it’s a wonderful life!


This story takes off where Hurricane Rita left us… in an RV park after the storm. It was our new home, while we waited to get back in our house. God’s provision through my husband’s company… a slide out RV trailer, and a nice one, at that! I’ve always tried to make the most of a situation I had little control of. So, if this was going to be our new neighborhood, we’d need to meet our neighbors. Phil decided to barbecue one afternoon and noticed a young man sitting outside of his FEMA trailer, parked right next to ours. They exchanged smiles, how-are-you’s, and before you know it… our new neighbor was having dinner with us.

Meet Clarence Jackson, III! Have you ever wondered if you were entertaining an angel, unaware? Hebrews 13:2 reads, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” I’m not saying that Clarence was an angel. What I am saying is that he came into our lives and fit right into what was happening around us! I know for sure… it was no accident that we offered friendship to this young man. We probably played a big part in his life, by reaching out to him and making him feel like part of our family, while he was separated from his own. More than that, God used Clarence to change us! There’s a surprise waiting for you when you take time to be kind to strangers. Trust me, it doesn’t go unnoticed.

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Christmas, 2005
My daughter shares her thoughts about Clarence: “By far the best part was seeing Clarence enjoy his Christmas. Clarence is a Hurricane Katrina evacuee who ended up in the same FEMA trailer park as my parents. His camper was right beside theirs. Since the Hurricane, he’s been pretty much one of our family, a part of our church and everything. My parents are now in their own house, but they still drive to New Iberia (20 minutes away) and get him every Saturday, and he spends the day with us, then they bring him back home at night. He spent all of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us this year. Even though he’s 27, he doesn’t have the full mental capacity of an adult. (He’s about a 10-13 yr. level) But he’s a joy to be around. Here he is opening his much-anticipated CD player!” She added that she thought Clarence was our angel this Christmas!

clarence player

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One Christmas, while in Franklin with Phil’s family, his brother Dave said, with tears in his eyes, “I think Jesus visited us this Christmas!” We celebrated Christmas and New Year with Clarence more than once!

His face says it all,  It’s a Wonderful Life! Would you look at those smiles? He wore that face every day! He was thrilled to have a Bible with his own name on it.

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Happy Birthday, Clarence Jackson, III.  He loved celebrating his birthday, and we loved giving him a party! He needed a mom and dad for the 4 years he was living in New Iberia. I’m thankful that God chose us to fill that role.  I would always tell him, “Clarence, you listen to your white Momma!”  You know what? Color was never an issue with us. There’s only one race in this world and it’s the race toward heaven. Any other race is in the wrong direction. Watching him draw near to the Lord and grow in his faith was so rewarding!  It was all worth it!

Thinking back today of all the fun times we had with him. Laughs galore! It did require great sacrifices at times But the joy we received as we invested in the life of someone who couldn’t pay us back. Truth is, he paid us back with a thankful heart! We don’t know where Clarence is right now because his mother came one day without notifying us and he went to live with her in Arkansas. We miss him.

So… your turn! Look around you and find a Clarence! Make a difference in his life! Get ready… God is about to surprise you! The blessings will overtake you!

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye


One thought on “it’s a wonderful life!

  1. I think this is my favorite one you’ve written so far. I feel blessed having been able to experience this time in your lives. It was so inspiring watching God work through yall, beautifully, to pour His love on Clarence.

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