor for discipleship going, that because there are Jesus-followers here and churches full of Jesus-followers then from #Goosport2Graywood #theCityShouldBeDifferent), we need lots of practice in the actual doing. Lots of training like this: you come with me as we mentor a young person, then you learn to do it yourself; you come with me as we cook for folks that weren't expecting it and we start conversations, natural conversations, and include Jesus along the way.

So I'm all for the Gathering. I love gatherings! AND, I'm all for Scattering. Sending. Going. Being salt and light all over the city.

My sense is that we, church, need more practice in the Sending part.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Investments. In Relationships

This young man at T H Watkins is practicing being interviewed
by KPLCTV about his leadership at his school...Yes!

We have been hard at work. Making investments. Investments in relationships with the young, the not so young, and in-between. Tonight I'm just loading some pictures of friends and family, of high-points and things that mark a typical day. We have lots and lots and lots to share about city changing, harnessing the opportunities from the upcoming industrial expansion to activate the unemployable because of lack of character readiness, about deploying the church to support that effort. About encouraging and equipping entrepreneurs to practice a lifestyle of engagement with their businesses. About helping others learn to live on purpose, and growing in our own engagement in the process. More on that soon. In the meantime, we will keep investing in relationships! 

This is in the parking lot, following a 16 hour work day.
We laughed at Buck telling a great story. What a great day!

Our crew at Passion 2014. Investments in following Jesus!

Sam getting ready to play the keys at the 3rd
Annual Celebration of Children's Banquet

Here we are at T H Watkins, Again! #PartnersInEd

Here you get on of the teachers at T H Watkins in on the
action! These boys are growing, and they LOVE It when
adults invest in their lives.

This great friend is practicing the art of the party!
We are wrapping up is rockin afternoon of building
friendships! #GoTrent

I met this young man in 2012, and we've been through
a lot. I have learned much, and so has Nick. 

This young princess made me this hat! #funatwork

Here are several young man working and growing via
our Internships at Laundry World. 

Ms. Victorian, Principal at T H Watkins!

Our 1st 5th Grade led cookout for the PTO at
T H Watkins. The Kids LOVE IT when Adults invest
in relationships with them.  Chuck and Sam are in the mix!

It's how the city gets different. 

These artists held the "Hate Violence Movement" at
Lock Park, and we got to be a part.

Monica Grimoldo from KPLCTV covered our 2nd PTO
Cookout hosted by us and the 5th Graders. We invited her
to come back and teach the kids how to do an interview.
The kids LOVE IT when caring adults invest in relationships
with them! #areyoufindingatrendhere

Ms. Ann Polok has been coming to Watkins for several
hours a week, and the kids LOVE IT! 

Yeah, Ms. Victorian and T H Watkins!

Every Friday morning is Synergy Rally!

I am so proud of these two young men. It's been my honor
to get to be a part of their lives. Here they are working hard
in the middle of the night redoing the ceiling at Laundry World.

Sam and Buck, at work! Learning skills, learning character
learning to lead themselves and others. Work is a great
context for relationship, mentoring and growth in character
and capacity! 

My brother and one of my very best friends, Willie King.
We are at the MLK Breakfast. But you could take a picture
of us almost anywhere!

Here Buck learns a new skill, pressure washing. This task
has several components for him to grow. More on that later.

Welcome to the Princess Party that is my life.
These are my wonderful daughters. My biggest investment!

Buck and I at Passion 2014. #InItToEndIt
The red X is to show that we are in it to end
global human trafficking. 

Mardi Gras at T H Watkins! 

This is Hannah Pettefer. She is Incredible! This was her
3rd year to be a part of the Celebration of Children's
Banquet. Yeah!!!

This is April the Beautiful. She is wise and wonderful.
This is our 21st Anniversary #iloveApriltheBeautiful

This is the Donuts with Dads. I got to speak with dads, and
build new relationships. The PTO is growing and we
so love that!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hate Violence

Today, a new friend, Jarvis Jacob, is organizing a day to take guns and knives out of hands and put in a pen, a brush or a mic. It's the Have Violence Movement rally in Lock Park, Lake Charles.

I'll get the chance to share for a few minutes there later today.  

I'll be telling the story of violence and her origins, and the way out of soul-death.

Oh, and for many, part of the process of walking in a new way will include the need for a real job. God is providing for that, too, with thousands and thousands of new jobs in our area in the next decade.

Stay tuned, more to come on both of those fronts.

Because God's Love is Alive, the from #Goosport2Graywood #theCityShouldBeDifferent